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 Across the Bay 12K Race Report
Rickshaw
Runworks 2005 5M Racer
San Francisco, CA
Joined: 26 Nov 2004
Posts: 1157

Across the Bay 12K Race Report Posted: Sun Mar 18, 2007 11:17 am 

I drove into San Francisco early this morning for the Across the Bay 12K race. It was cool and calm along the waterfront as we boarded the buses that would take us across the Golden Gate, to the course's start on the Marin side of the bay. Fog clung to the hills, and it was shaping up to be a typical SF morning and great running weather.

I've done this race three times on its present course. It's beautiful but a bit tough, with a long steep hill in the second mile, and a small steep hill right at the finish. In the past, my pace has been about 10 seconds/mile slower than what I'd expect on a level course of the same distance. I finished in 55:24 in 2004 and 53:19 last year. This year I'm not as fit, and I was hoping for something in the 56-57 range, or about a 7:40-ish mile pace.

This was my first time doing this race for my running club. It was nice to meet up with the other members of the club beforehand, chat a little, and warm up. I felt some extra pressure, though, knowing that my time actually counted for something in the team results, and if I fell apart, I'd be letting more people down than just myself. But knowing that I'd certainly be far slower than nearly everyone else in the men's open division, I didn't stress about it too much.

My strategy was to hold back a bit on the big uphill and the first half of the race, and then kick it into high gear closer to the finish. I managed to do that last year, and finished strong. In 2004 I overdid it early on, ran out of gas, and faded in the last couple of miles.

1. We're running through some beautiful open headlands, right along the water's edge, and I'm just trying to take it easy. Soon we begin the steep climb up to the highway and the deck of the Golden Gate Bridge. I'm not sure of the elevation gain, but it felt huge, and I think I overdid it. Split was 8:02, and I wasn't feeling great. Hmm.

2. We're still climbing up, up, up, and I'm working pretty hard. I try to back off a bit. Finally we make it up and on to the bridge. Cars are honking for us as they speed by, and we would have a great view if it weren't so foggy. I'm worried I'm pushing it too hard too soon. Second mile split is 7:55. Hmm again.

3-5. Now we're rocketing downhill on the San Francisco side, through some twisty turns, and along a waterfront trail. The trail is dirt and gravel, well-maintained, but I still feel like it slows me a bit vs. pavement. Somewhere I missed the 3 mile marker. I'm pushing on, unsure of my pace, but I'm still feeling like I'm maybe straining too much. I'm keeping pace with the runners around me though. I missed the 4 mile marker too-- dang! We're still cruising along the waterfront, I'm still hurting, and I don't know my pace. Finally I see the 5 mile marker. My time for the last three miles should be about 23 minutes, maybe a little less given the downhill. I take a split, and it's 21:20! What the heck?

6. I can really feel the exhaustion now. It feels like I'm running through deep, sucking mud. I pray for the race to be over soon. I do my best to take short, quick strides and pace off the person in front of me, and it mostly works. Mile 6 split time is 7:34.

7-Finish. With about a mile and a half to go now, I push the effort up as best as I can. Surprisingly, I feel a little better. Now we're running through the marina, and people are out walking their dogs, cheering us as we pass. I pass the 7 mile marker but forget to take a split. Suddenly there's one last nasty hill-- arghh! Knowing the finish isn't far now, I try to crank up the hill, but my form starts going to pieces and my breathing becomes erratic. Finally I'm over the hill and flying down the back side, half stumbling but passing lots of other runners. At last the finish line mercifully welcomes me home. My split for the last 1.46 miles is 10:34, or 7:15/mile. I finish in 55:27.

Overall, not bad! I thought I was going to pieces there in the first couple of miles, but I managed to keep up the effort to the finish. I also squeezed in a minute or so faster than I'd been expecting, which is great. Really, the only bummer is how much slower I am than the other runners in my club. Many of the guys 15-20 years older than me finished well under 50 minutes, and I finished neck-and-neck with the 60-70 year old crew from the club. Yikes! These guys must all have been major speed demons in their prime. I felt a little better when I saw that I'd finished close to one of the fastest women from the club, until I learned that she just ran a triathlon yesterday and was doing this race as an easy workout. DOH!! :-)


Rickshaw
Runworks 2005 5M Racer
San Francisco, CA
Joined: 26 Nov 2004
Posts: 1157

Re: Across the Bay 12K Race Report Posted: Tue Mar 20, 2007 3:21 pm 

Obligatory race photo, with the Golden Gate in the background:

http://www.fasttwitchpro.com/nuts07/slides/IMG_2072.jpg


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