Right at 8 am we were off into the clear cold morning. As with most races the adrenaline was going and I definitely took off a bit quicker than I would have liked but it was also hard to slow myself as I didn’t feel like I was going that fast to begin with. The majority of the run took place on back country roads weaving through both vineyards as well as other farmland. A short part of it was also along a levee.
I tried to break the run down into 3 10K segments. This ended up being harder than I thought as the biting wind seemed to invade my mind and really did a number on me during this race. The first 10K I think went pretty well and I tried to stay a bit more conservative. Somewhere towards the end of that first 10K, there was a slight uphill and then we were on a levee road. This was a bit tougher given the wind was much stronger. In other areas, the road was quite exposed to the winds due to flat farmland on each side. I did feel a slight twinge in my left achilles during the second 10K segment. I attribute that to the cold and wind again. My training the months leading up to the race had been indoors (average 60-70s) or outside where it was also 50-70F. My body wasn’t used to running in 40 degree weather. I did start to labor after I hit the half marathon mark. I started to walk much more and would try to run but my speeds had considerably slowed to around 12 min/mile pace. I really started struggling around mile 14-15 when us 30K runners were in a section without other runners. I knew I was in the back half of 30K runners so I actually didn’t see a ton of other runners at this point in the race. I just kept telling myself to run and would try to do more “run” segments than walking. I had a few different goal levels for this race with my ‘A’ goal to run under 3:30 for the race. As I approached the finish with about 0.4 miles left, there were some spectators again and that gave me the push to actually run it in. I ended up finishing in 3:21:48. I think the cold windy conditions definitely sapped the energy in my legs and made those last 4 miles hell. I did have a little concern that I may also cramp up with the cold (I wore a tech tshirt and shorts as per my usual if temps are above 40F).
The overall scenery was pretty but the lack of spectators I think does take away some from helping you along towards the second half of the race. The overall support on course was decent with a water/gatorade station about every 2 miles or so. I did end up turning on my music around mile 9 as I was starting to get tired and felt like I needed a pick me up. Truth be told this is the first time I’ve ever done a race with music. I had my Aftershokz Aeropex on so I could still hear other runners and cars. One other negative I really disliked about the race is that there were 2 segments where we were running on an “open” road. This meant there were some traffic cones giving us about 3 feet along the side of the 2 lane country road where we could run but meant we did have some car whizzing by at high speeds. Luckily since these were farm roads there wasn’t a ton of traffic but I still would have preferred a closed course. They had also promised a free lunch afterwards but since I was in the back of the pack (and the other race distances were all done already) they had run out of food (breakfast burritos). I didn’t stick around post-race and made the half mile walk back to my car. Since I didn’t get food at the race, I stopped by Mickey D’s to pick up some grub on the way home.
I was fairly happy with the race – pretty flat except for a few short uphills/downhills. I think my nutrition could have been better and suspect I didn’t take in enough calories on course which may have contributed to my late-race tiredness. I am glad to have another long distance race under my belt but probably won’t do this race again.