Last year was the first time I had done this race, but I had felt like I’d run (most) of the course a million times. Balboa Park is where I do the bulk of my training. It’s a fun and challenging course with several loops so you have to pay attention to where you’re going or you’re going to cut the course, especially if you find yourself running alone. There’s hills, inclines, and a trail portion so you get a little taste of both worlds.
I placed in the top 5 last year and was hoping to again this year, but more importantly beat my time. I knew this race was a good prep race for the AFC Half in a few weeks. My warm-up felt pretty good but I recognized a few local speedsters so I got in the starting corral a few rows back. The competition this year was going to be a bit tougher.
The race went off without a hitch and I got into a groove. I wasn’t worried about placings yet – 8 miles is short(er) but with this course I knew I had plenty of time to catch up. By mile 4 I settled into 5th with 4th place in my sights. I lost her just before the trail portion, but she must have slowed down a little bit more than I did on the trail because when we came out of “the pits” (my name for all trail racing) I had gained on her a little. She was still about 20 seconds ahead of me, but I slightly picked up the pace – just in case. Mile 7 rolled around and I continued to gain a little more….more….200 yards left and I sprinted to make it a 10 second gap. My legs were burned, but so were hers, so I churned again and fell short by 3 seconds. I had guts, but still no glory. Ha! I finished 5th. I raced hard and I felt like I raced well. These types of runs really help boost my performance. I beat my time last year by 3 minutes, and was happy with that. My trail mile was 7:18, and my last and fastest mile was 6:08. I’m learning to define my gears, and I’m learning how to recover in the midst of hard effort running.
29th of 1695 overall
5th of 962 female
2nd of 117 age group