Last year I ran this race and the course was fun and challenging (hills), so I was looking forward to racing it again this year. RAM Racing added an “elite corral” with a little bit of prize money for the first time in the series, but I wasn’t sure if it would draw out more competition or not. I was happy to know I made the cut off time and was gunning for a podium finish. I hadn’t done as well as I’d liked at the half-marathon a few weeks prior and I was ready to redeem myself.
Race morning was relaxed because of a later than usual start time and the luxury of living close to the starting line. After squirting my HoneyStinger Energy Gel over some Cheerios, I got dressed and was off. I found my spot at the front of the starting corral and realized I was the only one with an “elite” bib on (yeah, I felt pretty dumb) and there was no starting corral for those bibs as promised. I guess they didn’t get the word out soon enough? Unfortunately for the other racers, that eliminated their eligibility for prize money. Oh well!
Upon starting the race, my legs felt great. However, my lungs couldn’t keep up (which is usually not the case). I knew I was breathing too heavily to speed up like my legs wanted me to, but I tried my best. After the first four miles, I settled into 4th with little hope of moving up. My pace was steady, but my lungs couldn’t push any harder. It was a peaceful disappointment, realizing this, because I knew with more long runs, my lungs would come back – my skeletal muscles were improving.
Passing the 10k mark, I could hear another female coming up behind me. We were going downhill and nearing the bottom she passed me, but only for a brief moment. Because after the course went downhill, it went uphill – and the quad squad dominated. I regained my 4th place status and stayed there through the finish. After the results were in, I dropped to 5th – a racer from another corral actually took 3rd in chip time. After getting my bag from gear check, I headed straight for the chocolate. It turned out, I was the first 15k racer to get in line, so the volunteers made a big deal about it and offered me two servings. I had to decline, but it was pretty funny.
I didn’t PR or podium finish like I hoped, but I was happy with leg muscle improvement and insights in body awareness and sensitivity. For this training season, I want to peak in November for the New York City Marathon, and I feel like I’m on track to do so. I made some gains and I’m ready to make more. Bring on the Carlsbad 5000!
Finish time – 1:02:17
Overall – 13th of 3954
Female – 5th of 2809
Age group – 2nd of 381