Saturday, we ran the Hark the Herald Angels 24th annual 12K/25K put on by Enviro-Sports. It was our 4th and last scheduled race of the year, but there were two factors that made this race unique: 1) it was a trail race, and 2) the last time I ran 12K or more was when I did the Kaiser half marathon two years ago. When it comes to racing, that was a long friggin time ago!
In preparation, I ran 5 miles on Thursday after work. I got my rhythm down and got into that zone where I felt I could run forever. I can run for an extensive time frame when it’s chilly and the road is flat—as in Chicago flat or treadmill flat. But when an incline is involved, go ahead take me out back and shoot me. I suck.
I know Angel Island. I’ve hiked Angel Island, I’ve even camped overnight at Angel Island. I know those hills! Obviously, I was worried pre-race, but told myself I would push through it.
The one really positive thing about this race was that it started late. While most races start at 8am, this one was supposed to start around 10:30am after the 10am ferry from Tiburon to the island. I guess everyone didn’t make it on board, so we actually didn’t start until around 11:30. Superb weather. A few hundred people.
The announcer talked about how this race is always held around Christmas which is how they got the idea for a 12K/25K (December 25th). The 25K runners went first – two full loops around the island and more than double the brutal 12K we ran. We started and followed about 20 minutes after they began.
Trail running is hard and dangerous. You have to constantly watch where you’re stepping. Imagine running in this kind of terrain:
As you can see, often times, two people can’t be running next to each other which meant lots of single file racing, occasional passing, and also persistence. With the skinny trails you had to keep going because there weren’t areas to move to the side and take a break. Early on, I landed on the side of my foot, twice. Doh! I’ve been limping very slightly since the race. I wasn’t alone, there were so many people who were icing their feet or hopping on one foot back to the ferry.
I was well ahead of Dean throughout the race, but the competitive guy found his second wind towards the end and finished a good several paces ahead of me as he flew toward the finish line. I could’ve killed him! I walked more than I should have trying to wait for Dean when I should’ve just gone for my best time. Next time I’ll beat him.
Gotta love the small races where someone was manually clocking your time and bib number as you finished. The announcer joked that we should let him know how long we stopped to take in the view, they’d deduct that from our time. Goodies consisted of a t-shirt, pour your own water and gatorade from big Costco jugs, and bins filled with nuts, pretzels, trail mix, clementines, and bananas. So funny.