Well, this may be the most successful and wonderful race I’ve ever run. BOOM.
No disrespect to my tremendous first marathon experience, but today was also very special. With the 70.3 off my calendar, I’m free to race whatever the heck I want! Brazen’s Drag N Fly was right up my alley: challenging elevation with gorgeous views at the top. Since I’m trained up to half marathon distance, I went for it! Yesterday, my calves were feeling a little crampy and hips felt slightly achy. I contemplated dropping back to the 10k this morning and now I’m so glad I didn’t.
Pre-race went smoothly. Up before dawn, waffle with prosciutto, easy drive, easy parking. Bib pickup was super quick. Brazen Racing is just the bomb. Even the pre-race briefing is funny and fun. Their organization, food, course marking, and energy are all top notch. Highly recommended.
So, here’s what we’re dealing with:
My race plan was to hike anything that resembled an incline, run anything that went down, and do my best on the flats (Drag N Fly. Get it?). Almost immediately, we faced the first major climb. The sun was already shining and people were starting to suffer. I felt really good and pumped, especially when I thought about how satisfying it would be to run back down that sucker at the end! We were also rewarded with glorious views when we reached the top.
As we climbed higher and higher, I couldn’t stop looking back behind me. It still completely blows my mind that I can travel that far and that high ON FOOT. The novelty of trail running absolutely has not worn off and I was grinning from ear to ear. Especially once we headed downhill!
Throughout the race, I felt happy and calm. So weird. I certainly recognized that the climbs were difficult. The first three miles were really challenging but I only had a few moments where I was daunted by the distance. I truly felt happy and overwhelmed with gratitude the entire time.
Brazen is excellent at marking the course with ribbons and flour. In the pre-race briefing, the race director joked that people would still go off course. Today it was me! Only for a moment and it was during the first downhill. I was having so much fun, I missed a weird turn! It cost me about a minute and made a couple folks laugh. The race went so well, I wouldn’t change a single thing about it but you better believe I was much more aware of red ribbons for the rest of the run!
It’s hard to give a mile-by-mile report because I was running by feel and not married to hitting specific paces. Throughout the entire race, I stuck to my strategy of climbing the hills and running the descents. I was shocked to see 8:50-9:20 consistently on the downhill segments. I was unconcerned with pace, only vaguely hoping to beat my time from Bear Creek last year. The only descent that slowed me down was some really technical and steep single track. I absolutely love that type of running though. Brain firing, feet finding the perfect place to land. LOVE IT.
Before I knew it, it was time to fly down to the finish. I had fueled well, hydrated well (cold water at the aid stations was heavenly) and had plenty of heart left to get me home. I had passed many people and hadn’t been passed by anyone. I also realized that I hadn’t seen any females around my age since the last one I passed. I had a fleeting thought that maybe the cherry on this delicious sundae would be to place in my AG for the first time. My trail times are not impressive and it wasn’t my goal so I didn’t take the thought seriously.
As I cruised into the finish, I tearfully told a volunteer that I was having the best race ever. It was tough to keep pushing through to the finish but I did with a huge smile.
Came in, walked around and had a delicious IT’S IT. The true San Francisco treat. Chatted with some folks and then headed over to see my place. The results hadn’t been updated but only 1st and 2nd place in my AG had come in. There was a chance for 3rd! I didn’t get my hopes up since I’ve been 4th so many times but low and behold……
SUPER STOKED. There are several reasons why this is not an impressive accomplishment but F*CK THAT. I’m thrilled. This was a huge goal of mine and it’s both unbelievable and completely perfect that it happened after running this perfectly executed EPIC race.
Celebrated with Chairman Bao, a lovely lengthening Dailey Method class, Ici Ice Cream and then an unexpected salumi date night with my handsome husband at Adesso.
So basically, best day ever.