Monday, March 9, 2015

Ahmanson 12k

This was a last minute sign up to (a) support a local race, (b) start a legacy streak and (c) well you know…training! The trailhead is actually in a neighborhood that I used to live about 7 years ago and while I had run all of the trails I had never strung them together to get this route. This is a photo I took back then of the area. Race day didn’t have the low cloud, as you can see, it’s best described as rolling!


The course was definitely one of two halves, the first a short sharp climb followed by a flat then a long downhill which of course resulted in a climb back up to the start.


I got there nice and early and checked in, used a pristine clean Potta-John…that’s a first! My plan was to race this hard and pretty much go at 95% effort, lots of HR Z4 and Z5. I had estimated a sub 60 minute finish but it was going to only be by a couple of minutes if at all. In the end it was a bit like cyclo-cross, balls to the wall for an hour! With that in mind I decided to warm up…yes warm up! Shut-The-Front-Door! I ran up the first climb which was a good pipe opener and got my heart rate up.

After that there wasn’t that much time before the start so I grabbed a bottle of water and sipped it. I was already sunny and there was not a cloud in the sky. That said I know I can run for an hour without water. I was also phone and music free, very stripped down in my shorty shorts and shirt and KinvaraTR which are trail flats.


After a quick briefing we were off. After the initial scramble I found a nice pace and passed a few people on the climb. I settled into a comfortable pace and just followed the people in front. I could see the line of people extending ahead of me which allowed me to gauge my effort. My HR was high and I knew I needed to ease off the pace on the downhill so I could get it down into Z4. With the exception of a small bump at the bottom I was able to and I eased off the gas going through the one Water Station where I grabbed a quick cup, drank half and poured the other half on my head. I was about 27 minutes in and halfway. For the record the first four mile splits;

  • 7:32
  • 7:22
  • 6:58
  • 7:43

From here it was three and a bit miles to finish and mostly climbing. I ended up walking a short section that from looking afterwards had a grade of around 12%. Then I just gritted my teeth to the end. As with most trail races folks were spread out, I passed a few and was passed by a few. In the end I rounded the last corner and pushed for the finish, max HR 177!


Last three mile splits;

  • 9:40
  • 8:22
  • 8:55 and change for the finish

I squeaked under the hour with a 59:36 official time. 33/170 and 2nd in my AG. The AG Winner was 3 minutes ahead! Given the overall lack of speedwork in recent months I was really pleased with this result.

All in all a fun morning at a well run (no pun) and low stress race. As with all trail races the crowd is always friendly and egos are checked at the door. The RD, Nancy, has a great reputation for running a tight ship and this was no exception. A soft technical T Shirt was given to everyone and AG Winners got a really nice custom glass medal. It’s always nice to see familiar faces and I bumped into a few folks I knew. More than that it was a good start to a three day weekend of trail running!

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