Friday, April 4, 2014

Race Report: PCRF Half Marathon and Bike Tour - and other fun stuff.

The Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation puts on a great event each year - the Reaching for the Cure Ride and Run.  This is a 2 day event that has a bike tour of varying distances (15 miles, 35 miles, and 50 miles) on Saturday and a running event with varying distances (5k, 10k, Half Marathon, and kids 1k) on Sunday.  They have an option where if you do both of them, you earn the semi-coveted "PCRF Brick" award - which is kind of cool.
It's a stacked event that Renegade Race Series runs and has one of the best expos I've seen for a race of its size.  There is simply something to do for everyone - from a beer garden, to a petting zoo with all sorts of critters, to various booths with fun activities, to food vendors (with samples!) - everything.  It's just a great event for the family and something I cannot recommend enough.

So how was the race?


The bike course is a great one that I've actually ridden (more or less) a handful of times before.  It's a 50 mile route that is very hilly and actually includes portions of the 1984 Olympic cycling route - so that's kind of cool.  It's a non-competitive race (as in - it's untimed and you get the same medal for finishing first that you do if you finish dead last), but that didn't stop a lot of the riders from going head to head throughout the entire 50 miles.

Getting ready to get started on the bike course.
This race weekend was always intended to be a "big training" weekend for me in a race-like environment leading up to Leadman  (which fell a couple weeks after this event).   With that in mind, I tried to set my bike up much the same I would at the Leadman race - save for the wheels (I hadn't put the new tires on my Gray 9.5s yet  - so I used a tubular set that I normally reserve for hilly races/training days).

Coming into this race weekend, I had a sore hamstring which was bugging the hell out of me.  It wasn't something that was incredibly painful - but it was at the level where I thought "You have to be careful with this if you don't want any problems when Leadman comes around".  So I had been taking it easy most of the week leading up to the race in hopes that I wouldn't pull something and end my time at Leadman before it began.

Before the race at the start line.
The race was very well done.  They had roads closed off where there would be the most traffic, and then the roads were open to the public where there would not be as much traffic (mainly up in the hills).  It was very well done - and the course is set up that there is plenty of room even though it's open-to-public roads for a lot of it.

I used all of the same gear I would use in my triathlons - so that I would get a feel for it on a semi-long distance ride.

This is a pretty sweet picture - which I purchased a copy of and am waiting for it.

Dat helmat.
The Champion Systems skinsuit from my Big Sexy Racing team is outstanding.  I can't say enough about the suit.  Super comfortable to the point where it feels like it's not even there.  It really is a perfect tri suit (for me).

As for my ride, it went super well.  I pulled into the front of the pack and stayed with a group of 5 or 6 people until we hit the long hill in Mission Viejo and I pulled out in front.  Finished the race without seeing anyone else and collected my finisher medal and headed home.  I didn't bother with any of the festivities on Saturday mainly because I knew I would be coming back for the half marathon the next day - and wanted to enjoy the booths/tents with my family.


First, there's this:

My son the night before the run - woke up in the middle of the night giggling.  Probably excited for his 1k race.
Then, there's this:

After hearing about the above article - I was a little distraught to say the least.  It seemed really crappy of a magazine to make fun of anyone, much less make fun of someone running for a great cause.  
So I decided I would help show my support in a special way - I would run my half marathon wearing a tutu just like Monika did in her race.  I figured it would be a neat nod to her, to cancer survivors (this race was in support of Pediatric Cancer, so it fit), and to people who have been bullied everywhere.  Since I wasn't going to be overly competitive in this race (due to the aforementioned hamstring issues) - I figured I might as well have fun with it.

So I borrow a tutu from a friend, and on it went.
Yes, I look ridiculous.
I started at the front of the race and went off with the first tier of competitors.  My thought process was to see just how sore my hamstring would be and go at a pace that was comfortable - but didn't put too much pressure on it.  There was a pack of 3 of us for the first 3 miles going at about a 5:50 pace or so, and right after mile 3 I decided to tone it down a bit.

At the beginning of the race in the first group.
After dialing it back, I ended up falling to 5th or 6th place in the group, but at about mile 7 or so - I noticed I had very little pain in my hamstring, so I decided to pick up the pace again and see how hard I could push it.

Shaka brah!

I've incorporated having a bit more fun into my races lately.  This means not ignoring the camera guy when I see him!

Once I picked up the pace, I passed a few people and moved squarely into third place.  I even got a comment from one guy I passed "Oh man, I thought there was no way I was going to lose to a man wearing a tutu!"

Passing someone who previously passed me on the course.
One thing I have to say - the volunteers (mostly high school kids) who were at the aid stations were absolutely great.  They were cheering me on and clapping for me whenever I ran up.  Shouts of "I love your tutu!" and stuff like that were common and I didn't have a single negative comment (outside of one kid shouting "Alright man!  Gay pride!" - but I think he was just mistaken at what I was getting at and wasn't being malicious).

I finished the race pretty squarely in 3rd place - with a time of 1:27 - which isn't a PR for me by any means but is a pretty good time all things considered.

Crossing the finish line.
The results had me bumped down to 4th place - which didn't make any sense because no one finished ahead of me or was even close to me when I crossed the finish line.  I'm assuming it was either an error (like someone with a half marathon bib did the 10k or something) or someone started late and just finished late and was able to put up a decent time.

In any case, I claimed first place in my age group - so no real complaints here.  I got a nice mug, some gift cards, a cool little certificate, and my PCRF Brick award.

Me with my hardware.  And my tutu.
Now - that performance was great and all - but hardly the highlight of my day.  The highlight of my day was Bruce's first race - a 1k kid's fun run.

Brucie, my wife, and I at the start for the Nestle Kid's 1k run/walk.
Now, we were really hoping that Bruce would be walking by the time this race came around.  He's standing up.  And I mean, he's REALLY standing up. Sometimes for a long, long time.  He just isn't taking that step yet.  In any case - we had a back up plan in case he wasn't walking, and we executed it PERFECTLY.

He was a champ and walked the whole way without whining.

Now, my son DID finish in dead last place.  However, he was ALSO the first in his age group (1 and under) - although that's not official since it was an untimed walk.  Regardless of that - it was one of the most incredible experiences I've ever had at an event.  Crossing the finish line with my son, picking him up, and having him stoked that he accomplished something was really cool to see (especially since he just turned 1 a few weeks before).  

Brucie crossing the finish line and with his medal.

All in all, a great day and a great event - which I would recommend to anyone who is wanting a boost to their training, as a competitive race, or someone who just wants to get in shape for a good cause.

Next up for me is Leadman in April, which is my first major race of the year.  I'll be gunning for a belt buckle there - and we'll see how that goes.  I'm as ready as I'll be for it.  

Hope you enjoyed the race report - and I'll leave you with some pictures of my son at the petting zoo (which was at the event):

This was a big lizard that had some teeth on it.

I was pointing out how hard the shell was to Bruce.

Brucie touching an absolutely gigantic snake.

No comments:

Post a Comment