Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Renegade Terrifying Ten Miler Race Report and Surf City Long Course DNS

This was a new race put on by the folks at Renegade Race Series that couldn't possibly have a more beautiful setting.  The race takes place right by the beach in Dana Point along the Salt Creek Bike Path.  The race has everything anyone could ask for in a short course running race:  5k, 10k, and 10 mile options; some really great race swag including a sweet tech 1/4 zip long sleeve shirt for the 10 miler, a great finisher medal, and a fun after race expo.

Logo for the race.
I signed up to do this race with the understanding that it would be one final "tune up" for my 70.3 I had planned the week after.  I figured my wife could surf while I pushed my son along on the stroller and it would be a great, easy, and fun day.  Well, in the realm of "shit happens" - my wife stepped on a clam in the Philippines two weeks prior and sliced up her foot pretty bad.  So, not only was she not going to be able to surf - but she was on crutches too.  And the surf was pumping!  (I myself was slightly tempted to just ditch the race and paddle out).

View was great, surf was great, and my wife enjoyed a nice breakfast while I ran.
Even though my wife was just hanging out and not surfing, I still decided to push my son in the stroller.  I was not, however, prepared for the course.  The course itself is extremely challenging and hilly - with about 2500 feet of elevation gain over 10 miles and several sharp up and down hills.  Hills are quite possibly the worst thing for someone in a stroller race - as it never allows one to get into an even pace.  If you're going up a hill - you're expending more energy pushing the stroller and if you're going down a hill - you're expending more energy controlling the stroller and keeping it from flying out of control.  All of which slows you down.
I started the race having no idea what the course was like - not being overly familiar with the area and having not looked up the course (my mistake).

At the start line of the race.
I arrived to the start line early which accomplished two things - 1) it allowed me to get into the front so I would be able to take off ahead of the pack and allow anyone faster than me to pass by me and 2) it gave me some time to give my son some milk so (hopefully) he would nap during the run.

As the race started, success on both fronts!  He fell asleep and I managed to take off in the lead without any issues.  I was aiming for a 6:00/mile pace through the whole race - in hopes of getting a sprint finish at the end to break an hour.  That, sadly, would not happen (mainly due to the hills) - but the effort was there throughout nonetheless.

Goofing around for the camera guy while in the lead.  The guy in red eventually passed me once the hills came.

Still knocked out!  This was around mile 9 because he woke up with about half a mile to go.

Coming in to the finish. 
I was in the lead for the first mile or so - hitting it a bit faster than anticipated at about 5:45/mile but feeling solid nonetheless.  About that time, the guy who eventually would win the race shot past me right as we were hitting the first hill.  I tried to keep up - but couldn't.  I ended up losing sight of him during the race, but managed to keep a fairly good pace throughout all things considered.

I finished with a 1:11:00 - which isn't terrible considering the course and the fact I was pushing a stroller.  I truly feel that, even with the hills, I would have hit my sub 1 hour goal if I didn't have the stroller.  Without the hills - I would have hit it - stroller or not.  At least, I feel that way.  I felt really good during this race.

Now, looking at the pictures, you might be wondering WTF I was wearing during the race.  Since it was a Halloween run, I figured I'd dress up "in costume" - so a friend of mine (fellow A Runner's Circle Ambassador Myrna) did some costumes up for Bruce and I.  We were R2D2 and C3P0.  Which worked out pretty well as the costumes were creative, pretty good looking, and not cookie cutter at all (i.e. we didn't just to buy a costume at a shop).  It also was something that let me run with minimal intrusiveness (although running in sleeves is tough and it wasn't exactly cool temperature-wise that day).   In any case, I was thrilled with them.

2nd Place Overall and 1st in my Age Group

Bruce and I ended up second overall and first in my age group.  Pretty stoked with that result, even if I didn't meet my goal (time wise) during the race.  Afterwards, we stuck around for the costume contest and had some fun with the kids in the costumes.  Bruce wasn't too thrilled with showing off for people, but he had a good time outside of that.  

This kid was awesome with his costume and the way he was acting as Superman.  

Bruce wasn't thrilled with being put down in front of so many people.

Bruce's costume turned out to be pretty sweet.  And check out the waves in the background!

The Finisher medal with the division award.

The next week, we traveled up to Santa Cruz, Ca for the Surf City 70.3 race - which was the last big race of the season and one that I was super pumped for.  Everything had fallen into place for me training-wise and I was feeling great going into the race.

Stuff all laid out the day before the race.
I was fully prepared to PR on this course (as it's relatively flat) and felt that I had a very, very realistic shot at breaking 4:30:00 or coming very close to it.  

Unfortunately, it was not to be.  I spent the night before the race shivering and shaking uncontrollably and was up all night hovering over the toilet in one fashion or another (I'll spare you the details but let's just say it was coming out of both ends).  I probably notched about 30 minutes of sleep total that night and was weak, sick with a fever, and had 0 energy.  So instead of going to transition to rack up and get ready - I made the quick walk over to turn in my chip and call it a day.  

That was an extremely difficult thing for me to do - as I have never DNSed a race before.  Especially a race that I dragged the family 7 hours up the coast to go to.  However, it is what it was and I wouldn't have survived very long racing out there.  Better to pull the plug in advance and try to enjoy my day the best I could (which basically consisted of me walking around like a zombie trying to make sure my son didn't get into any mischief).  

I still haven't decided if I'm going to finish my season out (I originally had a half marathon, a 10k, a 5k, and an Olympic distance triathlon scheduled).  My gut feeling is to scratch the rest and start fresh after a few weeks of rest.  We'll see - I'll update the blog later with a year in review after I figure it out.