|Me finishing the Lynch Canyon Half in 2013|
I was a bit worried coming into this race. I had written a few articles about how I was aiming to beat last years 2:16:00 but I wasn't sure I could really pull it off. I had taken a lot of time off from running through the winter and had only picked it back up in February. I started back by concentrating on the half marathon distance because training for the longer stuff takes more time then I have to give.
Have I lost some level of fitness? Last spring I was setting PR's in the marathon and 50k. The obvious answer then, would be yes. But maybe not! I have purposefully been running more hills then ever and I have ran 5 of the most difficult half's in the bay since the Monterey race in February. I'm conditioned for hard half's so I may be in better shape then I thought. I ran my heart out at last years Lynch Canyon and my best got me a 2:16:00 finish (10:25 pace). If I beat that time I feel like that is proof enough that any fitness that was lost on the lay off has now been regained. My secondary goal is a llloooonnnnngggggg shot! I really want a sub 2 hr finish on a brutal course. Sub 2 hour is 9 minute pace and to pull that off on massive hills seems like a really great benchmark to reach for.
During my lay off in the fall/winter of 2013 I only ran 5- 10 miles a week and had a really tough time at the Tilden 35k, Skyline to Sea Marathon and the Quad Dipsea. I didn't run hardly at all in December and January and then I ran a trail half in Monterey at the end of January and that too was a struggle. That is when the light went on. I shouldn't struggle with a half marathon! I gotta get it back together. I enjoy doing long trail runs and my ability to do them is fading fast. Soon I will struggle to lay down 30 minutes in the hills and that will be a sad day. I was able to get consistent with 3 days a week for 30 minutes to an hour on those days and that got me to around 20 miles per week. For Lynch Canyon I got it up around 30- 35 miles per week for the last 5 weeks. Good for me but last year I was running 45- 50 miles per week.
|The entrance to Lynch Canyon Open Space just off I-80|
|Lynch Canyon Trail Run 2014|
|Running the early hills at Lynch Canyon|
|Prairie Ridge: A high point on the 10k & half marathon course|
|Downhill is a welcome relief!!!|
|The false flat of South Valley|
|Finish line area|
I stayed calm and continued to run conservatively. I needed to make it to the top of Prarie Ridge without adding a lot of time to my average pace. If I could do that then the race would become a Prefontaine (pure guts race) and I was ready to puke and die trying if it came down to that. My new water bottle was still icy cold so I had no use for the aid stations along the way. I used the runners ahead of me to keep me motivated. I kept trying to reel them in and as I did my confidence grew. Unfortunately my average pace was growing too. By the time I reached the downhill at Kestral Trail I was close to 10 minute pace and my energy was fading.
With 2 miles to go I was losing faith that I could drop my average back down to where it was let alone hit the 9 minute mark. A lady came by me at this point and I used her to motivate me. We traded places a couple of times on our way to the South Valley Trail but once we were on that trail I was firmly in the lead. I was pushing hard and starting to feel nauseated from the hard work and the heat beating down on this exposed course. When I hit the super steep but short hill about a half mile up this trail I nearly lost my breakfast. I went from a fast pace to a dead stop instantly and stepped off the trail as I thought I was gonna let loose. I didn't throw up but I did get passed, twice! I took some water, started walking and soon started jogging. The awful feelings subsided and I began to close the gap that the other racers had gained on me. I surged up the final hill and passed one of the racers but I could not catch that fast female.
I crossed the line at 2:07:44 with an average pace of 9:45. That was 9 minutes faster than last year and I was absolutely ecstatic about that. It was too bad that I could not get the sub 2 hour but honestly that was a super lofty goal. The race results can be seen here. Overall I finished 36th out of 99 and 13th in my age group out of 23. I suppose that's all fine and dandy but really I just wanted to beat last years time.
|Lynch Canyon 2014|
My wife participated in the free community hike which was 2.5 miles long and she pushed our son in the Bob Stroller. She is as tough as nails and in her own words "That was insane!". The hike is a cool feature of this event but I think pushing a heavy stroller around the course is a bit much. I will definitely be back next year and I will be aiming for that sub 2 hour finish. Next up is the Trail Quake on June 14th. Hopefully the 1 week in between these races is enough recovery time, yikes!!!