Monday, April 25, 2011

EVEN WINNERS WALK (i.e., Race Recap: Easter Roller Coaster 5k)

A few weeks ago, my blogger buddy Alisyn talked me into running a 5k on Easter morning with her. The race was being put on by our running club, and the course was called the Easter Roller Coaster 5k.

Only "roller coaster" really couldn't have been more of an understatement.

The course is on the outskirts of the Presidio and is uphill after downhill after uphill after downhill -- and then a turnaround -- then uphill after downhill after uphill after downhill. Okay, okay, you get my point.

And this course doesn't have any little anthills either. All of the hills on the course are big take-your-breath-away steep-grade hills that force even the faster runners to a powerwalk. I will just ruin the surprise for you now and say that I got a Personal Worst time at this race!

And, in other words, this race was a perfect simulator of the Big Sur Marathon on a small scale, so I agreed to do it. Alisyn joked that we would take hits from a beer bong before the race, laugh at how stupid we were to attempt this, and enjoy the morning between all the puking that was about to happen.

(Sidenote: Next weekend will be interesting.)

Mile 1 (8:10)

Alisyn & me in twin poses before the bloodbath
Alisyn and I started off running together. After the first uphill, it became very clear that neither of us were anywhere close to laughing. I powered up the first hill to get in some practice for Big Sur, pulled over to the side while Alisyn caught up, and then we took off down the first hill together. Alisyn doesn't run hills very often and was having a hard time catching her breath (makes sense -- there's no time to catch your breath on this course).

I still wanted to get more practice on the hills, so I charged up the second hill as much as my stumpy legs would let me, slowed down on the downhill and caught Alisyn at the turnaround point. I asked if I should wait for her (poor race etiquette on my behalf; sorry we didn't establish this beforehand, Alisyn!). She told me to take off.

If by "take off" she meant "stop to walk," that's exactly what I did.

Mile 2 (9:08; yes, friends, this happened during a 5k)

Immediately after the turnaround, we had 100-foot incline that happened in the span of .05 of a mile and I chose to walk it. All the guys around me stopped to walk it, too (my guess is because they didn't want to be chicked and took the break when they saw me taking the break). Once I started running again, so did they.

On the first downhill on the way back, I noticed a kid running the race. Granted, there's the "regular" kid who kicks my ass at every single DSE race, but this time there was a new kid kicking my ass, looking like he was trying to catch up to the regular kid. I had to get to the bottom of this.

"Who talked you into running this race?" I said as I caught up to him, trying to distract him from his stellar performance.
"I did. I wanted to run this race." he responded.
"Wow, quite the course to pick to run for fun. You're doing well!"
"Thanks, I placed 2nd at Stinston Beach."
"Good Lord. [Oops, maybe I shouldn't say that on Easter.]"
(Kid shoots off like an arrow.)

I then proceeded to get schooled by ANOTHER KID UNDER THE AGE OF 10. What's with kids these days anyway?
Mile 3 (7:54)

Nothing to say here. I did my best up the last uphill and down the final downhill to make up lost time, but I missed a good amount of time at the first half of the race and felt pretty defeated.

Nope, realllllly defeated.

Mile .1 (:42, a 6:43 pace)

That was a good pace -- too bad I couldn't have done more of it. I didn't even gag at the end, so maybe I had more in me. Too late now.

I collected my finisher's ribbon, kept my eyes peeled for Alisyn, and headed over to the area where the race director was announcing the top 5 finishers.

Who was the race director, did you just ask? None other than ENDORPHIN DUDE! When the marathon caped crusader isn't busy running back-to-back marathons and ultra marathons (he did a 50k on Saturday, PRing by 2 hours), he makes appearances at DSE races!

Tony and I have run in some of the same DSE races, only we've never bumped into each other. I was excited that today could be the day I'd meet the superhero!

Race director Tony, aka Endorphin Dude, announcing the winners
Right as Alisyn and I made our way to announcements, Endorphin Dude said MY NAME?!?! Apparently I finished in the top 5 women??!

I was seriously shocked when he said my name as the #4 female finisher... So shocked the whites of my eyes turned black and I became evil.
Me, Endorphin Dude, and Alisyn
And that's the end of that. I stopped to walk and didn't give everything I had -- and I was a winner. Pretty sure there's a lesson to be learned in here somewhere.

Oh well.

Finishing Time: 25:55 -- a new Personal Worst!
Average Pace: 8:21 min/mile (7.2 mph)
Overall Place: 26 out of 116
Gender Place: 4 out of 36
Air Temp: 55F, misty/rainy

3.1-mile splits: 8:10, 9:08, 7:54, :42


  1. You make me both happy and sad that I didn't get to run that race.

    I think mostly happy.. >_>

    I ran up one block of hill today during my easy 2.25 miles....I am going to die on Hayes Street during B2B!

  2. Oh, my!! What an exciting race report - I'm so happy that you won a prize for all the "fun" you had. Congrats on your best personal worst!

  3. Dude you rule, who did you sell your soul to?
    Your gonna make big sur your biotch!

  4. You kicked ass - Walking or not, you rock!!! I couldn't catch my breath from the warm-up even, that should have been a good indicator or what was to come! Oh those humbling hills! No excuse really for my record breaking performance, I need to run hills more for sure! That was a lot of fun! We need to do it again soon soon soon! You are so going to rock Big Sur! Yah

  5. HA! That was hilarious! That's great that you placed AND got to see Endorphin Dude. I met him on an airplane in Feb :)
    Nice job & next time, take those kids out. Who do they think they are?

  6. Hey... that hill looks like a killer. You do what you gotta do. Congrats on your 5th place!

  7. Awesome!! And seriously, what's up with these kids? Nice to know the Bay Area has largely been untouched by the childhood obesity epidemic?

    Can't wait to hear about Big Sur!!!!

  8. Great job A - hills make you stronger, trust us ;-)

  9. Gotta love it--a personal worst that nets you hardware! That sounds like a killer course--great for Big Sur.

  10. Nice one, well done! Not a bad time for a personal worst at all. Hills are the best!

  11. what a kick ass race...on hills no less!! way to go! and don't you hate those kids?! :)

  12. awesome finishing in the top 5. sounds like a killer 5k. and i'm with you, when the little kids go blazing by me i want to trip them!


    And guess what?! I get to see you soon!

  14. Ahh, don't be too hard on yourself...sometimes it's just not our day, even in a 5k! I'm so jealous of your race day weather, I was busy being abused by rain and wind in Rhode Island and I seriously had deep, dark thoughts about life. Also, Endorphin dude is SUPER intense...yet another person to motivate me to get my butt in gear!

  15. I think personal worst is a least a little mitigated by top 5 finisher! Sounds like a beast of a course, but like you say, all good practice for the big one...

  16. Can't believe you got a top 5 placement with a personal worst. You're a rock star, even when you're not on top of your game! :-)

  17. Hi A,
    Hey girl, I miss you!! Your race report cracks me up:) Today was the Get in Gear races and I did not run. I was thinking about how we ran it last year and how the weather just sucked:) It sucks today too...cold and rainy over here!

    I hope that you are doing well! Let me know when you are making a trip back to Minnesota...maybe we can get together.

    Take care A....hugs to you!

  18. Personal Worsts make Personal Bests all that much sweeter. If only we could have PRs all the time...but then what fun would that be?

  19. Hey, I know this is an old report but I just found it-

    The joy of taking on a hard course! Don't compare yourself to records on other courses bc conditions are so different! The women's placement is a much better sign of performance! My favorite marathon is Pikes Peak, but time-wise it's a killer. I just compare my PP times to themselves, nothing else! (they say to estimate your finish time, take your flatland marathon time and add a half hour... And that'll get you halfway! Then add another two-thirds of that to finish. It's hours longer than any other race, but that's by no means a reflection on the athlete!