As I type this, I’m back in my jammies, brewing tea and ready to read the newspapers. I’m also thinking: Did I just run a 10k?
Since recovering from my fractured hip, caused not by a fall or a fluke but by years and years of running on hard surfaces, I’ve been determined to do more trails. This morning’s race in Rancho Bernardo was a start.
This was the 9th March Madness Miles 5k/10k that begins and ends at Rancho Bernardo Community Park. I live close enough that I could sleep in slightly and still arrive while there was plenty of parking. The Kiwanis Club has the system down: very efficient check-in, race organization and a nice cotton T-shirt. I was surprised that this was a chip-timed race, but there also were 400+ runners on the various courses. Great course marshals, too.
At the start, I saw lots of people with water bottles and worried there was no aid. Normally, I can go without stopping on a 10k but I was still not 100% hydrated from an earlier stomach bug and some major Santa Ana winds were sucking all the moisture out of the air.
The course itself was challenging, and not having ever done this kind of race with a lot of single track, technical trails, I was focused exclusively on keeping up, both in pace and posture. It’s easy to lose your footing on some of the steep, rocky patches. Lake Hodges looked beautiful when I braved a glance. They had only two mile markers and I averaged 9:35 minutes through both.
But then I started tailing a guy walking up the steepest of the hills and asked about his strategy since I didn’t have the strength to pass him. He was doing a training run, and I said, “Me too.” Then he said he was trying to stay within a 165 heart rate and I said, “Me too.” He said he was a former triathlete who had gained 20 pounds and only lost 5. I said I was a former marathoner who’d gained 20 pounds and only lost 5, from having a bad stomach flu last week. He offered me some of his water, but I feared I’d make him sick. I waited until we got to around Mile 4, where there was a water station. We managed to stick close until we exited the trail and he slowed on the street. I kept a steady pace going all the way around the park and crossed the finish in 1:02 something. My mouth was so dry my lips stuck to my gums when I smiled for the spectators.
They had a free pancake and sausage breakfast afterward, but after briefly talking to some friends, I headed home. I feel not the slightest soreness; in fact, it doesn’t feel like I ran at all. I’d hoped to run under an hour, but given conditions (mine and the course’s) I am happy to have just finished.
And, on another note, I am very happy to have finally met blogger Irene yesterday. She ran the Sue Krenn 15k, where I volunteered on Saturday morning. I helped with registration, then high-tailed it to Fiesta Island to work the first aid station, then zoomed back to help with the finish and, finally, helped hand out awards. Irene and I drove in together and had a good, long walk back to my car afterward. It gave us plenty of time to talk and discover we have much in common. I got to meet her husband, Michael, and take in the awesome bay view from their new home’s backyard. I’m really looking forward to running with her sometime later this spring or summer.
Weekends like this one make me so glad I still can run, maybe not as fast as before but always surrounded by good people.