Tilden Tough Ten Recap

Didn't know I was going to have a race recap up today? Me either! Until a couple of days ago.  Which is when Merilee contacted me regarding a free available bib for the 300-person-limit 10 mile trail run in the Berkeley Hills of Tilden Park.  (The bib was offered clean, as in, I would be registered in my own name).

I have never raced on a trail, have never run a 10-mile race, and have never raced any distance with intense hills....because I usually chase PR's--on flat courses.  I'll save the hilly trail races for my 40's when the PR's start to elude me.

I took the bait.  I was unhappy with my last two weeks of running--the easy runs were fun and great, but whenever I headed out to try and run harder, either on the track or on the treadmill for a tempo, I failed.  I figured a 10-mile race with effort would be the perfect way to bounce me out of my rut, and get a hard workout in.

And it was a hard workout! I loved every challenging, beautiful second of it.

No pictures yet.  The Gentleman did take this really enlightening video of me waiting around before the race, squinting with tired early morning eyes, pretending I know how to warm up.  Then I stood for 20 more minutes before the race started.  Not sure why I can't bring myself to warm up, I figure the first mile is the warmup.

**the video below seems to not be showing up in Google Reader.  ?  I think it is working fine from the website, but there's not a lot to see so no worries.

I'm not going to give this the full recap treatment, as it was more a fun-run/training-run than anything else.  So here's the short version:

The 10 mile course was an out-and-back up a trail that was mostly paved with a few miles of unpaved trail.  The "out" part was rolling hills, with more downs than ups.  The "back" part was strenuous and challenging, with some long slow climbs that killed me, and one intense and killer steep steep grade hill that most everyone seemed to be walking up.  I made it about 80% up the hill before realizing walking was faster than my 3 inches-per-drive run.

I knew that with the numerous hills, and the tougher 5 mile return, I would have some very slow miles, so I tried to bank some time by flying down the declines whenever they appeared.  I thought with this method, there was some chance I could hit a sub-70 minutes (or sub 7:00 average mile for the 10 miles).

Unofficial results:

4th place woman
Time: 71:31
Pace: 7:01
Distance: 10.2 miles

Oh--the 10.2 miles.  A rather hilarious debacle occurred in which some dusty chalk arrows were left in the trail from a previous race, that directed the race-route in the wrong direction.  Most of the runners had run the Tilden Tough Ten before, and knew to turn in the correct direction--and we all followed those wise runners.  But, the volunteers were led astray by the arrows....and they went the wrong way....which more or less meant, the turnaround at the 5 mile point wasn't marked.  A lot of us kept running past 5 miles, looking for an imaginary turnaround.  We ended up turning around at 5.1 miles.

Here we go:

Mile 1: 6:14
Mile 2: 6:27
Mile 3: 6:28
Mile 4: 6:58
Mile 5: 7:17
Mile 6: 8:28 (some walking)
Mile 7: 6:48
Mile 8: 7:34 (long climb)
Mile 9: 6:47
Mile 10: 7:08
0.2: 1:20

No joke, trail running is hard! I really enjoyed it.  Even with the turnaround confusion, it was all fun and everybody was really supportive and working hard.  I'm really thankful for the last minute free bib.  Thanks Merilee!

Just to give an illustration of the difficulty of this course....the course women's record is by Oakland's Olympic marathoner, Magdalena Lewy-Boulet, at a time of 64:37 in 2002.  After reading that, I realize not coming in under my hoped-for 70:00 is not all that disappointing. 

The other most exciting thing about this race was....I raced in a pair of shoes I bought the day prior.  Never ran in them once.  In fact, I don't think I've ever even run in any pair of Nikes.

I've been really wanting a lighter racing shoe.  Hitting the track in my Brooks Launch feels clunky.  I've had my eye on the Nike Free's for a year, but I won enough free running shoes from races in the past year that I didn't have a good excuse to dish out the $100. 

While these weren't perfect for the treacherous holes and lumps during the hilly dirt trail portions, I really loved them.  LOVED them.  So flexible and light.  I hope they continue to work out for longer distances.

Everybody raced this weekend, right?! Feel free to share