Alright, race is over & happy belated Thanksgiving… 🙂
So first the numbers: This year my breakdown of the race was
Overall time: 1:39:40.. and the rest
Later on I will compare this to last year. Sooo
Race start was good, I like how there are so many waves so there is less of a chance of a big backup at an obstacle. I was in wave 4 so we were one of the earlier ones to go around 7am. Majority of the racers were 1st timers but there was a good show of hands of repeat offenders to the race when the organizers called out for a show of hands.
So overall the obstacles were the same. Overall it was the same route throughout the city including the glorious hills. The list of obstacles is above & of course at http://www.menshealthurbanathlon.com/san-francisco-classiccourse.html . The toughest obstacle for me just like last year was the Marine Hurdles. These suckers are high & come just below my chin which is pretty tall for a 6′ 2 guy like myself. So instead of grace and some technical stuff its just a matter of pulling myself up and jumping over. It works well, not the most graceful but effective.
Not long into the race we start the hills. I did well on them last year and I was excited for them this year. I felt as if I pushed up them faster and a better methodical pace. I would attribute that to making myself do more hills in my figure 8 run of 12 miles. It was kind of comical. I would do small steps, relatively high knees up a steep hill….some people would sprint past me up to the flat part & I would pass them on the flat part. Then again they would pass me up the steep part…I would pass them and not see them again. Its definitely important to learn and practice good form and running pace up those hills. Killing yourself running up them only sucks away that energy once you are on flat ground where you should be coasting.
During the race it felt as if it was longer. Alot of the same obstacles as last year with 1 or 2 different ones. I wore my watch this time ( a lesson learned from the race in San Diego). I didn’t religiously look at it but at least it gave me a sense of where I was and my time from last year. Jumping forward to the near end of the race. I looked down and I was creeping up on my time from last year & I was not happy. Often during my runs & races are no different – I go back and forth between positive talking to myself (you can do it, good job, keep those feet underneath you) and then talking shit (wtf? you are faster than this! really?!). I will let you guess what I was saying to myself when I saw my time getting closer. I have not paid for to pictures yet – but soon you will see the grimace on my face when crossing the line.
Cramps. Calf Cramps. Glorious. I will get back to why I think it happened in a second. But anyway I saw the finish line, saw that my time was getting close to last year and I pushed through the rest of the obstacles and sprinted to the finish…beat my time. Post-hydration & banannas, water & beer (yes, I trained for that too) I was walking out of the race arena and asked a person working there if the course was longer… She said, no but we added a lot more obstacles. NOW IT ALL MAKES SENSE. So I was happy/impressed that with the additional stairs, which I could tell there were a lot more and whatever else was different I not only increased my pace from last year but also beat my time. That was cool, but of course I kinda wanted the same course so I could see what my time would have been. However I understand why these races add more obstacles each time as people such as myself get used to it and can be faster the next year.
Overall review of the race
Bib pickup was at some off the grid spot this time unlike last year it was at TRX. Not really a deal breaker at all but other racers I talked to commented on this. Much more important than this it seemed shorter staffed than last year. Last year at nearly every turn there were volunteers cheering us on. It may seem like a little thing but its a big help especially at mile 9-10 and you are nearing the end & people are giving you high fives & telling you – you are almost there. Another thing – there was no water for us before the race. It was kind of weird. After I checked my bag at 5:45 am I saw a food truck selling stuff & people were buying stuff…but there should have been water for us. So I will take part of blame for not drinking enough water before the race (why I think I was cramping at the end) but still… there should have been something for us.
Race swag was great – this year we got a really nice shirt made my lululemon. Two thumbs up on that!
Aside from those little nit picky things – great race, well organized, will for sure do a 3-peat next year. I met a cool couple in the beer garden after the race from Austin, Texas & took them out to a Speakeasy I went to last year. That is what it is about at the end of the day. Training hard, great results and celebrating it after it is over. I even gave a guy props at the end of the race that I was pacing but could not catch – turns out he recognized me from last year!
Like anything in life, perspective is key. I am often hard on myself when it comes to working out or these races. My time may be just shy of last year but I had to overcome many more obstacles & some cramps at the end. Now on to Goruck in the new year. I have not picked/paid for a date yet…but believe me it is on my mind.