As each week passes, the closer I get to another start line. With each finish line, I get closer to another California International Marathon start. On December 2, it will be my 6th CIM and 11th marathon overall. Yesterday was another start line I put my toes to and a finish line which I crossed once again. The Sunday race this time around was the Apple Hill Harvest Run 8.5 miler in Camino, Ca.
|Apple Hill Harvest Run Course Map|
We started the morning pretty early as my wife and son made the trip east of Sacramento with me. The 45 mile drive up the hill, made for a nice drive up to 3,200 feet to enjoy the crisp mountain air. This race was going to see what my legs had in me. In fact this is one of those rare occasions where I would run on back to back days. Saturday was my long run day, and I stuck with my plan to do well at CIM by not diverting from my long runs to run a race. I logged 109 miles this past week between running and cross training miles. Another challenge to this course wasn’t just the distance but the combination of hills (and boy those hills were some hills) and 3,200 feet at elevation.
Unlike the previous time I ran this race (2010) the weather was really nice ands a bit warm in certain pockets where the trees didn’t provide covering. As the 8:50 am start time began to approach we made our way to the start. Before the “gun” set us loose for the race, race director and owner of Capital Road Race Management jokingly assured the runners that lead cyclist was a pro and knew the course. This was in regards to the recent Urban Cow Half Marathon incident where the lead cyclist took the lead group on the wrong turn, adding .64 miles to the 13.1 mile race.
To remind us that there were hills on this run, the course started running up hill. After the first initial climb the first 5 miles were pretty level with a few short climbs but for the most part had some decent roads with a descent. However, the final 3.5 miles would be a true challenge for me since I rarely train hills, in fact that is one thing I need to start mixing into my training are more hills to get stronger legs. Anyways back to the race, with having ran the course previously and knowing that the final 3.5 miles would be my biggest challenge, I wanted to put some “time in the bank”. I went out fairly hard at moments, and in fact really pushed the pace during some of the downhills knowing that I would need that extra time later in the race. So my first 5 mile splits were as follows: 6:22, 6:35, 6:29, 6:30, 6:15. After looking at it I wish I would have pushed certain parts a little harder, and felt I could have done so to take advantage of the downhills. Nonetheless this method paid off. Heading into Mile 6 with the beginning of the big climb in front of us I was still able to tackle the hill at a solid pace running mile 6 with a time of 7:02. The last 2.5 miles were my largest challenge as I ran those with splits of 8:08, 7:51, 4:26 (last half mile). In the end I was able to cross the finish at total time of 59:40.3 (7:01/mile). I finished 31st overall and 13th in my age group (Males 30-39).
As an added bonus to coming up to run in Camino, performing well and having my wife and son along for the trip, I was able to meet another fellow San Francisco Marathon 2013 Ambassador, Alisyn, at the race. Alisyn (@Alisyng) made her way up from San Jose to run the 3.5 mile race while boyfriend Matt (
@UltraMilesMatt) from Placerville, CA ran the 8.5 mile race. A big CONGRATS to Alisyn who came in first in her age group for the 3.5 miler! WELL DONE and way to represent the SF Marathon Ambassadors by taking 1st!!!!
Next start line I will toe up to is the Santa Barbara International Marathon & 1/2 Marathon next Saturday. This will be exciting as I will push the tempo and race this event to see where my legs are for the California International Marathon.