Stow Lake 5K - Race Report

Race: Stow Lake 5K
Location: Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CA
Date: Apr 14, 2019
Organizers: Impala Racing Team
Team: Trail Trotters (Jason, Hayley)

Context.

The Impala Racing Team is a racing team in the Bay Area. In 2017, they first put on the Stow Lake 5K, a semi-hilly but fast 5K in which many of the major clubs in the Bay Area participate. My strength trainer, Angela Tieri, is a member of this team. She’s invited me to run the past 2 years, but my schedule hasn’t allowed it until this year’s 3rd annual race.

Race recap.

Goal: Finish in <= 20:00
Actual: Finished in 20:11 [#123 OA | Strava]

Weather. ~51 F and foggy, cold with headwinds coming from the oceans.

The course. The course is simple. We start @ Peacock Meadows, head west on JFK, take a lap around Stow Lake, and then head back to the same place we started. The course has some small hills, which is pretty brutal for a fast 5K.

map_stow_lake_5k

Overall. I hadn’t done speed work leading up to this point, so I went into the race pretty blind as to whether I could achieve my goal. Most of my training up until this point has been on building hill climbing strength for the Broken Arrow VK in June.

I had done a 5K time trial a year ago and ran in ~19:30 so I knew I could get close. While I finished slightly slower than my goal (20:11), I wasn’t disappointed. I was actually surprised to still have some speed in me, my 3rd mile was the fastest mile, and I achieved a 5K PB in a timed race setting. Not bad overall.

Courtesy of Jim Rowland &amp; the Impala Racing Team

Courtesy of Jim Rowland & the Impala Racing Team

Gear.

Shoes: Brooks Launch 4
Watch: Garmin 920XT
Food: N/A

Learnings.

1. Do more speed work. Nuff said!!

2. Wear clear deodorant when wearing a singlet. See picture above.

Acknowledgements.

Thank you to…

  • Impala Racing for a well organized race & the cool swag. Racing socks > medals or a tech tee any day.

  • All the super friendly volunteers who helped out on race day

  • Trail Trotters for letting me sport our team during this race

Orcas Island 50K - Race Report

Race: Orcas Island 50K
Location: Moran State Park, Orcas Island, Washington
Date: Feb 2, 2019
Organizers: Rainshadow Running
Team: Trail Trotters (Jason, Hayley, Aaron)

Context.

I’ve been doing a ~50K each year since 2016. A few months ago, my racing team agreed we’d enter the lottery as a team. I knew this race was ~2 months after CIM, which didn’t feel like a lot of time to turn my skinny road running legs into strong trail running legs, but it appealed to me for two reasons:

1/ I get to explore a place I’ve never been to before and do the thing I love doing with people I love
2/ I can get my 50K out of the way early in the year and cruise for the rest of the year

Race recap.

Goal: Finish in < 7 hours
Actual: Finished in 6:26:19 [#49 OA | Ultrasignup | Strava]

Weather. The weather was actually really pleasant. 40s, cloudy, not too windy. NO RAIN OR SNOW!!! I prepped a dropbag with extra shoes, socks, and shirt for mile 20 and brought a houdini jacket with me just in case.

The course.

Mentally, I chunked this race up into 5 parts.

Segment 1: Miles 0-5
Fairly gradual uphill on road for ~5 miles. Hayley hung back, my teammates Aaron and Jason took off ahead, and I did something in the middle… running slowly and steadily up, even walking periodically so that I didn’t tire myself out too much early in the race. This was a good place to create a gap between me and some of the runners behind me. I knew that once it got down to single track that I didn’t want to be stuck behind anyone.

Segment 2: Miles 5-13
The first downhill section after mile 5 was fairly technical and I sadly got sandwiched between a few runners. This meant that I had to put on the brakes when they did, and I also had a guy hot on my heels preventing me from slowing down too much. My legs felt snappy but I think this first downhill beat up my quads more than I’d expected. Once the course flattened out, I took a more conservative pace, again to preserve energy for the harder parts of the race later on.

The first major downhill of the Orcas island 50K.  Photo licensed from  Glenn Tachiyama Photography

The first major downhill of the Orcas island 50K.
Photo licensed from Glenn Tachiyama Photography

Segment 3: Miles 13-20
These climbs looked fairly small on the elevation chart above, but ended up feeling much bigger… particularly the one in mile ~17. Around this time, I passed my teammate Aaron. Otherwise, I don’t recall this section being very eventful. I mostly continued to keep an easy pace until the aid station at Mile 20 where I saw my teammate Jason. I opted not to change into any of my dropped gear. I left for Power Line right as Aaron arrived at the aid station and before Jason left. I knew the worse was to come and I didn’t want to delay the inevitable.

Segment 4: Miles 20-26 (!!!!!!)
I saved all of my energy for this segment, which started at the aid station @ 20m and ended at the top of Mount Constitution. It looks gnarly on the elevation map, but I don’t think that prepared me for just how hard the climb would be. Power Line (mile 21-22) was so steep that the muscles around my ankles felt like they were cramping. I often had to stretch them out before I could keep climbing.

While I’d never climbed this hard of a vert before, it felt similar to stuff I’d done in weight training, which made it feel easier in a way. From muscle memory, I knew I had to get the same amount of power from my glutes on this hill that I would with sled pushes. Form-wise, I knew I had to mimic a knee high march to ensure I kept my knees high and my back and core engaged climbing up. These two drills helped me pass quite a few people on the uphills.

Segment 5: Miles 26- Finish
The moment I summited Mount Constitution was magical. The views of the islands and the Sound was epic. Sadly, I didn’t get to enjoy the views as much because at this point, I just wanted to finish the race — ~5 miles left of downhills! I ended up downing 3 cups of coke and 3 pb&j triangles and headed down.

The views at the top of Mount Constitution during the Orcas Island 50K on Feb 2, 2019. Photo licensed from  Glenn Tachiyama Photography

The views at the top of Mount Constitution during the Orcas Island 50K on Feb 2, 2019.
Photo licensed from Glenn Tachiyama Photography

My legs were really tired from the climb, so I didn’t feel like I was able to turn over that fast going down. It was clear this was the case when a few people ended up catching and passing me. Fortunately for me , there were two very small climbs in the last <0.5 miles of the race, where I caught up to and passed a couple of the people who passed me.

The finish
Crossing the finish line at 6:26:19 was an awesome feeling. I was way faster than my goal time and I finished 49 OA in a field of ~225 runners. Top 50! O_O

Jason finished ~8 mins after me, Aaron finished ~14 mins after Jason, and Hayley finished ~24 minutes after Aaron.

The post party race was awesome. So much pizza <3

Gear.

Shoes: Brooks Launch 4
Watch: Garmin 920XT
Weather: Nike pro compression socks and shorts, buff, Run Flagstaff hat, Black Diamond gloves
Food: Clif Shot Bloks (margarita) & GU Energy Gel (vanilla bean)

Learnings.

1. Go with a vacation rental / airbnb. After a tough race, it was awesome to be able to spread out in a comfortable airbnb home. We weren’t rushed to leave on Sunday morning and got to really relax and recover.

2. Prepare properly for the weather. It rained on Friday and it snowed on Sunday/Monday, but we were so so lucky this year that we didn’t have race or snow during race day. Veteran runners described running in those conditions in the past so that’s what I was prepared for in my mind and in my packing.

3. Bring poles & drop them off at the Aid Station on mile 20. I saw a lot of veteran runners put poles in their drop bags in mile 20 right before Power Line. I was even passed by a few runners with poles on the way up to Mt Constitution. If I were to do this race again, I would definitely bring poles.

4.Enjoy the views from Mount Constitution. I’m sad I didn’t take pictures on top of the mountain. Next time, I would sacrifice a few minutes to stop for a photo op, or even run up the Observation Tower! Those views were really magical.

Acknowledgements.

Thank you to…

  • Rainshadow for a well organized race and really fun after party

  • All the super friendly volunteers who helped out on race day

  • All the great runners I met during the race and connected with even if briefly

  • TieriTraining for all the strength training that enabled me to crush the hills on this race

  • Trail Trotters for organizing the team trip

Trail Trotters Racing Team  @ Orcas Island 50K (Left to right: Edmarc, Aaron, Jason, Hayley) Photo by:  Hayley Cashdollar

Trail Trotters Racing Team @ Orcas Island 50K (Left to right: Edmarc, Aaron, Jason, Hayley)
Photo by: Hayley Cashdollar