Saturday, March 10, 2018

Chanoko 31K–Robin-2018


3/10/18 – Auburn to Granite Beach


31K (Approx 20 Miles)




2nd (40-49 Females); 4th Overall Woman

I want to keep my streak going of doing this race since it’s beginning in 2016.  It starts just a couple miles from our house and finishes at Granite Beach.  With it being a week after the Napa Marathon, results could vary.  It could go as well as last year, first overall and a 9:34 pace, or it can be more challenging.  I don’t really have high expectations and just want to see what I can do.

I get dropped off by Troy and Ariel at the Overlook. Ariel is off to do her 4th Happy Kids Duathlon at Granite Beach – the finish of my race.  Unfortunately I won’t be able to see her race.  Anna won’t either as she’s off to the Regional Science Fair.  We will join her later.  We all pray for each other and the competitions we have ahead.  My main prayer for my race is to remain joyful no matter how I feel.

After getting ready, I go to the start.  I don’t recoginize anyone this year.  It’s a bigger crowd this time.  They’ve added a 50K so that has brought out more folks. 

Mark, of TBF Racing, starts us off and takes off ahead on his mtn bike.  This first part of the run is downhill to the river and I start off at sub-8 min pace to capitalize on this.

On our way down we take a detour on Stu’s trail.  It’s a short little loop named after former pro triathlete, Brad Kearns’ dog.  Then it’s down my favorite trail to run up, Cardiac ByPass.  I don’t like running downhill and especially with any kind of obstacle.  But I know there is going to be A LOT of obstacles today so better embrace it!  I think about Troy telling me to jump over the rocks.  I do a decent job moving along though I am passed by a few guys here. 

Continuing on Cardiac Bypass, I make the final descent to the river.  I’m averaging about 8:12 pace here at 3 miles.  The goal is to be between 9:34 pace and 10:08 pace by the end…hoping for closer to 9:34 but with the Napa Marathon just a week behind me, that might be a tall order!  I see Mark taking pictures and smile.

The pace slows to 9:02 as I continue on the next 2 miles due to the up and down terrain.  I’m pleasantly surprised that I’m actually catching some runners going downhill in some spots and it gives me confidence that my skills are improving.  I am able to pass a girl.

I am feeling certain my arch support has inched it’s way down to my toe.  I feel a lump that seems to be moving around some.  I try to ignore it but it’s annoying.  Maybe I’ll stop later on to check.  I also need to use the bathroom so maybe I’ll do both. 

I get a good rhythm going as I continue towards Rattlesnake Bar.  A girl passes me and she looks strong.  I try to stay close.  By the time I get to the PG&E power station around Mile 8, I’m hanging onto 9:05 pace.  I pass a guy who has stopped to rub his knee.  I tell him to hang in there and that I’m praying for him.  I say it kind of quiet so I think he doesn’t hear me.  I need to be bolder and unafraid to share the love of Jesus!

I love this part of the trail.  There’s a pond called Avery’s Pond here.  The trail is wide, the plants are beautiful and you can see the river.  Only 11 more miles. That sounds far!  I remind myself that last week’s marathon was much longer…sounds better but still a long way to go. Wondering if my energy will hold up!

I make it to Rattlesnake Bar.  As the aid station comes into view, I decide to stop and check my shoe. I get my water bottle filled up as I take off my shoe.  My arch support is where it is supposed to be so it must be my sock.  I try to straighten it out and then quickly put my shoe back on.  As I’m leaving, the guy with the knee issue comes up and asks for tape.  I want to tell him good job for persevering but I don’t because I don’t want to interupt.  I decide to take off and again regret not being bolder.

Somewhere in the next few miles is the start of the “Meat Grinder”.  It’s an up and down, twisting and turning section that can be very slow going. 

By Mile 14, it’s apparent that I’m in the heart of the Meat Grinder.  I cannot remember if the Meat Grinder is around 2 miles or more like 5 miles.  I’ll soon figure it out. 

In the last 4 miles my pace has gone from 9:12 to 9:37.  I can see already that 9:34 pace is not going to happen today.  I’m feeling tired and my legs are not feeling strong.  I’ve noticed my legs are threatening to go out from under me and I hit some downhill sections.  I’ve been having a Clif Blok about every mile now.  Now I just need to stay ahead of 10:08 pace!  I feel God reminding me to be joyful and just keep trying.

I catch up to a girl I saw in the beginning.  She’s doing the 50K.  We run together for a bit and chat.  We actually get a nice pace going for a bit when the trail is a bit more straight and level. It’s not long before another hilly and winding section comes.  Ok, the Meat Grinder is definitely more like 5 miles!  The gal stays with me for a bit more but then I pull ahead. 

By Mile 16, I’m averaging 9:56 pace.  Oh boy!  Just keep trying and just keep smiling!  I should be near the outskirts of Granite Beach park.  A girl flys by me.  Oh wow!  I could be in 1st, 2nd or 3rd depending on whether she and that other girl are doing the 50K.  And, who knows, maybe there are more girls out there from the start that I didn’t see.

At the start of Mile 18, I finally know I’m in Granite Beach Park. I see an Aid station and get to run on the paved road in the park.  It’s a short, by nice break from the trails.  I’m at 10:01 pace.  I think I can hold that until the end!  I am able to catch and pass a few guys.

Back on the trail.  I can hear Mike announcing though I’m still 1.5 miles from the finish…so close but yet still more to go.  Soon I hear “first woman”!  Ok, well that confirms it.  I feel God reminding me that I was happy just to be here and keep the streak going. 

I see Troy and Ariel with 1 mile to go!  They are cheering and smiling.  I smile back and wave.  I tell them it was hard but I’m glad to be almost done.  They jump in the car to race to the finish and I keep going. 

I hear fast feet approaching from behind.  It could be another woman so I pick up the pace.  I feel like I’m flying along though I’m probably not going much faster.  Suddenly a guy goes flying by and I breathe a sigh of relief.  I try to keep up as best as I can.  There is another guy ahead.  I wonder if I can catch him.

So close!  I can see the finish area…yeah!  Go, go, go!  I finish as fast as I can smiling all the way.  I point to the Lord as I cross the line.  So good to be done!  Thank you Lord!!