Saturday, September 3, 2022

Biz Johnson 1/2 Marathon (Troy) 2022

September 3rd, 2022 – Susanville, CA
13.1 Miles



2nd M50-54; 11th/59 Overall


Marathon – FCA: Robin Soares

It’s still dark in Susanville. I see Robin off on the shuttle to her Marathon start at the other end of the Biz Johnson trail, a 25 mile section of Southern Pacific Railroad converted to a beautiful running path.


I’m doing the 1/2 marathon which is an out-n-back starting at the end of the trail in Susanville.   It’s a small crowd, and a small starting line, right on some remaining railroad tracks and next to a parked caboose, a centerpiece for this historic area.


Go!  Because it’s small, about 100 runners, I had thoughts that I might be able to run at the front, but quickly I start falling back remembering I’ve been nursing a strained calf muscle I got at the Lake Tahoe Tri after crashing on my bike.

1mi 8:50. I’m still really happy to be running and to experience this trail I’ve always wanted to run for years.  It goes along the Susan River, between the mountains, at a steady 3% grade for the whole distance.

2mi 8:38.

3mi 8:47. break #1. At about 3.4 mi I feel my calf start to flare up.  I have to drop the pace from 8:45 down to 9:45.  It can handle that.

4mi 9:27. At 4.5 mi we go through the first tunnel.  So impressive to think of them blasting out this hole through the mountain. It’s also a cool relief from the 75 deg sun that has come up.  It’s quite dark but lanterns on the ground light the path.  At 4.9mi we go through a 2nd tunnel as well. These are the highlights of the race for me!

5mi 10:01. break #2

6mi 9:58. I see the leaders coming back.  I count 15 and think how great it would be if I could catch up to top 10.

7mi 9:33. The turn-around is high-spirited with great volunteers, music and food.  I take some Cliff Blocks and orange slices together… tastes like a fruit salad! delicious.  This is the 19mi mark of the marathon but we don’t see any marathoners coming yet.  I pray for Robin knowing she’s probably a few miles behind me now and I won’t be able to cheer her on until the end.

8mi 8:00.   It’s noticeably easier running back down the 3% grade.  I feel I can push the calf more.  I pick it up and it’s going so well. Thank you, Lord!  Slowly catching up to others.  I pass a couple ladies and a guy.  break #3. Yay, I get to run through the tunnels again. 

9mi 8:16.  I get drinks from the 2 aid stations along the way and thank the young volunteers.  I’m in 12th place and the next runner is way ahead so I try to pick it up..

10mi 7:36. Wow, great mile!  The marathon leader catches and passes me (he’s running a 2:51 marathon pace which is 6:32 pace)

11mi 7:53. I’m not giving up.. I can still see 10th place ahead and even though the miles are running out, you never know what can happen

12mi 8:00. I no longer feel the downhill grade, I’ve gotten used to it so it just feels hard again.  Just 1 mile to go.. gotta give it my all..

13mi 7:45. That was a great push.. but the guy ahead is out of reach.  Now just have to climb a little trail to the finish without straining my calf..

Yay, done!  Thank you, Lord for an exciting race even with a weak calf.  I’m very sore, but excited to go out and see Robin finish now!