Here’s my video recap. Got rid of my Heeby-Jeebies (thanks Little Richard!)
Since my little escapade called the Laguna Hills Half Marathon, I’ve been itching to get a longer race under my belt that I could finish on my terms. So, on Saturday, I was looking forward to my next little adventure – The Billy Goat Half Marathon Hill Climb.
I left the house at 6:45. Forty five minutes later, I arrived at my destination under bright sunny skies. I checked in, grabbed my Ink n’ Burn race shirt and bib, and joined the rest of the throngs of people milling around the start line.
I grabbed half a muffin and checked the official race clock. Damn! 35 minutes to wait until start time. Eat your heart out Rock n’ Roll.
I downed 3 Endurolyte caps about 30 minutes prior to the start. Unlike Laguna Hills, I *did* have a race plan this time. There were two aid stations on the course – one at around mile 3 (going up)/ mile 10 (coming down) and one at the turnaround point. I had a gel and 3 Endurolyte capsules for each stop. My pacing plan was to average a pace of 15:00 on the way up, and around 10:00 on the way down.
Finally, 5 minutes before start time, the Race Director climbed onto his podium and delivered his stirring pre-race briefing.
Then we were off. The climb started pretty quickly. After all, we *were* climbing 2400 feet in 6 and a half miles – right around 360 feet per mile. If you ran the Orange County Marathon, that’s like climbing the hill that comes out of the Back Bay – constantly for 6 and a half miles. Or if you’ve run the AFC in San Diego, it’s the equivalent of the final hill. For 6.5 miles. The climb was just that – steep and consistent. It wasn’t long before the pack (all 100 or so of us) started stringing out along the course. I took my place toward the back of the pack and slowed down as my heart rate raced. While I wanted to finish in 2:45 or so, I also was not interested in blowing up in the early stages of the race. I pushed forward in a slow jog/walk and pulled into the first aid station at 49:08.
The aid station was like a desert oasis. Gatorade and water. In cups. With ice. Cold. Soothing. Endurolytes. Hammer gel. Pretzels. Candy. I could have stopped and spent the rest of the morning there. But, I had a hill to climb, so after three minutes to bring my heart rate down to a manageable level, I took off and headed up the hill.
The climb was never ending. How some of these people do it is beyond me. I passed through four miles and ran into the first vestiges of trees. Finally shade! That also meant that we had pretty much climbed around 1700 feet. Yikes! Then I saw them. Absolutely sick. The leaders were on their way down. It was absolutely amazing. Here I am huffing and puffing my way past four miles, and they were at mile 9. How do they do it? How do they make it look so effortless?
Of course, what’s really sick is when you see the old people coming down. Like Doug Malewicki, who just celebrated his 71st birthday. That’s right – that’s not a typo.
I pulled into the aid station at the top at 1:48. Nine minutes behind plan. Not bad at all. The setup here was the same as the previous aid station. I quaffed copious amounts of ice cold Gatorade, and downed probably four to five cups of cold water while washing down my Endurolytes and Gu. Eight minutes later, it was time to head back down the hill. It was such a shame to leave such a beautiful spot on the mountain.
The way down was pretty uneventful. Or maybe just like any other race, I was ready for it to be done. A small uphill (translation – walk) at mile 8, and then a steady pace downhill. I never reached my 10:00 plan, because somehow I ended up with blisters on my way up. One on each foot made it painful as I headed on down. I pulled into the aid station at mile 10 at 2:34, grabbed some cold water, downed my last three Endurolytes, inhaled some salty snacks, and looked forward to dropping the last 1400 feet to the finish. Except for maybe the beehives. You could hear them buzzing. No pee stop here!
I headed past the finish line in 3:14 (Garmin time) for an average of 14:09 per mile. That was about 1:30 per mile off my planned pace, but frankly, my 4 minutes at aid station 1, 7 minutes at aid station 2, and 3 more minutes at aid station 3 did that goal in. If I wouldn’t have stopped, I would have been :30 off my planned pace. But then, I wouldn’t have enjoyed the company of my fellow Trailheadz at each of the stations. If you ask me, it was well worth the extra minute.
Then the best part of these small friendly races. The grill was going and the burgers were smelling mighty good! I inhaled a cheeseburger (Hey! I was allowed!) and some super delish green tea ginger ale. Finally, I fought the non-existent crowds, waited in the non-existent line for the post race shuttles, and put the top down for a beautiful drive home on a Southern California Saturday afternoon!
ETP Day 5 (Friday): Scheduled rest day. Did my scheduled rest. Calorie budget of 1979 was over shot by 321 calories. Dang that extra (but tasty) lamb burger!
ETP Day 6 (Saturday): Ran 13.76 miles, .25 short of plan. Calorie budget of 1979 plus 2106 for running allowance for a total of 4085 allowed. Total eaten was 3580 for a deficit of 505.
- Training budget variance week to date: –0.25 miles
- Calorie budget variance week to date: –1284 calories