san joaquin river 10k

it was the race that almost didn’t happen!

the day started out perfectly. i had a great night of sleep, solid breakfast, and we left the house on time. we loaded up the truck and were ready for the drive, which was around 50 minutes or so. we made our way up the mountain and somehow we took a wrong turn! we ended up totally lost, on the opposite side of the mountain. worst case scenario! i’m a planner, and i have a genuine phobia of being late, so this totally threw me off of my game. fortunately, we had just enough time to make it. after some very skilled (and speedy) driving from my hubby, we made it with 15 minutes to spare. phew. i should mention our almost-3-year-old son got carsick on the drive up the mountain. never a dull moment!

thankfully, i foam-rolled at home before we left so 15 minutes was enough time for me to properly warm up. my hydration vest was loaded up and i was ready to go! another mishap of the day: my strava wasn’t tracking since we were in a dead zone. no service, so i wouldn’t be able to track my pace or mileage. here goes nothing!

the race started and the first mile was downhill, on the road. i was super excited to hit the trail when i saw it in the distance. as soon as i touched the dirt, i took off! there were so many hills, right off the bat. the scenery was unreal – wildflowers, green grass, towering oaks, rushing river below. at times, i felt like i was flying as i looked out on the gorge below. i must’ve been distracted by mother nature, because somehow, i followed a group of runners off of the trail! we ended up running down to the river and back up…completing an unnecessary hill. doh. lesson learned: follow the trail markers, not fellow runners! i tried really hard to look past this blunder and i think i recovered nicely.

the hills were plentiful on this course but definitely doable. even on the toughest hills, my legs felt very strong (i walked in some places, but kept running most of the time). my lungs were certainly put to the test! after summiting some pretty epic hills, i finally made it to the aid station at mile 4. i got turned around at this point – again – but recovered quickly when the volunteers ushered me to the right location.

after the aid station, we made our way to a mostly downhill stretch of beautiful single-track. i was simply taken aback by the beauty of the trail. the downhills helped me regain my energy and strength. then, the bridge appeared, which was our turnaround for the 10k. crossing this bridge was the best feeling ever! at the end of the bridge, i turned around to finish the final mile. more hills…? yep, i’ve got this! after i made my way back up the hill and past the aid station, i had only a short distance left until the finish line. i really picked up my pace at this point. going into this race, my goal was to leave it “all on the field” – or “trail”, in this case! i crossed the finish line at 1:06, second in my age group. this race tested me more than any other race or athletic event (at times, it felt as tough as labor!). the hills, distance, and little setbacks made crossing the finish line even sweeter. i definitely feel that i left it all on the trail…and i achieved my goal of podium! i can’t wait to run this race again next year. it was such a memorable trail, and definitely the most exciting race i’ve been apart of.

bumps in the road: getting lost on the way to the race, taking a wrong turn on the trail, no tracking due to no cell service, new course

the good stuff: hydration vest, tailwind (consumed about 8 oz during the run), honeystinger gummies pre-race, solid breakfast three hours pre-race, excellent week-of hydration