San Joaquin River Trail Half Marathon Review

Emerald green hills, bursts of wildflowers, rushing river, famous bridge, signature hill climbs and cow patties…oh how I missed this race!

In 2020, the San Joaquin River Trail 10K was my last race before the pandemic struck. Three days after the race, everything shut down, including all of my races for the foreseeable future. When I ran the 10K in 2020, I remember watching the half marathoners in complete awe. How could anyone run 13+ miles with 2,500 ft vertical climb? It seemed like an impossible feat.

What a difference a year makes!

Running the half was truly a spiritual experience (at times, it felt like an out-of-body experience, especially as I descended some of those hills!). I crossed the finish line in 2:58 – 4th in my age group, behind some truly strong, badass female runners. I’m still riding the runner’s high from this race. Crossing this finish line helped me in more ways than I can count. HUGE confidence boost going into the final stretch of my 50K training, that’s for sure. Here are my quick recap notes:

  • TIME: 2:58 (goal was 3 hours!)

  • THREE WORDS: Holy. F&%$*ing. Shit. (if you’ve run this race, you feel me on this! Ha!)

  • HIGHLIGHTS: The views! And racing again. While it was a much smaller race than usual, it still had those race day vibes that I crave. Thank you, Nate and San Joaquin Running, for making this event possible!

  • TRAINING NOTES: I really worked hard to ease into this race. I took the downhills slow (the first 1.6 miles are all downhill!) and I walked the uphill climbs when needed. My coach gave me some fantastic tips to conquer this course (thanks Nate!). My fueling plan worked really well – carried 1 liter of endurance fuel and ate some Cliff blocks. I stopped for water at the 11-mile aid station, which was definitely necessary considering the warm temps on race day.

  • ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT: Honestly, not sure what I would’ve done differently! I’m really proud of my performance and my effort. Things were tough at mile 10, especially on the out-and-back portion of the race when runners from the earlier heat passed me on the course (that mile felt soooo long until I reached the turnaround point). But overall, I’m really pleased with my performance.

This race is hands down my favorite local race. Can't wait to run again in 2022. And I'm so thrilled to see races return to The Valley. AMEN!

More info on this race:

And thank you, Ploen Photo, for making me look good out there!