Point Bonita in the Marin Headlands.
Sunday, December 14th was supposed to be a day this runner-blogger would do a long run. I was going to head over to the Marin Headlands for, perhaps, a 16 miler and take some pictures along the way.
Well, I did go to the Marin Headlands late in the morning and did take some pictures. As it turned out, there was no 16 mile run after the events of last night.
After getting home from work on Saturday night, my neighbor in the building, Eric was in a spot. He had to leave town and was supposed to do a 5K race in San Francisco's Crissy Field on Sunday morning.
I'm not currently in race shape, but from Eric's standpoint, I know what it's like to not be able to take part in a race that you've paid $40 for. He insisted that I didn't pay him for it, but wanted the Sports Basement discount, the race t-shirt and the coffee mug. I had no problem with that at all. It was just a matter of switching gears for Sunday.
Waking up to cloudy weather and a chilly morning, I made my way to Crissy Field doing a three mile warmup to Sports Basement for the 8:30 a.m. start. The Winter Runderland 5K would be running virtually on the same course as the Run Wild race about three weeks earlier. The only difference was we would be running clockwise instead of counter-clockwise.
There was less than a thousand runners that took part. Some were in Santa Claus outfits but the reindeer antlers were the theme of the weekend it seemed. My intention running down to the start would be to run at an 8:30 per mile pace or something comfortable for the entire race.
The first mile just past the Warming Huts was perfect. I was in a pack of five to six runners and ran an 8:24 split. The pack picked things up in the second mile as we were met by a slight breeze from the east. Around the bridge near the bathrooms, the Garmin showed 16:47 (8:23 split). I was definitely feeling good.
The third mile was a test only because I haven't done any speed work. The base mileage has increased the last two weeks so I wasn't concerned at all. As we were turning for Sports Basement, the pack became larger with about 12 runners. It was decided at that point to pick things up a little. Leading the pack was fine since the breeze was at our backs. It turned out good because it started to split up.
The Garmin read 25:08 as we reached mile three and this runner-blogger could see the finish line. I could actually hear a couple of runners breathing hard but there was no way I was going to let them by. About 48 seconds later, career race number 1106 was history with a time of 25:56.
Shortly afterwards, there were many runners that were hitting the finish line in the 26 minute and just above range. We were on a paved trail in the last portion of the race and things would have slowed down. Getting a nice medal and some water was worth while.
After picking up a shirt and the coffee mug for Eric, I slowly jogged the three miles home. It was fairly quiet in the Marina and Russian Hill districts after a busy Saturday in the city.
When reaching my apartment, checking the Run Wild times, I was 20 seconds faster than my top Run Wild time a few years ago. That provided some confidence for the rest of this day!