Sunday, May 20, 2012

Tilden Tough Ten Recap

Didn't know I was going to have a race recap up today? Me either! Until a couple of days ago.  Which is when Merilee contacted me regarding a free available bib for the 300-person-limit 10 mile trail run in the Berkeley Hills of Tilden Park.  (The bib was offered clean, as in, I would be registered in my own name).

I have never raced on a trail, have never run a 10-mile race, and have never raced any distance with intense hills....because I usually chase PR's--on flat courses.  I'll save the hilly trail races for my 40's when the PR's start to elude me.

I took the bait.  I was unhappy with my last two weeks of running--the easy runs were fun and great, but whenever I headed out to try and run harder, either on the track or on the treadmill for a tempo, I failed.  I figured a 10-mile race with effort would be the perfect way to bounce me out of my rut, and get a hard workout in.

And it was a hard workout! I loved every challenging, beautiful second of it.

No pictures yet.  The Gentleman did take this really enlightening video of me waiting around before the race, squinting with tired early morning eyes, pretending I know how to warm up.  Then I stood for 20 more minutes before the race started.  Not sure why I can't bring myself to warm up, I figure the first mile is the warmup.

**the video below seems to not be showing up in Google Reader.  ?  I think it is working fine from the website, but there's not a lot to see so no worries.

I'm not going to give this the full recap treatment, as it was more a fun-run/training-run than anything else.  So here's the short version:

The 10 mile course was an out-and-back up a trail that was mostly paved with a few miles of unpaved trail.  The "out" part was rolling hills, with more downs than ups.  The "back" part was strenuous and challenging, with some long slow climbs that killed me, and one intense and killer steep steep grade hill that most everyone seemed to be walking up.  I made it about 80% up the hill before realizing walking was faster than my 3 inches-per-drive run.

I knew that with the numerous hills, and the tougher 5 mile return, I would have some very slow miles, so I tried to bank some time by flying down the declines whenever they appeared.  I thought with this method, there was some chance I could hit a sub-70 minutes (or sub 7:00 average mile for the 10 miles).

Unofficial results:

4th place woman
Time: 71:31
Pace: 7:01
Distance: 10.2 miles

Oh--the 10.2 miles.  A rather hilarious debacle occurred in which some dusty chalk arrows were left in the trail from a previous race, that directed the race-route in the wrong direction.  Most of the runners had run the Tilden Tough Ten before, and knew to turn in the correct direction--and we all followed those wise runners.  But, the volunteers were led astray by the arrows....and they went the wrong way....which more or less meant, the turnaround at the 5 mile point wasn't marked.  A lot of us kept running past 5 miles, looking for an imaginary turnaround.  We ended up turning around at 5.1 miles.

Here we go:

Mile 1: 6:14
Mile 2: 6:27
Mile 3: 6:28
Mile 4: 6:58
Mile 5: 7:17
Mile 6: 8:28 (some walking)
Mile 7: 6:48
Mile 8: 7:34 (long climb)
Mile 9: 6:47
Mile 10: 7:08
0.2: 1:20

No joke, trail running is hard! I really enjoyed it.  Even with the turnaround confusion, it was all fun and everybody was really supportive and working hard.  I'm really thankful for the last minute free bib.  Thanks Merilee!

Just to give an illustration of the difficulty of this course....the course women's record is by Oakland's Olympic marathoner, Magdalena Lewy-Boulet, at a time of 64:37 in 2002.  After reading that, I realize not coming in under my hoped-for 70:00 is not all that disappointing. 

The other most exciting thing about this race was....I raced in a pair of shoes I bought the day prior.  Never ran in them once.  In fact, I don't think I've ever even run in any pair of Nikes.

I've been really wanting a lighter racing shoe.  Hitting the track in my Brooks Launch feels clunky.  I've had my eye on the Nike Free's for a year, but I won enough free running shoes from races in the past year that I didn't have a good excuse to dish out the $100. 

While these weren't perfect for the treacherous holes and lumps during the hilly dirt trail portions, I really loved them.  LOVED them.  So flexible and light.  I hope they continue to work out for longer distances.

Everybody raced this weekend, right?! Feel free to share


  1. Wow fantastic times! My first trail run is coming up in June. I'll look into the Nikes. Congratulations on your race!

  2. Roserunner, I was excited about getting to see your video-- but then when I clicked on it, it said it was private. Alas.

    Huge congrats on your 10 miler, sounds like those hills were no joke. That's impressive that you were within such a short window of time between you and the olympic runner-- and your course was long.

  3. Well done, that's some great times there. Trail running can be hard going but is well worth it.

  4. Never done a trail run, but they sound like a lot of fun. Suppose I need to leave the bubble of my urban environment a bit more if I ever want to do these kinds of races. Sounds like you did a pretty kick butt job!

    Just like Katherine I couldn't see the video, says its private. Could be my iPhone though.

  5. Great race, that pace is insane for trails! And I've been eyeing the Nike Frees for awhile. My only concern is that I ran in Nikes once and they absolutely fell apart - I didn't even get 500 miles on them before they were unsalvageable tatters. But I'm curious to hear more. They're not a terribly pricey shoe so I may want to try them.

  6. Nice race!!! The video is quite hilar bc I couldn't tell if you were even responding to him... hahaha.

    Also saw you were wearing road shoes and wondering how that was going to feel on the trails... such a difference between road and trail, especially when stepping on rocks!

  7. Good morning Miss Badass! Awesome race! My joints are too creaky and crappy to wear frees to run in BUT I have three pairs for the gym and to walk around in. Love, love love. Also love the free race bib and your what the hell attitude! Thats how we grow (insert hippy world music).

  8. It sounds like you did awesome!! How much fun that you just decided to do that last-minute and look at how much fun it was. I love when that happens.

    Love the video. I think we need more videos on your blog.

  9. You are so damn fast, it boggles my mind! Especially on a trail run. I am trail-phobic. I tried on the Nike Free but I just wasn't sure about going to a shoe with such a small drop. I've worn Nike for years, but recently switched over to the New Balance 890s to drop some bulk and I love them.

  10. Considering you don't run trails, your time isn't too far off from world record lady's time. I wonder how much closer you'd get next year if you did some trail training?

  11. That is a pretty killer time for a 10 miler with lots of climbing. I recently bought a pair of Nike Free Runs+3 and I LOVE them, it's like running in slippers. They are definitely track and road running shoes only though because they have shit for grip on trails or fire roads; I'm positive you would have gone faster with some trail shoes.

  12. As usual, you are ridiculously fast! Without even looking at the elevation chart, a 7 minute pace on a trail run is insane, lol. And that is awesome that Magdalena holds the course record, she is awesome! Cool Nike Frees, I've looked into getting some, I probably will eventually.

    I did Bay to Breakers, you will like my recap because I wasn't a big fan of the race in general this year or how it all went down this year - it was boring with no huge excitement out there!

  13. I just did a 5k Saturday at Wildcat Canyon Park which is a little north of Tilden. If the hills at Tilden are anything like Wildcat Canyon then your time is awesome, especially considering you don't hill run. Maybe you should try to set some trail run PRs.

  14. Stumbled on your blog looking for other TTT recaps. You are fast, girl!! I'm so impressed. I purposely took it easy and finished at 1:44. Here's my recap, in case you're interested:

  15. Greetings from another TTT'er! I got linked to you by Jen, above, and have to agree with the consensus: you're so fast! Can't believe you clocked 8:28 on that ridiculous uphill--I could barely do that on the paved parts. Here's my take on the race:
    Hope to find myself chasing after you at another trail race one of these days!

  16. I love that course. I've never raced it...just run on it for 'fun' :) You did awesome!

  17. Running is always great! i love running for a hundred times!

  18. That is an insane time for trails - nicely done!

  19. That is awesome that your first date with The Gentleman was at Conservancy of Flowers! That is one of my favorite spots in SF.

  20. That Tough 10 is seriously no joke. I had some friends do it and I heard their horror stories of how steep it was. Once again, you're kicking ass and taking names - and yes, that's a totally good thing. Insane time!

  21. I love running in lightweight shoes. When I first starting running in HS, I was a pronator, and used stiff, stability running shoes to correct for that. However, I often raced in flats or spikes. Overtime, I think my pronation has diminished and I found myself gravitating towards lighter and lighter weight shoes. I really like NB, so I run in whatever their lightweight shoe of the moment is (they retire shoes like every year). Now, I cannot imagine going back to a clunky, big shoe


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