Well another weekend, another race in the Big Blue Trail series. This week was the Big Blue 5K/10K - and since it was another Saturday race, none of my Team Library Dork friends were able to come out and play. So, I trundled myself up to Incline Village this morning all by myself.
Did something different on the way, though - I stopped for coffee. I stopped drinking coffee at the beginning of the year, specifically to see what effect race-day caffeine would have on me. Up to this point, though, I've only used caffeine in gels while running, never actual coffee before a race. I waited unitl I had got up to the race area and checked in, then drank the small coffee (from Purple Bean) about 45 minutes before start time.
The Big Blue races took place on the same course as the running section of the XTerra Tahoe Triathlon. The triathletes went off at 8 AM, the runners at 9. My warm-up consisted of jogging down to the place where the swim exited the water and watching a wave come out, then following them back up to the transition area. I'd never really been at a triathlon before, so it was interesting to see. I threw in a few strides on the soccer fields before the runner's race briefing and start.
Since I hadn't done this course before, I wasn't sure what to expect. The maps on big Blue's website just showed the course winding around south of Incline Village proper. And, in fact, that's what it did - but what a great course! There was a little bit of everything - lots of singletrack, some dirt roads, a few sections of pavement across parking lots or along the sides or roads; rocky sections, a variety of bridges from single logs to bigger wooden ones, and even a wild swampy section right near the turnaround/finish. Rocks and logs to jump over, trees to duck under - just a super fun course. Very winding, too - you could see other runners on different sections quite often, which is a feature that I like. This would have been a great course to have a video camera on - unfortunately, I left my phone/camera in the car. I did get out and take a few pictures after I finished, though:
Turning to head across the final bridge.
Coming off the final bridge.
Heading into the marshy section, over the log.
Still some sprinklers going here.
And across the finish line.
As far as how my race went - well, here's the stats (click through to the Garmin website for more detail) :
And, for the sake of completeness, the elevation profile. This is the 10K, so divide in half if you want to see the 5K. Some ups and downs, but not that hilly - at least compared to last week's race, the Northstar Mountain Run.
As far as how the caffeine affected me - I think I went out a little fast on the first lap. Looking at it in retrospect, though, it wasn't really that bad. After some trading places int he first mile, I held my position pretty well for the first lap. About a mile into the second lap, I got passed by one guy, whom I stayed with. He passed someone else, who then passed him back. My strategy was to stay behind these two until the finial mile, then see if I had enough left to do any passing during the last section. As it turned out, I didn't. They stretched out a few feet away from me in the last quarter mile, and I caught most of that up in the last 200 yards, but we finished in the same order that we'd run the final mile and a half. That left me in seventh overall, and fourth in my age group. Only a couple points toward the series standings.
Here I am near the end of the first lap - photo courtesy of Ryan Evans (of ActiveReno.com, soon to be of Reno Running Company)
Not long after the finish, I was handed this:
Pretty slick timing tickets - I assume because they were piggybacking on the XTerra timing system?
At any rate, that was a really, really fun race. Of all the Big Blue races I've done this year, that's one that I might make an effort to come back for - mostly because I liked the course so much. It was pretty cool seeing all the triathletes out there as well.