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Tilden Tough Ten - Run10 Mile

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Berkeley, California
United States
80F / 27C
Total Time = 1h 51m 52s
Overall Rank = 218/274
Age Group = 30-39
Age Group Rank = 23/30
Pre-race routine:

Disclaimer: I feel a little weird writing a race report for this event because I didn't race it. I knew going into it that a) I planned to train straight through it (no taper), b) I hadn't trained enough on hills to really nail this run, and c) it was going to be f-ing HOT. So I baically just turned it into a tough training run.

Anyway. I slept pretty well the night before, got about five hours. I woke up at 6:30 and was out the door by 6:45 to pick up Annie. I ate half a Clif Bar on the short drive up to Tilden. I haven't had much of an appetite lately (not sure why) and half was all I could choke down. We got there at about 7 a.m. and found a great parking space down the road from Inspiration Point, the race start. I got out of the car and noticed immediately that it was already hot -- definitely in the 70s. Yikes. After getting my race number I got in line for the bathroom. With 300 runners and only two toilets (they'd ordered some portapotties but they didn't show up until right before the start), it was quite the wait. Shizu showed up at about 7:30 a.m. with a backpack -- she was planning to do a short hike while I ran. While I was waiting in line I listened in on a group of runners in front of me talking about this race and the other two races in the series. All three races are notoriously difficult, which I knew, but it was somehow even more troubling to hear real people talking about just how tough the race (and the others -- I've signed up for all three) would be. Yikes again!

Once I finished with the bathroom I slathered on lots and lots and lots of sunscreen and suddenly it was time to go. I set myself up about halfway into the pack.
Event warmup:

Nothing. It was too hot and this race was going to be too hard as it was.
  • 1h 51m 52s
  • 10 miles
  • 11m 11s  min/mile

The race starts with a mild uphill and then gets immediately into some pretty decent rollers that last for the first three miles. They're nothing too intimidating, but they're definitely hills. This part of the race is mostly shady, though, and there are a lot of eucalyptus trees so it smells great! I settled into a very conservative pace (about 9:30mm) and stuck with it for the first three or four miles. I've hiked this road many times and it was nice to know what to expect -- I knew it'd be challenging, but also very doable.

After the first three miles the road opens up into a very exposed section that's mostly a lot of false-flats or long, gentle hills (there are almost NO truly flat sections in this race). It's probably a net downhill going out, but it's kind of hard to say for sure. The first four miles of this race went by pretty quickly and I kept my conservative pace, which I was really glad about later. I stopped at every water station and grabbed two cups of water and walked while I drank, which I think helped a lot toward conserving my energy for later in the race. At this point it was hot but not too bad, even in the sun -- mostly I was just sweating a lot. At least the sunscreen in my eyes distracted me from the heat.

At mile four the course splits off the paved road and onto a dirt trail that's very exposed. Running out, it was a long, easy downhill, and everyone was talking about what a bitch it was going to be coming back. (It was.) Speaking of which, this was a pretty chatty bunch of runners, which I loved. There was definitely a lot of camaraderie out there, especially with the heat, and everyone was super friendly. I heard so many people very sincerely thank the volunteers.

Early in mile four, from quite a ways out you can see this ginormous hill and all the runners climbing it, which is a little disconcerting. It was definitely tough, but again, not so steep that it's really all that troubling. I just took it very slow and managed to pass a few people (although by this point, about 4 1/2 miles in, I'd been passed by so many people that I was already clearly BOP). I kept thinking how nice it was going to feel on the way back. About halfway up the hill the race leaders started down on their way back. Yeesh, they were tough. I honestly have no clue how they ran that course that fast in the heat. We all clapped and cheered them on as they ran by.

I'd done my research and I already knew about The Hill -- so steep that it's pretty near impossible to run *down* it, never mind up. And yes, it's just that steep. You hit it at around 4 3/4 miles and going down you have to be very, very careful because not only is it steep but there's a lot of loose rocks. It didn't hurt my legs too much, though, which was a relief. (Overall my legs held up very well on this run.)

Shortly after that I hit the turnaround and learned that they'd run out of water! There was literally one cup left and the woman in front of me got it, but she was awesome and offered to share. I wasn't in dire need of water at this point, but I knew I'd regret it if I didn't take it. Fortunatley a few sips was all I needed. I felt awful for the people coming up behind us, though. A lot of these folks were really struggling, and they'd have to get through another two miles before there was more water. It was really poor planning that they ran out of water at that point.

I had my sips of water and decided screw it, I'm walking up the short hill out of the water station (almost everyone was walking). I picked it up again at the top then ran as far as I could up the super steep hill, which wasn't very far. Once I got to the top of that I knew I had some good downhills to look forward to, but of course they flew by (not really -- I was moving pretty slow at this point, even on the downhills).

Then I hit the long uphill slog off of the fire trail. That was probably the most difficult part of the race for me because it was in direct sun the whole time and there were several false crests, where I was sure I was at the top and then there'd just be more hill ahead. Just after mile six a single volunteer was standing there yelling encouragement and I loved him for it. I made some comment about them not kidding about this race being tough, and he said not to worry, it's all downhill from here. Ha! I laughed hard and it really cheered me up.

From there, surprisingly, the miles went by pretty fast. But at about mile seven I saw my first casualty -- a dude was curled up on the side of the road, surrounded by paramedics (there were two fire trucks) and getting an IV. Yikes. (Annie later told me that three people had to be rescued due to the heat. I saw many people sitting on the side of the road in the shade. Annie said the people who crossed the finish line before me were in rough shape. She said she heard quite a few of them muttering to themselves, trying to talk themselves through the finish. Ugh.)

I was so relieved to get off that fire trail and back on the road, if only because I knew that meant some shade had to be up ahead. With about two miles to go I saw Shizu hiking and slowed down to chat briefly with her. By this time I'd settled in with a small pack up runners, all of us passing each other back and forth but mostly sticking together. We didn't talk much, though -- I think everyone was just *done*.

Shortly after I saw Shizu there was one more brutal hill. I knew I could run it but I really didn't want to, so I told myself I'd run until one of the women in front of me started walking. And sure enough, one did and I followed her. That's my only regret from this race -- I wish I'd run that hill. I know I could have.

A little after that hill, with less than a mile to go, a woman came up behind me and told me I'd been her inspiration for the past several miles. Ha! I told her I was glad I'd inspired someone, since I wasn't inspiring myself. She told me I'd run a much smarter race than her, which, well, I don't know if that's true, but I really appreciated hearing it. I told her to kick it in and finish fast, since I certainly wouldn't be. She smiled and took off.

The last uphill was mean, but nothing terrible, and then it was an easy downhill finish. Such a relief! They were handing out super cold bottles of water and I downed mine in like two minutes, then washed my face off because my eyes were stinging like crazy from the sweat and sunscreen.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing. I finished this race feeling OK, which I take as a major success, even if this is the slowest I've ever been. I'm glad I didn't push myself so hard that I set back my training.
Post race
Warm down:

I drank lots and lots of water and sat with Annie to wait for Shizu to come in and cheer on the runners behind me (along with three or four ambulances). Then we walked over to the main area so I could pick up my finisher's T-shirt (which was super cool -- there were three colors and three different designs and they're all tech shirts) and collect some of the swag. We didn't stick around long so we left for breakfast. I didn't eat much, though, because my stomach was feeling off, probably from the heat.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Heat. Training.

Event comments:

I really like this race (although I don't know if I'll be doing it again -- it's awfully difficult!), but I've got to take away points for running out of water at the halfway. That's pretty unacceptable. Otherwise, they do a very good job putting it on, the volunteers were all really friendly and helpful, and it's a pretty relaxed atmosphere for such a grueling experience. If you're trained for the hills, I highly recommend this race.

Last updated: 2009-02-09 12:00 AM
01:51:52 | 10 miles | 11m 11s  min/mile
Age Group: 23/30
Overall: 218/274
Performance: Below average
Garmin had 10.25 miles. Splits: 9:11, 9:39, 9:39, 10:14, 10:39, 13:37, 11:19, 12:20, 11:32, 11:35
Course: Out and back, four miles on paved roads, two miles on fire trails. Constant rollers with a couple of major hills.
Keeping cool Below average Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 3
Physical exertion [1-5] 3
Good race? No
Course challenge Too hard
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

2009-05-18 3:22 PM

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Berkeley, Calif.
Subject: Tilden Tough Ten

2009-05-18 5:42 PM
in reply to: #2158912

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Subject: RE: Tilden Tough Ten
Back in the day, I liked running hills, I guess I'd like running them again too... but at Tilden?  You go girl

twas a brutal hot day - and I was just sitting in a backyard watching kids play.
2009-05-18 6:02 PM
in reply to: #2158912

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West Chester, Ohio
Subject: RE: Tilden Tough Ten

Awesome running on those hills and in the heat.  Sucks about them running out of water so early.

2009-05-18 7:11 PM
in reply to: #2158912

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Pacific Northwest
Subject: RE: Tilden Tough Ten

Great job, Erin!!  You are a really awesome that they ran out of water...that is BAD!!!  I'll look forward to hearing about the rest of the series.

2009-05-18 8:37 PM
in reply to: #2158912

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Subject: RE: Tilden Tough Ten
Nice job on the pacing, you rock star, you! Water is highly overrated... at least it wasn't beer. Congrats on finishing an amazingly tough run. Well done!

2009-05-19 5:34 AM
in reply to: #2158912

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Verona WI--Ironman Bike Country!
Subject: RE: Tilden Tough Ten
Great job Erin.  Running that course helped you more than you know.  That way when you BQ you will fly up HB hill!


2009-05-19 2:27 PM
in reply to: #2158912

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Liverpool, New York
Subject: RE: Tilden Tough Ten

that's quite a run!

nice job in getting through it

2009-05-19 5:27 PM
in reply to: #2158912

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Extreme Veteran
Subject: RE: Tilden Tough Ten
Awesome job!  Lots of folks don't race races but use them for did it smart. 
2009-05-20 7:08 AM
in reply to: #2161818

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Suwanee, Ga.
Subject: RE: Tilden Tough Ten
YOU ROCK...just like I knew you would. 

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