Delayed Ambition to Win the Bizz Johnson Trail 1/2 Marathon

(I like that title, but it’s inspired largely by Mark’s Rucky Chucky race report from 2008).

Crossing the Finish Line at the Bizz Johnson Half-Marathon

Bizz Johnson was my very first pure trail race.  That was about four or five years ago during my pre-blogging days, so I can’t even link to that report.  Bizz Johnson started a love affair that is still going strong.

My original plan was to run the marathon this time around, but for many reasons I downgraded to the half-marathon distance a few days prior to the race.  That led to some last minute mile binging as I was in the heart of my preparation for the North Face miler, which was more important to me than the performance at this race.  I was simply looking forward to spending some time with Mrs. Golden Trails, who was running the 10k, in a tremendously underappreciated part of California.

Thus, I lined up with heavy legs on the rail road tracks (the Bizz Johnson trail is a converted rail road track) wondering whether I might feel the altitude, which ranges from about 4 to 5k ft on the course.  As the gun went off, I eased into the run  hovering around 4th or 5th place.  I was surprised to realize that my legs suddenly found a little energy and around mile one I moved into the lead.

That had me concerned more than anything.  All of the sudden, I felt the pressure to run well and compete while all I wanted to do was enjoy a nice trail run.  But my competitive genes kicked in, and I adjusted my race strategy to run at about 85-90% effort to the turn-around and assess the situation from there.  Because of the turns in the course and my semi-significant lead, I could not see anyone behind me.  Whether runners were 60 seconds or 6 minutes back was a mystery to me.

It turned out to be 2-3 minutes at the turn-around.  Still feeling really good, I decided to pick up the pace to about 6 min/mile and say “hi” to everyone with a big smile.  I was having fun!  Before long there were only a couple miles left.  I ran at about 90-95% effort the rest of the way careful to leave some gas in the tank in case someone was catching up to me with a late surge.  That never happened, and I crossed the line in 1:34:37.

Mrs. Golden Trails and I enjoyed some of the wonderful fruit at the finish line and exchanged war stories with some other racers.  Another perfect, low key Coastal Trail Runs event.  My thanks to Wendell and all the volunteers!  Bizz Johnson was just as much fun as I remembered.

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