Race: Golden Gate Open XC 2010

My second go at cross country racing occurred in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park on Saturday. We – The LMJS – still do not have a scoring mens team so I was running for fun, while getting my butt kicked by the people who are good at this. It’s almost like learning a different sport. Fortunately the basics are simple enough that the newbie does not embarrass himself too badly. Start running when gun goes. Follow the markers. Stop at the finish.
I watched the women’s race, saw that there were two laps of the course. and noted the leaders times. “This course seems to take a little longer than Santa Rosa, so don’t go out too hard.” That was the entire plan. Pacing by watch or Garmin is not much use on these courses. Relying on feel and the other runners makes a refreshing change from to-the-second marathon pacing plans!
We started on lumpy grass with molehills, then went up a slope leading to a gradual downhill on a dirt trail. There was quite a bit of positioning going on here, the reason for which soon became apparent. After a sharp downhill turn we were on a single track trail for a while, making passing difficult. We wound though trees going uphill and I started to feel it. We jumped over a log across the trail. Errgh, I’m feeling trashed already. Am I going too fast? should I quit at the end of this lap? Nah, even finishing slowly is better than not at all. A couple of runners had passed me during this phase, but the course flattened out and I started to feel better. OK, hang onto that guy. Isn’t he the one I passed at the finish at Santa Rosa?
Towards the end of the first lap the LMJS women’s team was running their cooldown jog and gave me a cheer. Most welcome thanks! I was being threatened from behind by a tight group of four runners. On the gradual downhill they oozed past me but I was feeling better and more upbeat. I would stay in contact with these guys and see what transpired. On the single track I found myself behind a slower runner and a gap developed, but I closed it again at the first opportunity. OK, I can do that. These guys are toast, and so probably are those others I can see ahead.
I started my surge with about a mile to go. I expected these people to hang on behind me, but their sounds quickly receded. I took a couple more runners then there were no more visible. No one came back at me and I finished in 30:12. About as fast as I would run a marathon, but over tougher terrain. These shorter races don’t seem to do much harm training wise, and might even be beneficial, introducing more hard tempos efforts into the mix. I’ll take another shot in two weeks.

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4 Responses to “Race: Golden Gate Open XC 2010”


  1. 1 Flo September 16, 2010 at 4:38 am

    Totally beneficial! Great for your ankles and calves, too, not to mention the whole “running by effort” deal. As much as I love my Garmin, I know when I read your XC reports, this is a much more organic way to run and doing you a lot of good (plus, it’s like how “real” runners race…against each other!). Great job, Jim!

  2. 2 Jim E September 16, 2010 at 10:27 am

    Yup, I certainly seem to recover quite quickly from these things, probably thanks to the soft surfaces, and yes, my ankles do seem to like it. I would do more of my mileage on unpaved trails except that I have to drive to the nearest one. I should get over that.

  3. 3 Ewen September 17, 2010 at 12:14 am

    Sounds like fun Jim. I remember Golden Gate Park – it’s a huge park. I take it they didn’t have you running through the windmills like in the famous 5 mills cross country 😉

    Yes, as well as fun, excellent training. All our Aussie marathon champs come from a cross country background. Enjoy the next one!


  1. 1 Hybrid Downhill Maple & Fiber longboard / skateboard thelongboardshop.info Trackback on September 15, 2010 at 7:44 pm

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Race PRs

5K20:43 (LMJS 6/28/09
10K43:44
12K54:36 (Across Bay 3/21/10)
15K1:09:51 (LMJS 19/27/09)
Half1:31:28 (Kaiser 2012
Marathon 3;13:14 (CIM '11)

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