My favorite races of all time is hands down the Yeti Chase 10K at Bear Creek Lake Park. The best part about it is the trip to the race start is a nice 2 mile warm up and the trip home is a nice 2 mile cool down. The other part that I love about the Yeti Chase is the competition for my age group. In order for me to place I have to keep getting faster and stronger. This year’s Yeti Chase I may not have been as well prepared for it due to some sickness a few weeks ago and even though I ran a great race today my mentality was not fully there.
Mentality issues started with the weeks training. I did not let up too much for this week training and actually pushed it harder this week than I have been pushing for months. Between weight training, sauna’s, hill repeats, and 30 miles pre-race day it was probably my biggest workout week in 3 months solid. On Thursday I did hill repeats with my favorite group, PlayGldn, and I was on a calorie deficit going into them and felt like I was doing subpar running and ‘dogging’ it. Although the repeats were with a great group of encouraging people I got home feeling like I was going to fail at the Yeti Chase today and not break 45 minutes. Subsequently that left me feeling a bit down leading up to the race but I kept up the training and made sure to get some more calories in to help lift my spirits.
On Saturday instead of running 3 miles at 8 minute miles, I decided to just do a 9 mile bike ride. I am not sure if that was a good move or not, but I figured a bit of cross training right before after a hard week might help me out. The 9 mile bike ride was nice and easy because I was not in a rush and had no intention of doing any PR’s, I simply wanted to enjoy the scenery. After the bike ride I was extremely exhausted. Even after a 13 mile run I have not felt that tired, just crazy what muscle memory can allow for.
Race day morning I decided to shave for the race so I cleaned myself up, which was a great mood lifter. A shower and having a nice clean looking face and head always lifts my spirits. I took my Vespa, 100mg caffeine pill, and Saltstick salt pill 45 minutes before the race. Strapped on my Altra One’s and left my house planning on it taking me 22-25 minutes to get to the race start taking it nice and slow 10 minute mile. The run there felt extremely slow but I hit the bathroom at exactly the right time and made it with 10 minutes left to warm up for the race. I decided to do a few strides, glute bridges, and pelvic thrusts. Then I lined up right at the front of the starting line. Why the front, when I knew where I would be? Simply because I really do not like dodging people and others seem to be afraid to line up at the starting line. It may as well be me.
Then we were off. From the starting line to the first 10th of a mile only 4 people passed me and I was being very careful to pace myself, knowing that I always jump out too fast and it hurts me. The 3 people kept ahead of me for the first mile, then I passed back the first person. Then came the hill near the Coyote parking area, it is a shortish hill but a steep up. I passed the 2nd person at this point. She was running great but the hill can take a lot out of you if you have never ran the course before. Luckily I run Bear Creek a lot and geared it down a hair but picked up my cadence to push over the hill. The 3rd person was a bit harder to catch and I did not pass him till we started on the dam road. I wanted to make up some time to hit a sub 7 minute mile for the 3rd mile so during this downhill into a slight up stretch I picked up my pace and passed him.
I never did catch the 4th person who passed me, he finished at least a half mile ahead of me. But I did pass one more guy right at the Stone House Trail entrance along the Dam road just after the 3rd mile ended. After I passed him I climbed the hill and again, knowing the course, took it with a bit of a cadence modification to not burn myself out. Once I was over and at the Bear Creek bike trail down hill, I tried to make up some more time yet again. I was successful but not as successful as I wanted to be. I hit a 7:20 minute mile pace right when the 4th mile ended. Now it was a short uphill to a straight away, that to me is the hardest and longest part of this course. Not sure why but I always feel the stretch between mile 4 and 5 is the hardest of the Yeti Chase.
Right before the downhill to finish off the 5th mile I saw Mike Bell. Unfortunately I was pumped full of adrenaline and not thinking clearly and called him some mixture of Blake, Mike, and Bell. But in the end I got Mike out, it was a major boost seeing someone I knew which helped push me through to the end. After the 5th mile, I knew the last bit of uphill climb was coming and I had to keep my composure. The next person ahead of me was too far to catch, at least a 15th mile ahead and she was going strong. Still I tried to catch her, and coming into the finish I could see her finish right when I hit a fifth of a mile to go. I was glad I made up some ground. I finished as strong as I could.
The post race was bad for the first 5 minutes, my coughing and sickness aftermath came into play and it took me that long to stop the extreme coughing. I walked around and drank some water. After 15 minutes went by I decided to check my official time and position, and though it was not unexpected I was a little bit disappointed I took 7th age group. However, after I got home and saw how far off I was it was OK. The first 4, after the first place people, for my age group all ran 6 minute miles. I am not even close to being there yet! But maybe in a few years. The cool down run was extremely hard because I was pretty sore and I stuck it to 11 minute miles. I was glad I was forced to cool down because I might not have given a choice, but the cool down seemed to loosen up my muscles.
When all was said and done I am extremely happy I had a 1 minute+ Personal Record for this race and I plan to continue to do it for as long as possible. My favorite race by far and hopefully next year I can go sub 43 minute! Thanks for reading if you read it, if not well thanks for scrolling down. Hope you have a great race coming up soon that you can reflect on!