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Race Recap: Angel Island 12K

Posted Aug 15 2013 3:06pm

On August 3rd (way late, I know, I’ve been SO busy!) I completed the Envirosports Angel Island 12K and it was such a great day and race! I signed up for the run after being asked by The Guardsmen to join their team and do a little fundraising for the cause and I couldn’t resist. On the heels of my 3 week vacation, I was dubious about the challenge of a trail run like this but was excited to finally participate in a race I’ve wanted to do for several years now!

One of the main reasons I’ve wanted to do this race is, well, Angel Island . LOVE it there, it is so beautiful and there is little that I find more entertaining than that ferry ride out to the island. I’ve never run there before but now I can officially say that I’ve run the perimeter of Angel Island! And this was my first Envirosports race too- I’m an EnviroVirgin no longer!

There, right there, I want to run THERE.

There, right there, I want to run THERE.

Source: Envirosports

Source: Envirosports

The other reasons why I’ve put off doing this race is 1) single track trails, 2) no audio devices allowed, and 3) no medal. But my medal hanger is totally full anyway and I KNOW I can live without my music for at least an hour and a half, plus, trails don’t scare me anymore.

Drove over to Tiburon, munched on a banana while we waited to board the ferry. Even though it was cold and windy, I’m not about to waste the view so right on up to the top deck I went to brave the elements and enjoy the ride.

BRRRRR!

Right before the race began, Envirosports founder Dave Horning gave us all a little pep talk and showed off the “prizes” for the overall winners- a rubber chicken. I’m seriously not kidding. He is such a wonderful, charming, funny guy, just a great announcer.  He even led us in singing the National Anthem along with The Guardsmen’s Guard Dog.

Shortly thereafter, the 25K runners took off. I stood back and cheered and snapped photos as per my usual.  As they rounded the turn I noticed that hill right off the bat- 1.5 miles of straight UP right from race start. So I moved waaaaaay to the back of the 12K pack. Not having really run for a few weeks, I didn’t want to get in anyone’s way on those hills!

As the name implies, Envirosports specializes in green races- no tech tees, no medals, no timing chips, just beautiful trails! And that’s kind of a nice break from all the STUFF of road races. Because they don’t offer those kind of extras the entry fees are lower. Because they specialize in trail runs, the field of runners is also smaller. And, honestly, I really like a smaller race sometimes- helps me feel like I’m really IN IT as opposed to just being part of the herd like during those massive road races.

Starting at the back of the pack wasn’t really a good idea- again, the race isn’t officially timed so as soon as Dave yells, “Runners, on you mark! Get set! GOOOO!” You go. That’s it. Then someone records your time when you hit the finish. So getting in the back forced me to stay at the back for the first part of the race as we climbed those single-track trails in a single-file. With no room to pass, whatever pace you are behind is, well, your pace- 14:00/mile to be exact and it was TORTURE! I wanted to go faster but really, literally couldn’t.

Can't pass, can't go faster, so just enjoy the view!

Can’t pass, can’t go faster, so just enjoy the view!

I happily kept up right behind the person in front of me, staring at her feet the whole time because we were so close to each other I was worried about giving her a flat tire! Any time I would lift my eyes from that position to look around at all that Mother Nature, I would stumble a bit. Needless to say, I stopped enjoying the view on the single-tracks and just focused on my breathing and foot fall.

I think it was around mile 3 when the trail finally opened up with ample room to pass… or to stop and take pictures, you know, whatever you’re into…

And we kept on climbing and the view was completely overcast but still very pretty…

Golden Gate Bridge, capped in fog

Golden Gate Bridge, capped in fog.

Rounded a corner at mile 4 and if these 2 people in front of me weren’t there, I would have TOTALLY missed that turn and gone straight! Told them that and they laughed as I ran past… and then I was completely alone. No mile markers, no people, no noise. Just me. Running. Through a lot of this:

And a LOT of this:

Around mile 5, we start finally start heading back down and I was flying behind another runner and we chatted back and forth as we ran to the finish. I was really having fun at that point- between that feeling of total freedom in letting lose on the downhill to the appreciation for the natural beauty that surrounded me, I was all smiles and WOO HOOs for the 25Kers making their way back up the hill for their second loop.

It's all about having fun, right?!

It’s all about having fun, right?!

Ran through the finish to lots of cheering from the spectators, grabbed my race shirt, a bag of chips, and hit the ferry for the ride back to Tiburon. I wanted to finish in less than 1:30, my watch said 1:31 and my “official” results state 1:32. If I had started further up, I’m sure I could have shaved at least 5-10 minutes off my time on the single-tracks- certainly a goal for the future!

Really a great race and I will definitely be back to check out some of their other locations like Big Sur and Napa Valley. If you aren’t into all the schwag and just want a green race that focuses on the environment, this one is for you!  And if you are REALLY fast, you can win a rubber chicken! Who doesn’t want one of those?!  Check out Envirosports here , tell them I sent you and let me know if you’ll be at one of their future races!

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