I love Space Rock, so much that I registered for the race way back at the beginning of the year. I don’t usually register for races that early, you never know what life might throw your way. But as much as I love this race I also know it gets pricey so I took advantage of a discount code. Which means of course something came up and I probably shouldn’t have done the race.
I ended up having another melanoma removal a week and a half before the race. This left me with a row of stitches on my left upper back. Right where all my sports bras hit. I was also given instructions to take things easy and not do any strenuous workouts. Well shit.
I thought on it and decided I would just walk the 10K. Should I have? Maybe not but I figured going in with the intention of walking and making sure I kept it chill would get me through. Plus my brother was running the half so I had to kill time somehow.
Race morning dawned early and chilly. Which confused me because all my previous times at Space Rock were warm. Combine that with my plan to walk and I had no idea how to dress. I wore full pants with compression sleeves under, a t-shirt and a long sleeve. I also second guessed myself the whole time. I had covered my stitches with layers of gauze and KT tape.
Once to Vásquez Rocks, we were able to park in the park this year. Which I have to admit I did not like. I wish parking had stayed at the lot about a 1/2 mile north. I felt all the cars kind of detracted from the awesome-ness of the rocks. Although I did take advantage of the closeness when I realized in the porta potty that I had forgot to put on my watch. Who does that? I also used to time to ditch the long sleeve in the car.
My brother’s race started on time and we were about 20 minutes behind them. I seeded myself in the back and told myself to chill. And for the most part I did. I knew where the photographers would likely be so I decided to let myself jog past them when I knew they were coming up.
That turned into jogging the downhills and walking the flats and hills. I wasn’t breathing hard and my stitches didn’t hurt so I stuck with that. The only irritation was having to carry my handheld since I couldn’t wear a pack.
The first 3 miles have a great downhill to start and then an out and back along the PCT with a mild climb. The tricky part is that the out and back is single track and boy were there some attitudes out there this year. Now maybe I noticed it more this year since I was farther back in the pack but dudes, chill! Sometimes it would be hard to stop or get out of the way as there wasn’t always somewhere to go and people would get huffy. I also had my first experience with a blocker. Not sure that’s the word but this lady was not happy that my hiking pace was her running pace. There were times I would try to pass her but she would not let me. Or if she did, she would huff about it angrily and then try to make a point to pass me a little down the path and then slow down in front me. Excuse me?
I was still feeling pretty good as we came back to the only aid station- miles 1/3 but I knew next 3 miles were the hardest and they usually killed me in previous years. Like in 2021 when I lost count of how many times I stopped for a break. Maybe it was due to my relaxed attitude and pace from the start but I made it up the first huge climb without any breaks. I felt pretty good too. My watch says my heart rate was up the whole race but I never felt it. I also felt good as I dropped the blocker completely here and never saw her again.
From there we went into the rollers. As long as I felt good I decided to keep jogging the downhills and slow rolling the ups. I was actually passing more people too- some 5K but quite a few 10k people too. I never took any intentional breaks but did chill for a few moments when we bottle necked behind an older lady who was stuck trying to make a tricky transition. Once she made it she let us all pass her and we were off.
I always forget how many rollers there are so each time I would come to the top of one and not see the last stretch to the finish, I get confused. Finally, I was in the last .5 mile stretch, I felt decent but also knew I was tired. I hadn’t done much physical activity in the last few weeks, haha.
Then the finish was there and I jogged across. Success!!
I find it funny that I kept it super easy all race but still finished 7 minutes faster than 2021.
Once I finished, I got some food and waited for my brother to finish. He finished in 2:06:10.
Then we climbed some rocks.