Thursday, April 19, 2012

Crushing the 2012 Presidio 10-Mile

Last Sunday, I had the pleasure of joining 3,400 runners for the sold out 2012 Presidio 10-Miler in San Francisco, CA. As part one of my two-runs-on-two-coasts-in-two-days extravaganza, it was a fast and furious race through the hills of the Presidio and up and over the Golden Gate Bridge before jumping a plane to the Boston Marathon on Monday. It did not disappoint!

(The GG Bridge brushes the clouds)
 It was no surprise that this race sold out once again, now attracting thousands of eager runners for their hilly 10-mile and 10k distances. Everything about this race is done well by The Guardsmen, from ample course markings and smiling volunteers, to free beer and pancakes at the finish. It was voted the Road Runners Club of America (RRCA) Road Race of the Year in 2011, and was the RRCA 10-mile championship race again for 2012. It's hard to imagine just six years ago there were only 300 people coming to this race!

(Even the 1%'ers love a good 10-miler)
I lined up near the front after a solid warm up, remembering from last year how that first hill slaps you in the face just a half mile in. The parents of Ashley Dyer, and founders of the Ashley Dyer Foundation for Neurological Research and Support, welcomed us with a sobering story of how their daughter was struck by a car while training on this same road, but allowed others to live through organ donation. Gnarly...but very motivating to make the most of this beautiful day and course. I was feeling rested and ready to seize the day.

(Sharing words about Ashley Dyer)

(3400 ready to run!)

(And we're off!)
The gun went off, and the fast folks quickly sorted themselves out before the first climb. 22-year-old Leon Medina and 30-year-old South African Oliver Ralph were in a class by themselves, flying at a 5:10 min/mile pace and charging the hills. I settled in with a pack of four about 20 seconds behind as we reached Fort Scott and made our way towards the Golden Gate Bridge. With all the twists and turns, there were plenty of opportunities to see where we were in the race.

(Enjoy the flat while you can!)
(Charging that first hill)
(Leon Medina sets the pace up front)
Due to construction, we wouldn't be tackling the single track dirt like last year and instead stuck to the pavement. At first I thought this was going to blow my trail-training advantage that I'm convinced was key to my Masters win here last year, but so far my turnover was pretty fast at around a 5:30 min/mile and I seemed to be hitting the hills harder than the others. One great thing about a fully-recovered body is you feel invincible on those downhills!

(Don't forget, that bridge is a good sized hill!)

(Runners take over the GG Bridge)
I moved my way up to third as we went out-and-back on the bridge (mile 4), doing my best to charge the stairs at the turnaround. It felt like I was gaining some ground on Leon and Oliver, but they remained like a distant mirage on the bridge span. But I was definitely gapping the folks behind me. When we got back to Crissy Field for the last flat 3-miles, I just tucked in and gave it all I had to catch the two singlet-clad leaders.

(We all cheer each other on)
(One last glimpse before heading back)
In the end, it wasn't quite enough to catch them, but was enough for third overall and another Masters win (57:11, PR). Old guy makes the podium! I felt surprisingly good, and suspected it was all of the recovery time I had while on vacation the previous week. With a few beers and pancakes, I thanked the RRCA and Guardsmen for another fabulous race and headed to SFO to get to steamy Boston...

(Sarah Hallis is presented with the Women's Overall trophy for her 1:03:48 finish)
(Suzette Smith celebrates her Masters win with a brew...she also ran the Napa and Oakland Marathons this month!)
(Such a great crew from the RRCA and The Guardsmen)
Thanks again, you guys!

(to be continued)


  1. Congratulations! Wow,that's fast especially considering the hills. You give me hope, as a fellow masters runner! And to carry a camera, too! Thanks for the great write-up and I'm looking forward to your Boston race report!

  2. Scott, that's incredible! I think the run you do back and forth at work between the campuses to get to meetings on time is really paying off :-)

  3. Amazing the wear and tear from this race ... oh, and the race the day before in Hawaii, did not destroy you when you ran Boston - in that heat - the very next day. Very impressive.

  4. The master's woman winner is Suzette Smith - right picture wrong name. My friend Kate and I talked with you at the Gate at Logan airport on Tuesday. I didn't recognize you. I am a big fan and follow your blog. You've sold me on the "S" tabs - thanks! You are amazing!

  5. Debra - great to meet you! And congrats on a hot Boston finish. I'm a big fan of the S!Caps - the best electrolyte pills around. Thanks for the correction too - I edited above.

    Kyle - fun to meet you at the finish in Boston! Hopefully that hot race is good training for 70.3 and Ironman Worlds. You are a madman!

  6. Hey...A couple of people forwarded your blog to me. It was great to meet you at the race. Looks like you had a good race in that Boston heat. Hope to see you out there at another race:)

  7. This looks so much fun! I'd love to experience this one day, too! I finished my marathon training program and decided to catch up on blog reading - your post definitely made me a bit jealous, lol.

    But, thanks for sharing your experience. Also, that story about Ashley Dyer humbles me as a runner - thank your for including that as well.

  8. Hi Scott,

    I am the Event Manager for Groundwork Opportunities (GO) (, a local nonprofit that supports groundbreaking ideas and projects to reduce poverty in the developing world. We empower local visionaries and entrepreneurs to engage their communities and design sustainable futures. This is what we call The Power of Their Ideas and Our Support.

    I am writing because on June 2nd, we are hosting our third annual 10k Race, Trailblaze the City III: The Beach Strikes Back, which features amazing San Francisco Bay views and top notch trails in the Presidio. The race will take place here in SF on Saturday, June 2nd at Sports Basement at 9:00am. The event website is

    I wanted to know if you would be willing to mention or promote our race on your blog and social media, as we would love the opportunity to engage our local running communities in this race. In return, we would be more than willing to promote your blog to our runners, via our race website, social media posts, our post-race email as well as including flyers in our runner goodie bags.

    Please let me know if this is something you are interested in, as we are anticipating approximately 300-400 runners at our race this year.

    Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns you might have.

    Thank you!

    Yours in Progress,


I LIVE for comments! Please add your thoughts, let me know you stopped by, etc., and be thoughtful of others. Always best if you sign your name, of course.

Latest Excursions