I went into the Paramount Ranch 10K without a lot of expectations. I had been training with low volume and had recently started a treadmill challenge that focused on getting a healthy dose of daily vertical gain.
I woke up before my alarm around 3am and was going to get a little more sleep but then at 3:15 I figured that my body was ready to wake up. I went through my morning routine of checking my blood levels, taking my meds and taking down my oatmeal and coffee. With almost 2 hours before I had to leave, I wasn’t too worried about rushing to clean out my system, but that event did not happen. Uh oh.
I got to Paramount Ranch 15 minutes after the site opened up and it was chilly but not as cold as it had in previous years. I had a buff over my head with a hat and wore a light pullover as I went to the check-in table. I wasn’t the only one having a tough time putting on my race bib as my fingers were like ice pops. Eventually I got the bib on and went back to the car to drop off the race shirt and to pick up my waist holster. For 10K I wouldn’t need more than one bottle of water with two GU’s in it, especially since it was cold.
I went back to the checking area and met up with some New Basin Blues friends for some selfie time then found Jesse Haynes who was setting up a big Altra feather banner. When he wasn’t completely occupied, I congratulated him on his awesome Moab 240 win and told him that I enjoyed the stories he told about it on a couple of podcasts that I had tuned into.
I did some warmup runs for about 15 minutes and hoped that if I had to make a pit stop at the bathroom that it would happen during this time, but it was no go. Luckily this would not end up being an issue this time during my race.
We lined up and Race Director Keira Henninger reminded us that the race course was cut in half from previous years because they were rebuilding the Western town that had burned down some years ago. That also led to a bit smaller a crowd this year and we were all going to start at the same time.
The race started and I immediately burst out into a … walk. With everyone starting at the same time, those of us in the back half of the pack were in a giant conga line and went at a very easy hike pace. It took about a quarter mile before you could start passing people. The first mile or so of the 5K course is a loop that takes you back past the starting line and onto a straightaway section. I was doing OK and was glad that I had warmed up some before the race.
After the straightaway section we got back on to trails for some easy rolling short hills. There isn’t more than like a 50-foot climb on any section of the course. I did power hike some sections, not wanting to burn out at the beginning but when it was a flat or downhill, I was definitely running. At this point I was already seeing the faster runners coming back from the turnaround a mile and a half up the trail. It was fun seeing everyone who was out there.
I finally made it to the turnaround and was glad that the course was a lot less complex than last year. A couple of years ago during a half marathon race I went off course and missed a segment. Keira was cool and just directed me to do the extra loop at the beginning and that ended up making up for the difference. This time it was a pretty straight shot except for the starting loop.
The other thing I liked about us all starting together and having a lot of difference race distances (including a 12-hour race) is that we all just out there pushing ourselves. We didn’t have to compare ourselves to anyone else. I could have been passed from someone in the 10K or it could have been a 50K runner. I could have passed another 10K runner or 12-hour runner.
The next few miles were full of high fives as I passed New Basin Blues friends back and forth and the next thing I knew I had just over 2 miles to go and was on the last hills section. After doing the turnaround for the second time I was just behind a few people who I had running around most of the race. I started to power hike up the last climb and noticed another runner there. I decided to try and catch them and run the climb, relying on my treadmill climbing practice and found that my legs still had something left in them.
Because it was a new course, I would have an instant PR, but I still had 2 other 10K times at this race that I could compare it to. However, I didn’t fuss too much about looking at time.
I came down off the last hill and onto the final straightaway back to the start finish line. I summoned what I had left and started booking it down the road. I passed the person who was just in front of me before, then another then another. Looking at my Strava activity, I was under a 9 minute per mile pace which is pretty good for me at the end of a 10K run, especially a flat segment. I ran into the finish line and felt like I was sprinting but from my NBB friend Caryn’s finish line Live video, I came in huffing and puffing like a suffocating rhinoceros.
Yes, 10K was plenty for me that day. After the DNF at Ray Miller (despite still finishing up 17+ miles) I needed a finish and got it.
Tale of the tape
UltraSignup, the site that does registration, predicted that I would finish the race in 1:43:19 and my official finish was in 1:37:06. It’s always great to beat the predicted time! The course was a tiny bit longer than the other 10Ks that I did at Paramount Ranch, and it was the slowest of the times but about a minute. All in all, I’m happy with my performance. I only had one hiccup and that was that my back started feeling sore and I remedied that by taking off my waist hydration belt and looping it around my neck and under one arm and that eased the stress on my back. It made it harder to get drinks of water, but I only had a couple of miles of race left.
Once again, Keira and her amazing volunteers did a great job from parking (I volunteered for parking last year before running) to check-in to helping us stay on course. I’m looking forward to going back next year and hope that the Western town is back up and running. It was a pleasure to be back out on Chumash land, experiencing the sun and trails.
As of now, my next race will be the Boney Mountain 7K race in February of 2024. That race starts off in Newbury Park at the Satwiwa loop. I’m focusing on the shorter races to avoid some of the physical complications that have arisen on the longer distances. Plus, I’ve always done better, proportionately in short races. I’m also working on building my uphill running.
What’s your next race? Where you out at Paramount Ranch this year or in previous years?
Big thanks to @Paksitphotos for the great race photos!