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Rotary Mission 10 San Juan Bautista

San Juan Bautista is a quiet little agricultural town 45 miles south of San Jose off Hwy. 101.  Mission San Juan Bautista is the 15th and largest of the 21 California Missions.  The mission is still active to this day and claims to have served mass every day since its founding in 1797!  If you’re  an Alfred Hitchcock fan, the mission was the site for the famous scene where Kim Novak jumped to her death (from a tower that was added in production) in “Vertigo.”

sjb-mission-4Today marked the 26th running of the Rotary Mission 10, the only 10-mile road race in the South Bay of San Francisco.  It’s a small race with less than 200 runners.  All proceeds go to the Hollister Rotary Club for charitable giving and scholoarships.  But for many locals, this is the first real test of the year.

I trained hard and smart for the Mission 10.  I ran long intervals and tempos every Wednesday for ten weeks prior to the race, and ran long on weekends because I’m also training for the Napa Valley Marathon on March 1.  This was a well-timed race for speed and endurance while I prepare for Napa, and a good indicator for how I will run next weekend at the San Francisco Half Marathon.

The course is a flat out and back except for a 1.5-mile section in the middle with undulating hills that rise to about 200 feet.  Another notable feature is that this course straddles the infamous San Andreas Fault, which bisects California across an 800-mile swath.  Not sure why that’s worth mentioning, except that it is sort of unique.

The forecast called for 50% chance of rain, which I didn’t mind.  We’ve had so little rain in the Bay Area this winter they’re talking about having to ration water later this year.  And it means the local Uvas Triathlon is in jeopardy in May if there isn’t enough water to fill the Uvas Reservoir.  So I didn’t mind if I had to run the whole race in the rain. 

The race starts directly in front of the mission.  I went out as planned at a 7:10 – 7:15 pace for the first three miles on a very slight downhill.  At the 3-mile mark, I found my climbing gear for the rolling ascent.  I knew I probably run more hills than most people, and it paid off as I soon passed a group of runners.  I made it through the climb only 50 seconds behind my 7:18 goal pace so I felt confident I could make up that time on the descent and in the last three miles. 

I must have passed at least 15 people from my running club after making the turn.  It seemed almost all of them were not racing.  Many were marathon training like me and had run 8 – 9 miles before the race.  A couple others were recovering from the flu, while others had run the Phoenix Rock N Roll Marathon last weekend.  I wanted to start the year with a PR.  I also find it almost impossible to enter an event and not race.

Coming off the hills, I was still 20 seconds behind my goal time, so I needed to run the last three miles at about 7:15 pace to make my goal time.  By this point in the race, the field had thinned to where I couldn’t draft behind anyone through a half-mile section into the wind.  I knew I had a PR in the bag, so now it was just a matter of how much time I could trim from the 1:14:46 I clocked three years ago on this course.  With two miles to go, I caught up to a guy about my size who had found a second wind.  He didn’t seem to like me drafting behind him, so I decided I would just try to beat him.

With a half-mile to the finish, the course turns for the final stretch and I could see the finish line.  I had run almost the entire race at a 170  – 175 heart rate so I knew a surge to the finish would take everything I had.  I put the hammer down with a quarter mile to go and the guy I had been chasing the last three miles did the same.  I think he thought he had beat me, so he let up just a bit 25 yards from the finish.  I surged ahead of him right at the line. 

I crossed the finish in 1:13:51, 55 seconds faster than my PR I set three years ago on this course.  My average pace was 7:19, just one second slower than my plan.  It feels fantastic to run a PR at this distance and in the first race of the year.  Three years ago, I had to rest the day after I ran this race.  Tomorrow I run 19 miles.

6 Responses

  1. Hey way to go dude. I ran the race too. I went online to search for results and I found your blog. The guy I tried drafting thought I was trying to pass or something and kept swerving. 175 bpm seems a bit high for a 74 minute run though. Anyway, best wishes on the rest of the season. I might run the SF marathon in late July.

    • Yeah, Tim, I thought my heart rate was high, too. I had told one of my training partners who also ran that I didn’t want to get above a 165 heart rate most of the race. But I was going mostly on perceived exertion and I was able to hold it…unless my Garmin just wasn’t reading my heart rate correctly. Anyway, still a good result. Hope to see you out there again.

  2. Way to go!! :>}

  3. Tim Good Job I got passed by the winner at the last corner, and finished in 1:05;15 But then I just did the 3miles (jog/walk)

  4. Lynn,
    I ran the Mission Ten as I know you did. In fact, I loved your article about the race.

    We just started a new group called Lets Get Fit America! and I was wondering if we could re-publish your article? That would be great.

    Check out our site which launches officially on Monday. I did paste in your article under “Featured Events” but if you don’t want us to use it, I will delete it.

    Thanks so much. By the way, I just love the Mission Ten. I have run it three times now and we will be back.


    Bob Anderson
    RW Founder
    61-year-old runner Did 1:29:38 for Half in SF

    • Bob, happy to have a post in your new site, which looks fantastic! I will also join. I’m one of your loyal RW readers and love your Ujena brand. I also pulled off the same double you did–a PR at Mission 10 followed by a PR at the SF Half Marathon last weekend (but not with your impressive speed)!

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