I have said it before and I’ll continue to say it that PCTR races are some of the best on the block, well organized, friendly people, good challenging courses and beautiful locations, I mean c’mon what’s not to beat. This weekend was going to be extra special as I was hoping to meet up with some of the folks I know through blogging, Twitter and in person and with the exception of a couple of people I missed it all panned out, which is more than can be said for my day.
Unlike me I managed an earlyish night 10:00pm and unlike our kids I only got woken once at 4:00am and so by the time my alarm went off at 6:00am I was in pretty good shape, my cold/cough thing was still lingering and it had settled into a night mucusy hacking lung thing, but the shakes and aches had gone and my head felt clear. Breakfast was my usual and the drive was uneventful other than spotting dolphins swimming in the ocean which along with the fact that I was meeting friends and running on trails was enough to put a smile on my face like I had slept with a coat hanger in my mouth!
I checked in, got my number and hung out chatting until the race announcements started, shortly afterwards I along with another 100 or so folks were off. Today there were four distances; 8k, 18k, 30k and 50k. Everyone except the 8kers started in one go and I soon lost sight of everyone I knew, which was fine; there is an unspoken rule that you run your own race. I hit play on my iPod and got on with things. My expectations for this race where really to treat as (a) and good long run and (b) time on my feet, I had in mind 3:30 for a time so fairly conservative I thought. Last year I completed the 30k of the 50k I raced in 3:33 but was running at a 50k pace.
I’ve run this course before so I knew to expect, up and down and not much in between. For the 30k it’s basically three hills, three miles up, three miles down for each. I managed to run the first two miles up and resigned to walk the last one. I stopped to take some photos and was recognized from this blog which is always nice and surprising at the same time, I am sorry I never got your name.
I hit the top and started the three mile decent, around mile 4 my ego got he better of me and I started clicking off some pretty quick miles ; 9:14 and 8:11! Stupid me! I reached the bottom at mile 6 and blew past the Aid Station, I had two 26oz bottles and had hardly touched them.
The second climb is trickier, once you’re into it proper it’s a lot of steps cut into the rock face and some narrow single track, added to which all the rain we have had this winter has accelerated the spring growth, although the upside of this is all the spring flowers that are in bloom and this trickle of a waterfall I have never ever seen before!
The climb goes on interspersed with a slight down and here I was overtaken by Dave who was racing the 50k but who kindly stopped to take a photo of me, thanks Dave!
Once you top out you left running through an elevated plateau, as you can see the cloud was low and it was a bit breezy which was welcome after all that huffing and puffing to get to the top. From here you loop around and basically run back down the first half of what you climbed up.
I was mostly being overtaken and while a bit frustrating I kept reminding myself of my job. My nutrition was good; I took a swig of Chocolate#9 gel, about 2/3’s of a pack, from a bottle every half hour, my hydration I screwed up and while there was no noticeable impact during the race I ended up really dehydrated; in total drank about 50oz of a Cytomax/Nunn mix, that’s it…not good!
I hit the bottom, skipped the Aid Station and started on the last 3 mile climb, I knew it wasn’t going to be pretty and it was just a case of getting it done. I trudged up the hill until I got to the top…and then I trudged along the top…and then I ran a bit, trudged some more down the other side and ran a bit, stopping to grab the occasional picture.
I was spent by mile 15 my legs were done along with thoughts of 3:30…then 3:45. Crapola I’ll be damned if I was going past 4:00 hours I
am was a friggin’ ultra-runner! Finally I reached the final straight and I bumbled across the finish in 3:54 and change!
I met up with Andrea who ran the 18k and Billy and Josh who ran the 30k, Josh came in 2nd overall and Billy was about a half hour ahead of me. We swapped war stories from the day and as you would expect the conversation got round to what’s next, I mentioned RNRSD and Billy said it was sold out! Shit, I hadn’t registered! Shit really? Well kinda, but more on that later. I bid my farewells and set off home.
The quick after race round up is that my base is close to being non existent, I am nowhere near as fit in my body as I am in my mind, this time last year I was knocking in two 50ks in three weeks SUB 6 houring them and PRing in both! This year my longest run is, well, today’s and that gave me a good ass kicking, in fact it’s my longest run in 6 months.
And so I am heading back to the drawing board to regroup and replan my return, suffice to say it involves a lot more dirt and a lot less tarmac!
Garmin Connect doesn’t work with Windows 7 and Chrome…at least I can’t get it to work so here’s a ST screen shot….no laughing please and today’s photos all jazzed up!