Serious Fun. Every PCTR bib I have ever worn says this and in these two words the whole trail running thing is captured, yeah running trails is hard and dirty but it’s always fun! And this weekend was no different. The forecasted storms blew in early and woke me at 4:30am and the rain came down in cats and dogs but by race start there were blue skies and mostly fluffy clouds.
Driving south on PCH (with iPhone)
The other great thing about these races is that it’s a great opportunity to meet up with some super cool people and this weekend was no different, this nice thing is the conversation is just picked up exactly where you left off and that might have been 6 months ago!
L-R Lori, Shacky, Rachel, Billy, Dave, me, Emil
This is my fourth year at this race, the third time running it and the first time running the 30k, in fact it’s only the second 30k I have ever raced, the first last March runs over the same course from a different start/finish point so it’s a good comparison. The course is a figure of eight with three climbs each of about 1000 feet.
My plan for this race was to really be as steady and consistent as I can, the terrain was always going to dictate my pace, so I would walk the ups, run the downs and run/walk everything; all 3.79 miles of everything else. For the first 6 miles I ran with Rachel, coming down the first hill I was just plain enjoying myself and caught myself doing a sub 8 min mile…woah time to back off! I hit the first Aid Station (7.75m), filled up one bottle and was in and out in literally 10 seconds and with a tidy 1:30 on the clock. A long windy climb up up Ray Miller saw me at 10 miles in 2:00, yes that’s 2.25 miles in 30 minutes! So far so good.
My hydration and nutrition was working pretty well and I was using the new and improved Clif gels (review to follow) one gel every 45 minutes and taking about 15 minutes to eat it along with a bottle of Clif Shot into which I would toss a Nuun.
After the second Aid Station at Sycamore Canyon Rachel passed me on the long climb up, which was fine along the switchback and then it went vertical, this climb truly sucks.
The very final section lasts…oh, about forever!
But the juice is worth the squeeze!
Finally I topped out and had to regroup myself my HR was at 175 and I had been in Zone 5 for the last 30 minutes. Once collected the rest of the route unfolded before me along with some stunning ocean and valley views.
The last thirty minutes are all downhill and with one eye on my watch I had the finish and a PR in sight. It was tempting to walk, my old friend from last weekend at the Eco Marathon; cramping, had come back again but with a few hops and stretches I managed to keep them under control. I bottomed out and with a dash across the road I crossed the finish line in 3:44:01. A new PR by nearly 11 minutes.
I hung around and caught up with Billy who ran a smoker and placed 3rd in his age group, saw the winner of the 50k finish in 4:25! Humbling! I caught up with Sarah and Michael the RDs who told me of some exciting plans for the future! After which I headed out and was home in time for lunch.
I’ve said it before and I will continue to say it that if you ever fancy a trail race this is place to go, all altitude and no attitude…oh yeah and serious fun, go on give it a go; you know you want to ! Here are the rest of the photos.