Not for this race, however. Forecast was for sun and more sun, and so what if it was a little chilly, that's actually perfect running weather. There was sunscreen available at race check in, which struck me as a little strange...I probably saw the dim midwinter sun about twice during this course, being as it was through the tall, dense trees of the coastal hills south of San Francisco! Perhaps sunscreen is just a staple at these events, put on by Pacific Coast Trail Runs. They do a cool series of events, making me wish I lived closer to these great venues.
This race had 4 distances; 10k, 17k, 35k, and 50k. Jim decided to run the 17k, and sent me off on the 50k as his race started 30 minutes later. Either distance, it was going to be hilly day for both of us and we were starting at the bottom. One woman ran by me warning of the 10 mile hill to come...it wasn't of course, that long, but it did feel like an unending climb. I knew it would be a nice to descent to finish the race, but hoped I would have the legs for it at the end!
The course meandered through Huddart and Wunderlich County Parks. Between the two, the course merged seamlessly into the Skyline Trail. I think the Skyline trail was my favorite part of the day...it was flattish yet rolling trail in deep woods (ok it was all deep woods) along the side of some very steep ravines.
The loop at the halfway point was very fun to run down...I was running 9 minute miles for a few on the downhill portions! I knew it would be a long way back up when I started seeing eucalyptus trees at the bottom...of course coming back uphill hit just as my legs were starting to complain about mile 17.
The aid stations were well stocked, and I hit both of them twice as I retraced my steps on the second half. My choices of food for the day were mostly Oreos and salty chips...I know, that seems disgusting, but if they were on offer, then I'm sure I'm not the only one munching on such things!
Aside from a refill of coke in my pack, I didn't stick around long...although I did want to try out those chairs for a while!
The midmorning sun transitioned to afternoon sun without ever seeming to get above the horizon. The days might be getting longer but I can't see it yet. Filtered sunlight came sporadically through the redwoods and deep forest, and the temperature seemed to stay perfectly cool the whole time.
The rolling hills seemed a lot less fun on the second half, where I was really wishing for the final downhill. When it finally came, I was really in too much pain to enjoy it, unfortunately. This hurts, I was thinking. Why? Because it's been too long since my last ultra. Perversely, the more often I run these things, the less they hurt. Perhaps it's just my pain tolerance going up, I don't know. (It couldn't have been too bad however...shortly after finishing I was talking about the next one, as usual!)
At any rate, the finish line was a very happy sight. You know, it's that moment when the warm, flat, watered-down Coke in my bottle changes from the best thing I've ever had to drink, to a gross, sticky mess that I have to clean out the next morning. Jim was waiting for me there, having had time to head back and shower after conquering his 17k!
Results are HERE: http://ultrasignup.com/results_event.aspx?did=27079
We both finished about midway through the results. I'm usually higher than that and actually run faster than I had predicted. So although I'm in pretty good shape, I think the quality of runners is really high in this area. I'm always wishing to run faster, though...in this case I have been training by hiking with a pack (X-Alps training of course) rather than running downhill...this definitely didn't prepare me for such a hilly run.
|Before....rocking the wild running pants!|