Dawn - Sometimes An Ultrarunner

Dawn - Sometimes An Ultrarunner

December 27, 2015

Woodside 35k, 27 Dec 2015

We're back for a second year at Woodside for a trail run through the thick forests south of San Francisco.    This race is part of the Pacific Coast Trail runs, and it's a great way to work off the excess Turkey from Christmas dinner!

I had downgraded this year from the 50k to the 35k.  I hadn't been running very much in 2015, and finally realized that I would enjoy the race a lot more if I didn't bite off too much.   That's a hard lesson for me to learn, but I did remember from last year that the 50k loop was a huge downhill/uphill  slog, so cutting that section out this year wasn't hard to do!

Jim had decided to do the 17k again this year, and had actually been running quite a bit, so he was excited to best his time.  We were both freezing at the start, the car said it was only 32 degrees and there was frost and ice along the trail until well past half of the course.

The coastal mountains are nothing if not steep, so after a few minutes of downhill, the true uphill started.  It went on for miles and miles.  For a few glorious minutes, I had been the leading women, but as the grade steepened, the whippets streamed by me, and I wouldn't see them again until the turnaround point, where they were already far in front.

At about 4 miles into the race, I realized that this equaled my longest training run in the last 7 months.  Ouch. Only 18 miles to go...  That's definitely not the proper way to train for a race!   In my defense, I had gotten a new puppy (more about that later), so I had done a lot of walking with him.  Puppies can't run until they are a year old, so if I want to walk the dog, it's hard to get a run in too on the same day.

I've also been training for an Adventure Race in St. George next month, The Happy Mutant 72 Hour AR.   So I've been hiking up hills, doing spin classes, and rock climbing in the gym.  Not much time left for running.  I could only hope that my legs wouldn't hurt too bad by the end of this race.

The 10k race had started 10 minutes before me, and I caught up to a few of them as I pumped my arms up the hill.  Not to be outdone, some of the 17k runners, starting 10 minutes later than I had, caught up to me!

Well-stocked aid station
At the top of the ridge was the (very well-stocked) aid station...it was nice to know that the hardest part of the course was done.  Jim's course would turn around here and head back down to the finish.  I half envied that, but knew the second half of the course was beautiful too.  Following the Skyline trail, it meandered for about 5 miles just below the top of the ridge, in a mostly flat fashion.   Actually it wasn't very flat at all, but had constant small ups and downs that were pretty runnable.  

I found a speedy runner just ahead of me and vowed to catch up to him.  We ran together for a few miles, and that helped me to push the pace quite a bit.   All the same, the uphills were getting old by the time I hit the turnaround point.   I snagged a cup of Coke and some gummies before heading for home.   By this time I was hurting a little, but figured that I could run the rest of the way back without looking like an invalid at the finish.

Temperatures never changed very much, and I cringed when I saw 50k runners pass me wearing tank tops in the near freezing temps.  My own hands never seemed to get warm, and I alternated wearing one glove on first one hand, then the other as they always felt cold and swollen.

At the finish
With 3000 feet of elevation gain (and loss), this race keeps the hills coming.   Jim was waiting for me at the last aid station as I came through, and it was nice to know that he had finished happy with his race.   From there I knew it was mostly down hill to the finish.   Except for a sneaky little uphill in the middle of the descent, I would lose at least 1000 feet in the last 5 miles.   Unlike last year in the 50k, this time I could still run, so I pushed it as hard as I could down the hills.

The hot chicken noodle soup was very yummy in the finish area, along with handfuls of chips.  I hadn't eaten much during the race due to a sloshing stomach (or perhaps that caused my sloshing stomach?).  Either way I was grateful to sit down and do some munching.  Warming up would have to wait until we got in the car, though...Jim was freezing too while waiting for me at the finish line.

It's always nice to repeat a race, especially when the scenery is so nice.  We really enjoyed coming here again even if it was a bit colder than we were hoping for.  After all, we come to California to escape the Utah winter!

Fog over the lake on the way to the start

The trail markers made the course easy to follow
A very large banana slug

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