|Nice blue shirt w/logo and DATE|
(NOTE: I ran this race again in 2012..go here for that report)
It was also my 3rd trail race..the second I've run put on by coastaltrailruns.com. As with most trail races.....it is very hilly for me: 4300' of up/down. (see previous blog post for elevation profile.
The course is an out and back half marathon course with the marathoners doing it twice. This has pluses and minuses. On the minus side, you cover the same ground 4 times and this could be thought of as boring. On the plus side you know what you are in for after one trip out and can pace yourself better. In theory. Also, you get to see your fellow runners as you are going ..several times..and this is fun.
Of course lots of brain function goes out the window in a tough race and so there' s also the possibility you won't remember anything you've seen before and hence it won't be boring (You probably think this is a joke...)
As you see the blazingly fast 50k runners and marathoners whiz by, they are sure to say "Good Job" as they see you
Anyway I get up this morning drive down to the Harvey West part in Santa Cruz and as usual people are already there and waiting for the start.
One of the unusual things about this race is that you actually have to cross the San Lorenzo River yourself, on foot, in chest deep water.
They do put up a rope to help keep your footing (and it does help) but it's not a given that you won't get a dunking.
If you are running the half, you do this river fording twice. For us marathoners and 50k runners you do it FOUR times. The river crossing is about 4 miles out on the 6.6 mile route we run 4 times. (with two huge climbs and descents each time).
The RD explained all about the course and showed us the water depth visually 8) and off we went at 8am. We did a little loop around the park to spread us out before we hit the single track. I had been looking for my friend Martha that was running the marathon but hadn't seen her.
|Ernie on the trail!|
About two minutes Martha caught up and said hello and continued ahead of me...she likes the uphills...I like the downhills. I was in this for two laps and knew the second one would be rough so I tried to stay slow even with all the halfers going so fast.
|Martha blasting up the hill (in blue ahead).|
Eventually we came out on a clearing. It was still foggy but obviously this would be a good viewpoint when the sun came out. The relative flat allowed me to catch up and pass Martha so I could get another pic of her.
|here come the redwoods|
We come out of the woods and cross the road here and I took a pic back at the person that stopped me from getting smooshed by a car when I crossed the road. Thank you!
|trains was/is around here!|
|She's taking shoes off|
There's a gravely beach here.
sun casting shadows now.
There was a young guy here taking pictures for the race and so everybody had good incentive to not be a doofus and take an unintentional swim.
I found it ok..not that hard. The first crossing was the hardest as the light was not strong (still foggy and the half marathoners had clouded up the water a bit in some places near shore (where the big rocks were on the bottom!). I had to sling my belt over my neck, since I had my camera, so I didn't want to slip.
|up through redwoods|
|down the backside of the hill..near the bottom.|
|San Lorenzo River|
Eventually I get to the aid station and it has a lot of my favorites. I chow down on melon, salty baked Pepperidge Farm goldfish (yum!) and some PBnJ quarter sandwiches. After a couple of minutes of grazing, I head start back..it's taken me a little under 1:30 to reach this point. This means best case I'm looking at 6 hrs. I had assumed 6-6:30, but I knew I would have some fade with all these climbs and descents, so I upped my mental estimate at that point to 6:30-ish. I have one microsecond of pang that I'm later than I thought, but squash it right away. This run is not for racing, it's for having a good time out in 1500 year old forest and river.
|way steeper than the pic can show....|
Over the hill and down to the river to ford it again, then a smaller hill. There are a few other creatures on the trails today.
Luckily several sections of the trail are off limits for bikes so they really aren't a problem.
Eventually I come back to the section of the trail that's the high field and I almost zone-out head down and miss a very important left turn...luckily ahead of me there's two non-racing runners telling one of us races that he's missed the turn and I look left and go, "oh! Ooops!" and take the left. Whew!
|The ocean in the distance (Montery Bay)|
Down we go to the finish area for the turnaround. I get to this point at about 3:03 but my legs are way more shot than a road marathon at this point.
On the way back up I see Martha converging on her finish and take a shot of her.
|Martha a couple of miles (?) from her finish.|
She takes one of me too.
|heading back out...not showing legs which|
are stiff as boards if I stop.
|Ernie in the 2nd loop.|
|All the rain and sun means lot of flowers!|
At the river, after crossing I put my belt on the beach and go back in and submerge up to my neck...oh that's nice! It's been getting warmer out here with the full sun we've been having.
|Headed for the finish!|
I pull off a 6:38:39. After I finish a young guy comes up to me and asks what I want, soda, soup, ??. Wow. that's service. How many races have a maitre d' ? I'm kinda blitzed so I tell him I need to rest for a sec. As soon as I'm ready he's all over giving me what I want. 8)
I hang out and rest and hydrate...and cheer in a few more people finishing for the next 45 min or so. A great day...I'm really happy to have spent the day out in the redwoods...AND grateful for finishing the race...AND for not injuring myself in any way....now time for the ride home. (about 1 hr)
Coastal Trail Runs puts on a good race and I'll be doing more!
Full picasa album here.
|finish area late in the day|
6:38:39 14.59min/mile ave pace
Course is 26.6 miles, 4300' of elevation change
4/5 in 50-59 age group.