Race: PC Trail Runs Pacifica 50K
Location: Pacifica, CA
It was the Monday after returning from the Western States 100M Safety Patrol and Pacing when I decided that I wanted to do a 50K 5 days later. PCTR has races almost every other weekend and this one was almost in my backyard so to speak. In Pacifica - over the mountains from Hillsborough. I signed up online and Anil did the same the day after. He was looking at 31 miles after a long 62 miles in WS!
Saturday, June 30
I picked him up from his place around 6:45 a.m. and we quickly got onto 280N. The ride was uneventful and we were in the parking lot, just outside the San Pedro Valley Park entrance, by 8:00 a.m. We quickly got our stuff together. Anil had been smart enough to bring one of my long sleeved shirts I had forgotten in his bag during our WS run and that was a heaven sent! It was a tad chilly and I had, rather unwisely, opted to leave home dressed in a singlet. The shirt was swiftly donned and the singlet went over it. That's how I ran the entire race!
The course was unusual, even by PCTR standards. Sarah and Wendell like loops rather than out and back courses. This race had us go through the Start/Finish no less than 4 times! I'm becoming a fan of such courses. The reason is that they allow me to get to my drop bag quite often. My drop bag usually contains spare bottles filled with my sports drink of choice plus the ubiquitous bottle of Ensure.
The loops went in the following manner: 12K, 9K, 9K loop in reverse, 12K and then our choice of the 9K direction.
The 12K loop was a constant climb all the way to 1800 feet and a descent down to the start along a slightly different route the last 2 miles. The last middle 2 miles of the climb were very rocky. I deemed this good training for the TRT 100M on July 21.
The 9K loop, in my humble opinion, was a lot better. I felt it had more variation in terrain and trail than the 12K one.
Since this race had a 9K, a 21K and a 30K in addition to the 50K, the trails were crowded in the beginning. The 9K runners went off a few minutes early. The 21K, 30K and 50K runners shared the trail.
The climb up to 1800' in the 12K was crowded. The narrow trail and treacherous footing made for a slow pace. It opened out a bit during the descent and we were back to the Start for our first dip into the drop bags. Anil and I quickly replaced our bottles with fresh ones, chugged down a bottle of Ensure each and started on the 9K loop.
Again this loop was uneventful. We met up with a runner name Kimberly who had moved to San Francisco from St. Louis. She, Anil and I ran together for about a mile before she took off to finish, eventually, in 7:01.
Anil and I had decided to go easy and enjoy ourselves. Our aim was to get 6+ hours on a trail as a last really long run before TRT. Chuck Wilson was also doing the 50K as was Tom Kaisersatt.
This loop ended soon enough and we filled up our bottles with our respective powders. I was trying Heed+Perpetuem along with Salt Stick. I have found that Succeed gives me way more salt than I need and it tends to make me feel nauseous. Salt Stick is perfect for me. The Heed+Perpetuem combo was extremely tasty and this was the first race in a long time that I ran without even a sip of Coke!
Stan Jensen was helping out at the Start aid station. He is one amazing person. I love how much he gives back to the ultra community. He is there in so many races. Ruth Anderson, Quicksilver etc. Thank you Stan.
The thing that Anil and I noticed about the 2 loops was that the 12K one felt way different from the 9K one in terms of weather. The 12K one was definitely a bit cooler.
The reverse 9K loop was wonderful too. We met up with a dehydrated 30K runner about 1.5 miles from the end and quickly gave him some of our water. Further up we met a girl whose stomach was hurting. Anil promptly gave her ginger chews and that seemed to help her. Another runner further up was out of water too! I let him have a few swigs from my bottle.
The 12K loop was a bit slower than the first one. It seemed like the climb went on forever. We were both glad when the summit came into sight. Knowing that all that was left in the race was a 3.5 mile descent followed by the nice 9K loop made it easier.
We decided to do the 9K loop in reverse i.e. the direction we had taken for the 2nd 9K loop. Most of the other runners had chosen the opposite direction. I believe Anil and I were right in our opinion that our direction had less climbing than the one the others took.
The Finish finally came 7:43 into the race. This was a deceptive race. It was hilly with just under 7100' of elevation gain.
We hung around and chatted with Sarah and Wendell for 10-15 minutes before heading back to the South Bay. They are wonderful RDs and this race was perfectly managed as usual. Thank to both of them.