Pacifica (San Pedro Valley Park)
Now, if you are not familiar with Pacifica, this picture might not be so exciting to you. You might, in fact, look at this picture and think, "Typical California-- what's the big deal?" Typical California if you live in a section of California that is not blanketed in fog 360 days out of the year, which is Pacifica's general state of existence.
However, we seem to be having a spate of summer in the middle of January, and so I spent a marvelous day running and then hanging out at the PCTR race in Pacifica today.
When I arrived at the race this morning, it was a little chilly, but the clear ocean views driving in promised this would be just a temporary state. I checked in and said hi to Mike, who was graciously volunteering his time, Sarah (RD) and Suzanne, a fellow tart of the trails. Jo Lynn almost missed the start, but she and her friend Christy also made it for the 21K as well.
This course has two loops-- if you are a 30 or 50K runner, you do them more than once, but the 21K runners had a 12K loop and then a 9K loop. The first loop leads up to the top of North Peak, from which we had an absolutely stunning view today. (The first pic is from the trail leading up to the top.) For the first time ever, I had someone take a picture of me during the race on top of North Peak, but since my camera's shutter is lamer than lame, it didn't come out, so you will not see me atop North Peak. You can see the trail leading up to North Peak however, and then the view looking towards the East Bay. While this is not an amazing picture, if you click on it, you can see the tip of Mt. Diablo poking through the clouds, which is why I took the picture.
Then the first loop drops back to the start/finish line (also the aid station), embarking on a loop that has less elevation gain/loss than the first loop, but which reminded me that I have not been running long or hills lately. This is another way of saying this portion kicked my behind. The second hill of the second loop is made up of switchbacks that are flat enough that they should be 100% runnable but steep enough to make you feel like your body is devoid of any kind of power at the same time. Fun. Then I got to the downhill and realized that my quads really need some downhill experience.
However, once I finally finished, I had a great rest of my day. I ended up hanging out for hours, both because the weather was great and because I was having fun talking with everyone. PCTR events are like a party with a bunch of tired and sweaty people and no alcohol. We are really lucky to have them in the Bay Area.
I waited for Jo Lynn to finish, then hung out with Christy and her for a bit-- Christy had taken a rather nasty face plant on her first loop (but still finished!). This course had a ton of very technical, rocky single track which was pretty but left a bunch of bloody runners-- the RD ran out of band-aids! I spent time talking with various and sundry people and sort of helping out Sarah (RD) until it was time to break everything down and go home.
This run was a great way to start the season and a good inspiration to get myself in gear for the upcoming craziness I have planned into my life. Running today was a big wake-up call that if I am going to run AR50 in April, I need a LOT more miles on my legs.