Saturday, February 17, 2007

Sequoia 20K Trail Race Report

as i left my house this morning alone (T and M didn't come this time) the sun was bright and there wasn't much of a chill in the air...the kind you expect at 7:30 in the morning. i started to worry a little...but since my flat 9 mile road run in the midafternoon on weds didn't kill me i was reasonably optimistic that i could handle the elements today.

i've been to Joaquin Miller Park many times....just not in awhile and i missed my exit. at least i gave myself extra time to get there. luckily that was the last time i got lost today. i left two things behind. my sunglasses and the garmin...

i charged the garmin along with the ipod the night before, it was ready to go.
i think it was when i remembered i had to gas up before heading to oakland that i got hurried. plus spending too long looking for my sunglasses before settling on a lesser pair. as it turned out i never even needed sunglasses since the trail was mostly covered. i paid extra attention to my solid pink and striped flags and didn't veer off course once. i just wished i had the garmin to gauge the miles....12 hilly, windy, trail miles is very disorienting.

i was adequately warmed up by the time i walked from my car up what would be the first of many hills that dropped down into a cool pocket in the valley where the registration area and start line was. the sun filtered through the tall pines and you could see people huddled in bands of light on the grass to keep warm.

i arrived a little after 8:00 am, grabbed my bib, hit the porta john than stashed my bag before finding a place to loosen up and stretch. i had plenty of time and mossied up when the 20ks were called to the starting line at 8:45 am.

in usual pctr fashion it wasn't long before the first monster hill showed up.
i walked. i walked ALOT. though technically, it was more like hiking. a heart rate monitor may be next on the gadget list. in the end, walking proved to be a good stratedgy and helped me shave 3 minutes off my last pctr 20k time.

the weather has been good all week and the sun was able to dry the trail up , other than one or two mushy parts it was pretty dry. one fellow runner commented on liking more mud. i prefer the drier conditions, as they make for faster funner not too mention safer descents.

pctr event's welcome both runners and hikers. there designed to be less competitive, and are more directed at personal achievement. the trails are as challenging as they are beautiful, and offer a variety of terrain and technical stuff. sequoia was no exception. it had it all. steep rocky rooty descents, merciless climbs...that willed your ass to walk before you even got to the foot of it, well groomed single track, nice wide flat duff covered trail that snaked it's way through the canopied forest.

the downhill portions were knarly. i LOVE fast descents. you can't hesitate on the steep downhills. i just go (as much as i can) with gravity's pull, eyes fixed on the terrain ahead searching for the next footplacing. eventually the fast descent slows to a slow jog or shuffle and i try to hold steady until i see the beginning of another hill before starting to walk again. with 1.7 miles to go after the last aide station. the final stretch was an awesome narrow and fast, it flattened out as i approached the last 400 yards or so. the final descent did me in and i half walked and ran the rest of the way for a semi-strong finish.

my time was 2:35:??...i pr'd a whole 3 minutes! not bad for a last minute decision to jump into a pctr event...which if i do say so myself is kinda a middle aged wannabe trail diva kind of way.

oh and i save the best for last . today i got meet a real trail diva known in blogland as Catra the DIRT DIVA. she was just as sweet as i imagined she would be. i spotted her at the first aide station..she was working the race. we hugged and chatted for just a brief moment...but i know our paths are gonna cross again soon...

while i didn't miss the hassle of getting M out the door this morning, i did miss not seeing she and T at the finsh line. i didn't stay around very long afterwards, i even left before collecting my t-shirt...needed to get home so T could work for a bit. after i showered M and i headed out to lunch then to the mall for peddy/mannys and a little retail therapy. i found out a pedicure after a 12 mile run isn't such a good idea. i was mostly looking forward to a foot and leg massage plus i have 2 grayish toenails. there all pretty now though. i was wiggling and making a major spectacle of myself as the pedicurist attempted to exfolliate my tender feet much to the delight of M...until it was her turn.