Monday, March 25, 2013

Coastal Trail Runs Canyon Meadow 30k

I'll start with just getting the race stuff out of the way - shirts are nice, things were organized, people were nice. No lines to wait in, park had enough potties even with a record crowd of almost 400 (this is a lot of people for a CTR race). Aid stations were great, had everything I could have needed, my water bottle was taken from my hand before I even got to the tent and was being filled for me. Plenty of food options, drink options, and smiling faces.

The course - was beautiful!  The first few  miles were pretty exposed, but once you got to Skyline Blvd, you had plenty of shade. It had a nice mix of fire road, single track, and what I call a mix of both - wider than single track, but not fire road wide. It had steep climbs, steep descents, and some technical downhill single track that was a blast. There were lots of Redwoods, and lots of Eucalyptus trees that smelled so good! 

The view to your left up the first climb.

A fun section of single track.

I'm guessing that pointy Mt in the distance is Diablo??

If you look close you'll see the fence that runs along side the trail we were on.

More fun trail as we start a long downhill stretch.

Coastal puts on a good race and this is one I would do again.

Cons- man, those loops do a number on me mentally!! You  have to have the will power and determination to get with in feet of the finish line and veer left instead of crossing it. There was an aid station full of all the finish line food/drinks and people standing around talking and celebrating their finish (5 mile and 13.1 were mostly finished)....and you have to keep going and basically start your race again, heading out for another (shorter) loop which started off with the hardest climb of the day that you have already done once. I grabbed a cup of Sprite and kept walking. Had I paused at all I would have been done.

My Day - The honest truth is I was swinging from high - highs, to low- lows pretty rapidly from the start of this thing.  The climb was tough, but we were staying mid pack of everyone getting it done.  I have had insomnia for the past 9 nights/days (this happens every few months, no biggie, it's just inconvenient) and tummy issues for a week...after maybe 3 miles I was doubled over in a bush heaving with no relief.  If I could have just puked it would have felt so good!!  Brian and I both used the potties at Skyline Blvd, and I took off while he was still doing his business. I ran with 2 ladies, we were doing the pass/get passed thing for a while. I left the next aid station first and didnt' see them again. I did not eat anything at the aid stations, just drank sprite and refilled my water. I stuck to my Peach Tea Chomps that I always use because I knew I could get them down. Brian caught back up to me by Chabot Space Center, just in time to take the road kill picture. We actually just cross the road, we didnt' actually run along it. I told him to go on by himself, I would be fine, and he did.

View behind us heading up the first hill.

This I believe is part of the second 5 mile loop as it cuts down to the creek.

Did I mention it was COLD at the start? Like frozen grass cold??

The first aid station we came to.

Brian catching up to me right below Chabot.

There was some really fun, beautiful sections as we looped back to the finish area. The views from the ridge were amazing, and the single track was a blast. I had updated my music the night before and kept finding myself smiling like a crazy person, running down the hills to songs like "Chicken Fried", "Fishing in the Dark",  "Pontoon", and Alabama's "Mountain Music".   "Mt Music" starts off with an old man who says, "see that mountain over there? One of these days I'm gonna climb that mountain"...and every time it made me laugh out loud.  I guy passed me at one of my deliriously happy moments and said "isnt' this just amazing??"  Yep. The feeling of singing out loud to "Fishing in the Dark", running all out downhill on fun single track, jumping over roots and rocks with beautiful trees and wildflowers flying by....I can't really explain how good that feels.
So pretty!

Made for some fun downhill running!

Obviously one of my deliriously happy moments.

And another happy moment.

There were a few times you could look down over the edge and see the trail you'd soon be on.

Yummy smelling Eucalyptus trees.

That can only mean more downhills coming!

This would be one of my less than stellar moments..look how glassy eyed I am.
The first ridge, second time around. Lots o sun!!

A good example of how well marked Wendell's trail runs are, you see ribbons like this every few minutes.

Hot Dang!! I'm going that way!
 And then other times....I was loopy, dizzy, doing the stumbling shuffle trying to frantically get a chomp in my mouth because I didnt' feel right and surely needed more sugar.  I was doubled over heaving in bushes 2 more times with no relief.  Then, once you are back near the creek in Redwood Regional Park, you go out along the creek for what felt like forever, while the runners ahead of you are running on the other side of the creek in the opposite direction towards the finish. Brian and I saw each other, and he figured he was 10 minutes in front of me.  For some reason he decided to wait for me at the finish line aid station, wasting 10 minutes. I promptly told him to move his butt and get going on the second loop. That was the last I saw of him until the finish. That last 5 mile loop was not pretty. I got through the climb, but it was sunny and hot and pretty miserable.  Eventually you top out and then cut back down to the creek and man, that cut down was steep and not nearly as fun as the earlier single track!!  My joints were pretty cranky coming down that section. At the bottom, you are back to the finishing side of the creek, and it was just a matter of shuffling along to the finish. I shuffled like a champ and got it done.
This was heading up the climb for the second time, it was much warmer the second time and I swear it was steeper, too : )

Post race thoughts - still swinging from "you did ok, you pr'd, you'll be fine for Diablo" to "good lord lady, if 70 degrees and under 3000 ft of elevation was that hard, you have no chance of finishing Diablo".  That said, I feel ok today. If I had to run today, I could. I will workout later. I'm not as sore as I thought I'd be.  I have to remind myself I haven't slept for longer then 2 hours at a time in over a week, I've been sick with stomach stuff on top of that, and I got it done. It was right at a 16 minute PR over the last 30k I did. Brian finished 16 minutes before me.

Other thoughts - 4:20 is a long 30k for most people. I get that. But, it was 18 miles. The first Diablo cut off is at 15.5 miles/5 hours. I did 18 in 4:20....sick, not sleeping, and taking a butt load of pictures.  The second Diablo cut off (which is new this year) is at mile 23/7.5 hours.  Even if I barely made the first 5 hour cut off, I'd have 2.5 hours to go 8 miles. Then if I barely scraped by that, I'd have 2.5 hours to go another 8 miles.  And, I'm totally ok with barely scraping by the cutoffs if it comes to that.   It all sounds very doable. 

So, as you can see, I'm stuck somewhere between 'your an idiot for attempting this again', and 'you can totally do this!'

Put a fork in us and call us DONE!!

Those are some nasty looking elevation charts!!


  1. Great pictures and a great race report! That's a really tough course, maybe more so mentally than physically. You passed the test and will be fine at Diablo, especially if the weather isn't extreme.

    Diane and I pretty much can't run together - our natural paces are very different and in any case she's faster than me. I think it's a great thought to stick together, but in practice, you each have to do your own race.

    I hadn't heard about that second cutoff - it still doesn't sound bad. I think the early start will help you out too. I'm going to love watching you two finish that race this year!

  2. hi again!
    thank you so much for the pictures, i saved a bunch of them and they are beautiful :)
    and great job persevering through the race with all that lack of sleep and sickness!