Thank you for tuning in for another installment of trail racing reports. This week is brought to you by Coastal Trail Run's Montara Mountain Half Marathon. A beautiful course covering 13.1 miles and climbing 2900' in the lovely coastal town of Pacifica, CA (that link will take you to the elevation profile, take a look!).
A few things since January's Steep Ravine race:
First, that race beat me up. Man that was hard. It make me realize I have some work to do and not just with my running. I have some weak spots. In early Feb. Loren and I started on a strength routine based on the Iron Strength work out. It really focuses on getting a stronger ass, something runners tend to lack. Now, this thing starts out with like 5 minute intervals of things. Um. No. We cut everything do like 2 minutes, and ya know what? I was still sore as hell the next day. It's getting better and I'm upping the times of the intervals but it's still a workout. In this transition to strength training, I've cut down on my milage. Not that it was high to begin with but I just don't want to over do it. I figured this would really help with my trail running and hills and in the long run, my goals for the year: climbing Mt Hood and Mt Rainier.
It didn't take long to see an improvement.
Last weekend we went out to check out the course, while we didn't run the whole thing, we ran 10 miles and did the first 2 climbs. I could tell the difference, I felt like I had more power going up those climbs (the first one was 3 miles and gains about 1600"). I really like having an idea of what the course is like.
Race day: beautiful morning. Temps in the high 40s and clear clear skies. The RD said the trails were in the best condition he had ever seen them and the weather was just picture perfect. There were 4 distance: 10k (2nd half of the half so we never ran with them) half, full, and 50k. I'd say less than 200 people total for all races.
The first couple of miles were narrow single track. I wanted to be up frontish as to not be blocked out and lost in the bottle neck, but I didn't want to be so far up that I was going out too fast and causing those behind me to have to wait. I feel like I positioned myself well, we all moved like a snake up the switch backs with some passing here in there but no major issues.
I'm glad I had run up this hill the week before. After about 2 miles, we hit a service road up to the summit.
Not before long, the leaders started coming down. First a spate of guys, then 1 woman doing the marathon, and next was Loren. She was 2nd woman in the field, but first woman in the half.
I hit the top, grabbed my orange rubber band that indicated I made it to the top and started bombing down the 3 mile decent. By then the field had thinned out and there was no problems going down the narrow trail. There would be the occasional hiker but they were aware there was a race happening and were all considerate.
After that, there was a short flat with the aid station. I grabbed a 2nd gel, since my spare fell out of my pocket at the start, and some clif drink and headed for the 2nd climb.
The 2nd climb wasn't bad, about a mile long and not too steep. The thing I didn't like about this climb was coming back down. It was a narrow trail with a gash down the middle of most of it, perfect to ankle busting. I didn't get to go down as fast as I'd have liked to, not wanting to break my ass. Another small flat patch, maybe a half mile, then up to the 3rd climb: 2 miles of fun.
I wish we had run this one too. Not knowing what was coming and going up hill for 2 miles at mile 9 was tough. There were lots of switchbacks, some really steep sections, and lots of trees so I couldn't see where the path was leading me and I couldn't see anyone behind me or in front of me. It was a tough climb. I dug in and just kept going up up and up.
FINALLY, a clearing and the down hill started. The footing here was much better so I could really move. I was getting into the mid 7s going down, I knew I was almost done. I could hear them announcing winners and I was pretty sure I heard them announce Loren as the first woman in the half.
Once I hit the bottom of the hill, just a couple of turns through a flat parking lot to the finish.
My goal for this race was sub 2:20, I finished in 2:17:37, almost 10 minutes faster than Steep Ravine. It's not really fair to compare races. While it's the same distance the courses and terrain are very very different.
3/14 in age group
23/89 over all.
I'm happy with that.
Now a note about Loren. Yup, she won. She also set a course record (I will add this because she keeps adding it: the woman who won the marathon was a few minutes ahead of her at her halfway point. She also flat out won the marathon, first over all, but anyhooo) Loren finished in 2:03:59. At mile 8, Loren dropped her only remaining gel and stepped on it, hearing that lovely pop that a gel exploding under a foot makes. Because she is hardcore (and may have bonked otherwise) she picked up said popped gel and carried it with her, licking the gel off her hand and spitting out the gravel for then next 5 miles. I'm just glad she didn't lick it off her shoe. She ended with mocha gel on her hand, leg, shoe, and face. Sexxxy proof here.
Yup. That's my girl!