Sunday, June 2, 2013
pacific coast trail runs
PCTR puts on great races, by the way...
Mt. Diablo: Geographers claim that one can see more of the Earths surface from the peak of Mt. Diablo in California than from any other peak, with one exception-- Mt. Kilimanjaro in Africa, which stands at over 19,000 feet. Mt. Diablo is just under 4000 feet tall, but rises solo out of the surrounding hills of the relatively-flat East Bay, outside of San Ramon.
This was the site of PCTR's June 2, 2013 race. The 50k, the 25k, and the 8k. Having just recovered from an injury I decided to show some restraint by signing up for the shortest distance. But, to quote my brother Faron: "if you think that an 8k is an easy race because it is short, you would be wrong."
I arrived at the mountain this morning thinking that this would just be a mellow run, a primer for some longer upcoming races, and a way to break the juju from my last race in December which spawned a dreaded IT band injury. So it was entirely surprising to me to find that, after the starting gun, I found myself thinking, "no way are these people going to finish ahead of me!" and I shot out to the front of the pack and maintained that position for almost the duration of the race. As Faron pointed out, 8k races are brutal because you can run at your maximum speed for the duration of the event, even if you've never tried such a stunt. If you don't know what your maximum 8k distance tempo is, you will discover it. What's worse (or better, if you're a masochist like me) is that during this race, the 8 k distance also climbed and then dropped 1,170feet, and the East side of Mt. Diablo was close to 90 degrees F in the sun today. I was pretty sure I would have a heart attack or just pass out on several different occasions.
But the most awesome thing was finding the summit, and then just absolutely flying down the rocky, slippery, narrow, twisty and dangerous trail at a top speed that far exceeded any I had previously known. I passed all the other girls and found my way to the finish line... and was astounded to hear the race organizer tell me that I was the first woman to cross the finish line! Yeah!
It's all quite awesome, though I don't exactly feel I deserved the 1st place medal that was placed around my neck. There were 2 women ahead of me, who I remember seeing (and thinking I had to catch) but who disappeared... It turns out they got lost, went off course, and then found their way back to the finish much later than they should have. But that is trail racing. I carried my trusty map, and I did consult it at the very intersection where they must have gotten lost. I was so grateful to have that map during the moment of confusion and doubt which sent my competitors into no-man's land, and ultimately 5th and 6th place finishes.
At the finish line, as people came in and found their way to food and water, several racers, whom I had past on the descent, commented on my insane speed. I admitted that I was almost out of control, and that had I a reason or need to stop, it would have been difficult. I was running on pure faith, powered by gravity and without reservation. It was the greatest thrill I've had in a while...
So, yeah. 8k. Crazy competition. I am more wiped out and tired than I felt after my 35k, last December. Except this time--no injuries, and instead a 1st place medal for my efforts.