Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Carmel Valley Trail Run- 8km

This race starts in Garland Park, a few miles inland from the beach in Carmel. I drove down from Los Gatos the morning of the race getting more and more excited about the beautiful sunny weather in store. Despite the rain forecast, not even the characteristic Monterey Bay area fog. This combined with the race topology (very challenging but short) made me feel very good about the race. Also, I'd finally gotten some respite from persistent plantar fascitis, so I was able to run without orthotics and with my lightest trail running shoes (Teva X1s).

I started off the race in front on the flats, which quickly gave way to single track trails and then, within a mile, to actual stairs (perfect Dipsea training). I stayed in front through the first couple miles. I was finally passed by a couple runners, who apparently weren't doing the 8km. Wow - passed on the hills. I realized I needed to step it up and gave chase, even though I was pretty sure I wasn't in the same route as they were. More and more climbing until we came out onto a wide open mesa in the glorious sunshine. Then still more climbing until the other courses turned off south while us 8km slackers headed north back to the race finish. This seemed about halfway. It was about 24 minutes, with I guessed 2.5m to go. The record was 38 minutes. Downhill 2.5 m in 14 minutes? Maybe. I kept up my speed but started to get nauseous as I pushed. I eased off to stop from getting sick (Rolaids before the race to lower the acidity from all of my prerace coffee?).

After about another half mile it was clear I wasn't going to set the record. At this point there were no other 8km within sight, so I slowed way down. As I came out of the last set of single track into the open fields I finally spotted David Acosta seemingly starting to kick. I kicked it in myself at that point and finished first in 43:40, well off of last year's record. I did manage to get another First Place hat to replace the one I bloodied on another trail run (the subject of another post).

I love this race. Beautiful and very challenging and short enough for me. It doesn't count for the Trophy Series but I'll be back next year anyway.