Sunday, December 07, 2008

PCTR Woodside 17K - Woodside, CA

The PCTR season is winding down with three races in December. Huddart Park in Woodside is a favorite training run haunt and I've done the various race distances on the Crystal Springs and Chinquapin Trails many times. This varied from a course record in the 10K in 2005 (since then the course has changed) to a disastrous offcourse injured 50K last February where I was last but got to meet Tom Kaisersatt and experience ultras in a whole new way.

Today I just wanted to get a few points towards the overall trail series (I clinched the masters division in October). Right now Jeff Emery is leading with 78 points. Jason Wolf has 70 points. My much faster friend Gary Gellin has 62 points and I'm sitting at fourth with 60 points. Some third and second place finishes for this and Muir Beach and Rodeo Beach over the next few weeks would at least put me in contention for the overall series.

I got there in time to watch Leor Pantilat, Will Gotthardt, Scott Dunlap and Jason Reed take off on the 50K at 8:30. Tom Kaisersatt was also there at the start to support other ultrarunners, classy guy that he is. Chatting with him, he seems to remain in good spirits despite his ongoing battle with cancer. He's also going to be at the start of the Los Gatos Overgrown Fatass that Sean Lang and I are holding on February 8th this year.

Then at 9:00 my frequent short distance rival Ralph Lewis lined up for the 10K. While waiting for my race to start I drank some Coke as it was the only liquid around I could find. I figured my intolerance for sugar wouldn't be an issue on such a short race. I would be wrong. While I was foolishly downing my soda, Paul Taylor and Alistair Adams (frequent masters age group rivals at PCTR races) arrived on their bikes! Impressive guys. I said "well when you beat me today I guess you'll really own me".

Then finally at 9:15 I lined up with Gary, Paul and Alistair for the 17K. Alistair took off like a shot trying to follow Gary down the Bay Tree trail. I took it easy and just stayed within sight of Paul Taylor. Finally down on Richards Road I fell in alongside Paul and we chatted about the season and past races. When I saw Alistair up ahead on the climb I took off to catch up. Alistair seemed to be suffering, said to go ahead so I took the left onto Chaparral on my own and sprinted out to the Crystal Springs trail climb. I really like this part of the Woodside course. The climb just keeps going and going and going with lots of "false summits'. Most runners seem to flag at some point during the ascent. As I got within a mile or two of the King Mountain Road aid station and turnaround I had to stop and hurl from the Coke and pretzels I had stupidly ingested before the start. It was not a quick affair and at least five runners, including Paul and a guy named Scott Smith who was just behind me on most of the climb, passed me while I was prostrate.

But feeling better, I resolved to try to catch up. I got to the aid station just behind Paul and took off back down the hill to the Dean Trail. Paul let me go ahead of him through the gate. And I took off after Scott Smith, who was about a minute ahead. I steadily reeled Scott in on the descent and managed to put a little distance between Paul and I. I thought we were on pace for about a 1:25 finish. So when I was 15 seconds away at the 1:20 mark, I thought I would be fine putting in a kick to at least make it a fight for second place. Then I heard a cheer and it was clear we were coming to the finish much sooner than I thought. I put in a desperate kick at that point but I finished 10 seconds off in third place in 1:21:25.

Another six points for a total of 66 points. Still in fourth place but now only 12 points off first place with two races remaining. A couple second places would give me 82 points, which is probably what Gary will end up with as well.

Paul came in shortly afterwards in 1:22:59 with Alistair about 10 seconds off of him. This was pretty close to a repeat of the Big Basin 20K back in April.

I stayed around chatting with Gary, Paul, Alistair, Ralph and watching more finishers. Ralph was third in the 10K in a respectable 50:48, especially as he is dealing with a groin pull (this was the toughest injury I've ever had to recover from). Leor would end up a rare second place to Keith Bechtol who did the 50K in an incredible 3:36.


Blogger Jean Pommier said...

Adam, what a string of great results! It's a sort of perpetual racing or training at such a fast pace... Any plan for a recovery break?

Farther Faster

12:46 PM  
Blogger Adam Blum said...

I'm feeling good lately so plan to keep doing the weekly races as long as they're available (aren't we lucky to have year round racing here in the Bay area?!)

For 2009, I do need to get my training more consistent though. Plan to start track workouts early in the year, verify that can do those killer 8x800s and then start meeting you again for early morning workouts....

1:04 PM  
Blogger Baldwyn said...

Nice job, Adam! If you could puke and run at the same time you would have gotten second?

1:50 PM  
Blogger Alistair said...

Good result Adam. For some reason sustained uphills just don't suit me. Never did when cycling either.

I'm looking forward to the Muir Beach story and to trying to get closer to you at Rodeo Beach.

11:09 AM  

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