Pacifica 30K - Pacifica CA
I also had a lot of trepidation about this race, as I would have to do it in orthotics. I've been training in Nike Frees recently (a minimalist shoe with basically no support of any kind). I went a little overboard this week with long trail runs in them. By Friday my feet were very sore and I was getting twinges of plantar fascitis, something I thought I had licked many years ago. So the only way I could do this race was to go ahead and turn my beloved lightweight New Balance 790s in to awkward "high heeled" running shoes with balky orthotics in them. On a technical trail run like this - a recipe for disaster.
At the start this year it was sunny and warm. I don't think I've ever even seen sunshine in Pacifica in the morning before. I saw Chuck Wilson and Rob Byrne on my walk into the park this year, and regaled them with tales of Kettle Moraine's biblical extremes of this year. Will Gotthardt was there, as was Ryan Commons (a surprise show, no doubt to keep Thom Clarke, who he's competing with in the PCTR Ultra series, in the dark). Obviously Will and Ryan were then the 50K favorites (which proved to be true). Ray Sanchez was there sporting an expedition hat. He would come in third. Also lining up was Jason Wolf the PCTR Trail Series overall leader, who would win the 30K in an incredible 2:46.
Jason Wolf, Ray, myself and others at the start, photo courtesy of Rick Gaston
I headed out up the hill in chain following Will Gotthardt (there may have been a couple 20Kers ahead of him, but he led the longer distance guys). Halfway up the hill Ray passed me which is unusual as I've generally led him throughout in these PCTR races when I'm doing middle distance. Good running Ray. Ryan was still behind. I got to the top fairly quickly without noticing the awkward orthotics. But on the descent that high center of gravity with the raised heel was very noticeable. I came in after the first 12k loop out to North Peak in around 1:10. I grabbed some coke and potatoes and filled my water bottle with Perpetuem and some coke (not all the way it turns out due to the coke foam, I would regret this later). I'm guessing Ryan came in and headed out for the second loop while I was doing this.
Heading out for the 9k loop I still felt good most of the way, but tried to keep my speed in check. I was pretty much by myself the whole time, but could see Hoa Tran up ahead. My water bottle wasn't full and in the hot sunlight I came in after the second loop in 2:12, passing Drew Beesing (2nd in the 20K 20-29 agegroup) just before he finished. By this time I was getting sore toes and some chafing (remnants of Kettle Moraine 100K flaring up). So I took about ten minutes to retape my toes and apply BodyGlide. I should have had an extra pair of large toebox shoes with me. That would have helped quite a bit. I also made sure to get a full water bottle on this trip.
I headed back out for the final loop, feeling alright energy-wise. But my toes were still hurting. Also the chafing wasn't really solved by the BodyGlide. Also I really hate repeated "Groundhog Day" loops. Its like some kind of penance for sins having to do that. Makes me want to join the gymrats and go run on a treadmill watching bad TV.
On the last descent I slowed down in noticeable quad pain. I don't know if the orthotics were to blame or not. I did have one wipeout with about a mile to go on the switchback descents, putting a noticeable bend in my middle finger. That wipeout I am pretty sure was due to the orthotics. Luckily the need for them seems to have disappeared already so I won't have to go through this experience again soon. Will just confine myself to Nike Free training only once per week
I finished as bib number 332 in 3:32. This was good for fifth in the 30K and first master, earning for another 10 points in the age group part of the PCTR Race Series. Will Gotthardt won the 50K today with Ryan second, and Ray third. Surprisingly PCTR Race Series competitor Phil Oreste did not show for this race though he was registered So I guess I'm leading the 40-49 age group 66 to 36 points. I'm third overall in the trail series, but will not be able to catch either Jason Wolf or Jeff Emery as they are just too fast for me.
Afterwards I chatted with Rick Gaston, who was volunteering to get in hours for TRT 100. This reminded of the one week I have left to get those 12 hours. Yikes! I'll have to cram in a lot of assistance with Quicksilver Running Club at the Western States Duncan Canyon aid station to get that all in. I also got advice from Rick (also pacing next week) on how to pace for next week's pacing of Jean Pommier at Western States.