Sunday, January 11, 2009

Angel Island 25K - Tiburon, CA

This is one of just two Pacific Coast Trail Runs races that I haven't done, and the only one in the Bay area that I've never experienced. I had never wanted to wait for the ferry from Tiburon and start so late in the day. But with no injury excuses handy and no fresh snow on the ground in Tahoe, I went ahead and signed up this year.

Angel Island does three loops of around 8km each: one around the outer perimeter of the island, one about halfway up, and a third that climbs to the top of the island. Its a fast course with just 2000 feet of climbing. It seemed like running 40 minute loops (right around 7:30 miles) should be achievable, with a finish around 2 hours.

I did notice that Mike Pigg, a legendary triathlete from the 80s, was entered. I planned to try to hang on his shoulder to win the masters division. But I didn't see him at the start. Apparently he didn't start when everyone else did. I took the lead for the first mile or so. On the first climb I was passed by several young speedsters, but I stayed at a consistent pace. Probably Mike was in that pack.

I kept up a remarkably steady speed on each loop: 40 minutes for each one. On the last one we got treated to a climb to the top of the mountain where a sign said "I made it!". I finished in 2:00:53, good for ninth and second master. Mike finished about a minute ahead.

It was a beautiful day for running. But there was no soup today! (say it ain't so Wendell!) So I headed back out to the ferry and managed to be just in the first freightload back. I met former Santa Cruz mayor (and current councilwoman) Catherine Beiers, who at age 76 did the 16K in 2:25. Amazing.


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