Tuesday, January 24, 2012

It Begins at the Falls

Week Summary

Carson River Flats: 5.5 mi (+13 ft); 10:52 pace
EF Treadmill: 5.9 mi (+0 ft); 10:43 pace
Carson River Flats: 5.2 mi (+12 ft); 9:10 pace
Pacifica Shakeout (CA): 3.5 mi (+600 ft); 12:00 pace
Brooks Falls 50K (Pacifica, CA): 31.6 mi (+7,682 ft); 11:52 pace

Weekly Totals: 51.7 mi (+8,307 ft); 9:48:30 on trail

I tapered into the Brooks Falls 50K on the weekend with some easy, base efforts along the Carson River and dropped in a little treadmill time for good measure. Forecasts called for an end to our non-winter-like weather as I looked forward to the weekend. Everything felt good for a strong effort on the hills of the Pacific Coast.

Exchanging the Yota for the 4x4 GMC, Darren and I left early Saturday morning in between rain and snow squalls, precursors to the growing storm. We hit chain-controls at Truckee, CA, but it wasn't long before we were back in the California sunshine; maybe the forecasts were overblown. Soon, we arrived in Palo Alto to check out the Zombie Runner store before heading over the coastal hills to Pacifica.

We met the two Tims from Inside Trail who were busy sticking large magnets on trucks (we knew we were in the right place) and marking the trails for Sunday's event. We checked with T. Stahler who was finishing up on the pink loop and then found Footfeathers high on the yellow loop. Jogging up the trail, it was clear that tomorrow's event would be an interesting challenge - run-able hills and super descents switch-backing through groves and thickets. I started thinking a 7-hour finish might be considered a success.

After a little shakeout time on the trail, occasionally helping the Tims with course markings, Darren and I found our hotel and searched out a pre-race dinner. We found it in some pretty good lasagna at a pizza/pasta joint only a block from the race-start. We could not help but shiver as we ate. The restaurant was not particularly cold, but we could not shake the damp humidity. This is not something to which the desert crew at Young Mountain Runners are acclimatized. We knew, however, this could be the perfect temperature for a good run.

The rain rolled in during the night and the showers would play with us all day Sunday. Briefly, the Inside Trail crew and great volunteers put on a fantastic event under trying conditions. Each ultra brings a feeling of success that isn't easily described, but running a challenging event put on on by friends who have coached you along the way is especially satisfying. To run it well means everything. I cannot say I have ever felt more successful at the end of an event than I did at Brooks Falls. Of course, I did not win, but I ran almost perfectly within and, at times, just beyond my abilities; and I simply and easily had a great time. Nevermind the sideways rain of the ridge-tops, the mud-filled ruts of the descents, and the ceaseless rain on the final loop, this was ultra at its best.

A complete race report is here...

We were home by late Sunday night after a careful drive through the storm. We arrived as the window closed and the snow began to fall. The rains followed me to the roof of the Comstock, where in the morning I awoke to a foot of new snow. What a crazy weekend. IWWD.

1 comment:

  1. I'm a little sore today! I did a shake out run with Chloe on Monday (~3 miles @ 15 min. pace) and that felt good but it's always 2 days after that gets me!