Trail Runners

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Mt. Diablo 25K (lots of pics) (Read 199 times)

    My first official race report, and it is going to be incredibly long just because I took a disposable camera up with me so I have a lot of pics. 4 months ago, I signed up for the Mt. Diablo 50K of Pacific Coast Trail Runs, optimistic after completing a hilly-for-Ohio 50K in good spirits. Unfortunately, the next several months would deal me a few injuries, mostly self-brought-on, a few weeks with no time away from work, and just general undertraining. One month before this race, I got wise and emailed Wendell at PCTR and said I was switching to the 25K. The next month of training went very well, although temperatures in Cleveland never got much above 65, and my long run/weekly mileage never got above 14/35. Still, I ran twice in CA after I flew in, and I felt GREAT out here (that was on a flat paved trail). I started hoping to go and be crazy and do the 50K anyway, so I set myself a time limit of 3:45 for the first loop (the 25K goes up the mountain once, the 50K goes up it twice). If I beat that, and nothing hurt, I could go back out. Race day arrives. Still feeling great! Woke up at 5:30 to get a bagel and some coffee in my system, got dressed, loaded up the handheld bottle with Gatorade, and we were out the door. My sister was kind enough to drive me 45 minutes, drop me off at the trailhead, and go back home to wait for my call to say whether I was being crazy or sane that day to come pick me up. I am feeling very excited/nervous, I know I'm not exactly prepared to run 50K, but I am perhaps optimistically believing I can make my own personal cutoff time. We line up, and get a few instructions from Wendell. On the way up, I am just amazed at the beauty. Oh and at the height of the peak I see in the distance. I figured I needed 17 minute miles on the way up, and 11 on the way down to make my cutoff. The first mile makes this! I am on schedule. Second mile, third mile, I suddenly realize 17 was optimistic. A few miles in there were 25-30 minutes. I wasn't just walking the uphills, I was shuffling. But I had many gorgeous views to keep me from realizing how tired I was. Calves were aching from the hills, and the sun was starting to beat down pretty hot (I believe it got into the mid/high 80's) I get about halfway up the mountain, and I realize, I am not ready to be 1/4 of the way through! I am not nearly tired enough! The peak is looking more attainable also, I am in pretty good spirits. I keep recovering, and when there's a flat or downhill section, I am running strong. I begin to think I am selling myself short by only doing the 25K. I hit the aid station at around the 5 mile mark. Then an arrow points toward the summit, but you head off downhill. That can't be good, we will definitely have to pay that back! Finally the climb back up starts. Sun beating down, and still a good 1.5 miles to get to the top. My optimism fades, after all, I only trained up to a 14 mile long run, and my first 50K was 4.5 months ago, I certainly don't have that fitness anymore. Still, it was incredible to reach the summit, and I still didn't feel as though I was ready to be halfway done already. My legs felt great, and I recovered quickly after a few pictures. From my time of about 2:20 on the way up, I didn't think I stood even a tiny chance of making my personal cut-off time to go back out. Little did I know how close I would come! I turned out and headed back down. While I was feeling optimistic about my day, the heat was getting worse, and the downhill would end up wreaking more havoc on my legs than the uphill. My quads were shaking about halfway down, although I was able to keep up a good pace, and I felt strong besides the pains the downhills were inflicting. My pace was so much better than I expected, I managed to come in just 12 minutes over my cutoff time, at 3:57 (the "official" cutoff to go back out for the 50K was 4:15, so I was well under that. I was still contemplating the whole way down if I should just go back out and run a second loop even though I was underprepared. But I did not, something I guess I am still regretting now! I made my decision mostly based on the heat, and my lack of training. Look, still smiling. Definitely should have run more! I will be back, and I will do both loops next time! I can't say enough nice things about the group ( PC Trail Runs or the course, the organization and volunteers were wonderful, and the runners I met on the trail were all just great fun! A wonderful day, although it left me hungry to conquer more challenges.
      Nice report. I like the pictures - looks like it was a warm day out there.Enjoy the trails!
      Next up: A 50k in ? Done: California-Oregon-Arizona-Nevada (x2)-Wisconsin-Wyoming-Utah-Michigan-Colorado


      Into the wild

        Good job Teresa, you know yourself if you'd headed out that it could have gone pear-shaped. I feel your regret, but looking at your log I'd say you called it just right. You had a great run, didn't reach your limit, importantly - No injury. You didn't get a recurrence of the foot trouble? Next year you will be well informed and know what prep you have to do to take on the second climb Smile Thanks for the report and pics. It looks like a great place. Tell me, what was the ascent/descent??

        Shut up and run

          You had a great run, didn't reach your limit, importantly - No injury. You didn't get a recurrence of the foot trouble?
          Thanks! That is the most important part. And it's nice to hear I was smart. I do believe it was smart, and I don't always make that smart decision. My foot felt great, it's been good to me my last month of training (probably because I didn't push myself too hard to get to the 50K distance)
          You had a great run, didn't reach your limit, Thanks for the report and pics. It looks like a great place. Tell me, what was the ascent/descent??
          It was absolutely beautiful. 4,450 feet of elevation gain: here's the chart


          Finder of good newts

            ... and the downhill would end up wreaking more havoc on my legs than the uphill. My quads were shaking about halfway down, although I was able to keep up a good pace, and I felt strong besides the pains the downhills were inflicting... Great Report! I was there too and you nearly caught me 3:54. I was at 2hr10 at the top, but as you stated, the downhilll was tough. I only signed up for the 25 km, but boy was it a doozy. I thought I had trained adequately by doing a couple of runs with big elevation, but nothing compares to doing all the up and all the down at once.

            It's hard to look down if you don't go up

              Great Report! I was there too and you nearly caught me 3:54. I was at 2hr10 at the top, but as you stated, the downhilll was tough. I only signed up for the 25 km, but boy was it a doozy. I thought I had trained adequately by doing a couple of runs with big elevation, but nothing compares to doing all the up and all the down at once.
              Thanks!! And good job to you also! How's the running down in Pacific Grove? I must say from the little exploring I've done with my sister (lives in Dublin) and the races I've done out there, I am very jealous of CA trail runners. I just don't know of any way to train for something like that! Unless you are on the exact same trail. And not even sure if you could totally prepare yourself even then. I was amazed at the pace the winners in both distances kept up! I will train more before I come back out again, but I just can't duplicate the ascent/descent, so my quads will be beaten up one way or the other.


              Finder of good newts

                How's the running down in Pacific Grove?
                OO... I think I've figured out how to do the quote correctly this time... I kind of think of it as a runner's paradise around here. Rarely does it go below 50 or over 80 degrees. Traffic is generally pretty light and best of all - lots of trails. Level trails along the coast of the Peninsula, trails with rolling hills out in the former Fort Ord (where the Sea Otter Classic bike races are held) and then some nasty hills out in Carmel Valley or Toro Park. And.. believe it or not... there are even trails through Pebble Beach. I really feel pretty spoiled... I can even run trails at lunch from work. Pacific Coast Trail Runs does have one race down here - it's out at Garland Ranch but they call it Carmel Valley. The elevation gain is quite surprising (but even these hills didn't prepare me well enough for Diablo). http://www.pctrailruns.com/Carmel_Valley.htm

                It's hard to look down if you don't go up

                  I kind of think of it as a runner's paradise around here. Rarely does it go below 50 or over 80 degrees. Traffic is generally pretty light and best of all - lots of trails. Level trails along the coast of the Peninsula, trails with rolling hills out in the former Fort Ord (where the Sea Otter Classic bike races are held) and then some nasty hills out in Carmel Valley or Toro Park. And.. believe it or not... there are even trails through Pebble Beach. I really feel pretty spoiled... I can even run trails at lunch from work. Pacific Coast Trail Runs does have one race down here - it's out at Garland Ranch but they call it Carmel Valley. The elevation gain is quite surprising (but even these hills didn't prepare me well enough for Diablo). http://www.pctrailruns.com/Carmel_Valley.htm
                  Wow. I think you're right, sounds like you have a perfect spot in CA! I am more jealous now. Light traffic even! How's the job market? Smile Not that we could sell our house in Cleveland right now anyway. The lack of humidity is really nice also, even if it gets into the 80's/90's, it's not quite as miserable as a humid 80/90. The elevation gain at the Garland Ranch race is about the net gain of Mt. Diablo! I guess constant rolling hills are their own challenge and up/down a mountain is another... I ran Golden Hills Trail Marathon out by Berkeley/Lake Chabot, and I think it had about 2,000 more feet of elevation gain, but it was more in the constant hills variety, I was about 45 seconds per mile faster there than Sunday's race.


                  Finder of good newts

                    and I think it had about 2,000 more feet of elevation gain
                    Certainly having all of the elevation at once makes the run tougher - especially on the downhill for me. Plus measurement systems make a difference. I loaded my Garmin for Mt. Diablo to Motionbased and it says about 5300' elevation gain... PCTR's listing of 4500 is using an Avocet Altimeter.
                    How's the job market?
                    If you're in the hospitality business, school publishing or can make a living as a golf caddie - come on down! Other than that, it can be pretty rough.

                    It's hard to look down if you don't go up


                    Finder of good newts

                      Proof that I really was there Smile ... My wife met me at the top and was clever enough to take a picture that pointed back to the start... way down near the hill that looks like it's been strip mined. Yup

                      It's hard to look down if you don't go up

                        Nice shot! That's cool that your wife was up at the top waiting for you. One more motivaation to get up that mountain. And it's nice to have a picture (without lugging a disposable camera with you like I did, I was such a tourist) Too bad on the job market. Although golf caddie sounds like a nice change of pace from my current IT job!!
                          Teresa - Congratulations on your run! Mt. Diablo is one I've been itching to do with PCTR. They really do a fantastic job. I just completed my first 50k with their Forest Park run in Portland, OR. Also, I finally purchased a small digital camera and take it with me on all my runs. I take lots of pictures and make other people enjoy them! Wink

                          Leslie
                          Living and Running Behind the Redwood Curtain
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                          2014: May - MDW 70-Miles; July - Mt. Hood 50


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                            Teresa - Congratulations on your run! Mt. Diablo is one I've been itching to do with PCTR. They really do a fantastic job. I just completed my first 50k with their Forest Park run in Portland, OR. Also, I finally purchased a small digital camera and take it with me on all my runs. I take lots of pictures and make other people enjoy them! Wink
                            I've been hoping to get a small digital camera also.. maybe somebody will be kind to me on my birthday or Christmas! I've taken disposable cameras along twice to races, and they're a bit bulkier, plus, I end up taking at least 2-3 shots accidentally of the inside of my waist pack! And the quality is far from great... Thanks for the congrats! Hey, if you get out there next year I might see you. I am itching to get back out there and do the whole 50K. I put one of my pictures that shows the peak in the distance as the wallpaper on my work computer so I constantly see what I need to train for. PTCR did put on a great race, I will definitely be checking their site out for more races when I come out to visit...