"...In the end, people either have excuses or experiences; reasons or results; buts or
brilliance. They either have what they wanted or they have a detailed list of all the rational reasons why not."

~ Anonymous
(taken from Matt Erbele's, It Takes Time to Get Good)

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Race Report: PCTR Pacifica 30k Trail Run - Pacifica, CA

Race Report: PCTR Pacifica 30k Trail Run - Pacifica, CA

Alternate Title:Gosh, Hell is Beautiful this Time of Year!


Total distance:
30 km (18.7 miles)
Total Elevation: according to PCTR Avocet: 4100 ft, according to USGS: 6,984 ft
Total Time: 5:00:47 (I am actually happy with this. That tells you how tough it was)
Total number of unfortunate wildlife encounters: 3

This was done as my last long run in training for the San Francisco Marathon on July 25th (my birthday, by the way. Only 21 shopping days left.) I don't know why I am acting like SF is an "A" race. I don't have "A" races, frankly I don't even "race" at all, but I do like to train for these endurance events because, despite what almost every race report I post sounds like, I do not like to suffer.

I have to start with the fact that PCTR Pacifica 21k was my very first trail run, ever, back in 2008. I was hooked. I could not believe how beautiful it was and how, even though I was so much slower on the trail, the miles seemed to fly by. It was, however, JANUARY of 2008. That little tidbit will become important later.

Me at the Radio Tower Summit in 2008. Please note the long sleeves, sweats, and fleece. Please ignore that I was significantly thinner then than I am now.

Fast forward to July 2010 and RBR needs a 'about 20miler' for her marathon training.

RBR thinks: "Hey, PCTR has a 30k on July 3rd. At Pacifica! That was my first trail run! How nostaligic!" *gleaming, toothpaste commercial smile*

So I register. There is a 50k at the same time, so I figure I won't be last and making volunteers wait. When I arrive, EVERYONE is hardcore, even the 9k'ers, plus I can already tell it was going to be hot. Great.

I changed into a sleeveless top and was very grateful for my hydration pack.

RBR 2010 at the Radio Tower summit

Already hot, but less than 5 miles in so still having fun.

Side note: Again, I repeat, DO NOT DO PCTR RACES WITHOUT WATER. There were so many people on the 12k loop with no water. There was very little cover on that loop and over 2000 ft of climb. I gave water to two different couples, although I don't think one of the couples was in the race, they were just stupid.

There were four distances offered 9k, 21k, 30k, and 50k. The course had two loops, a 9k loop and a 12k loop, and you did some combination of those to equal your distance.

Elevation profile. The big hill is the 12k loop, the two smaller hills are the 9k loop, which I did twice. This was apparently optional. Wish someone had mentioned that.

The 30k did the 12k loop and then the 9k loop twice. The 21k did the 12k loop and the 9k loop once. The 50k did the 30k course and then the 21k course with a short cut on the 21k course to equal 50k. Why am I boring you with all of this you ask? 'Cuz I am banking some serious bad ass points, that's why!

Talk about a view. Yes, I am throwing in random photos to break up the boring text. I do not have a cohesive story of this one, but I want you to see how pretty it was.

The day before the race there were about 50 people signed up for the 21k and about 50 signed up for the 30k. There were, however, 82 21k finishers, and 39 30k finishers, which tells me there was some SERIOUS dropping happening after the first 21k of the race.

Mile 15, lamenting doing the last loop. Yes, I am laying on a bench. Do not judge me! It was a hard run and freaking HOT!

Ok, of the 39 30k finishers I came in 37th place, but WHATEVER. My fat ass went back out to hell to finish that last 9k loop while lots of others dropped (and ate all the fucking finish line food I may add)

Lots of technical trail

The guy at the top of this picture (this fucking WALL of rock) is 67 and ran every single step of the 21k. ALL. THE. CLIMBS. Total, and complete BEAST status! I know because I was behind him for almost the entire 21k, then I passed him at about 19k (I think I was bugging him)


Minature lupine (Lupinus bicolor) I am going thorough a wildflower phase, you are going to have to bear with me.

Three unfortunate wildlife encounters and one Awwwww! wildlife encounter

Number 1: At mile 0.5 when we were all still packed together like sardines on the single track, I see the gal in front of me jump.

Girl in cute running skirt: *jumps* Ouch! I think I just got stuck or stung!

RBR thinks: Oh shit! Yellowjackets!

RBR (about 2 seconds later): FUCK! OWWWW! *paws at leg to dislodge stupid, fucking yellowjacket and proceeds to get stung again* "MOTHERFUCKER!"
(yes, 'cute running skirt girl' handled it better than me. Whatevs.)

This morning, my sting has turned into a 4 inch diameter, hot, itchy, swollen, lillypad of discomfort on my upper thigh. Awesome.

Number 2: All along the trail we were bombarded by kamikaze Blue Belly lizards that would dart in front of you and then zig zag in your path. In trying to keep from squashing one of these little bastards I went down hard.

A Blue Belly Lizard from yesterday, aka Western Fence lizards, and before SQ can say it, I will, Western Fence lizards are the reason for the relatively low incidence of Lyme Disease in California due to an enzyme in their blood that kills the Borrelia sp. bacteria that cause Lymes. Long story short, tick carries Lymes, tick feeds on lizard blood, Lymes disease killed in tick, tick cannot infect anyone with Lymes.

Later, I found one squashed on the trail, no doubt by someone that was not willing to risk life and limb to protect him. I should have taken a picture of the little carcass, but it was at mile 14 and by time I thought of it I would have to go back down the trail 10 yards. I was not willing to do that at that point of the run.

Number 3: This one was with a hiker. Most of the run was on very narrow rutted single track with overgrown vegetation along the sides.

It was a really, really beautiful trail. One upside of running this trail in July was the dense wildflower vegetation on the side of the trail. It was really bright (and hot, did I mention hot?) so my pictures suck.

At one point, I met up with a hiker coming down as I was climbing, and as we both tried to step off the trail and pass each other she slipped and grabbed on to me to keep from falling causing both of us to go ass over tea kettle into the bush.

For the record, prior to today I have only fallen once on a trail run, today I was taken out twice (and went down on my own once, but I digress...) it was a tough day out there.

Awww wildlife encounter: There were several time when baby cottontail rabbits would dart across the trail. They were adorable, but fast, so you only saw them for a second. Which, since they are prey for everything except clover, is an evolutionarily good thing for the survival of cottontails, but this one stopped about 20 yards away from me and stared at me. So cool! I slowly took out my camera, zoomed in and then proceeded to hit the power button instead of the shutter. Gah! I quickly turned it back on and snapped a photo that was not zoomed in, so this is a serious crop.
The most patient, if not super well adapted to its ecological role, baby bunny!

Beautiful run, not PCTR's best in terms of organization and support (everyone is allowed a bad day now and then), but a great run nonetheless.


Glaven Q. Heisenberg said...


Fuck YOU, Neil Z!

Glaven Q. Heisenberg said...

This morning, my sting has turned into a 4 inch diameter, hot, itchy, swollen, lillypad of discomfort on my upper thigh.

Picture, please! How am I supposed to finish ... um ... 'reading this post' without the picture to ... um ... 'put me in the right mood'?

Not posting that picture was a real boner on your part. But I forgive you because, right now?

You're not the only one with a real boner.

In trying to keep from squashing one of these little bastards I went down hard.

ZOMG, B*TCH! This is the type of statement that was just MADE for the obligatory "Not in THAT sense, G!" disclaimer! And you FORGOT it! So I get to say:

"O, I bet you did! Go down, that is. HARD!"

And there ain't THING ONE you can say about it because it's your own fault!


But seriously, I respect you more because, even in the middle of a tough trail run of 18 miles, you found the time and strength to go down. Hard.

Mr. RBR is one lucky dude.

I respect you. But I envy him.

Hahahahahaha! O - how did I get to be such a consummate pig!

In possibly related news, this Raging B*tch beer is very good.

Congrats on the great race, B*tch! You're hard core.


Glaven Q. Heisenberg said...

Plus also -

Those vistas?

Just beautiful.

Enjoy what you have sister!

Seriously. You and your man. Because you, him and that spectacular view? You all were meant to enjoy that together, into your 80s, together.

I love how you can't hide what a sweetheart you are, underneath it all.

This could be the Raging Bitch beer talking. But it's not. I just checked,

I'm still an asshole!

Love ya, B*tch! (Best to the hub, too!)

Neil Zee said...

Nice report, stupid bee.

Hey Heisenberg you jackass! Bite me!

Drs. Cynthia and David said...

Thanks for the pictures (looks like very fun technical trail) and info about the critters and the race. Did not know that about the lizards. I've seen tons of bunnies out on the trails this year- must be the overgrown conditions feeding them well.

Good luck with the SF Marathon. I'm skipping it this year (too many sucky problems for that much pavement), but hubby David and his son are running it (and I'm playing coach! poor guy!).


Christina said...

You are BAD ASS!

Diana said...

For some reason, I totally got the best picture in my mind of your description when the bee stung your ass!
Congrats on a great run-especially since it was so hot!
Good luck in SF.

Regina said...

Total Badass! These trail run posts are making me jones for a trail run. As you may imagine, we have very little trails in NYC. Somehow the bridal path in Central Park just doesn't cut it.

Lovely pics. I'm coming to live with you.

SteveQ said...

I'll undoubtedly comment multiple times, but first off: the weight change since 2008 isn't as noticeable as the number of fingers being held up!

Borrelia burgdorferi was named for Gary Burgdorfer, who worked in the lab next to mine at U of MN. Frankly, it looks like N. gonorrhea to me under a microscope. And it's Lyme disease, not Lymes or Lyme's; it was named for Lyme, CT, where it was first identified.

Beautiful course! Makes me wish I were out there, getting cursed at by you and being denied coffee.

Generation X (Slomohusky) said...

running trails with a biology - what could be better?

christine said...

way to tough it out!

Carolina John said...

yea it's been hot everywhere. we're frying here in nc. it's stupid hot. must. train. inside.

trail runs are a great option with shade. i hit a trail yesterday that turned out to be paved. and had little shade.

what a killer race! rock on hot stuff.

Lindsay said...

need to breed & ship some of those lizards to the east coast please! they can do their lyme-killing thing in the summer when it is freakin hot if that's their environment and then we'll ship them back.

major ba points to you for not cutting your race short. i really think if i ran in ca i would die because i complain about the "hills" here... i'm no match

Anne said...

You are hardcore woman! Lizards and stings would probably have gotten the better of me...once again at the risk of repeating myself, the comments on your blog are almost, though not quite, as fun to read as your posts :)

Southbaygirl said...

You are a rock star and I'm a slacker! Way to run the race that i didnt run!!

Maryland Girl aka Michelle said...

Good Job!! Poke that Penny she is too hard on herself.

SteveQ said...

I sorta have to make a second comment, given that I said I would. On the last post, G. was right using "tantrum," but as i have to give an alternative or two, "tristful," "triste" and "tsuris" work (if you're archaic, French or Jewish).