I didn't run this one, as I have a cold that just won't give up. Damn thing has parked itself in my upper respiratory system, and I have this annoying, persistent cough. I haven't run for over a week because of it!
Though I didn't run the race, I was there to support Lori, who ran the 15k. This was Lori's first trail race, and definitely the biggest elevation gain for a run she has done, race or not. Here is a short report.
We got to the race area in plenty of time, and everything was well organized, as seems to be the case for the PCTR races that we have been to. Lori got her bib, and I let them know I wasn't running. The weather was perfect for a run, with fog hanging over the park keeping things cool, but not cold. The weather the last few days in the Santa Cruz mountains has been stellar - warm days and nights that get crisp. Classic late-summer, early-fall weather.
I kept an eye out for my friend Doug, who was signed up for the 15k too. I was also hoping to have a chance to meet another local trail runner and blogger - Addy. Alas, I was not to see either.
While waiting around the check-in area, I saw a woman with one of the Nathan hydration packs on. I have wanted to check one of these out, but have yet to find them in a store locally. After hemming and hawing for a few moments (I can be shy about going up to people I don't know) I approached her to ask her a few questions about the pack and how she liked it. She was very nice and even let me try it on. Though small for me, I did get a general idea of how if felt, and I definitely want to check them out further. Turns out the woman was none other than local runner and blogger Miki. Thanks, Miki for letting me try your Nathan hydration vest on. Miki had some bad feelings about this race, as past races here didn't treat her well. Unfortunately for Miki, those bad feelings were prescient as she turned her ankle early in the race and had to DNF.
After the start I went for a short hike up the trail the 15k, 25k, and 50k runners took. I wish I had fresh batteries for my camera, as there were a couple places that would have been good to get some photos of runners coming back through. After a while, I meandered over to the aid station between loops to cheer runners on and help direct runners the right way. It wasn't long before the reports stared coming in - yellowjacket or bee stings were a problem. A big problem. Some runners said they had been stung 15 - 20 times! A number of runners dropped right then, said they had been stung too many times and felt bad. Those of us around the aid station tried to encourage runners coming through, and let them know there were no reports of problems on the 10k course, but no one can blame anyone who had to endure the trail of stings for not wanting to repeat that experience.
Lori came through, and finished around 2:17 or so - a really good time and she was happy with the whole thing. She didn't get stung around the areas where most of the problems occurred, but did get stung while going up the cable area near Berry Creek Falls. And, even better, she isn't as sore as she expected, considering the elevation gain.
She is really lovin trail running, something we are both happy about as we can do a little running together from time-to-time. She is even signed up for the PCTR Carmel Valley 17k already! And trying to get me to sign up for the 50k. Not sure I'll take the bait on that one, though. It's got nearly 9,000' of climbing. And I don't know if I want to kill my legs on my first ultra. I'll think about it some more. ;-)