I am not ashamed to admit that Pacific Coast Trail running kicks my butt. I have done about four of them. Today, I finally feel like I was a worthy opponent of a PCT course.
I ran the PCTR Sequoia 20K in the hills of Oakland with my friend and SVRC clubmate, Kim. For once, it didn’t kill me! Yay! In fact, I felt strong the whole run. The hills, both up and down, were not so bad. The straightaways were great. I’ve never done a PCTR race in under 2:30 but today I managed 2:16:00. I was so pleased.
I wasn’t racing, Kim and I chatted the entire first four-and-a-half miles, but I did want to see if I could manage the course without struggling too much. I wanted to run the inclines and navigate the steep terrain of the declines. I did both. I knew I was running well when I passed a pack of twenty-something year-old men. My thirty-six year old female body suddenly found some new motivation!
I did this same course a year and a half ago. I had no idea what I was in for at the time. I told the friend who dragged me there that I was never ever going to run with him again. 😉
The course is littered with steep declines, which last year destroyed my IT Band, caused me to go to physical therapy for weeks, and run the London Marathon injured. I remembered this course as tough tough tough, but yesterday it felt fine. My legs aren’t even tired today. I run hills a lot these days and I think it is paying off.
I have two new goals with PCTR now. (1) Break the top 10 in my age group at Sequoia. I came in 13th out of 40 yesterday. In my age group, four of us came within seconds of each other. We were sprinting at the end. It was fun! We had basically all been together, passing back and forth, for miles. The 30-39 female category is a fun and competitive one. (2) Come in under two hours. I took thirty minutes off last year’s time. I’d like to try and break two hours next time.
Oh, and it is a beautiful course with lots of tree cover and lovely views. It is never too steep for too long. The runners are, of course, all great. Trail running seems to attract friendly, spirited, respectful people.
I enjoyed it so much, I bought the hat!