Friday, July 24, 2009

Angel Island

Sorry for the long delay between posts. I haven't disappeared. Just busy running and got a little lazy about blogging. I want to start with a recap of my run on Angel Island (near San Francisco) and my training camp weekend in Leadville. Then I can get to my big run at the TRT 50 Mile.

Life started getting really busy mid-June when we headed to San Francisco to meet my folks to celebrate my birthday. We always love visiting "The City", it never gets old. So many great places to eat and visit. And low and behold, there happened to be a trail race happening that very weekend. How lucky could I get. PCTR put on the Angel Island trail race with distances ranging from 8K to 50K. I chose the 25K because it consisted of 3 loops (perimeter, middle and summit) which would allow me to see most of the island but wouldn't make my family have to hang out for 6+ hours if I did the 50K.

Caitlyn and Sara enjoying ferry with Nana and Papa

We took the ferry from Tiburon to Ayala Cove. Wendell and Sarah (race directors) have developed a very smart way of moving supplies: every runner grabs something as they get on the boat and then they take it off the boat as they head to the start line. A very efficient way to move a large amount of food and equipment.

We couldn't have asked for better weather. Blue skies and comfortable temperatures, made to order. It wasn't long before we were on the start line and Wendell sent us on our way. I had decided that despite PCTR's logo (runs that aren't races in beautiful places), I was going to "race" this race. I needed to put in a good effort over a medium distance to build my confidence.

At the start line, gorgeous day

However, I always start slow and we were faced with a pretty steep uphill right off the bat. It wasn't long before we were on a paved road that would take us around the perimeter of the island. I was surprised at all the buildings on the backside and I quickly settled into a rhythm. I would use this first 5 mile loop to get warmed up.

I came through the start/finish area (and aid station) where my family was waiting for me and cheering enthusiastically in about 54 min, happy with that. The middle loop consisted of more singletrack and I found myself running and pushing a lot of it, even the uphills. It felt good to stretch it out and push my abilities. I fell into a rhythm with a guy with a Big Sur Marathon shirt and we found ourselves passing quite a few people who were running shorter distances and started a bit behind us but didn't do the perimeter loop.

Evidence of last fall's wildfire

I finished loop 2 in 51 min and after having a speedy volunteer refill my bottles, I quickly set off on the last loop. My 5 year old has recently taken to running across the finish line with me so I told her that the next time she saw me, she could run across the line with me. I ran the beginning of the next loop with "Big Sur" (I was "Auburn" based on my shirt) and we congratulated each other on a strong, fast finish to the last loop. I settled into a quick pace up the singletrack of the summit loop. There were a few steeper areas so I worked on my fast hiking but tried to run most of it.

Beautiful singletrack

Soon I was at the top and I decided to take a moment to enjoy the view because I know these clear days are rare and I wanted to soak it in. Now for the fun part: downhill to the finish and it was trail that I was now familiar with, having travelled most of it a couple times already.

Golden Gate Bridge from the top of Angel Island

Looking down on Ayala Cove (S/F) and Tiburon across the water

I put it into gear and ran as hard as I could to the finish. What a blast. The singletrack is smooth and I felt like a kid just screaming down the hill. As I rounded the last corner I saw Caitlyn and we ran across the line together in 2:38:02, good enough for 44th overall (out of 131) and 4th in my AG.

It was a great day out on the trails and I thanked Sarah later for ordering up the perfect weather. My family and I enjoyed a picnic afterwards before catching the ferry back to Tiburon.

Thank you Wendell and Sarah for another wonderful event and the volunteers were great. I would love to do this race again. Full results are here. I'll be back next with my report on the Leadville Training Camp.


Anonymous said...

That sure was a pretty day. We had such fun.. Glad we could be apart of your run too. Love you, Mom

Gretchen said...

Awesome Catherine! Isn't it great when running makes you feel like a kid? I love that!