My first race of the season was at my “home court” in Huddart Park, Woodside with Pacific Coast Trail Runs. This time I ran the 17k and won in 1:11:00, which beat the course record for the date by 4.5 minutes, but fell a handful of seconds shy of Gary Gellin’s fast 1:10:39 performance on the same course in December. As usual, PCTR was flawless in organizing the event and it seemed like all the runners were happy to be out on the trails enjoying the redwoods!
The 17k is basically an up-down course with one long generally gradual climb followed by a fun descent (total elevation gain is 1,890 ft). In theory, you should step on the gas pedal pretty hard on the hill knowing that it’s mostly downhill afterwards, but it doesn’t always play out that way.
It was surprisingly sunny and mild at the start, but under the redwood canopy (which covers the entire course) it was still relatively chilly and drippy from the previous day’s rain. The course was moist, particularly in the lower sections where 300 people had already mashed the mud, but Huddart is more forgiving than most Bay Area parks when it comes to post-rain mud. On this day, my legs were tired and heavy before I even stepped onto the starting line so my expectations were not lofty. Heading up the hill I had some shin splint issues which were annoying and then my left foot fell asleep because I had tied the laces on my Crosslites too tight. After the aid station at Kings Mountain Road I decided that the one minute required to adjust the shoes would cause less time to be lost than if I continued on with an immobile foot. With blood flowing back to the foot, the remainder of the course went reasonably well. Lesson learned. All things considered, it was a decent run for the first event of the season.
After the race, I watched runners come in with hot chilli in hand and chatted with 35k winner Will Hudson (2:35:00), who broke my 35k course record from last year, 50k winner Andy Anderson (4:01:38), and second place 50k finisher Will Gotthardt (4:08:09). Bev Anderson-Abbs, many times a winner at the Woodside 50k, won again in 4:17:11.
Another great run with PCTR and I look forward to more this year!