I ran the Golden Hills Trail Marathon this morning in the East Bay Regional Parks of Tilden, Sibley, Huckleberry, Redwood, and Lake Chabot. I finished first overall and ran under 200 minutes for the course or 3:19 (saying I broke 200 minutes sounds way sweeter :) ). This time broke the previous course record by 9 minutes. While there was lots of elevation gain (5,800 ft), it was interspersed with downhills which saved my calf muscles! I was especially happy because I was able to finish this race strong.
The race was a point-to-point marathon as a shuttle took most participants from the finish to the start and is sweet to see completely new scenery the entire route.The first 4 miles of the course was a horrendous pile of mud that clung to my shoes and I was concerned about the remainder of the course (it rained over 1 inch the day before). Fortunately, the footing improved and mud was not really a problem thereafter. This allowed me to slowly gain confidence regarding breaking the course record.
Speaking of scenery – it was absolutely amazing! First, there were sweeping views of the entire bay area, San Francisco, and the Golden Gate Bridge. The clarity was unparalleled after the downpour yesterday cleared all the smoggy air. Second, there was a super sweet 5 mile stretch in verdant Redwood forests (the “French Trail”) that just made me smile :) . The experience was especially surreal as moisture in the ground was evaporating into the air creating “steam” in the forest. Photo credit to ito-yo.
The organization of the race was fantastic and I enjoyed the post-race BBQ. My third trail race was a success!
Edit: See post on the 2008 run of the Golden Hills Trail Marathon