On Saturday I ran the 20k at Pacific Coast Trail Runs’ (PCTR) Sequoia event, which is located in Joaquin Miller Park and Redwood Regional Park. The course hits the highlights of the parks with the lush redwood forests, ridgetop vistas, and views of the SF Bay. I had a good run coming in at 1:21:48 (6:42/mile pace) breaking my previous course record set last year by 47 seconds. PCTR delivered a great atmosphere, excellent course markings, hot chili and snacks, and a rain-free day (it has been raining more often than not in CA for the past three weeks). Speaking of rain, the course featured significant sections of sloppy mud this year, but the Crosslites did a nice job handling the mush!
In the 50k (5,030 feet of elevation gain), fellow La Sportiva teammate Caitlin Smith burst onto the ultra scene with a time of 4:22:50, finishing second overall among men and women, and destroying the previous course record by 34 minutes. Jasper Halekas won the 50k in 4:08:09 and Will Gotthardt was third in 4:32:03. In the 30k, Will Hudson lowered the previous course record by over 2 minutes coming in at 2:12:17. Another La Sportiva teammate, Jenny Capel, was the first female in 2:51:28. Congratulations to all the runners and thanks PCTR for another great day on the trails!
I ran the 20k distance last year and set the course record in 1:22:35 so the task this year was to chase down and beat my old time. Here was my thought process at the start of the run on my chances of running faster: On the plus side, I am more experienced and feeling stronger on the trails. On the negative side, there was significantly more mud on the course and some blustery winds in untimely spots. At the end of the run, the pluses outweighed the negatives and I was able to improve my time from last year, lowering the course record to 1:21:48. The extra mud caused me to slow down on a few downhills, particularly the Tres Sendas trail, but my experience allowed me to ascend the hills on the French Trail faster.