For race number four of the 12 in 2012 Running Challenge, I chose to run my first trail race, the Grizzly Peak Trail Run hosted by Coastal Trail Runs. I thought I had run a trail race before, but it was really a very wide bike path race, NOT a trail race. So this one was an eye opening experience for me. I run trails all the time. In fact, 3 or 4 of my 4 times a week running are generally on trails. So I thought I was ready. I was surprised at how hard it was.
Let's talk about the pros and cons of the race. First, the PROS. This race was small. I see that as a major pro. It consisted of a 10k race, Half Marathon, 30k, Marathon and 50k. All together, there were probably 250 people, the half marathon being the most popular. Also, this race was only $40. It was in Tilden Park in the Berkeley Hills, which was a beautiful venue. Around mile 6, you could see the entire Bay Area, including the Golden Gate Bridge.
|The view from the top.|
The aid stations were AWESOME! Snacks consisted of: Peanut M&M, plain M&M, chex mix, potato chips, pumpkin pie, gummy bears, oranges, bananas, watermelon, Gu, Clif bars, Oreos, graham crackers, goldfish, potatoes with salt, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, snickers, kit-kats, twix, trail mix, coke, sprite, water and electrolyte drink. I only had a few gummy bears and some water, but the other snacks were tempting! I'll let the 50k folks have them though!
Now, the CONS. The t-shirt was cotton, but you can't really expect much for $40. There was a tech t option for an extra $24. There were no medals for finishing, only for placing. But that doesn't really bother me that much, since I have a stack of medals that I don't know what to do with already! The trail was pretty well marked, but I (and a few others) did get lost once. I don't know if that was my fault or what, but I wish it hadn't happened. There was only one photo at the very finish, and mine is blurry.
|It was a muddy race! Good thing I wore my old shoes!|
So, how was the race? It was awesome. It started off a little congested, since it was not only a single track from the get go, but it was also uphill right away and very muddy. Many people were walking right away, so the beginning was a little slow. However, once we got up the hill and I passed a few people, it was good. I ran with the same 4 or 6 people pretty much the entire time, after the first couple of miles.
Although the first 2 miles were uphill, it was more gradual, so I ran the entire time. However, at mile 2.5, the hill went straight up and since the guy right in front of me was walking, I decided to do the same. I really wanted to run the whole thing, but now that it's over, I realize that probably isn't possible. There were some killer hills! Sometimes you need to recharge.
At mile 3.9, we finally started going downhill. Except it wasn't a relief. It was WORSE than the uphill. After that, I found my rhythm a little bit and headed down the hills and back up the hills. At mile 6.5, the view was gorgeous. I told myself, "this is fun. And beautiful", and it was. At mile 8.5, I stopped at the aid station, ate a couple of gummy bears and a shot of coke (a first for me!) and then headed up the trail. Except it wasn't the trail. I figured this out, but not before I went about a half a mile out of my way (and half of it was uphill!) Darn it. I got back on track and started up the hill where the arrow is pointing to (the one that sucked).
Luckily the last few miles was almost all down hill and it was gradual, so it made for a fast ending. I came in as the fourth girl and if I hadn't of gotten lost, I would have been first or second in my age group. As it was, I ended up third (so I got a medal anyway!)
Final time: 2:14:55 (10:32/mi)
3/12 age group
Total elevation change: 4496 ft (according to Garmin)
Net elevation change: 1000 ft
I am considering this a new TRAIL PR!
I am considering this a new TRAIL PR!
Afterward, I stuck around to help with the aid station at the end, which was also the turn around for the 30k, Marathon and 50k folks. The race director was awesome; everyone was like a little family. They were very friendly and just cemented the fact in my mind that the running community is The Best!
Verdict? I would do this race again in a heartbeat. But first, there are so many more Coastal Races to choose from! Next up is the Cinderella which is only about 2 miles from my house. How can I not sign up for that one!?
Have you ever run a trail race before? What is your favorite sweet or salty snack, either from my list or at a race you have run?