|Lake Anza and the reservoir, Tilden Park|
|SF and the Bay Bridge|
|SF and the GG Bridge|
After dropping out of the last three PCTR ultras I've entered for various reasons on the theme of injury or lack of recovery, I decided it'd be nice to finish one this time. And since I recently moved to the East Bay, it's convenient that the next available one was the brand new Tilden Trail 50k in Berkeley (only half an hour from home).
6,100ft of climbing on what I expected to be dry trails after a scorcher or a week with highs around 80+ degrees F. However, much of the lower trail network was shaded and the previous weeks of torrential rain had left it boggy and slippery.
That didn't make it any less fun, although I did lose both (road) shoes in one section on lap two of four (with the last loop being different) and had to walk through the mud to retrieve them. And once up to the highest section there were blue skies and perfect views of Mt Diablo as well as most of the Bay Area, with a great vista of SF.
After several months where I've been meaning to get my a@% in gear and run more trails uphill, I think I've finally got a start on the road to uphill fitness so the aim was to not walk too much. Oh, and to not pull either of my calves again. I think I managed it and probably had a running motion for maybe 4,500ft of the total ascent and a decent power walk for the rest.
As always, Sarah and Michael of PCTR put on a great event and were kind enough to leave the hardest climb to the last 400ft of ascent. I didn't ache during the race, felt recovered from last weekend's race and seem to fine the following day too. So all in all it was a 'sensible' way to train and get in a long, hilly run. Plus the 50k was fairly small with just 25 entrants so I was able to win too, in 4h19m.
Next up is American River 50 miler in a week and it looks like the elite field has thinned slightly (Chikara Omine out with a broken foot and Anton K has, I think, opted to give himself more time to get ready for the bigger, longer races of the summer). However, there's still a lot of guys who would generally win anything they turn up to, so a famous race like this will bring out the best in them. Should be fun.
I also just found out that the official rock of California is Serpentinite, which is particularly apt given my London club is Serpentine RC.