Sunday, January 23, 2011

PCTR Pacifica Trail 30k

If you've been following Endorphin Dude's marathon journey, you will know these three facts:
  1. This marathon caped crusader wears a uniform, not a costume. 
  2. E-Dude has a 6 pound chiweenie sidekick named Chewbacca, a.k.a. "The Epinephrine Pup."
  3. Altitude and trail races are Endorphin Dude's kryptonite.

Number three on that list is the one that eats away at me.  I've said it before and I'll say it again and again: E-Dude on trails is tantamount to an American on the red clay of Roland Garros.  I'm just not comfortable on this surface.  Nonetheless, in order to reach Titanium, I must plug through them.

I registered for the PCTR Pacifica Trail 50k because it fit nicely into my schedule.  Yes, I know, it's a 50k TRAIL race.  I figured if I stayed focus and speed walked up the hills and ran down them, I'd be fine.  Plus there is a nine hour time limit, so I felt pretty confident that I would be able to get the job done.  However, the night before the race, the race director sent this message to all the registered runners:

After marking the course today, we have discovered that the park closes one hour earlier than in past years. For those that tend to enjoy the course to it's full extent, we need to move the cutoff hours up one hour - 30.2km cutoff is now at 12:30pm and the final cutoff is now 4:30pm.

ARgh!  This news sent me into a state of panic!  I had mentally psyched myself out to complete this race in 9 hours!  To make matters even worse, there was a strict 30.2km cut off time!  And we had to climb mountains, not hills!

The Epinephine Pup picked up on my anxiety and started barking like a mad dog, so I had to chill out fast.  I emailed the race director and asked if I could have an early start, but unfortunately, the answer was no.  I knew then that I had no choice but to just suck it up and run this trail race the best I could.  Endorphin Dude does not give up, especially even before starting!  With nothing left to think about, I packed up my gear and went to bed.

The next morning I woke up with no anxiety.  I just said to myself, it is what it is, and I just have to get out there and do my best.  My strategy was to leave my camera behind and show up on race day sans cape.  My task at hand was to finish, and I did not wanted any distractions!  The funny thing is that even without the cape, people still recognized me as Endorphin Dude!  The running community is not that big, and I see most of these runners at every race!  I still kept to my rule of no pictures during the race and only took a few shots before with my iPhone.  Below is a shot of Kermit and Carlos, regulars of PCTR, and Titanium level Marathon Maniac, Jeannette.

I stuck to my game plan and worked my endorphin butt off.  I climbed every hill the best I could and then sprinted down!  Any fear of falling on face when out the window.  Even without the cape, I flew through the hills of Pacifica!  I made minimal stops at the aid stations and I kept my socializing to a simple and quick "hello, how you doin'."  Unfortunately, this was not enough to get me to that 18 mile cut off time.

What started out as a 50k turned out to be a 30k! Sadly, Endorphin Dude had to retire at mile 18. I did receive a consolation prize: the race director kindly moved the Marathon Caped Crusader from the 50k event to the 30k, so there won't be a DNF on my record! I worked hard today, but I just couldn't deliver the goods.  At least I got there, did my best, and had fun with a bunch of my runner friends.  It's very odd for me to run a race without taking a bunch of photos, but for this one, I had to make this sacrifice.  I'm glad I was able to get some shots Kermit, Carlos, and Jeannette before the race and then with Walter and Ernie afterward.  I always love seeing these guys on the course!

I hustled from beginning to end, but at the end of the day, I just couldn't pull it off.  I do take pride in knowing that I tried my best.  Hey, I finished 18 miles through the mountains of Northern California, and that ain't nothing to sneeze at!  I may have come home from this race empty handed, but waiting for me at home is the best side kick in the world, one who always thinks I am a winner!


  1. That's a tough course for a nine hour limit - WAY hard with an eight hour limit! And I love being out there with Ernie (love the bloody knee!) - that guy is amazing at these long, hill-infested courses. We are doing the Brazen Mt Diablo 50K in a couple of weeks (10 hour limit!) - he used all of his peer-pressure tactics to get me signed up.

    In any case, I'll be looking for you out there - love the blog and the inspiration!

  2. Thanks fro stopping by, Notthatlucas! I will be running the Modesto Marathon this weekend, so I won't be able to do the Brazen 50k. Well, I could, as it's the day before, but I won't :-) I ran Canyon Meadows this weekend and missed Ernie!