I did the Coastal Trail Runs Steep Ravine 30K race this morning. The scenery and trails and views were stunning! My performance was less than stunning, but I finished without falling (a minor miracle!) or otherwise getting hurt.
The race started and finished at Stinson Beach. This was at 7:30 AM, so the beach was mostly deserted, but still gorgeous.
Einre (not his real name) attentively listening to pre-race instructions. There were actually four races: 7 miles, Half Marathon, 30K, and for the brave, a 50K. There were about 250 runners total.
The start and end of the trail was like this, following a creek through lush woods.
Sorry for the blurriness, but I wanted to show the ladder we had to climb. Steep indeed!
We were told there was no mud (except at the start/finish area), which disappointed my shoes. But there did turn out to be short stretches of mud after all, and my shoes rejoiced!
There were a LOT of trees across the trail, and some had been there for a while. My guess is that it's the park's policy to let nature do its thing. In any case, they added a bit of variety to the race.
I finally made it to the top of the first hill, which is where the first aid station was. The aid stations were great, with lots of choices and helpful volunteers to fill your water bottle and provide helpful advice like "Go fast but don't get lost!"
It's only early February, but don't tell the hills and wildflowers that it's not time for spring.
From the top of that hill, we headed down to Muir Beach. Yes, we ran those switchbacks.
The sun was shining for this part of the trail, and it felt really good. (The weather for this race was fantastic! No wind, cool but not cold, and very clear so you could see the views.)
As if the steep trails and roots and rocks and such was not enough, we had to watch out for horse poop.
I knew that Eiram (not her real name) was doing the 30K as well, but I had not seen her at the start line. There was a short out-and-back section as we got closer to Muir Beach, and I really hoped to see her on it somewhere, but feared she would have already flown through it. But then, there she was! I apologize to her for costing her a few seconds, but I love this picture.
I finally made it to the Muir Beach aid station.
They didn't actually make us run out onto the beach, but I wanted to get a picture of it anyway, so I wandered out a few feet.
Heading back out on the out-and-back section, I found Einre, showing a bit of trail rash (but still being his normal perky self). There was a section of the trail with lots of loose rocks and ruts that made getting good footing a bit tricky, especially for those running at that point. I know of at least four people that ate it in that area.
After leaving Muir Beach, we had a bit of reasonably flat trails and then a harsh hill climb. The reward for getting to the top of that hill was getting back to that first aid station again. I was SO happy to see them!
The finish line is down there somewhere. I knew I was getting close (ish) when I could start hearing the waves hitting the shore. (It turns out that sound must have been traveling pretty good - it took forever to actually make it to the finish line.)
The Dipsea Trail is infamous for these steps. 688 of them. Heading down them I felt (and looked) like a really old man - my calves were cramping a bit so I really took it easy on them.
Finally I made it to the finish line. (A nice touch was just before you got here, you had to run along Highway 1 for a bit. There was a restaurant with patio seating, and they cheered like maniacs as I stumbled by - it was a great lift!)
The shirt and my bib.
This was a great race that was well marked (I only had one place where I was a bit confused, but that was my error, although there were several stretches where I would start to wonder if I had missed a turn, only to finally see a very reassuring ribbon) and supported (hot soup at the finish was great!).
I put a bunch more pictures here.
Thanks to the Coastal Trail Runs people for putting on this great event!
That's it - move along...