So I was happy that it worked out for me to attend the Pacific Coast Trail Runs San Francisco One Day event, even if only for their shorter six hour duration. I knew a fair number of people running the race and knew it would be a blast, no matter how badly it went for me.
|Simplified and wildly not to scale course map.|
One other big challenge is that this area is heavily infested with tourists - the views of the bridge and Alcatraz are pretty stunning, and if it's a nice day, the beaches are a blast. The RD managed to schedule amazing weather for this race, which meant the tourists (and many locals) were out in force. Dodging selfie takers, many with bikes left scattered all over the place, made this a bit of an obstacle course, although it did help break up the monotony, and I'll take selfie congestion over bad weather any day.
The event started at 6 PM on Friday and went to 6 PM on Saturday. I think the Friday evening start was a new thing, but I'm not sure. It certainly added to the challenge for those in the 24 hour event since they either had to try to nap during the day or else start the race and immediately head into sleep deprivation issues.
For the shorter time runners, there was a bit of flexibility for when to start. Basically, a new race could start every 6 hours (6 PM, midnight, 6 AM, and noon). I took advantage of the noon start on Saturday, which meant I could sleep in a bit and would be on the trail as the 24 hour runners were wrapping up their races, meaning I had a chance to look fast by comparison. (I didn't.)
|Apparently I'm now the "Crazy Cat Guy" - the remarkable thing was that she was able to get the cats to sit still long enough to make those portraits!|
|All Day Ken's ironing board aid station. It really helps to have a high "table" like that! And it's made him famous in Sweden!|
|RD Greg: "If you see any sleepwalking 24 hour runners, don't try to wake them by yelling SNAKE! Unless you are recording video at the time."|
Being able to change directions like this is pretty novel, and I think a great idea. What it meant was that you ended up seeing runners coming at you as well as going in the same direction, which made for a lot more interaction than normal at these sorts of events.
|Ed "The Jester" was there doing his amazingly consistent pacing around that loop - it's always a blast too see him at these events.|
|Pen upstaging the Golden Gate Bridge with her awesomeness, on her way to second place in the 24 hour!|
|Getting serenaded while looking out at Alcatraz.|
|The midpoint timing mat and one of our biggest cheerleaders!|
Also, I'm not sure, but I think if you crossed this mat and had time expire before you crossed the finish mat, you would get credit for half a lap. (After my last lap, I was a sure I couldn't complete another lap in the remaining time, but I could have gotten to the halfway point. Granted, then I would have had to come back without credit for the return. But maybe I could have talked some tourist into giving me a ride on their bike.)
|Yes, there were a few puddles you could splash in, but you had to wait your turn.|
|This is Chikara. He ended up with nearly 130 miles in the 24 hour event. His speed after 23 hours was still way faster than my speed with fresh legs.|
|Someone was pretty happy with her 100K buckle!|
|Loren looked like he could keep on going for another day.|
|"Which way do I go?"|
|Picture Ace took of me. Indeed, the Golden Gate Bridge is not gold.|
Two pictures of me in a row - sorry for that. Once I drained the bottles I brought, I switched over to rocket fuel.
|Shrina and Ed handing out at the food tent.|
The food that was available was really great (regardless of what that chicken's expression might make you think). Shrina and Karen made sure nobody went hungry or thirsty.
|The start/finish arch.|
|I may be the "Crazy Cat Guy," but I'm not wearing a chicken on my head! (Although I also didn't get nearly 83 miles out here either.)|
|Soon The Jester is going to need a bigger chair to hold all his race buckles!|
|The yellow wrist band made it easier to figure out which runners were doing which times out there - a nice touch!|
This is from my Garmin. The little handle on the right is not part of the course though.
That handle shows my two trips to the bathroom. (I like how it looks like I had trouble finding the toilet, or escaping it.)
The course is reasonably flat.
But if you work at it a bit, you can make that "reasonably flat" look much more challenging. (This shows the one time I decided to try the counter-clockwise direction. I was surprised at how many people in the race that I almost never saw just because they were going the same direction as me.) Clockwise worked better for me since I was able to hug the "inside lane" and it seemed a bit easier for tourist management.
The race was a blast! It was fun seeing so many friends hit their goals and other friends pushing their friends to hit those goals.
Even those wearing chicken hats.
That's it - move along…
PS: Here's a link to more of my pictures from the day.