Rain falling lightly, then harder, then lighter again, as a small crowd stood under a very small shelter to stay dry. Waves crashing against the surfing beach across the road, below the Headlands. Green and wet hills under light fog in a warm breeze. The tops of the hills would be windy today. And the rain was forecast to last all morning.
It’s weather like this that really brings trail running to life for me, and the Golden Gate 30k really shined in this regard. I ran this to start building distance back up, but the wet muddy weather really made it the perfect training run. The plan was to run it harder than any long races from last year, and to let myself blow up if needed, mainly to get the training effect in. Fortunately, that didn’t happen.
Driving, pouring rain. Ankle deep mud. Fog. Wind gusts, some over 40mph. And a clear glimpse of the bay every now and then. The race would run through all variations of wet and muddy weather. At one point, I expected hail, but that didn’t come.
The first climb out of Rodeo Beach went fast, and I zoned out for a while, not thinking about much. The climb up fox was a fast hike that came and went without much thought. The Pirate’s Cove trail brought me back around, since this is where everything went to muck at the North Face 50. This run was much better, and I kept the pace up through it.
IT band tightness. A short stretch break. Concentrated uphill running. And a long set of hike/run intervals up Marincello. Up here things became interesting.
And by interesting, I mean ridiculous. And by ridiculous I mean fun. The rain was pouring so hard it became difficult to look very far ahead. Puddles became splash fests. But it was warm.
After the last aid station, I ran fast down the last part of the Coastal trail, and then quickly hiked up the last hill to the road section, where I planned to run fast back down. Then the 40 mph wind blasts came, redefining ridiculous. I couldn’t not laugh. Somewhere here I decided to wrap it up at a fun pace instead of pushing all out to the end.
This race was over fast, mentally. I covered this ground at my faster pace to date. I originally planned to run the 5 mile, but I’m glad I moved up in distance, since it really was the right time to move back up to endurance pace. Since my last long race in December, there was a definite change in mental perception of the hills. I’ve been running/hiking a lot of hill repeats with 800 feet of climbing over the last two months, so nothing here felt long in comparison. My time was 3:38:40, 32/95, and my fastest run on almost every section of the course.