Race Report: Grizzly Peak Trail Run Turns Grizzly

Chas Race Reports, Trail Races, Trail Reports Leave a Comment

An elevation gain of 7,700′ doesn’t sound so bad when you’re sitting at home planning your next race. It’s just a number. And certainly, I’ve done nearly the same amount last year, so what’s the big deal, right?

Well, numbers don’t tell you just how fast you change altitude. A smooth gradual change is far less brutal than an abrupt climb followed by an equally abrupt descent.

Sometimes, it’s far more helpful to look at elevation profiles before you sign up for a race, or at least take note of just how fast the peaks and valleys become… well, peaks and valleys. A slow, steady climb will be far less devastating on your legs than a sharp, fast climb or descent. Grizzly Peak has plenty of the sharp climbs and descents, and, like a wall, I ran smack into them without realizing what I was doing.

In fact, the marathon course record for women was five hours and 20 minutes! You would think that before I signed up for this thing I would have been smart enough to notice that, but… I didn’t.

Ouch.

The course did have amazing views. And you couldn’t have asked for a more difficult course that fit within the training plan for Comrades. As my first Ultra of the season, it certain hammered in to me to remember to be humble when I consider my abilities.

In fact, I can say that the final 10k would have taken considerably longer, and I might not even have done it, if it wasn’t for My Girl. Bored out of her skull, she joined me for the last 10k, and even she felt it in her knees! The first 40km seemed to take ages, but because of her, the final 10km flew by and before I knew it I was at the finish. I can see how those who run the 100mile courses need pacers, because certainly without them you couldn’t finish. This was one time My Girl saved my bacon (and she was even able to keep up with me during the final 10km, running ahead and taking pictures despite feeling ill. A real trooper and another reason she’s a keeper).

This race was the slowest 50km Ultra I’ve ever run. In truth, it wasn’t just the elevation change, but as my trainingpeaks Performance Management Chart shows, I’m not in as good of shape as I was last year. Also, I tried to pace myself with the knowledge that I’d be attempting a 1/2 Marathon the next day with an early 7am start (the US 1/2 marathon). I’m not sure I could have finished all that much faster, even so.

Despite these challenges, Grizzly Peak Trail run, hosted by Coastal Trail Runs, was a wonderful race. As a family business (which is taking 5 weeks off so they can have a baby), Coastal Trail Runs always puts on a fun race and were gracious enough to wait around well past the official cutoff time (which was 7.5 hours) to make sure I got the chance to walk across the finish line. After the difficult run, it was so worth it!

Special thanks to all the volunteers and CTR for hanging around for myself and one other Ultra runner who took so long to finish. They’re great people to do so and I recommend any of their races.

Results (Second in my AG… out of 2):

50 Km

Place

Name City

Bib No

Age

Age Group

Time

Pace

1

Jordi Moncada San Francisco CA

590

36

1 M 30-39

5:21:32

10:16/M

2

Stephen Cesar Brentwood CA

582

34

2 M 30-39

5:57:02

11:24/M

3

Gary Lindberg El Granada CA

586

43

1 M 40-49

5:58:53

11:28/M

4

Marian Richard Sunnyvale CA

592

52

1 F 50-59

6:10:03

11:49/M

5

Steven Greuel Etna CA

585

55

1 M 50-59

6:38:57

12:45/M

6

Rene Brunet San Francisco CA

581

62

1 M 60-69

6:59:02

13:23/M

7

Robert Cervero Lafayette CA

460

60

2 M 60-69

7:36:41

14:35/M

8

Luisa Cheung Millbrae CA

583

40

1 F 40-49

8:06:53

15:33/M

9

Chas Melichar Burlingame CA

588

40

2 M 40-49

8:40:47

16:38/M

10

Peter Rabover Charlottesville VA

591

31

3 M 30-39

9:04:55

17:25/M


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