Monday, January 21, 2013

Race Report: Pacifica Foothills 30k

This past Saturday I ran my 3rd Inside Trails race, the Pacifica Foothills 30k. This was my first 30k and my longest trail run to date.

I had no idea there was a massive park with gorgeous trails down in Pacifica -- just 20 miles south of San Francisco -- and with a mountain to climb, no less. Parking and bib-pick up were easy as per usual with this race company. We received a few instructions on the route, gave a round of applause for this being their 1-year anniversary, and off we went up the mountain!

The 30k course made one large 7.5-mile loop up the mountain and back down (2,007' of climbing), and then finished with two smaller 6-mile loops (1,275' of climbing each). For anyone counting, this is longer than a 30k, but I didn't care. It wasn't until I missed a turn on my first 6-mile loop that I started caring. ;)

The weather was perfect with temperatures in the lower 50s and just a few sparse clouds. It was super windy on top of the mountain and at points I really regretted not wearing sunglasses as I think everything imaginable got into my eyes. Once we got to the top of the mountain, the views were so crystal clear that I couldn't help but stop to take a couple photos.

Looking north to San Francisco -- a teeny tiny Golden Gate Bridge can be seen from up there.

Looking toward the East Bay. Mount Diablo is that peak in the background, although it looks much larger by naked eye.

On the way back down the mountain, we ran through some pretty heavily wooded areas that were just barely letting in the sunlight. There was a bit of mud, but otherwise the trail was mostly packed dirt. Running down the mountain was steep but there were a few places where I was able to pick up the pace a little bit. But after the first 7.5 miles, my legs were seriously feeling like jelly.

She'll be running down the mountain.

At the aid station near the start the 6-mile loops, I found Dennis, who so generously hopped in to "pace" me. Granted, pacing me meant he slowed to the slowest crawl ever while I hiked beside him. Ah well -- he was a good sport about my wimpiness. :) I am so grateful he was there as company! 

Also, Dennis is a bad MF-ing ass, as he never once walked during the 11.5-mile slow uphill crawl. I, on the other half, hiked almost half of it. Oh, and did I mention he doesn't normally do any off-road running?

Dennis leading the way.


Finishing up!

I ran a total of 19 miles in this 30k, which is cool by me. I'm taking all the slow miles on trails I can for the time being. Finishing up my first 30k with Inside Trails' 1st-anniversary race was a great way to do it!

Total distance covered: 19.01 miles
Total running time: 4:14:15
Feet of climbing: 4,557'

I wanted to do back-to-back double digits trail runs this weekend, so on Sunday I woke up dark & early for an 11-mile trail run with Jojo. We had some pretty views of the Presidio and watched the clouds light up the Golden Gate from the sunrise on the east. We chatted & caught up while taking it nice and easy -- she ran a hard 26 miles on Mount Diablo the day before, and well, I am just a wimp. All in all, a successful long weekend!


  1. The Pacifica 30K was my first PCTR race (June 2010, link below), that course is kinda brutal!! I remembering being thankful that I didn't run the 50K, they had to do that first mountain TWICE. Great job on a solid race time!! :)

  2. Amazing photos....and you look like you were happy the whole way!

  3. Awesome! Congrats and well done! Nothing like a beautiful trail race. I love the trails but I am going to the road for the next few months to prepare for and run the Comrades Marathon.

  4. Ahhhh your pictures kill me and make me so jealous! I think I actually went hiking in that park in Pacifica when I visited my friend in SF! Sad she isn't/ wasn't(?) a runner. :P At least it looks similar :)

  5. Soooo pretty! Great job, and glad the hip is cooperating!

  6. Ahhhhh, I have been wanting to run in Pacifica; I have a friend that lives there, and I love it, it's so pretty!

    Congratulations, glad the hip is playing nicely!

  7. What a beautiful trail to run on! Congrats on finishing!

  8. Nice job A! My trainer has been telling me about the trails in Pacifica, I will need to check them out!

  9. Sheesh woman! Two double digit days...on the trails! Very well done!

  10. THAT LOOKS SO PRETTY!! I keep saying I need to just get out and run trails more... and then I don't. Nice job!!

  11. Between your and Aron's posts, I always question why I'm in looks so beautiful and full of adventurous places to run! Congrats on the trail race. :)

  12. Nice job! Looks super beautiful and we're planning to go for a hike. I love the Pacifica area.