Race: Rodeo Beach 30k – http://www.pctrailruns.com/event.aspx?dtid=9993

Runner: Julie U

Date: 12/10/2016

Location: Marin Headlands, starting around Fort Baker (nearly the same course as North Face San Francisco)

Results – 3:05.31

3 Bests – what aspects of the race did you like the most

-The craziness of running in windy, rainy, cold conditions, as it made the race incredibly memorable, especially with Jeff Urbanski (brother-in-law) by my side (well, way ahead of me), going through the same crappy conditions

-Smooth, runnable trails and fire roads for most of the course

-The chance to run the North Face 50 race course and have a taste for Matt’s race, but not actually running that race, especially since only one of us can race at a time with Paavo duty

Not so much – aspects of the race that didn’t do it for you

-The craziness of running in windy, rainy, cold conditions. While it made it memorable and “character building” as Jeff called it, there were no views, the sideways rain hurt my face, and I was soaked all the way through just a couple miles into the run

-The steps. They definitely stopped all momentum, though I think we had less of them than the 50 milers did the weekend before

-Losing so badly to Jeff. He beat me by 18 minutes, so basically a minute per mile. I was expecting him to beat me, but not by that much!

Weird factor – what’s the weirdest thing about this race

-The finisher’s “medal” was a small block of wood the size of a finisher’s medal, with the race info carved into the wood, which was actually cooler than getting a medal

Highlights of your race – what did you do well and enjoy about your race in particular

I feel like I gave it all my body was ready for on that day. I wasn’t really trained for hills and it showed, but I gave it my best effort on ups, downs, and flats, and still had some sub 8 minute miles in the last few miles. I was happy that on any flat/downs, when I tried to push it, my legs responded well all the way until the end, and I was still passing people in the last couple miles.

Lessons for others – share your pro-tips on the race to help the next runner

If this is an actual goal race, train with hills and/or just train on the course. Because Jeff has trained on this course before, he knew the course and knew the hills, and was just more accustomed to running these type of hills, which were mainly runnable. He said he walked 3 times whereas I lost count of how many times I walked.

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

More hill training, ups and downs

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

Be ready for runnable hills; the first hill out of the gate and the hill leaving Tennessee Valley the second time are the longest ones, the first hill being the steeper of the two. I just didn’t have any good hill gear left in me by the time I made it to the long, gradual hill out of TN Valley the second time and lost lots of ground to people (ie, Jeff).

Aesthetics – is it a pretty course

I’ve been told it’s one of the prettiest but I couldn’t see much around me because of all the rain and fog

Difficulty – is it a tough course

Not the toughest but if you only run flat, then yes. The 30k had ~3700 feet of elevation gain

Organized and well run – did it feel like a well-oiled machine or were they flying by the seat of their pants?

It felt small but still well organized, kind of a nice change after the huge North Face race the weekend before. There were a few aid stations with nice volunteers, not too many runners, course markings were great, and they had hot food and lots of Coke and Ginger Ale at the finish. Perfect!

Competition – is there a strong field?

Not much, especially compared to the North Face race, but a few people still running pretty fast times.

Logistics – Does it require a special handshake, registration a year in advance, hotels all booked? Give us the low down on the nuts and bolts of making the race happen.

Nope, though I believe the race sold out or came very close. I signed up the day before registration closed, so it’s pretty easy compared to nearly every other race

Aid Stations

One at mile 4.1, 10.8, 15.4 and then the finish, so not tons of aid, but also plenty for an 18.8 mile run. Stocked with lots of ultra stuff and drinks, Roctane, no gu because of park regulations. I ate 3 gu the whole time and never finished my 20 ounces of water, and took one cup of Roctane and one of Ginger Ale at an aid station

Weather and typical race conditions –

I think we had an atypical year with rain, wind and cold, as it’s typically chilly with a chance of rain, I believe, but this year was definitely special, and we missed the gorgeous weekend of weather that the North Face runners had the weekend before.

Gear – did you need anything special or is there anything you’d recommend for the next guy?

I wore a Solomon vest simply because it’s easiest to carry gu, garbage and water, but you could easily have less.

Spectators – is this a friendly course for your friends

Not especially, but Matt and Paavo did come out to TN Valley to see us, at 4.1 and 10.8, which was pretty damn awesome to see them out there. It almost made me cry seeing them cheering us on in the rain, Paavo with a big grin on his face. I believe they were the only spectators who braved the weather!

Awards –

Awards to the top 3 male and females in each race, though I don’t know what the award was

The Overall Score – how many stars do you give this race and do you recommend that others run it

4 out of 5 simply because the weather was awful, not that anyone can control the weather. Otherwise, it’s a great, cheap way to get in a supported long run on fantastic trails with a small group of wonderful people

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