Monday, February 9, 2009

Trinidad to Clam Beach

I had a big running weekend last weekend. Left Reno on Friday to drive to the Humboldt area on the Northern California coast, where I stayed with friends. On Saturday, after a leisurely morning, we all did the Trinidad to Clam Beach Run - which is something of a tradition with them. Most of them have been coming back every year since high school to run this race, and the person who had been doing it longest had been there since 1982 (?). Wow. Anyway, really cool race. It starts about three miles outside Trinidad, CA, and winds back and forth and up and down a wooded bike path into town. Then it veers off onto a (somewhat) maintained road called Scenic Drive that totally lives up to its name - great ocean views all the way. After about three miles of that, the route drops straight down to the beach where there's a river crossing to do.

The "little River" does look fairly little, at least until you're thigh-deep, hanging onto a rope trying to cross it. Firefighters and rescue people on duty there to make sure no-one gets swept away - current was moving pretty fast. After that, there's about 2 1/2 miles along the beach to the finish.You have to decide at the river whether to leave your shoes on and run with soggy shoes, take them off and run barefoot, letting a truck shuttle them to the finish, or take them off and spend the time to put them back on. This year I wore little racing flats that wouldn't soak up much water, and just left them on. Seemed to work for me. A couple years ago, I took them off and put them on again, and felt like I regretted the time spent.

Speaking of time spent: I knocked about six minutes off my time from two years ago. Someday I'd like to break an hour here, but finished with 1:03 something. Good for 72nd overall, or 9th in my age group. I held the pace I wanted through the first three miles, but slowed a bit after going through Trinidad. Man, that's a rolling/hilly course.

Here's a good shot of someone finishing - I didn't retrieve my camera until it was too late to catch most of my friends finishing. Gives a good idea of the beach finish, though - the sand gets all churned up right near the gate, making it a hard slog right to the finish.

It gets pretty chilly on the windy beach afterwards, but there's usually a bonfire going to warm yourself by. That felt soooo nice...

Afterward, as is tradition, we all met for dinner, beers and hot tubs at a friend's house. What a great race - great course, great weather (this year), great people. I hope to go back.


SnowLeopard said...

What a beautiful day! Sounds like a really fun race, and the perfect distance and variety of scenery/stream crossing to make it super interesting. Great post~ :)

slowrunner77 said...

MAN that looks like an awesome finish area!!! Good job on the double runs last weekend.