I'll try to keep this fairly short as I feel race reports should be proportional in length as the distance you ran.
With my focus on roads lately (running the LA Marathon two weeks from now), I've definitely missed my mountains, the clean air and dirty sock lines. So whenever PCTR rolls into town, I am almost always there in some capacity. But I am looking to run LA with some fresh legs so opted for "just" the 25K distance.
Morning and drive were uneventful. Got there about a half hour before start and after saying hi to my two favorite race director, I found a bush to water and lined up about 3 rows back from the lead runners and a little after 8:30am both the 25/50K-ers were off.
Got swept up in the usual excitement of racing so I had to keep making a conscious effort to reel in the early paces a bit. The first couple of miles consisted mostly of rollers, single-tracks and a thigh-deep stream crossing. After that we hit our first aid station before the big, long, continuous climb up the other side of the Bulldog trail (approximately 6 miles of climbing total).
I decided to nip the heels of a pair of runners and keep them in my sights. While we switched places on a couple of occasions, I mostly had them lead so I could just lock on to them but fall back to a speed hike if I felt the effort became too strenuous. Near the top, I spotted Luis Escobar snapping pics. After a quick word of encouragement and slap of hands, we arrived at aid station #2 where I bumped into Dom and stole a Salt Stick from someone else. Always good seeing familiar faces.
I continued up on the climb with my two compadres in sight and when I was sure we were at the zenith of the long torturous climb (at ~8.5 miles), I made my move to pass them. The descent was also long and torturous but after all that climbing, it was nice to let gravity share some of the work. I could have sworn I kept hearing the sounds of footsteps catching up to me but whoever it was never made the pass. And it wasn't too much longer that I spotted a runner ahead of me with a couple of miles to go. Unfortunately, I was doing my best to stave off cramping symptoms that hit around the 10 1/2 mile mark.
The hills, the hills.
The last couple of miles were mostly flat-ish fire roads that seemed to stretch forever. The runner in front of me had about a 25-50 yard lead that I could never seem to close. Once the finish was in view, I knew it was too little too late. I ended up finishing in an official time of 2:18:39, good for 10th overall. Happy with this effort but not happy with the chronic cramping issues.
I'll figure it out one of these days. Oh and big congrats to Chris Price for winning the 50K (and a new CR to boot). Thanks for reading folks.