Pinellas Trail Challenge Race Report
I had two main goals for this race :
- Run a steady pace throughout
- Pace Jamie (her first ultra) and Joe as far as I could
Weather was much better than two years ago. The temperatures at the starting line and humidity felt exactly the same but the day would never get out of the 80's and for the most part there was cloud cover as well as a good 30 minutes of heavy rain.
The starting area of the PTC has such a relaxed feeling (as do many ultra marathons) and includes all ages from young 20-somethings to lots of men and women in 40's and 50's, a few in their 60's and this years youngest finisher at 16 years of age. It's all fun and games for the first mile until you realize there are 45 more to go! Actually, the first mile has the biggest single mile elevavtion change as it travels from near the waterfront heads inland past Tropicana Stadium (two more "climbs" later on at miles 12,13, and 14 and a smaller one around mile 40 in the "keystone mountains"). But, other than that it's a pretty flat course as you'd expect in Florida near the coast.
Pacing strategy two years ago was to run about a 10:00 pace per mile including a one minute walk break in the middle of each mile. That strategy had lasted to about mile 16 when we switched to same run/walk but at 11:00 pace per mile, and that strategy lasted to about mile 26 then it turned into run whenever I felt motivated enough and otherwise trudge on.
But, this year the plan was 4 minutes run/ 1 minute walk and try to stay around a 12:00 average pace.
- 13:01 (first aid station, near Tyrone Square Mall)
- 14:42 (bathroom break, Subway/hot bakery)
- 14:13 (aid station where we saw the RMHC Striders contingent)
- 16:09 (aid station with drop bags)
- 17:05 (Dunedin Boxcar aid station/bathroom break)
- 15:46 (Tarpon Tavern Aid Station - race begins!)
- 12:55 (Keystone Road aid station, very brief)
- 11:49 (Cynthia tells me to go ahead and she'll bring Jamie in)
So, this years race was a success. Jamie was able to finish her first ultra (just a few minutes behind me) with no real prep or experience other than running marathons, Joe also finished after signing up at the last minute and having previously said this was "one and done" last year.
I had more to write about this but realized (today at the end of November) I had never finished writing this and had forgotten to publish it!