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  • Cinderella Trail Run 2012

    Posted on September 17th, 2012 Michele Sun No comments

    Sat 8/18, another Costal Trail Runs race, and this time it’s Cinderella Trail Run starting at Joaquin Miller Park in Oakland. This is my third trail race organized by Costal Trail Runs and turned out to be my best trail running experience; the prior two were Horseshoe Lake and San Lorenzo River. Horseshoe Lake Trail Run was my first trail race which I entered without proper training and knew nothing about running on trails, while I was still under trained for San Lorenzo River but I knew what to expect by then, plus crossing the icy cold river made the run lots of fun. But it’s at Cinderella Trail Run that I discovered how a great trail running was about, and I completely enjoyed the experience and loved every minute running it.

    It’s a bit chilly early in the morning when I met up with Max in Sunnyvale carpooling to Joaquin Miller Park; I first learned about this trail from Ryan who rides MTB all over Bay Area, and he has shared several very cool trails that I have never been to. Joaquin Miller came highly recommended by him, and the photos of tall and magnificent redwoods got me interested in running this race. I looked up the course map and elevation chart, and the big dip between mile 7 and 9 got me confused, so I asked Max who had run the Half last year about the course. His answer about “there would be big downhill after uphill and awesome view that’s totally worthwhile for the effort”  had me sold easily. I signed up the race less than two weeks away, and got very excited about the idea of running through those redwoods I saw in Ryan’s pictures.

    We got to the Start and found only one porta-potti near the parking area, so we went looking for restroom by the the lawn where race would start, but I never got the chance to use the restroom before the 8:00am start time. The race director Wendell gave the standard instruction over his mega-horn about course, ribbons..etc, which was a routine and speech I got familiar with it by now. There were 50K, Full, 30K, Half and 10K runners, and as usual the 50K and Full went first and I wished Max best luck. Just like last two trial races, I was running the Half while Max running the Full, and it’s a loop course so I did not think I would see him for the next four hours.

    The race started with a straight three hundred feet climb which I took it as an opportunity for warm-up, so I jogged for half a mile and surprised that I did not have to stop or walk. I was not able to deal with this type of  hill just last month, so I think my recent morning runs had helped some. For about three miles, it was all about rolling hills and beautiful forest scene.  Slowly the course descended and I came to first aid-station at around mile 3, with great surprise I saw Anant volunteering with CTR here today. Gave him a quick hug and I had to leave right away, no lingering around since I knew more hills were waiting ahead of me. The course continued rolling upward and I was running at very slow pace all the way to mile 7, but I was completely drawn into the misty redwoods; the redwoods had huge roots that grow sideways and almost looked like they could walk! Most of time I was running by myself as the pack of runners had thinned out already, and I stopped couple times to take pictures of the forest and glimpse of sky. Not sure why this trail was called Cinderella Trail, but I felt I was in the Lord of the Ring movie though! The surface was soft to run and so far my ankles or ITB wasn’t bothering me at all, what a huge difference than Horseshoe Lake run.

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    I was mentally expecting that big dip between mile 7 and 9, and thinking that I would be easy with myself  if I had to walk all the way to mile 11, but surprisingly I did have to deal with the hill challenges but not to the degree that I could not handle it. Did see couple MTB riders had to walk their bikes as I power walked and jogged at some points,  and boy I totally had new respect for Ryan and his friends now. I saw the very fast girl from last San Lorenzo River run and her husband at the second aid-station at the bottom of mile 8, and I cheerfully said hi to her. She was surprised that I even remembered her and my reply was “Of course, you are that freaking fast girl!”  Haha.. that brought huge smiles to both our faces. Also made a mental note to myself – should volunteer if I get the chance. Despite the slow pace between mile 4 to 5 and mile 8, I was able to run and jog throughout most of the hills part, which I was not able to do last month. Again,  I think my morning runs have really helped, and I am glad to discover new confidence in me which I needed for CIM training*.

    To my surprise and I must have understood the course map wrong, because I saw the first aid-station again after mile 11, and this time I stopped to snack a little and talked to my friend Anant. He asked me “are you doing this race by yourself?” and right there and then I saw Max making a right turn and running through this station. What a timing, huh?! I thought I would not see him for 4 hours! Quick intro then Max sprinted away like a rocket. There were some cars parked nearby and I almost took a wrong turn as I continued my run while thinking “I am almost done,  right? But why does this race feel so short?!” Either I was too excited from the pretzel or seeing Max unexpectedly had worked like my Kryptonite :-p

    Half – Pink Route, Full – Pink Route x Twice

    From there came upon the huge downhill Max had warned me about, so I tried to watch where I landed my feet and made sure I did not trip or fall while my eyes, nose, mouth were masked with flying dust. Yuck!! And before I knew it, I saw the greenest lawn opened before my eyes and a very muscular girl in a singlet that I had seen earlier was running ahead of me. I felt an instant current running through my body and I was determined to pass that girl, so I started sprinting, passing her, and ran toward the clock!! Finished!!!

    At the Finish area there were plenty of snacks, fruits, water, soda and even beers as post run fuel, and I snacked a little and took pictures with Nik after he also finished the Half. I went to the restroom and had to use an entire pack of baby wipes to clean my face, arms and legs, and its’ so funny to see I got “instant tan” from all the dust. I don’t think I was able to clean myself very well, but at least I felt fresh from the smell of baby wipes. 🙂

    Walked back to the Finish area and started chatting with the rep, Ben, from Salomon which was the sponsor for this race. We chatted about people we knew in common, his job with Salomon, awesome trail races, and the demo shoes run I did a while back and trail running shoes recommendations. My secret mission was to find the right trail running shoes for Max, and I would go get them later this afternoon. I told Ben that I would bring a friend over for shoes fitting, and I asked him not to blow the secret which he happily agreed. We hang out together and chatted with the Half marathon winner, and goofy me joked that his medal was so light that it did not impress me at all. Chatted with other runners and we all had a great running experience today, perfect weather, perfect course and perfect conditioned runners. As the clock showing 4:00, I turned my attention to runners coming in and I was looking for Max’s blue shirt!

    I took several pictures of Max sprinting toward the finish line when I spotted him, and suddenly a crazy idea popped into my head. I went to talk to the race director Wendell and asked him to announce “Happy Birthday” to Max via the PA system, and Wendell said “Now?” I replied “Yes, of course!!”  with hand gesture pleading. Wendell had that “you are unbelievable” look on his face, but regardless he granted my request. He spoke to his mega-horn and said “Just crossed the finish line is full marathoner Max, and Happy Birthday Max!”  The crowd applauded and clapped, and I sincerely hope that was a great surprise to Max!! Earlier I had gone back to his car and took his backpack with me, so he could change into clean and dry cloth. I led him to the Salomon station to continue my secret mission; Wendell must have seen us chatting with Ben, because he came over and gave a gift certificate to Max wishing him happy birthday! It’s a voucher for a free pair of Salomon trail running shoes!! WOW~~ That’s a sweet deal,!! Though he ruined my secret plan somehow, but he just saved me $200. Hehe, no complaint here.

    Such beautiful trail, great running experience, great Birthday Run for Max (5th Overall and 3rd AG), got teh very nice birthday present for him,  thanks to Costal Trail Runs. Now I felt, and decided, that I am ready for 30K race next time, for Half  is just too short to enjoy the beauty and solitude of trail running.


    *This race was done before I kicked-off my 16-week CIM training program, an over due race report :-p


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