Cruising Downhill At The 2013 Diablo Trail Adventure Half Marathon

Time flies when you are running! Only a year ago I ran the Diablo Trail Adventure, my very first trail race and finished in 2:30. With a total elevation gain of ~2,500 ft and a monster downhill, this one’s a challenging but fun course. I wanted to go back to see if I had gotten better over the last year. My main take away from the last time I ran the Diablo Trail Adventure was learning how to run downhill, ‘cos I got creamed on the last 4 miles. I’d been watching the weather for a week and it was going to be cold and frosty getting up to a high of about 66°F. Perfect.

Diablo Trail Adventure

Given the cold weather, I chose to fill just a half bottle of my Nathan 22oz handheld and carried one Clif Shot Gel and one Succeed S Cap. The new addition to my running gear were compression socks and arm sleeves. More for the warmth than anything else. After an hour drive, I got there around 7:30am and in spite of the Split Toe Tabi Socks, my feet were freezing.

Diablo Downhill

Diablo Trail Adventure Mile 6

Diablo Trail Adventure - Summit

Diablo Trail Adventure - Finish

I was kinda hoping for a sub 2:00 finish, but didn’t really bother with splits. Back of the envelope calculation told me if I climbed the ~2,500 ft up to the Horseshoe Aid Station at mile 7.9 in about 1:15, I could make up time on the downhill. We left sharp at 8:00am and I was with the leading pack of about 15 runners. Kept a comfortable pace, though it took about 4 miles before I could feel my toes again. I had my Timex beeping every 15 minutes, a gentle reminder to get a few sips of water in. An hour in and not stopping at the first two aid stations, I popped the Succeed S Cap. Got to the Horseshoe Aid Station at 1:20, pretty close to when I wanted to get there. Ate a Clif Shot Gel and proceeded to the summit at mile 9. Took a deep breath, leaned forward and then opened up on the downhill. It was exhilarating and scary. There was a lot of gravel and I had to cherry pick my way down. The Luna Sandals held, but I could feel the occasional rock on my heel. Passed the mile 10 marker at 1:40 and at this point I knew I could beat my last time. Cruised past the last aid station and pulled into the finish line at 2:05, placing 4th in my age group and 19th overall. That’s 25 minutes faster than the last time. What a difference a whole year of running makes!

Were you at Diablo Trail Adventure? What was your experience?

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