Starving At The 2014 Pacifica Foothills Trail Run 30K

Pacifica Foothills Trail Run 30K was my first race for 2014. It was just a few days after I came back from traveling internationally and was still super jet lagged. I figured 30K was about the right distance to run with jet lag and also didn’t really feel like running laps. Never a huge fan of laps. The 30K would take me 1,900 ft up to Montara Mountain North Peak and then two laps around Hazelnut Trail for a total elevation gain of ~4,300 ft. Besides this was going to be a great training run for the Fort Ord 50K in two weeks.


Pacifica Foothills Trail Run

Woke up at 3am from the melatonin-induced sleep and was almost asleep again when the alarm woke me up. Was greeted by a beautiful moon on my drive up to Pacifica. The only new gear this time was the Garmin Forerunner 220 that arrived just a couple of days ago. Will post my thoughts on this soon. There was only one aid station near the starting line, but all three loops pass through this conveniently. So all I carried was a Nathan 22oz handheld.

We left at 8:30am following Sam’s pre-race announcements and pretty soon ended up single-file on the climb up to Montara North Peak. Eucalyptus groves gave way to Manzanitas as we climbed up. I ran most of the way up, stopping a few times to take pictures of the spectacular vista. Somehow I skipped scouting out San Pedro Valley Park when I was working on the Bay Area Trail Running series this summer. The downhill was treacherous, but awesome and I was running sub 6:00 min/mile pace on portions of it! I got the 7.5 mile loop done in about 1:15 and was pretty happy with that. Grabbed a Clif Shot Gel and S-Cap at the aid station and headed up Hazelnut Trail. Mostly walked the uphills and stuck with a couple of other runners. We kept passing each other and I eventually reached the aid station back again at 2:16. One more Clif Shot Gel and that was a terrible mistake. Should’ve grabbed more, ‘cos I was getting hungry, but was rushing to finish the 2nd lap.

  • Single Track Up Montara Mountain
    Single Track Up Montara Mountain

Pacifica Foothills Trail Run FinishIt was warming up now and Hazelnut Trail had portions of exposed trails. By the time I got to mile 14, about half way on the 2nd lap, I was starving. I asked a fellow runner for a gel, but he didn’t have any. My stomach was growling and I was still climbing. I was a little light-headed, but kept walking/running without a plan until I summited the second hill. Two more miles, but mostly downhill. Kept a reasonably good pace and crossed the finish line at 3:25, placing 15th overall and 6th in age group! That was a close shave and I could’ve easily bonked. Note to self on carrying more food that I really need. Here’s my Strava activity for the Pacifica Foothills Trail Run 30K.

Have you ever run out of food in the middle of a race? How did you manage?

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