The Pinnacles was my first proper trail race back in April 2012. I thought I might have written up a race report at the time but alas no.
My memories of that run are mostly of thinking myself well out of my depth. The race entry page had said ‘for very fit runners only’ and I’d thought well I’m quite fit, how bad can it be. At about 4km into the 18km race I thought ‘fitter than this’ as I suffered my way to the top of another of the 18 hills and couldn’t muster the energy to start running down. I was last in absolute terms (there were 4 waves so difficult to know how I was fairing) for nearly half the race and I saw the sweeper behind me at one point. It was only after the halfway checkpoint that I started to enjoy myself and overtake other runners and finish in 2:09.
This time around it was a little different. Obviously I have two years more trail experience, and I run on terrain not dissimilar to the Pinnacles nearly every week. I ran up a lot of the hills I walked up last time, and was always able to start running again if I had walked once I got to the top.
The first time around I found some of the downhills unrunnable - this time I just found them barely runnable. And while I did have to walk some of the steeper uphills, I didn’t find them particularly long or impossibly steep - just obstacles to beat.
I ran through the halfway checkpoint this time (saying hi to Grant who was manning it as I did so), as I had all the liquid I needed on me (and more - I had a litre of energy drink and a litre of water). I was able to run well on the long downhill and keep going when it peaks upwards a bit a couple of times towards the finish. I passed a couple of running friends on the way in, and fought my own little races with people around me - I won some and lost some - the lady who finished just in front of me was just that little bit quicker going downhill, and that was enough for her to keep in front.
I enjoyed it much more - it was still tough, and I still suffered, but that’s because I went much more quickly. I think the conditions might have been slightly better (perhaps less humid)? but still, I shaved fifteen minutes off my 2012 time.
Another excellent race/training run in preparation for the North Face, with 776m of ascent to add to the list. Hopefully I won’t feel so broken this week and can up the volume again.