January 23, 2018

Peters Canyon Trail Run Series

I really like trail runs, but they sure can be painful.

I had to go to the 3rd and final race in the Peters Canyon Trail Run Series to man the Triathica expo booth. I thought I might as well get a training run in so I signed up right before the race.

After speaking with a few people at the expo, I headed over to the starting line about five minutes before the race start. I managed to squeeze in about 30 feet back from the start and felt a little awkward being the only one wearing a tri top and tri shorts. Oh well, at least I looked cool in my Triathica gear.

The horn sounded, and we were off…not quite. The guys in the very front were off, and for most of the people in front of me it was more like a mosey. I don’t have anything against slower runners, I’m not very fast by any means, but it doesn’t make sense to me to go to the front of the pack if you are running a 10 minute mile pace or slower.

It took me over a quarter mile before I could get past everyone blocking the way and settle into my pace, after that it was smooth sailing…and then there were hills.

I had been warned that the course was hilly, this warning proved to be an understatement. The first mile or two were cake, then it was one monster hill after another. I told myself I would not walk so I had to power up all of them. These were some of the longest and steepest hills I’ve seen on a trail run. I sometimes will run Whiting Ranch in Foothill Ranch, but Peters Canyon makes Whiting look like a leisurely stroll through the park.

I did a good job keeping my pace and keeping my heart rate where it needed to be to keep from blowing up. A neared my max of 180 bpm a few times going up some of those hills, but I was able to recover on the flats and downhills before the next hill.

Im 6’1” and 185 so I don’t do too well going up hill, but down hill is a different story. I saw a lot of people struggling on the down-hill and using their quads to keep their speed down. My quads were much too tired for that, so I have this technique where I just turn my legs into limp noodles and let gravity do its thing. It was scary at times flying down these rocky dirt paths, but I passes a lot of people using this method. It is a little dangerous, but it allows me to go faster and use less energy.

After a series of roller coaster troughs and peaks, I neared a turn where a guy was shouting, “Its all downhill from here.” I was relieved at first, but my downhill method is very pounding so I was hurting a bit on this long descent.

Once I reached the bottom of the hill it was mostly flat ground back to the finish about a mile away. There was one guy a few hundred meters in front of me, so I picked up the pace a bit. He seemed to do the same, so I only gained a little ground and ended up finishing alone with no race to the line.

I ended up in 17th place overall and my time was 34:38. I was just under seven minute/mile pace which I was very happy with for how hilly the course was. I definitely need to do more hill repeats in training. Come on out to Triathica for free Sunday runs at 7:00 a.m. We usually go through Whiting Ranch, but will switch it up periodically.

Jarrett Pflieger

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