This past weekend was supposed to be a break between Ragnars. A time to relax and get ready for Atlanta, which I’ve been eagerly anticipating for months now. However, true to my addiction, as soon as a friend mentioned another Inside Trail race being hosted in Redwood City, I was all over it.
I’d intended to do my first 50k back in December at Inside Trail’s Woodside Ramble. Circumstances conspired against me, however, and I missed the run (lucky thing, because it was reportedly 40 degrees and brutal). I regretted not doing it because I wanted to cover the distance, sure…but more so because I wanted to see the redwood forest in which the race is run.
Thus when the Woodside Crossover, which runs on the same trails in the same park, came up I decided resting wasn’t worth it. I did exercise a bit of restraint, however, and only signed up to do the 10k.
In retrospect, I regret it because the location is truly so beautiful you really should give it at least 13.1 miles to appreciate where you are.
Our race didn’t start until 9:15am so we headed over to Redwood City around 6am. Bay Area traffic was light and it wasn’t until we came to the entrance to Huddart Park that we really hit any back-up at all.
At the entrance it was a different story. Initially 45 minutes early, we didn’t even get to the kiosk to pay until ten minutes before our race time. It was only a quarter of a mile in the park, if that gives you any indication of how busy it was.
Because we were all in the same boat, the race organizers were kind enough to delay start times by 10 minutes, as it turns out.
That was good, because we had to park about a mile from the start and run in. We made it just in time.
Before I knew it, the race started and we headed up the first portion of the trail. It was beautiful from the start, with giant redwoods covered in moss and ferns lining the path. The trails were damp but not muddy, and the misty rain only added to the ambiance.
It felt like running through a fairy forest.
The first three miles of the course is uphill. Roughly 1,100 feet over three miles – nothing compared to what I’d been running, but I found myself not caring much about my pace. I walked quite a bit of the race because I was just that taken in by the scenery.
My companion was behind me and I soon found myself relatively alone on the course. Faster runners had taken off, slower ones were walking, and I was out there alone in the mist and fog.
It was surreal.
The rain started to pick up and I saw little diamonds of mist collecting on the brim of my visor. They hung there, shimmering as I ran, until they grew large enough to drop off and splash on my knees or the ground below. I really did spend time noticing that, and I have to say that while I usually focus on the race, my pace, or the distance, the setting for Woodside simply made all of that seem unimportant.
Sometimes, it takes a run just like this one to help you notice the things you usually rush by.
At the three-mile mark, the course took a downhill turn and stayed that way through the finish. It was a fun, fast descent with plenty of switchbacks. The rain had helped parts of the course turn to sticky mud and a runner went down in front of me, but she quickly got back up and continued on. I stuck with the same group of women throughout the last two miles, chatting idly with one who was on my tail while we swooped down through the trees toward the finish.
Too soon, I saw the meadow and the finish line. I’ve never regretted the end of a race as much as I regretted that one. I wanted to keep going and solidly wished I’d signed up for the entire half.
True to form, Inside Trail had a feast laid out at the finish. I collected my t-shirt and medal, and grabbed a cup of chicken noodle soup while I waited for my friend. Soon, we were both noshing on the fresh fruit and discussing how pretty the run had been.
It was then I realized I’d not taken a single picture on the course. I was too busy appreciating the scenery to capture it with my phone.
Probably for the best, as this way I really got to see the course.
So that’s it for Woodside Crossover 2016. I’d share take-aways, but at 10k it was too short to really have any to pass on. Maybe that’s one…never underestimate yourself, and always sign up for the longer distance.
I’m definitely going to remember that in December. Look out, Woodside Ramble 50k, you’re back on the calendar.