Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Feel Lucky, Punk? Good Times at the Baytrailrunners Whistle Punk Half (Feb '18)

Last Sunday, Race Director Robert Rhodes and the Baytrailrunners Crew hosted their 7th Whistle Punk Half, a trail half marathon through the gorgeous (and steep!) Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve near my home in Woodside, CA. It was a beautiful day, and we made the most of it! More pics than text for this one - just a great day in the forest.

(Robert gets the 80+ runners organized)
 It was a classic winter California day - a chilly 38 degrees in the shade, but pushing 50 degrees in the sun. Layers would be key!

(And we are off!)
(100 feet of flat, then miles of downhill)
The term "Whistle Punk" comes from the old logging days of the 1850's, where the person who sounded the horn when a tree was coming down was called the whistle punk. Robert gave us a blast of the horn as we fell down the hillside.

(We immediately plunge down the first half mile)
(Save those quads!)
(The canopy was chilly)
(Jim is looking forward to the sunny sections)

(Get that sun, Jim!)
(First peak nabbed!)
(And down we go...that's the Pacific Ocean to the right)
(Ahhh, there's that sun!) 
(On the fast Craig Britton Trail)
(Moving fast on the Craig Britton Trail)
(Love this trail!)
(Dancing among the giants)
There was a lot of fast running on the descent to Grabtown Gulch (still my favorite part of Purisima), which quickly slowed most to a fast hike. This is a steep 2.5-mile pitch and you have to save yourself for an even bigger climb at the end, so worth saving up!

(Heading up Grabtown Gulch) 
(Derek is almost to the top!)
(Robert and his Dad manning the aid station)
I met Derek on the climb up (also representing A Runner's Mind in Burlingame, one of the race sponsors), and he was glad to see the aid station. I got a pic, then pushed forward to catch up to Jamil, who had come down from Sonoma County to enter his second trail race of all time, and the longest one yet. He was doing great!

(Jamil getting it done)

(Jamil says thanks to aid station volunteers...just four miles to go!)
Jamil and I chatted briefly into the last descent, and I learned about his amazing health journey where he did some good living in Hawaii, lost 30 lbs, then came back to be a chef. Despite the lively conversation, we almost broke his one mile PR as we came into the last aid station (mile 9). I let Jamil know it's the first third of this last climb that is a doozy, and he smartly paced himself while I recklessly went forward in search of Strava KOM's to no avail.

(The final climb!)
(Doing the climb, photo courtesy of Edmundo Pacheco)
(Into the sun, almost there!)
I felt great on the last climb (1:55), but not quite enough to catch our winner, Lucas Shuman (1:47). Derek passed Jamil in the last mile to nab third, and Kim Beil, Jamie Fend, and Alyssa Dunlap (not related!) won the Women's division.

(Awesome finish medals/coasters)
(Derek brings it home!)
(Jamie Fend and Kim Beil take 2nd and 1st Woman)
My thanks to Robert and his crew for throwing a great party, and giving us all an excuse to play in the forest all morning. If you're looking for a chill race up in these here parts, this is a great one, as is the Whiskey Hill Redwood Run on March 25. Hope to see you there!

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