Today was Brazen Racing's Nitro Trail event. It was at relatively small Point Pinole Park on San Pablo Bay. There was no mud, no real hills, and a bit more pavement than I like, but wow - wonderful views, a nice combination of open areas and tree lined trails, and of course, a flawlessly run event by Brazen.
And Its-It ice cream at the finish line.
Note: As per usual, these are not real names, and instead use a complicated secret coding to protect identities. I know, this is stupid, but it amuses me.
Here is my traditional porta-pottie shot, with Coach Luap being brave and trying one out. They were not nice (I'm being a bit kind), but they worked. There were many others out of the trail that were probably better. (Yes, my traditional porta-pottie shot is perhaps stupider than my not using real names.)
This was the early start half marathon group. This early start is for hikers and slow runners, allowing us a better chance of finishing before dark. It is a very nice thing that Brazen does, although it puts a bit of stress on some of the volunteers who end up needing to be ready earlier than normal. Thank you volunteers!
A weird thing was that my timing tag was pink, while everyone else's I saw was orange. The pink did go well with my gaiters, and grandkid Darci would have been thrilled, but I wasn't sure if this was like a Willie Wonka ticket or just a weird coincidence. (Weird coincidence gets my money.)
Much of the course had great views of San Pablo Bay. As you can see in this picture, the day started out overcast (which was a huge win for us in that it kept the temperatures down). As you can't see, it was also humid. I couldn't believe how much I sweated for as cool as it was.
The aid stations were fantastic as usual. The volunteers were great at providing encouragement, water, and a fun selection of food.
And here is the shot as I approached the finish line. But not really. As I mentioned earlier, this is a relatively small park. One thing this meant was that the half marathoners made two laps of the course. It also meant that we got to visit one of the aid stations four times - by the third time through we were all old friends. There were some interesting challenges in keeping the trails marked for the three different races, and all in all, it seemed to go really well.
As Mr Brazen stated in the race's write-up, "The views are so nice you'll want to see them twice." And he was right. And by the second time around, the clouds were burning off and sun was leaking through, which made the views different in any case.
About halfway through my second lap I managed to catch this picture of Coach Luap, heading the opposite way on a section of trail that served double-duty.
Once I finished, I headed back out to see how Coach Werdna, Coach Luap, and a coworker Luap-Naej were doing. I caught Andrew just as he was heading into the last three mile section.
And then came Luap-Naej blazing down the trail. Yes, I finished before him, but I also started 50 minutes earlier than he did, so he had a MUCH faster time. This was his first half marathon and he did great. I raced him to the finish line. (And lost.)
And then came Coach Luap, blazing (in his own special way) to the finish line. Notice that everyone is smiling - this really was a lot of fun!
After finishing, Luap-Naej went back out to find his friend Eiggam, who chose to celebrate her birthday by running her first half marathon. Even SHE is smiling!
Apparently ice cream and watermelon did a great job of perking them up even more.
While waiting for Werdna to get in, Luap spent some time talking to a ridiculously fit Brazen guy about how to train for a 100 mile run. Or something like that. It made my head hurt so I went back out to find Werdna.
And here he is crossing the finish line!
Here is the shirt, medal, bib, and mysterious pink timing tag.
It was a huge amount of fun. Sadly, I will have to miss the next two Brazen events due to travel issues, breaking my string of being at the last six events (one as a volunteer).
But this should give me time to build an extension to my closet for all the shirts and medals.
That's it - move along...