We arrived in time to see Paul getting last minute instructions from Mr Brazen before heading out as the Hiking Division. Mr Brazen is explaining how the hill will seem "this big" but is really not that bad. (For the record, Paul didn't buy it.)
Frequent hiking partner Ann volunteered at this event, handing out timing chips and guarding the sweat check area.
This is the staging area. As usual, everything went smoothly and was well organized.
And because I'm a bit dense, I didn't realize that Lorna and her entire family were also doing this race! (She basically told me this, but I somehow misunderstood "We will be there and watch your back disappearing into the woods." She's Canadian, so I'm going to go with this being a language issue.)
I did the Half Marathon (Diane wisely did the 10K). I started at the very back of the pack and took this picture of the wider trail narrowing to a single track trail, which is what most of the race used.
One challenge for Brazen setting up their first South Bay race was that they had to use stoneground whole wheat flour for the trail markings - none of the bleached white stuff they normally use. (Of course I'm making this up! I've been saving this "joke" for about a month. It was kind of funny though that some of the flour did look a bit whole wheatish.)
The first three miles were all uphill. The good part was that there were lots of switchbacks which made the trail a bit less than tendon-snapping steep. (Alert viewers will note runners that appear to be wandering through the forest off to the left.)
This is the first aid station, at the 5K turnaround. Aid station volunteers never get enough praise or thanks. They are all studs!
This is what most of the trail looked like. Very pretty and tree-infested.
This is the second aid station, and the 10K turnaround. There were lots of happy 10K people at this point since they got to turnaround and head back downhill. For us Half Marathoners there was still a small bit of climbing, and some "rolling hills" (which is a nice way to say "don't get too comfortable with the flatness since it's going to change soon and often").
Finally the third aid station, and the Half Marathon turnaround. The race was an out-and-back with everyone using the same trails. This made for some congestion early on, but by this time all the 5K and 10K people (and fast Half Marathoners) had been weeded out, so it was very calm and quiet.
A first for me - having to watch out for apples on the trail. The thing about out-and-backs is that you see the same trail and scenery twice. Except you don't. I completely missed these on the way out.
Paul the Hiking Division was booking it. He didn't get that much of a head start, so I expected to catch him by mile 5 or so. I didn't pass him until about mile 8.
I'm so sorry for the quality of this picture (my sweat somehow caused my camera, which I was carrying in my right hand, to go wonky). This is at that second aid station again. The thing about that second aid station is that you had to climb some stairs to get to it. Very few runners felt like climbing those stairs at this point, so this nobel volunteer stood at the bottom of the stairs with a tray of drinks. (None were of the adult variety though.)
A creek crossing! The trails were generally wet, but not muddy since they were mostly protected with leaves and redwood needles and rocks and roots.
At about mile 11 I came across this group that were going slowly, helping a runner that was having painful knee issues. I tossed her some ibuprofen and took off. (It was really cool that all these people stayed with her, and even cooler that she finished the race standing up, although, as a joke, one of the guys carried her across the finish line.)
Here I am steaming (HA!) across the finish line.
Diane and I with our medals. And contrary to what it looks like, I did not go wee-wee in my shorts. I don't know if it was humid or I was well hydrated, but I sweated a LOT. At the aid stations I would take my hat off so sweat wouldn't drip off the brim onto the food.
After eating pie and ice cream I decided to head out to see how far away Paul was. I got almost 50 feet before I saw him coming into the finish line. He did great, and other than having a bit of a brawl with his jacket at one point, had no issues during the race.
The bling. I am not much of an ornithologist, but I wasn't sure what kind of bird this was. For some reason, I took it to be a very irritated owl. Others (probably correctly) have insisted it is a very irritated bald eagle.
And that's about it. A great course and great race. The weather was also good - foggy down low but sunny up on top of the mountain. We couldn't ask for anything better.
Well, maybe an escalator at that 10K aid station.
That's it - move along...
PS: Diane and I did a trail race last weekend and are doing another one next weekend (the Zombie Runner Bay Trail run - total elevation for the Full Marathon is 60 feet; my calves won't know what to do).