Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Weather fit only for a Zombie Runner

Diane and I could not pass up the chance at a blingable event only 15 minutes from home and on trails we are fairly familiar with. So we signed up for the Zombie Runner Bay Trail Run put on by Coastal Trail Runs.

The only problem was the forecast, which called for rain and wind and cold. But the weather people are rarely right, so we didn't sweat it.

We woke up Sunday morning to heavy rain. Driving to the race on 101, three of the four freeway lanes were closed due to flooding at one point, and the fourth lane should have had a life preserver requirement. But we knew the trails were pretty solid, and there were no real hills to worry about, so how bad could it be?

That's Diane waiting for the ferry to the picnic table. The main parking lot was mostly under water. It was moist out.

We were not nearly alone in our pursuit of soggy bling - nearly 250 people finished the various races.

The people that deserve the biggest congratulations were the aid station workers who had to stand around in the wind and rain and cold for hours while we slogged our way around the course. This guy was alternating between filling cups of water and holding down the awning. Alert readers will note the goldfish and other non-wind resistant snacks scattered on the ground behind the table.

Most of the trails were fine, with puddle avoidance being the biggest challenge. But there was also this fun stretch of trail that was doing its best to turn into a creek.

Diane did the Half Marathon while I did the Full Marathon. The Full Marathon was actually two laps of the Half Marathon course. So as I approached this nice friendly-looking finish line the first time, I knew it was an illusion. It was also a gut check though; the woman asked if I still wanted to go take my second lap, and it would have been awfully easy to justify saying no. The rain had backed off to just scattered showers, but it was still cold and I was pretty wet. And tired. And my right ankle hurt a bit from a noble (but futile) attempt to hurdle a large puddle.

But I turned around and headed back out again.

Shortly after heading back out, I came across Diane, who was smiling broadly since she knew the finish line really would be the end of her race. (A lot of the trail looked like this, but with more puddles.)

I tried to take a picture of the two of us, but it just came out kind of goofy.

One of the coolest things about the race was that we had a genuine celebrity there: The Walking Diva! This woman, who probably smiles through dental surgery, has already set the world record for most marathons in a year by a woman. She is now aiming to set the overall record - this was her 104th marathon (which is actually a bit misleading, since many of her "marathons" were actually 50K and longer events with challenging elevations). The day before this event, she did a tough 50K. She's nothing short of amazing - it was great to be out there with her.

You wouldn't call Ernie a "diva" (at least not to his face), but he's this amazing guy in his 60s that we see all the time at events like this. And he too is always smiling. And he had done a 30K the day before. I believe this was his 30th event of the year.

Seeing people like Ernie out there under all kinds of conditions, always having a good time, is hugely inspiring. It's people like him, The Walking Diva, our coaches Paul, Andrew, Curt and others, that made the decision to keep going after that first lap actually pretty easy.

Here's Diane powering across the finish line.

And here I am less than two miles from being done. (Don't let the running fool you - you see a camera, you start running - at least until you hear the shutter click.)

And here is the finisher medal! The bling!

I won't say this was my favorite event, but it is easily one of my most memorable ones. Considering the conditions, it was very well run, with great goody bags (thanks Zombie Runner!) and hot soup at the finish line.

This was my third weekend in a row doing an event - it was Diane's fourth(!) - and we are taking the upcoming weekend off. Our next event is January 2nd, the Brazen New Year's Run at Lake Chabot.

Our clothes should be dried out by then. (By the way, the Montrail Gore-Tex shoes we bought at Zombie Runner during their Black Friday event worked stunningly well, making puddle avoidance not really all that necessary.)

That's it - move along...


notthatlucas said...

I've got more pictures posted here: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2077694&id=1172907671&l=d7ad7539d9

DAK said...

Up to now, I could have said 'well, it's just a stage they're going through.' But powering through a marathon in the rain and mud and slick when you could have easily just stayed home -- I'm coming to think you both mean it.

Eve said...

You guys rock!! :)

mary ann said...

This looks like agony. Don't you have a nice fireplace and some good books?