Sunday, January 2, 2011

Starting the New Year in a dirty way

Mrs Notthat, Luap (not his real name), and The Blog took part in today's Brazen Racing New Year's Run out at Lake Chabot. The forecast was grim with rain predicted for much of the morning, but somehow the Brazen people were able to deflect the brunt of the storm onto LA or Portland - anywhere but here since we ended up with only a few light sprinkles.

That doesn't mean it hadn't rained the day or night before the race though - the whole Bay Area has lately had a Seattle feel to it, weather-wise. That meant there was a bit of mud. For runners new to trail racing, there was a LOT of mud. For runners used to Brazen winter trail races, there was a LOT of mud, but not as much as some of the other races, like, say, the Mt Diablo Trails Challenge back in November (my write up of that fun day).

The Lake Chabot park does not allow any kind of amplified sound, which in the past has meant no stirring music to get us going. While I was taking the goody bags up to the car, I saw these guys tuning up. Heavy metal music that needs no amplification!

When it was time for the runners to line up for the race start, the trumpeter played that thing that's played before horse races, and once the race started, they played the theme from Rocky (I think - I may be wrong, but it was one of those songs designed to get your blood - and your legs in this case - pumping).

I liked this shot looking back at the start/finish area, with the trees that have not yet worked out that it's winter.

Mrs Notthat did the 10K. She ended up finishing 17 seconds over breaking two hours - I suspect she dawdled a bit at the aid stations.

I did the Half Marathon. We were warned that some of the flour markings might have washed away with the rain, but most were still pretty legible. Like this one that sent us up a bonus hill, added to the course since the last time we ran it.

You can tell how muddy the trail is by how many people try to avoid going down the middle of it.

There were a couple of places where, no matter how talented you were at puddle and mud avoidance, you were going to get muddy. (One of the women in this picture said a surprisingly appropriate and well deserved bad word, then was relieved to know I wasn't shooting video.)

I wasn't sure how to take this: was I going too fast (HA!) or was it calling me a name? (This was painted on the road, and I'm sure it's aimed at bicyclists since this was on a downhill with lots of blind curves. It had nothing to do with the race, but I chose to be offended anyway.)

Today's course was billed as 50% asphalt and 50% dirt trails. I heard more than one person wonder why all the dirt parts seemed to be uphill and filled with mud.

Luap starts out with the Hikers Division. We try to work out at what point I will overtake him (and I ALWAYS overtake him). I figured today I would pass him at around mile 10, but he was nowhere to be seen. I finally saw him coming up out of that mean little out-and-back near the end and he was perky and moving fast. At first I thought I could still overtake him if I pushed it a bit more, but coming back out of that mean little out-and-back I realized that I had no chance. And I failed. And I will NEVER hear the end of it.

The Blog slogging towards the finish line. I was tired but in pretty good shape. For me. The only reason I was running was the camera. And the smell of pie and ice cream!

Mrs Notthat and Luap having a good laugh at my expense.

I finished with a fairly respectable time (again, for me). I was tired but had a LOT of fun with this race.

See this muddy (and very slippery) trail through the finish line? A few hours earlier it was a nice green lawn, just like what you see to the side. The only person I saw fall the whole day was a guy doing his best victory celebration as he crossed the finish line, only to slip and slide spectacularly across the timing mats. In any case, I really hope the Lake Chabot people will let us back after doing this to their nice green lawn.

Here are Mrs Notthat's things (on the left) and mine. In the immortal words of Billy Crystal in Princess Bride, "I've seen worse." (One thing worth mentioning, after that Mt Diablo mudfest I brought up earlier, Mrs and I each picked up a pair of Gore-Tex, high-top Montrail shoes. These things made going through the slippery mud and puddles much easier than with normal shoes. Pure gold!)

And that's about it. I liked the course changes they made since they added a bit more elevation change and a bit more dirt trail. I liked that I never fell down. I loved the pie and whipped cream at the finish line. The shirts and medals were first class, as usual.

I will try to shoot more video next time though, especially around the mud puddles.

That's it - move along...


DAK said...

I like that picture of The Blog with Luap. I think the truth is you never got enough playing in the mud when you were a kid.

mary ann said...

Hahahaha, I agree w/ DAK! But I do grudgingly admire you two. I do...