Saturday, February 26, 2011

No snow, but sunshine and great trails make up for it

I promised myself I would not do a race this weekend - I've got some work piling up and it's been a while since the grass has been mowed.

But then the weather guys started drizzling in their drawers over the possibility of snow at sea level on Friday night. How could I sit at home and miss out on a once-in-a-lifetime snow-covered trail race? So I signed up for the 20K race at the PCTR Redwood Park event today.

Well, the weather guys were wrong - there was no snow on the Oakland hills this morning. Instead we were treated to ridiculously clear skies (for a while, anyway) and wonderful trails that had just the right amount of mud and puddles.

It was very frosty when I got there. My car said it was 32 degrees. Standing in the sun though, it felt a lot more like 34 degrees.

A lot of people showed up for the race. This was amazing given how bad the forecast had been earlier in the week. Trail runners are hardy, and maybe a bit nuts.

Of course, Einre (not his real name) was there. He had done a marathon last Saturday in a very cold steady rain, and that didn't phase him. No way the threat of snow would worry him.

And Eiram (also not her real name) was there as well. Both her and Einre did the 30K. My goal was to finish my 20K before Eiram finished her 30K, but I didn't envy my chances.

The 10K course had to be altered a bit to save some muddy trails from the runners. This meant there was an interesting bit near the start where the longer runners and the 10K runners were on the same trail, but going in opposite directions. The cool thing was that this became an impromptu high-five line.

Very early in the race we started up a long, muddy hill. It was great!

Some parts of the course were seriously muddy. The good thing though was that this was not the kind of mud that clumps onto your shoes, adding ten pounds to each step. It was very wet and slippery. My Montrails loved it!

The aid station at just about the halfway point. This was a great break.

One of my favorite signs. And it did not disappoint.

There were a number of small creeks that followed or crossed the trail, but one of them also had this nice little waterfall.

The 20K finished with a fantastic stretch of single-track trail. In places, it was challenging and I can't imagine people running on it, but it was a huge blast!

This is the aid station for those doing the 30K and 50K races. The finish line for me is a few feet past this.

And there it is! Hot chili and lots of other snacks were waiting for me. But would Eiram also be there? I looked around and didn't see her, so I ate my chili and headed back out to greet (but not taunt - never would I do that!) her.

And here she comes! I was proud that she resisted spending a few quality minutes with that playground behind her.

And not far behind her came Einre, finishing the 20K leg of his 30K race.

This is what you like to see after a good trail race. (Fortunately, Mrs Notthat was not home when I got home, since she would have had a bit of an issue with me tromping around in my muddy shoes.)

The shirt and my bib.

This was an excellent event - great trails, great weather (even without the snow - I did see a woman at the finish line with goosebumps the size of frozen peas on the back of her legs though; it was a bit chilly out there), and a fun time.

I'm not sure what's next for me - there's a race out of Pacifica next weekend. And of course the grass still needs to be mowed.

Thats it - move along...

PS: You can see a lot more pictures I took around the course here.


Mrs. Notthat said...

and IDT needs a bath...

AstroRoss said...

Great to see some pictures from the race, the first few really show the hills that I struggled on. But I was too out of breath to pull out my phone and snap way. Thanks again for the memories.

Anonymous said...

Some great photos .. thanks for posting, I was in the crowd for the 20K