Sunday, April 17, 2011

No trains but lots of leg power

Brazen Racing had their first Full Marathon yesterday, part of the Western Pacific train-themed event. I had vowed to run any marathons they put on, but took that vow back when I saw that this was a very flat course. (I know - I don't know when I became such a trail snob; probably the winter Bear Creek last year was the beginning of that.)

I also knew they were going to have seven aid stations, which meant they would need a lot of volunteers, so I threw my hat in that ring. I was assigned to a Full Marathon aid station out in the boonies (although there was an even boonier aid station). We drove our supplies out on the trail (a HUGE thanks to the ranger guy that let us do that) - one thing that happens when you drive stuff out like this is you really get a good sense of how far these runners are going; it's impressive).

We start a bit before dawn (but about two hours after the Brazen people had showed up - it's a lot of work to set things up and there were going to be about 1000 runners to get ready for). This is the gathering area for the aid station volunteers.

Once we got to the aid station site, the other two people started setting things up while I drove the supplies out to the boonier aid station.

The boonier aid station was at the Full Marathon turn around on a long out-and-back stretch. Even though it wasn't that challenging turning the runners around (the alternative was going into the bay), this was a tough aid station since it was very exposed and only saw the runners once, so there wasn't a lot of activity. They did get to be the first to shut down though.

Back at our aid station, the magic that is duct tape was put to good use on the canopy. It was hard to resist offering duct tape as the solution to all runner issues throughout the day. ("Your hair's getting in your eyes? Here, hold still while I get you a bit of tape HEY! Where are you going? Wow - your speed suddenly sure picked up!")

There were a lot of non-racers that passed through our bit of the trail, including several on horseback.

This particular horse was a bit spirited and was determined to visit our aid station. We need to get carrots and sugar cubes added to our supplies list for next time. (The horse could not get the hang of a GU packet, which put him in the same class as me. Speaking of GU, there was a flavor none of us had ever seen before - Plain. We dared each other to try it, then finally settled on splitting one between us. It was kind of like honey, vanilla, and a whole lot of sticky all mixed together, and got thumbs up from all of us.)

Being out on the boonies meant we missed the vast majority of the race, including Mrs Notthat, the grandkids and their parents, and much of the rest of the trail hijinks that was going on. Then this morning I started looking at the huge number of pictures that had been posted and was able to get a good feel for how things had gone back there. For example:

Mrs Notthat teamed up with Nivek (not his real name) to storm through the Half Marathon course. Mrs Notthat totally gets the "there's a guy with a camera so we need to pretend to be running" thing, although laughing while doing this (instead of grimacing in pain) is a bit of a giveaway. Note how warmly they are dressed - the weather started out cool...

...but then the sun came out and the layers came off. (By this time Nivek knew the jig was up on the pretending to run thing.)

I really like this picture.

I don't know who this is, but love the panda hat. Go Giants!

The grandkids and their parents all did the 5K race. The train theme was just too cool for Riley, who was a little sad that they wouldn't actually be racing a train. Weird Haired Mom and Darci stayed together. And wait - what's going on below Darci's bib?

Now THAT'S and born trail runner. The look is not that important - it's function that matters. (OK, the look mattered a bit - there was no way she was wearing a blue shirt.) And the focused look that screams "I'm gonna eat your lunch!"

Needs Cool Name and Riley had the added challenge of herding Dove the Wonder Dog through the course. All of them finished in less than an hour, which was a PR for the grandkids.

OK, back to the boonies and the aid station. And a capeless Endorphin Dude and Sidekick steaming down the trail. (He doesn't wear his trademark cape on trail races since it gets snagged on the trees, shrubs, and creeks. He didn't know this was not one of those trail races though, which is why he finished last, but I'm getting ahead of myself.) He does tend to have more fun in these races than anyone else.

The one guy that comes close is Einre (not his real name either), who was following close behind.

I loved what this guy had on his back ("Hi, I'm Doug. Say hello! Marathon #40!). I could do something like that, but since I'm pretty much always at the back of the race, nobody would ever see it.

Another back message. Seriously, I've got to give this some thought.

And then a fun surprise - the grandkids showed up with WAY too much energy for having just finished their 5K race.

Maybe they were a bit happy to see me, but mostly they knew there was an aid station stocked with fun things to eat. I've been told that NCN wears PJ bottoms as his race day trademark. It could be worse.

Darci, who ran a flawless race, managed to fall and scrape her knee while visiting. Welcome to the Real World of Trail Racing.

Mas (not his, oh, you get it by now surely) the Sweeper is a great sight after a long day at an aid station. (The broom is for wiping out the flour markings. The bike is because he has to cover a lot of ground. The smile is because he likes doing this.)

The sun brought out a lot of lizards to cheer the runners on. (They do this by flicking their tongues, which is not really all that effective, but it's the thought that counts.)

Once we packed up and headed back to the finish line, I went out to see how the race between The ED and Einre was going. I approached this area with great trepidation.

This is one of my co-volunteers who is getting in a fun run to work out the stiffness that comes from hours of standing at an aid station.

I caught up with Einre, and he was still trailing the ED, although by not much. He promised he would whip ED, and I believed him.

I also caught up with Brazen Hussy Eiram, who was busy closing down various bits of the course. There are so many things wrong with this picture that we don't have time to go into them all here.

This picture ("Look ma! I don't even have to look where I'm going!") shows that she lives a charmed life by somehow managing to avoid ending up in the lake.

Einre did it! He stormed across the finish line (no thanks to me guiding him the wrong way, adding 50 feet to his race) well before Endorphin Dude.

Who showed up shortly after, having stole two trail ribbons from Mas the Sweeper. 

This was a great day with wonderful weather and fun runners everywhere. Even the locals that normally don't have to share their trails with forces like ED had fun with it all.

Except for maybe that disappointed horse.

That's it - move along...


Mrs. Notthat said...

There were lots of BART trains coming and going that we saw! Great race and lots of fun!!

Endorphin Dude said...

Love it! You're quick with the race report! I'm still 5 race reports behind! I should hire you to be my ghost blog writer. It was good to meet you in person. After pulling of that 57 miler last week and the double marathon the weekend before, my body was beat. I'm glad I was able to finish this one. I got to spend the whole day yesterday resting. I love Saturday marathons!