Monday, January 16, 2012

It's not a sprint - it's a quarter marathon!

Late last year we found out that, for family reasons, we were going to be making a weekend trip to Marysville (or is it Linda or Olivehurst - definitely not Yuba City, I think) in the middle of January. Mrs Notthat gave me that look and didn't have to say anything; I just started looking to see what races might be happening that weekend in that area.

I'd heard of Chico (is that where the Bad News Bears played? I remember them wearing "Chico Bail Bonds" uniforms) and was thrilled to find it was less than an hour from where we would be staying in the Quad City Metroplex, because I KNEW I had to run a race named Frost or Fog. Especially if that race had the unique distance of a Quarter Marathon!

I had run a tough trail Marathon out of Woodside the previous weekend, which also made this relatively easy distance attractive.

So Friday morning we headed north for the packet pickup.

Packet pickup at Fleet Feet in downtown Chico went great, although that poster in the background was a bit humbling. I had no idea how many people would be at this race, but if that was from last year's event, I was going to be in trouble.

We woke up to frost!

And on the way to Chico we saw fog (sort of)! Frost AND Fog!

Here's the bridge from the background picture at packet pickup - it's funny how things look different in person. We will finish by crossing this bridge.

Mrs Notthat and I with our game faces on. It was quite cool (the car said 32 when we left the Quad City Metroplex area, but I think by now it was nearly up to 40.)

Mrs Notthat is trying to tell me something with this pose, but I'm not sure what it was. This is all the Quarter Marathoners lined up at the start.

This picture, from the Frost or Fog Facebook site, shows Mrs Notthat charging out while, only ten feet beyond the starting line, I've already been passed.

The course is sort of an upside down lollipop - there's a loop at the start/finish with an out-and-back stick in the middle. I expected a lot of pavement, but was thrilled to find out at least half of the course was either on dirt single-track trails or gravel roads (that in some places became quite technical to try to run on due to the rocks and such sticking up). There were some mild hills - just enough to keep it interesting. And it was pretty.

Some time was spent on these paved trails. The "Stay Left" thing really threw me - every bone in my body screamed to get on the right, but I'll take it that there are good reasons to do this.

This is the first aid station and the 5K turnaround (about mile 2). I had only been passed by about 6 or so 5K runners by the time I got here - they started 10 minutes after us. The aid stations were filled with friendly volunteers cheering you on and making sure you were hydrated.

Yes, this was pavement, but running through these trees made it all worth it.

Once on the stick part of the lollipop, I started seeing the faster Quarter Marathon runners coming back from the turnaround. And then I saw this 7-year-old flying down the course! She was SO cool and even inspired me to pick up the pace (for a little bit anyway).

And then Mrs Notthat came back past me. Perky but oddly headphoneless. (It turns out that iPods are almost magical, but you still have to charge them once in a while.)

I finally reached the turnaround and the second aid station. (I swear the volunteers must think I'm a lunatic for stopping to take their pictures like this. But they truly are stars and deserve to have their picture taken! Plus I need the rest.)

Eventually I found my way to the bridge and the finish line. There was much rejoicing that they didn't have to go looking for me.

This was a great race and a lot of fun! It was a bit of a fluke that we ended up doing it, but we are going to try for another fluke or two this summer for more of the Under the Sun events.

The course was well marked and I loved that they had mile markers. The aid stations were friendly and it turned out we had three of them for what was really an ultra 10K. There were 435 finishers between the three races (5K walking, 5K running, and Quarter Marathon).

And unlike the guy in the logo with the pink earmuffs, we managed to stay plenty warm. And the raspberry granola cake at the finish line was amazing!

That's it - move along...

PS: Here is a link to more pictures that I took.


Mrs. Notthat said...

It was a fun race and a beautiful day! I'm so glad it was Saturday and not Sunday when it got chilly and windy. Yum that cake was good! It was from a local bakery!

DAK said...

So, do you two not bother training? You just work all week and then run marathons on the weekend? I wonder what you'll do when you tire of this and start doing what other people do -- that is, take cruises on ships that run into islands and stuff?

mary ann said...

Brrrrr ~ I got cold when I started reading this but warmed up as you raced along. Love the purple socks!

Beth said...

Looks like a nice race! That trail through the trees is pretty. I think I will start referring to my long runs in marathon fraction form :)...3/5ths, 1/7th, 7/10ths of a marathon. That'll really throw off all those people who continue to ask how long of a marathon we ran : )