Wednesday, June 20, 2012

It's almost embarrassing. Last weekend we had our choice of fine trail races to run:

• She Rocks the Trails 25K and 50K out of Auburn (OK, technically I would have had to do some lying regarding my gender to get into this race, but it might have been worth it).
• Coastal Zombie Runner San Francisco Half Marathon (we did this last year and I really liked it - great views and fun trails made it hard to miss this year).
• ITR Pacifica Foothills Half/30K/Full/50K (I really want to do a race in this area - there are amazing views and fun trails).

But we decided to do the race that we had to miss last year while in Colorado - the Brazen Trailquake Half Marathon.

One other thing made Saturday interesting - an impressive heat wave. This made She Rocks much more challenging (a HUGE congrats to all that survived that race) than planned. Even the Pacifica race, which would normally start in cold fog and maybe get a bit of sun later in the day, was drenched in heat. Trailquake had an advantage over all those other races - it was mostly run in dense forests with lots of shade. Which was fine with me.

As Mrs Notthat and I headed from the parking lot to the start area, a perky Grandkid First Born came running up to us.

Followed shortly be the rest of the family. The grandkids and their parents camped in the park for a couple of nights before the race, trying to acclimate to the altitude and secure a good parking spot.

Weird Haired Mom, Mrs Notthat, and I did the Half Marathon while Needs Cool Name and the grandkids did the 5K. (None of the races were easy on this course - anyone finishing any of them had really accomplished something.) Note the two bonus family members in the back - the one next to me is my arch-nemisis Yram (not her real name) and the other is Occor (also not his real name).

A proper(ish - thanks Sirhc!) group shot. The fun thing about this course (besides all the shade) was that there were a lot of out-and-back bits, so we often saw each other during the race.

Mrs Notthat and I have done two races in this park - the Brazen Summit Rock races - and I've previously joked that the park, being in the snooty South Bay (Sanborn Park), required that they use stone-ground organic whole wheat flour for marking the trails. Well, this year they decided to not allow flour at all (I suspect the local wildlife was refusing to share the bread they were making with it). This meant there were ribbons strung across trails we weren't supposed to use, which I'm sure confused the many non-runners also using the trails. Keeping the trails gluten-free seems to be a bit extreme.

The race started with a long, sometimes steep, uphill slog that seemed to never end.

Once we got to the top though, we were rewarded with about 7 rolling miles along Skyline Ridge, where there was a nice breeze and most of the out-and-back bits of trail.

A porta-pottie at the end of one of the out-and-back bits was most welcome. (As were the Brazen Rabbit and her squeeze!)

Picture by Yrrek, volunteer photographer and trail guard.
One challenging bit was coming down this bit of trail and continuing up a yet another hill, while a perfectly fine downhill trail lurked just to the right. We would get to use that downhill trail, but not before four more rolling miles along the ridge.

Another by Yrrek.
Photo by Brazen volunteer photographer
 I love how I'm being shoved out of this aid station. I have a knack for lingering around all the food and such.

Photo by brave Brazen volunteer photographer.
Nobody ever has to shove Mrs Notthat out of an aid station. (And proof that I'm not the only one that gets goofy pictures of Mrs Notthat. I have no idea what prompted this - maybe too many caffeinated GUs.)

The second turnaround/aid station. For the Half course, we had a whopping six aid stations - each with lots of food (the fruit was awesome in the warmth) and great volunteers.

I spent a bit of time running with Atina (not her real name, and winner of her age group!) as we started down the long hill to the finish. When I suggested we turn back because this tree was blocking the trail, she rolled her eyes and managed to put a bit of distance between us.

FINALLY we get to take that attractive downhill trail (and not have to glare at poor Yrrek as we did the first time through here).

These guys got really excited when they saw me - "Surely that old guy needs a stretcher to get to the finish" they said as I stumbled past.

Lots of awesome on this bench, including my arch-nemisis, who is not happy that I beat her.
But I managed to finish under my own power, in no small part thanks to Grandkid First Born coming out and running me in the last bit of trail. (I missed breaking four hours by three seconds. Sigh...)

This was my first race in three weeks where I got to really open things up and go at my own pace. It turns out my own pace is slower than even I thought. But I survived the course (2900' of climbing) and had no issues with the many roots and rocks that tripped up so many others. And I beat my arch-nemisis Yram (who is recovering from a cold, so she says).

Our car said it was 101 when we left, and if you were in the sun, it certainly felt that way. Fortunately, most of our time was in the shade, so it rarely felt all that bad.

It was a fun race with lots of perky runners in a great park with lots of well-marked single-track trails and a ton of enthusiastic volunteers and aid stations.

And the shade. Did I mention the shade?

That's it - move along...

PS: You can see more of my pictures here.


Brazen Rabbit said...

And the shade! Oh and the shade! But don't forget the shade. TOTALLY agree w/ you there! :) And thankfully we got a bit of the Santa Cruz AC winds up at the top.

1stCousin said...

Thanks Allen. You make these events come to life for the rest of us.

DAK said...

I like the Goofy Ms. NotThat photo. Ya gotta be a little goofy to run for 4 hours with nobody chasing you.

Claudine said...

ZombieRunner San Francisco was on my list due to your blog... now TrailQuake will be on the list as well. (Didn't get to Zombie Runner this year because (a) it aols out too fast; and (b) DD was leaving for NYC that day & I thought it might be a bit hectic trying to run a half and see him off...) It's all about next year... thanks again for the report, Allen!

Beth said...

This looks like a great run!
Thank goodness you had the shade : )
I love Mrs. pictures, you can always tell she loves to be out there running!