A fun thing before the start was getting to see Mrs Coastal and Newborn Coastal (who took one look at me, and, I swear, rolled his eyes and let out a heavy sigh).
Also, Haiyr (not her real name) was there. Sadly, she has been bit by the Marathon bug since she managed to get nearly 27 miles in six hours at Brazen Dirty Dozen. I warned her that this would be tougher, but she smiled and told me to go find my walker. (Spoiler alert: She finished the Marathon. No word on whether she was still smiling though.)
There were a lot of great runners I knew running this race, but there were also a few, like Yval and Htenaj (not their real names) that were volunteering.
Speaking of great runners, here's my Emergency Backup Arch Nemesis (Ytsirhc, not her - oh never mind) along with two guys that wandered in from sort of work release program. (Actually, Sirhc and Etep are both pursuing Titamium in Marathon Maniacs, and are ahead of schedule. I am not worthy to open their GU packets.)
|Sirhc showing moves from his rhythmic gymnastics days.|
There were a number of distances running today: 50K, Marathon, and 22 miles for the long distance starting group, followed by the 11 mile then 5 mile groups. Since I needed to leave earlier than normal, I chose the 11 mile distance. This meant I was able to sneak down the trail a bit and take this video of the start of the long distances.
Thirty minutes after the long distances started, the 11 mile group started.
I had a few goals in this race (beyond the normal "don't get eaten by a badger" and "don't leave too much blood on the trail"): get to the 5 mile/11 mile split before getting passed by any 5 milers (ha ha ha) and finish my 11 miles before anyone finishes 22 miles (I nearly did that one). These two 5 milers came roaring by me, flying up the hill. (The lead runner ended up getting beat by the guy behind him by a total of four seconds - I would have loved seeing them charging back down this hill.)
In all, I think I got passed by about six of the 5 mile runners, including the eventual female winner, Asil, who patted me on the back and said "If you pass out, try not to block the trail" as she flew by me.
It turned out that this race was not immune to the heat wave the area was experiencing, but the fact that the trails are about 90% in heavily wooded areas kept us reasonably cool (although I suspect those running the longer distances got plenty warm towards the end of their races).
The 11 mile course, after a brief tease of downhill, spends most of the next five mile trudging up to the Skyline Road area. For the most part, it is not steep, but it has a cruel twist where you get to a point that you think is the top - you even get a bit of downhill - and then get steep hill climb thrown at you. Eventually though, you make it to this aid station and get to turn around and head back to the start. You do use a different route though, and end up facing yet another hill (this is one of those "I had to walk uphill to school both ways" kind of things) before getting to coast into the finish line.
|Picture by Coastal Trail Runs.|
This race was a blast (as usual), and I was sad to have to leave before any of the other long-distance runners finished.
A huge thanks to Coastal and all the volunteers that helped make this race go smoothly. The trails were fun and well marked. Including that last hill that had me muttering very rude words.
That's it - move along…
PS: Here is a link to some other pictures I took.