Coastal's Diablo Trail Run is a bit unique because it offers you a chance to run (ha ha ha) all the way to the summit. The three short distances offered (4 mile, 10 mile, and Half Marathon) are simple out-and-back courses ("See hill, climb hill.") The longer distances (Full Marathon and 50K) also start by charging up Mt Diablo, but then wander around some other areas of the park before heading back. (Except the 50K, which goes back up the to the summit one more time - the views are just that nice!)
In my mind, the sweet distance is the Half Marathon - you get to go all the way to the summit, grab a fashionable rubber band to prove you made it, then fly all the way back down. (It is by far the most popular distance of this race.) Bragging rights for bagging the Diablo summit will get you much respect. (Bagging the summit twice for the 50K will get you some blank stares since that's just too hard to comprehend.)
We needed to get home early though, so Mrs Notthat and I ended up doing the 10 mile course. It has most of the climbing of the Half, but none of the glory.
At least the simplified course map was easy to visualize.
Last year we arrived about ten minutes after the race started. This year, we were in time to see the horror that was Ynnep's (not her real name) stuffed spider. (This is tarantula season on Mt Diablo. Seriously - this place throws everything at you!)
|Ynnep and her spider won the Full Marathon.|
That's Mrs Notthat dropping her pants for all to see… another pair of pants. It was a bit cool at the start, so she had on at least three layers of pants and four layers of jackets and shirts.
One surprise was seeing Hteb and Nairb (not their real names). I did the Half at this race last year with them, and none of us learned a thing and all came back. Nairb had been sick all week and ended up settling for the 4 mile race while Hteb got her rubber band and the glory that comes with finishing this Half.
Another surprise was seeing Coach Luap (not his real name) out to do his first race in quite a while. Man, he knows how to pick 'em.
The first three miles were pretty shady. I looked forward to returning this way, knowing this shade would feel great. (And completely forgetting that, as the sun rises, shady bits become sunny bits. It was quite sunny when I came back through here later.)
A great moment was passing The Endorphin Dude (who was running incognito) and Htenaj (not her real name) - this will will likely be the only time I get to do that. And it wasn't long before the shock wore off them and they passed me back.
I was pretty sure Mrs Notthat was way out ahead of me, but as I got closer to the 5 mile point - our turnaround - I was surprised I hadn't seen her coming back at me. Finally, there she was charging down the mountain. She loves downhill, and now had 5 miles of it to enjoy.
Shortly after I saw her, I was at the aid station and the turnaround point for the 10 mile course. The summit is only 1.5 miles from here, but they are a tough 1.5 miles. I smiled and started back down the mountain.
By this time the sun was out in full force. And Luap was still looking strong storming up the hill.
I had hoped for a sub 2:30 finish, but the heat and that hill had taken their toll and I settled for a sub 3:00 finish.
Mrs Notthat won a legitimate first place age group medal (she actually beat someone in her age group), and Occor (not his real name) won a legitimate third place age group medal. I won an illegitimate third place medal since I beat nobody in my age group. But my medal was still just as shiny.
|Note my bib number - that's probably why I wasn't carried off by a tarantula.|
And Mt Diablo laughed and lives to challenge us again.
That's it - move along…
PS: You can see more of my pictures here.