Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Diablo is as mean as ever

Trail races that involve Mt Diablo are always challenging and never routine. I've been roasted, frozen, and nearly drowned there. And worn out. Always worn out.

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.
That was challenging but fun. The runners finishing the longer courses are all rock stars. There were quite a few DNFs, and likely a number of people changed their race to a shorter distance. The trails were tough and the heat made them tougher. The volunteers at the aid stations were angels and I'm sure they were HUGELY appreciated as the day wore on. (Many stayed later than originally planned to allow as many runners to finish as possible - that was a classy move Coastal; thanks!)

And Mt Diablo laughed and lives to challenge us again.

That's it - move along…

PS: You can see more of my pictures here.


Beth said...

A challenge, indeed!
Was it that hot last year??
Great job, you two!

Ivette said...

You're funny! I like the way you refer to "run (ha ha ha) all the way to the summit". Reminds me of how often I need to change my word choice when I talk about how far I "ran" that day. Diablo sounds like a tough one. I many need to put it on my bucket list.

DAK said...

So -- all the photos of Mrs. show her svelte like a fashion model. Can't you get someone to take photos of you that make you look svelte like a fashion model?

Beth said...

DAK, lol!!
I dont' know about pictures of Allen, but I did offer to pay him to photo shop my tummy off before he post pictures of me. Mrs. is so svelt she seemed to be floating down the mountain, I may have been a bit delirious though.

notthatlucas said...

DAK - It would take someone good with Photoshop. REALLY good.

Ivette - I would have loved to be somewhere near the top and watch the first runners come through. I suspect a few were running reasonably well, but my guess is that the largest majority were all walking (some aggressively).

Beth - I think it was about the same heat level as last year. It sure felt hotter though.

Unknown said...

Thanks for another great post! It was nice to have the cool in the morning, it's too bad that it didn't last all the way to the top. That definitely would have helped me ;)

I love that hat, the fact that it is bit off makes it all the more interesting.

mary ann said...

DAK is funny indeed. Where do you keep all your medals and tee shirts?
How many do you think you have by now?

notthatlucas said...

MAS - We have a hallway wall where we have been hanging the medals. But it is now full, and we are scouting for another wall to sacrifice. (I think the living room would be grand for this, but Mrs Notthat just gives me That Look when I mention that.) The shirts have overrun my closet. I can't get rid of them though. I think some will go in boxes for storage until I'm buried somewhere and my kids are going through my belongings and come across them. (I do have a spreadsheet that allows me to work out actual figures, but it scares me a bit. Weirdly, Mrs and I are tied with 86 lifetime races, all since 2010.)