Friday, December 14, 2012

Summit Rock 2012 - the owl is still irritated

This was the third time for Mrs Notthat and I to run the Brazen Summit Rock trail race. It's reasonably close to us and Brazen's only race in the Santa Cruz mountains, so we always jump at the chance to be there.

Brazen does a different race in June, Trailquake, out of this same park. Both races have similar elevation profiles, but they are pretty different from each other:

  • Summit Rock is one long out-and-back. Since most of the trails are single-track, this can lead to some congestion, especially if you are a faster runner trying to win. For me though, it means I get to see all the other Half runners at some point.
  • Trailquake is a bit loopish at the start/finish with two out-and-back sections, shaped like a "T," in the middle. This means I get to see other Half runners twice and the fast runners have far less congestion. But the climb up the hill is tougher.

I overheard several people that were surprised at how different the two courses were. More commonly heard though was "this hill has GOT to end, right?"

Photo by a brave Brazen volunteer. The Endorphin Dude was trash talking. Mrs Notthat wasn't buying it.
It was dry but very cold (I saw that eye-roll you guys in the truly cold states) at the start. Everyone was happy when we finally were able to start up the hill.

Picture by Brazen volunteer Alameda Det (not his real name).
Mrs Notthat was still pretty bundled up about a half mile into the race. Note that Sprite (waving in green) is the opposite of bundled up. (See later pictures for a far less bundled up Mrs Notthat.)

There had been a significant storm come through the area the previous weekend, so there were a few obstacles along the trail.

I had hoped to make it to the 5K aid station/turnaround before being passed by any of the 10K runners (who started 15 minutes after us). I failed, and was passed by three of them. I also ended up spending a bit more time at the aid station than was prudent since the grandkids were there and had many exciting tales to tell me ("Grandma is WAY ahead of you. Why are you so slow? Do you like my leaf sculpture? Grandkid Second Born's a doofus." "No I'm not! Grandkid First Born's a doofus!")

The first three miles of the course are largely spent going uphill on nice, not too steep single-track trails that were in great shape (other than the occasional hurdle). You get very few expansive views on this course, but if you like trees, this is the perfect course for you.

Once you reach the 10K aid station/turnaround you are almost to the end of your big climb. It is a joyous time. Except for seeing all the smiling 10K runners that are halfway done and now get to lope down the hill to the finish. The Half runners are only about a quarter into their race.

After this point the Half course generally follows Skyline Road along the ridge top, with a nasty valley tossed in that has just enough climbing to make sure you don't get too cocky while looking ahead to flying down that big hill.

Brazen volunteer Kcnarf (not his real name) snapping pictures of happy Half runners that are  halfway done.
You know you are getting close to the Half aid station/turnaround when you start hearing gunfire (from the nearby shooting range, although it's more fun to picture the aid station volunteers firing warning shots to ensure the runners turnaround and don't keep going past them).

The picture Kcnarf took of me taking a picture of him.
The picture Kcnarf took of Mrs Notthat much earlier. She wasn't enjoying this race at all. 
Ekim and Aluap (not their real names) smiling because seeing me means they are almost done.
The firearm-free volunteers at the Half aid station/turnaround reported that they had no trouble convincing runners to turn around.

I took this picture of Chris Bliss near a large rock that I decided was the namesake of Summit Rock.

This is back at the 10K turnaround. By this time a breeze had picked up along the ridge, and it was quite cold. While I got to head back down the hill (and out of the wind), these frostbitten volunteers had to still hang out here for a bit longer. A little over three miles to go for me.

Near the 5K turnaround and I was ambushed by the grandkids again. Grandkid Second Born desperately wanted me to ask for a GU out of that box he was holding. The box actually had a vicious newt in it. They then showed me a scorpion they had found. At that point they ran out of scary things to show me, so I continued making my way down the hill.

The Big Wind volunteered at the finish line food table. The ice cream was surprisingly popular.
Eventually I made it to the finish line, continuing an alarming trend of finishing at least 15 minutes slower than my previous time running the race. To my horror, it turned out that I had lost my timing tag somewhere along the course.

Fortunately Mr Brazen took pity on me and did not make me go back out and find it, and the timing company used a method to record my time that would make even the Swiss blush with pride.

As usual, this race was a blast and the owl mascot still looked irritated. There were many running friends there and a great time was had by all. 

Except maybe The Endorphin Dude, who ended up getting chicked by Mrs Notthat.

That's it - move along…

PS: You can see more of my pictures here.


DAK said...

Allen you look skinnier in these photos. All along, Diane has been getting thinner and thinner and you've looked pretty much the same. Now, all of a sudden, you're getting hunky. Is it true? We were counting on you not to change so we wouldn't have to.

mary ann said...

I noticed that too, notthat, you need more of that ice cream ~ love the ambushing you, tee hee...

notthatlucas said...

Trust me - it's purely a trick of the camera. I'm still the non-hunky one I've always been. But I have hopes…