Thursday, April 11, 2013

Goats but no hill

We've spent a lot of time at Point Pinole Park, so at first the Zoom Point Pinole race didn't sound all that enticing. But then I looked at the course map and saw that they had managed to make the course different enough (running it backwards and with some new trails) that it would be interesting after all.

So Mrs Notthat and I signed up for the 10K, which since it was half of the Half Marathon course at about 10.6 miles, was more accurately a Quarter Marathon.

I love seeing Baby Coastal at these events. He seemed to approve of me opting for the Quarter Marathon over the Half  Marathon. 
The weather at Point Pinole Park, which is a peninsula with cold water around it, can vary a lot. On this day it wasn't too bad - it was cool but with only a small breeze (which picked up a bit when you were actually along the shore and not protected by the trees).

A lot of the course is in the trees, which I never get tired of.

The volunteer is trying hard to get me to stop for goodies, but I've only been going for less than two miles.
There were two aid stations - this one out on the course that you went by twice for the 10K (four times for the Half), and one near the start/finish area that you went by once for the 10K (twice for the Half). So for the 10K distance, we had three aid stations. That's a lot of aid.

This is only the second time that I've been able to run this short bit of single-track that's easily my favorite part of the trails out here (as long as I remember to duck under the low branch that keeps me on my toes).

Volunteer Lliw (not his real name) keeping us hydrated.
The course is more or less two different 5K loops, and at the end of the first loop, we are back in the start/finish area, where we head back out to do the second of the loops.

With no hills or mountains, the goats settled for climbing trees.
Back at the Way Too Cool race, there is an infamous climb called Goat Hill. It has no goats (they got the "Hill" part right though). Near the start of that second loop here, we found the goats. A lot of goats.

And then a bit after that I found Mrs Notthat, comfortably ahead of me (no surprise, and no, there is no way I'm going to make an "old goat" joke here).

The Perpetual Mud Hole was present on this second loop. Being a veteran of this course, I knew about the bypass trail and managed to dodge this.

"Show me how miserable it is to work an aid station!" I called out. They were obviously doing it wrong since they were having a blast out there.
And before I knew it I was back at the first aid station a second time. This meant there was only about a mile left, most of which was paved and slightly uphill though.

The pavement had many of these tiny yellow snails, a lot of which had been squished by the time I came through. (They were really hard to avoid, plus they were a bit obnoxious with their taunting.)

Once I managed to survive the Yellow Snail Gauntlet, I was at the finish line.

Mrs Notthat and Drannyl (not his real name) swapping escargot recipes.
My time was not good for a 10K. However, since this was really a Quarter Marathon, my time was… still not good.

But good enough to win a third place age group medal. (OK, truth be told, I could have taken three hours to finish and I would have won this since there were only three in my age group.)

Here's kind of a funny thing about the age groups in this race; there were 34 Quarter Marathon finishers. Nearly a third of them (11) were in the age group that Mrs Notthat and I share. Unfortunately for her, 8 of them were women, with 3 of them being pretty fast (she got 4th, and beat 4 others, but no bonus medal, and I'm not gloating about that, at least not when she's looking).

The race was a blast. And I loved the shirt with the dog on the bench (which looks a lot like our dog, other than our dog would never stand still like that, ever).

This race proved that even minor changes to a course can make it feel very different, and also that the Point Pinole trails are fun no matter which way you run them.

That's it - move along…

PS: You can see more of my pictures here.


mary ann said...

I love the goats, snails and Baby Coastal - not necessarily in that order

Jen said...

Nice recap! I'm about to run the fall version of this race on Saturday, and I'm wondering about the total elevation change. The Zoom site lists less than 200', but the Brazen Nitro Trail Half (same course but in reverse) has the elevation gain at 550'. Do you happen to know the the approximate elevation gain? My second question is: are there lots of rocks or roots? Also, do you think it's easy to PR on this course? Thanks!

notthatlucas said...

Jen - I suspect the total elevation is about 400-500 or so (for the Half, which means you run the course twice). The Zoom version is mostly backwards from the Brazen version, which makes it interesting for me. The drawback (depending on how you look at these things) is that you have to run up a paved bit of hill that you run down at Brazen (you make it up later though). There are very few areas where you have to be worried about roots or rocks - there is a short single-track bit that will slow you down a bit, but other than that it's fine. (The eucalyptus trees drop a lot of acorn kind of things that can hurt to step on if you have minimalist shoes on though.) You can do this in road shoes with no problem. The hills are mostly very mild and can be run pretty easily. It won't be as fast as a fast road Half (like San Jose Rock n Roll), but for a half using trails, it will be pretty fast, especially if you can run mild hills. And it will be a lot more fun with the views and trees and such.

Jen said...

Thanks for the info - I found it very helpful! Good to know what to expect. Thanks again!

notthatlucas said...

Have fun there Jen - I just read one of your posts and see that you are a VFF person. You will probably be fine, but I remember one guy at a 6 hour looping race here that was wearing them who had to say uncle since the little acorn things were killing him. I can't wait to read how it goes! (I'm not sure if I will be there or not yet.)

Jen said...

I actually haven't run in VFF's for over a year for that very reason -- my soles get too sensitive on trails! I'll probably be racing in Merrell Trail Gloves. Maybe I'll see you there!