Saturday, June 8, 2013

It was like I had Nitro for breakfast

The Brazen Nitro trail race is interesting. You have almost all the major trail groups involved - along the water, through the woods, single-track, fire roads, pavement - the only notably missing group is the one with long, hard climbs. There are hills, but they are minor and a lot of proper runners probably never even notice them.

It's also a 10K course - putting on a Half Marathon here requires the runners to do two laps, plus a small loop at the beginning to get the mileage right. In the past, it has been hard, as a Half runner, to finish your first lap and have to run right by the finish line and all the runners that are done and are busy wolfing down It's-It ice cream bars while you head out for your second lap.

They fixed that this year by adding a Half bypass. And that Half bypass was partially responsible for me accomplishing two of my goals.

Goal number one was to not let Mrs Notthat pass me. I ran the Half while she (and her rapidly recovering legs) ran the 10K. I got a 15 minute head start. But I also had a 0.7 mile loop to do that she didn't have to do. So I really ended up with about a 7 minute head start.

Goal number two was to not get lapped by the Half winner.

The Half bypass meant I was able to switch off the trail they were on about a quarter mile early - they were rapidly gaining on me and it's possible that quarter mile saved me.

Another thing that makes this race interesting is that it serves as the anniversary of Brazen's first race, which they put on here back in 1907 (or so it seems if you look at the RD). So there is a tendency to do something special for this race. This year, a bunch of us surprised them by showing up with fake beards.

Photo by Not A Canadian. 
Mrs Notthat won the Mr Brazen look-alike contest. (She's the one on the left.) The funny thing is that Mr Brazen always has on a flannel shirt, visor, and sunglasses. But not today. (He did rock the walking boot, which was a detail that scored heavily in Mrs Notthat's favor.)

I'm on the left. That's Ydnar (not his real name) and his son (his real son) rocking the  family beards. Photo by Not A Canadian.
A beard-infested group shot by I'm Not Sure.
Eventually, the beards were put away (standing around with a fake beard was challenging - running with one was pretty much out of the question) and the race started.

I love the wooded bits of the trail…

… but I also love the bits of trail that provide these great views of San Pablo Bay.

My arch-nemisis is getting ready to try to tackle me.
Half runners went past this aid station four times. Yram (not her real name) failed to trip me each time.

Getting passed by a MUCH fitter 10K runner at that first aid station. Photo by a Brazen Volunteer.
Yes. This is my "I'm really pushing it" face. Heavy sigh.

Mrs Notthat going past that aid station a short time after I went through it. Photo by a Brazen Volunteer.

This aid station we also went by four times, but sort of unofficially two of those times. This is also only about 1.5 miles from the finish of the first lap. And so far, no Mrs Notthat or Half Winner sightings. My goals, which I will admit I thought were a bit unrealistic, were suddenly looking possible. (I had been pushing harder than normal, even running the hills, in the hopes of achieving my goals. But still - I had serious doubts I would pull this off.)

I took a quick look behind me and I couldn't see her. So I took off to do the half mile loop that would bring me back to this aid station where I could get an update.

When I got back there, Mrs Notthat was just arriving. That meant I had a half mile lead on her with about a mile to go. I yelled at the aid station volunteers to slow her down - "ask her about her nails" - but she blew through there with a determined look and a spring in her step.

It was on.

But my lead was too great, and I made it to the bypass before she (or the Half winner) could catch me. Two goals done!

The second lap was a LOT slower than the first one. I had been pushing hard and it caught up to me. So I just enjoyed the rest of the race, taking in the views and cruising along.

Mrs Notthat was busy making weird faces with Oel (not his real name) and missed my finish.

And then she showed me her prize for winning the "look like Mr Brazen" contest - a beard beer cozy!

OK - not all of us put our fake beards away. This is how bizarre new fashion trends get started Ms. Eilsel (not her real name or real, ummm, hair extensions).

It's a little hard to explain this photo. I'm not even going to try.

For this one, the photo is easy to explain - it's Not a Canadian, the instigator of the beard festivities, holding up a sign she made with the idea of flashing it any time I pointed a camera at her. You can see how effective it is.

And that's about it. The race was a blast (especially the first lap!). Mrs Notthat ended up getting an impressive age group award in a competitive field.

And we've now got two fake beards to play with.

That's it - move along…

PS: You can see more of my pictures here.

1 comment:

mary ann said...

hahahahaha, what fun you had, I enjoyed this post!