For me, I was keeping it simple and focusing solely on the 12 hour event. For the third time in a row. Mrs Notthat, who last year teamed with Weird Haired Mom for the 12 hour event, chose to run it this year on her own.
Leading up to this event, the Bay Area had been in the grips of a heat wave. I had hoped it would cool off a bit by race day, but this was absurd.
Point Pinole is a small peninsula that sticks out into San Pablo Bay, which means that, in addition to great shoreline views and trails, it's also subject to strong winds. It was very cold and windy at the start.
|Selym and Retep aiming to win while Drannyl (none of their real names) works out how long it would be until lunch.|
|Chris Bliss storming down the only mildly treacherous bit of trail on the course.|
It would hurt my head to try to work out how many times I've been on these trails for a race, but they are always inviting and fun.
This is looking down the start chute that you ran through each time you headed out for another lap. The red awning on the left is the official aid station while all the others (and there would have been more if the wind hadn't been so fierce) are recharging/cheering/hideout stations that various runners set up.
It was very easy to get a bit distracted while passing through here, and in the past, I would often end up spending way too much time talking, sitting, and generally enjoying myself in this area. I was determined to avoid that trap this year, and I did pretty good.
|The Perky Princess of Plaid on her way to breaking 50 miles.|
A unique thing about this event is that, in an effort to remind us what it looks like to run on fresh legs, there are 5K and 10K races held near the end of the 6 hour and 12 hour events. So there were two arches - one for those of us that had been out there all day and another for the shorter distances.
After a bit, inspirational signs started popping up along the course. Most of these were great, but I have to question getting running advice from a Dodger that has never met a plate of pasta he didn't eat.
|After wandering around in the trees for a bit, we came out onto this meadow where you could see and hear the finish line in the distance.|
A new addition this year was "Clocky" - a trash talking mascot that I would have bet serious money would not make it through the afternoon.
These guys were a lot of fun out there - they were "rucking" (I think that's Finnish for "let's do something totally nuts"). Each of them carried a weighted backpack, from 45 to 80 pounds, in addition to that flag (that REALLY enjoyed the windy day). The goal was to keep going for the entire 12 hours and to each get an ultra distance in. They reached their goal easily.
|Post-5K-race bliss in front of the Notthatlucas hideout.|
OK, this was not my proudest moment.
As I approached the end of one of my laps, I was stunned to see that I was going to end up passing Sirhc (not his real name), who is a proper runner that, under normal circumstances, I would have no hope of passing. But he was really hurting and well past the point where a normal person would have curled up in the back of an ambulance.
But the important part is that I passed him. IN YOUR FACE SIRHC!
|The Running Mama showing how her Western States buckle could make for a nice grill.|
Towards the end of my day, I decided I needed an arch-nemisis to pit myself against. Better yet - two! Hteb (giving me the stank eye) and Nairb (not their real names) were running this race for the first time. But they weren't fooling me - they knew what they were doing and they were just as determined to take me down as I was them. (They each also wrote entertaining race reports for this event here and here.)
While I was getting a blister attended to, they headed out for another lap. But I still managed to pass them in spite of Hteb's best efforts to trip me up.
|Photo credit arch-nemisis Nairb, who caught me eating a pizza, and made my running career by comparing me to Dean Karnazes - likely the only time that will ever happen.|
As I headed out on my final lap, I was tired, hurting a bit, but determined to get it done. And then that dang Clocky showed up to taunt me one last time. A well-placed knee to the crotch (who knew clocks had crotches?) and I scooted past him.
|Photo by Brazen volunteer.|
|Photo by Brazen volunteer.|
|I REALLY don't want to know what they are finding so funny.|
The day was a blast and I was quite happy with my end result. I always go into this event hoping to somehow get to 50 miles, but that always eludes me. This year I felt like I got a lot more things right than in previous years, and if I hadn't had that foot blister issue, plus a toilet issue that slowed me at the start, I could have gotten significantly closer to that goal.
And as for my dual arch-nemisis? Hteb beat me by a whole 0.67 miles, but I beat Nairb by a stunning 0.02 miles. BOOYAA!
That's it - move along…
PS: You can see a lot more of my pictures here.