Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Crystal Stings at Crystal Springs!

We have a real hard time passing up a trail race out of Huddart Park outside of Woodside. The summer version of Coastal's Crystal Springs event was our third race out of this park this year. Both Mrs Notthat and I signed up for the Half Marathon (there were also 50K, Marathon, 22M, and 5M distances).

Mr. Coastal: "How many have kissed a banana slug?"
We arrived in time to see the longer distances take off. (To allow the trails to clear out a bit, there's a 30 minute break between their start and the shorter distance's start.)

This is seriously hard to explain. Suffice to say she's not from around here. (She also won the Marathon.)
Eventually the longer distances were sent on their way.

While Baby Coastal was thrilled I hadn't dared a longer distance, he tried to convince me to drop to the 5M (or even better, stay here and cut up fruit, but only with a plastic spoon).

Once we got started, it was a lot of fun on the trails. Granted, the "fun" involved a ridiculously long uphill climb, and for some, an attack by a group of irritated wasps. (We've probably done a dozen races out of this park and have never had wasp problems before, so this was a bit of a surprise.)

Eventually I made it to the top of that long hill and to the first aid station, where Drannyl (not his real name) asked what took me so long. (For the record, I wasn't in last place. But I wasn't missing it by much.)

Mrs Notthat pausing for a picture. Then taking off like a bolt of lightening.
The Half runners headed out of this aid station for 1.2 miles of out-and-back trail along the Skyline ridge. Other than it feeling more like 5 miles, I like this stretch since it means I get an idea of how far Mrs Notthat is ahead me (lots, as usual) and how many people are behind me (not many, as usual).

It's REALLY hard to miss the Half turnaround.

After that out-and-back, you end up back at the aid station. I asked Drannyl if I had a chance of catching Mrs Notthat. I've never heard that guy laugh so hard before. (Also for the record, I really had no chance. But she turned out to beat me by only 16 minutes.)

That's Mr. Coastal trying to decide whether it's safe to cross the finish chute in front of me.  That was so cute! He could have crossed a dozen times before I finally made it that far.
I did it! I managed to finish and not in last place!

A group of great runners swapping trail horror stories.
Mrs Notthat managed to get second place in her age group (I got tenth). She also managed to get stung by a very brave wasp that went after her head, of all things.

I believe Ynnep (not her real name) is having too much fun playing doctor.
Mrs Notthat was explaining how the wasp attacked her head and how it felt like it was still there. So the 50K and Marathon winners set to work to see if the wasp was really still there. They found its stinger was, indeed, still there.

This was the last of the really cool moments of the day's race. I had found out about three weeks before this race that a coworker, whose office is close enough to mine that she has intimate knowledge of the words I use when my computer fails to play nice with me, was running the 50K in this race. Before that day, I had no idea she even knew what a trail race was. Even more bizarre, we actually ran the same race once and didn't know it (she is a proper runner and is MUCH faster than me).

And what made this special was that it was her first 50K. And she nailed it!

The race was a blast! The trails were amazing (as always) and the volunteers were stunning. And to top it off, Mr. Coastal spent a lot of quality time with a grill and there were a lot of tasty things to eat.

And that's about it. We have one more race out of this park this year, and I can't wait.

Although hopefully the wasps can't wait either and will have moved on by then.

That's it - move along…

PS: You can see a lot more pictures here.

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