On game day though, both of our bodies were rebelling against us. Mrs Notthat had been fighting a weird summer cold sort of thing for the last few days and was far from top form. I woke up with a surprise pain in my lower back.
There is a point at about mile 5 where you can say "uncle" and turn your Half into a 10K, so we both decided to take a shot at the Half knowing that we had an out if things got rough.
|Photo by Brazen volunteer Ettedanreb (not her real name).|
Last year I wore that snout like that for the whole Half. This year I decided that that was a really bad idea. (Mrs Notthat came up with the idea of wearing it up with the frogs on my hat, which worked fine.)
I received my "I believe in the Blerch" shirt from The Oatmeal the day before this race. I know you aren't supposed to wear something new on race day, but I had to make this exception. (It was great! And there was at least one other person wearing one!)
The trails were very dusty. The temperature was pleasant when the race started, but it was very clear which meant it was going to warm up a LOT soon though.
This is the first aid station at mile 2.2. We spent most of those first two miles climbing a mild hill.
As a complete surprise, I found myself passing Weird Haired Mom! It's been a while since I've beaten her in a race - this should be great!
Aid station number two was at mile 4.1. This aid station was special since it had ice (YAY!) and we would see it a second time much later on. Ettedanreb was taking pictures as we came in. Following are the pictures she took of Mrs Notthat and I.
|That guy is NOT happy Mrs Notthat is about to pass him.|
|Note the snout safely (and comfortably) up on the hat. I kept forgetting about it though when I went to dunk the hat at the aid stations.|
A few miles out of that aid station and I was surprised to see Mrs Notthat was not too far ahead of me. Her cold was fighting her and she was having to go much slower than normal.
Most of the course is pretty exposed - primarily dusty fire roads - but this fun stretch made up for most of that.
The third aid station, about mile 8.6, had a cutoff. We managed to beat the cutoff by nearly an hour!
An alert runner spotted this tarantula crossing the trail. By the time I got to him, he was nearly to the grass and was rapidly becoming difficult to spot. He was about the size of a baseball. He did not have a bib on.
Not too long after the spider I managed to catch up to and pass Mrs Notthat and Ahtreb (not her real name). By now it was getting seriously hot. Mrs swears the heat doesn't affect her, and I believe her, but the cold definitely was. These two would pass me while I dawdled at the next aid station, but I would pass them back and end up beating both!
This is me dawdling. Getting a sponge with icy water squeezed over your head is an amazing rush when it's that hot out (mid 90s by now). This was that second aid station, but now at mile 11.1. For a normal Half that would mean there were two miles left. But this is Brazen, and they don't do many normal Half Marathons, so I still had nearly 2.5 miles to go.
With about a mile to go, I heard WHM calling out, trying to get me to stop and take more pictures.
I tried to pick up the pace a bit but it was hopeless - shortly she flew by me and ended up beating me by several minutes.
The finish line. I beat last year's time by about ten minutes. The better news was that I was feeling a lot better than I did at the end of last year. At least until I sat down and gave my back a chance to stiffen up a bit (It had not even vaguely bothered me during the race, but post-race it was not very perky).
Shortly after I finished, these two came storming in.
The great story of the day was this newly minted Half Marathoner - Amme (not her real name, being trailed by her mom Hteb, not her real name either) managed to beat the heat and the cutoff and get Amme's first Half Marathon done! So cool!
I'm pretty sure there is no believable way to explain this picture. (Note that Chewie [her real name] is being carried in that kangaroo pack that The Endorphin Dude is wearing. Chewie is the only normal one in this picture.)
And that's about it. The race was very hot, but it was a lot of fun. I would have loved having more shots at ice along the course, but other than that, everything went very well.
Other than the lack of any actual trail hogs.
|Picture by Ettedanreb (of course).|
That's it - move along…
PS: You can see more of my pictures here.