Sunday, November 17, 2013

When just a lap around Lake Chabot won't do

The last time Mrs Notthat and I ran for more than a Half Marathon was way back in July at the Brazen Dirty Dozen. I had decided that I wanted to do the 30K at Coastal Lake Chabot, and the wise Mrs Notthat rolled her eyes and said she would be happy with the Half Marathon.

Then she saw the list of entrants for the Half and realized that her best hope by far for an age group award was to up her game to the 30K, which had far fewer runners in it.

This wasn't any easy decision though - when you have a race where you reach the finish area but you aren't done, and you have to head back out, it's a tough mental check. And that's the way this race was - Half runners go around the lake and get to be done; 30K (and longer distance) runners hit the finish area and take off to re-run the trails again.

Toddler Coastal: "30K? Are you sure a nice five mile run wouldn't be better?"
The weather was perfect for the race.

Mit (not his real name) is out of his walking boot, but is still unable to run. But Atir (not her real name) is perfectly able to run. She was signed up for the 50K, but was pretty sure she was going to drop to the Half or 30K - it would just depend on how things went.

Mr Coastal: "How many of you think Atir should run the whole 50K?"
There were five distances; the 50K, Marathon, 30K, and Half Marathon all started together, with the 5M race starting a few minutes after us.

Tnek (not his real name) was also running the 30K. He normally would have been a threat to win it, but since he was running the Chimera 100M the following weekend, he was determined to not push it too hard for this race, which is not easy for him to do. So he made a wise choice - he would stick with me for the first mile or so; my slow speed would force him to go slow.

Actually, having him pace me made this my fastest opening mile ever. And I'm sure it was his slowest opening mile since he was a toddler. (As a spoiler alert, Tnek ended up with a top-10 finish at Chimera. I'm taking at least partial credit. Also, he ended up taking fourth place in this 30K. I guess I didn't slow him as much as I thought.)

Mrs Notthat fooling with her wardrobe. Remember this for later.
This is how fast Tnek  had me going - I was keeping up with Mrs Notthat.

This race starts and finishes with a bit over a mile of pavement. This picture is just after we got off the pavement and started up our first hill - I love the way the dust the runners kicked up is caught by the sunlight.

If it's Lake Chabot, you must have to cross The Bridge of Death. This bridge is wildly unstable - a medal should be involved just for surviving it. (Many runners think this bridge is fun. They are at least a bit defective.)

As you approach the northern end of the lake, it really starts looking great.

This was actually a pretty mild course, elevation-wise. The Half only had about 1200 feet of climbing and the 30K had about 1500 feet.

The first aid station was at mile 4.5. Htenaj (not her real name) was threatening to tackle me if I didn't drink her electrolyte stuff.

After leaving that aid station, we got to run some of the best trails around this lake. (It helped that they were largely downhill.)

At 8.5 miles we arrived at the second aid station. For the Half course, this also signifies the end of the last major climb. It was a happy place.

About two miles from the finish you end up on pavement heading across the dam.

As I was heading to the end of my Half loop, I looked across the lake and saw Mrs Notthat heading out for the five mile lollipop we had to do for the 30K.

Toddler Coastal offering to pace me that last five miles.
I was now at that point where I had to choose whether to keep going and get that final five miles in, or decide that a Half is good enough and make a left turn. They were taking pictures at this point.

Photo by Coastal Trail Runs.
I love that Mrs Notthat has run an entire Half Marathon AND IS STILL FOOLING WITH THAT DANG JACKET!

Photo by Coastal Trail Runs.
And yes, this confirms that I was fired up about going that extra five miles.

The guys at the pass-through aid station were awfully perky, so I chose to keep going. It actually wasn't all that hard of a decision - I was a bit tired, but nothing was hurting and I figured I could easily get the five miles done, even if I had to walk the whole thing. Hold that thought.

I ended up getting that five miles done (it involved going up that first hill again), but I had to walk 80% of it.

Toddler Coastal handed me my medal. I think he was actually happy that I made it. I think he was also afraid I was going to eat all the food.

Mrs Notthat beat me by about 20 minutes. She won second* in her age group, which made the upgrade to 30K worth while.

*Actually, the results page now show she was third in her age group. Uh-oh. Please don't tell her.

And it turned out that I got third* in my age group!

*Yes, I checked - still third. But as a bonus, I was also the DLF in the 30K. This surprised me since I thought I saw a few people heading out onto the five mile bit with 30K bibs, but they may have upgraded to a longer distance. Or were so humiliated at getting beat by me that they chose to DNF.

This was a different course than I've ever run at this lake (and I've run a lot of races here). There were some trails I'd never been on, and overall, it was a relatively flat course that I really enjoyed. (Note that parts of it would be REALLY challenging if it was raining. Some of the trail is actually a creek bed in the winter.)

Also, a nice thing was that this was the first race that Coastal gave all finishers medals - a total surprise and very cool.

Oh, and if you were curious about what distance Atir ended up running, you should know she's much tougher and more stubborn than she looks.

When we left, Mit was still waiting since Atir naturally decided to run the 50K, and ended up finishing in just a hair over seven hours. Totally awesome!

That's it - move along…

PS: You can see more of my pictures here.


DAK said...

The way it looks to me is that you run until somebody tells you you have to go home now. You'll stay at the bar until they turn out the lights.

Beth said...

Good job, guys! This crazy weather is sure making for an enjoyable,runnable winter! I love the medals!

mary ann said...

woow, great weather