And then, on the Thursday before the race, we got an email saying that they had to change the course due to the expected storm that was to hit us over the weekend. Honestly I wasn't surprised - I know other races have tried to use those trails and been forced to change if there was any chance it might be moist out.
The new course turned out to be very similar to the Brazen New Year's Day race - a clockwise loop around the lake on fire roads. In addition to losing out on the single-track trails, we ended up with nearly double the climbing. (The 10K course had a similar change; the 5K race was unchanged since it was all on pavement.)
On Friday night the weather professionals were giddy with forecasts of epic rain, so Mrs Notthat and I showed up prepared for just about anything (short of carrying an inflatable raft).
We arrived to a very light drizzle, and even that soon gave up altogether.
It was cloudy, but there was little wind and it really wasn't that cold. I'm not saying that a sunscreen booth would have been busy, but I've been at summer races with worse weather.
|Mr Sasquatch giving pre-race instructions, mostly about how rattlesnakes are not good swimmers.|
We started with about a mile and a half of pavement along the lake.
|A honey badger threatening runners with a rattlesnake if they chose not to head up the hill.|
The fire roads for the first part of the race were really in pretty good shape, for the most part.
There were a few scattered puddles, but they were easy to avoid.
|I told them there were only a couple of runners behind me. A dance routine broke out.|
One great thing about this race was that they had absurdly enthusiastic volunteers at many of the big intersections.
A fun thing about these trails is that we spend a lot of time among the eucalyptus trees, which helps distract you from the rolling hills.
One difference on this course is that we wandered what sounded like a LOT closer to the firing range than normal. Apparently the threat of a bit of rain did not dampen people's enthusiasm for making lots of noise.
|I asked her to make this look like miserable duty, but she still made volunteering look fun!|
|OK, she wasn't actually at a trail intersection, but she still made sure I knew which trail to go on.|
Since it hadn't been raining for a bit, the mud was very sticky and quickly added multiple pounds of bonus weight to your feet. Fortunately there were just a few stretches that were like this. Also fortunately we only had to go down this bit - the 10K runners had to both climb up this and go back down it.
Eventually I made it down the hill, remarkably without falling, and made the turn to the only bit of this course that terrifies me.
The Bridge of Death. With what appeared to be a Bridge Troll guarding the exit. And just to add to the spookiness, it started to rain a bit.
|The Bridge Troll was fierce, but I'd rather take my chances high-fiving him than going back across that bridge.|
At this point, the 10K runners turned right and ran the rolling, mostly paved hills to the finish line. The Half runners, though, turned left and headed up their last real hill. And by now (a bit over 9 miles), the rain was getting a bit more serious.
|This volunteer was congratulating us once we made it to the top of the hill.|
|I think he's telling me there's two more miles to go.|
|I loved that these swans got out of the water to avoid getting wet in the rain. Or something like that.|
And before I knew it (HA!), I was at the finish line.
It was great to be done. It still wasn't all that cold or windy, but by this point I was completely soaked and ready to change into some dry clothes. (Mrs Notthat had come in a bit over 11 minutes ahead of me.)
|The very nice shirt, the medal/bottle opener that the Half runners received, a rattlesnake cookie, and the beers that had been iced earlier.|
Something I find interesting - there were three distances (5K, 10K, and Half) and, by a significant amount, the Half had the most runners. I would have guessed that a lot of people that signed up for the Half would have dropped to a shorter distance because of the predicted weather, but it doesn't appear that happened.
In most races I've run, the shorter distances usually have more runners than the longer distances, so why didn't this race work out that way? I suspect one thing that affected this is that only the Half distance runners received a finisher medal.
Bling is a surprisingly effective motivator.
That's it - move along…
PS: You can see more of my pictures here.
PPS: This was the first real test of my new waterproof camera, and I loved that I didn't have to worry about it.
PPPS: Those of you that ran the Coastal Golden Gate race have my sympathies. Compared to what you faced, we had a sunny summer day. It's amazing the difference 20 miles can make.