|Eilsel, not her real name, showing me the way out of the restricted volunteer area. With a smile!|
|Luap, not his real name, showing how a trail runner fixes a watch band. (Spoiler alert; this didn't actually work. But it made for a nice picture.)|
|No lifeguard required.|
|All those search and rescue people perked up a bit when they saw me stumbling along the trail.|
And then finally, a creek crossing with a little bit of water. If you look really hard, you can see volunteer paparazzi Leahcim (not his real name) who picked a great spot to take a bunch of pictures (all runners had to navigate this raging torrent). Here are the pictures he took of Mrs Notthat and I crossing:
|Photo by Leahcim, smile by Mrs Notthat since she managed to keep her feet dry.|
|Photo by Leahcim, splash by me. As you can see, it was pretty easy to dodge this creek. But it was a lot more fun to take it head on.|
A little bit after bravely surviving that river crossing, we made it to the 5K turnaround where Bob (not his - oh wait, that really is his real name; my secret code has met its match!) and another volunteer were busy cheering the runners on.
|I put her up to this, but I love the idea that she's contradicting the sign and pointing me in the opposite direction.|
|Irual bravely volunteered to go ahead of me to clear the trail of snakes.|
One thing about climbing the hills on this course - you are almost always rewarded with a great view, which is nice to look at while you are trying to catch your breath.
As a complete stunner, I was able to pass Irual and Alram (not her real name) on the way down that first hill. It was really early in the race, and I knew this wouldn't last, but I had to take a celebratory picture anyway. And I did not yell "IN YOUR FACE!" (At least not out loud. I think.)
|The second aid station, mile 2.8.|
|Ms Magoo cheering on the runners.|
At the top of the second hill, the Brazen Rabbit was hanging out. A few hours later, she was on her way to Boston for a little race they have there.
Heading down that second hill I had only been passed by one 10K runner and was hoping to make it to the 10K turnaround (which is just a little bit past where the trail disappears towards the top of the picture) before any others passed me.
|"Which way do I go?"|
|Nairb (not his real name) on his way to a second pace 10K finish.|
|She tried to turn me around since I had a 10K bib - it was awesome that she looked at me and thought I could have been competing for the win in the 10K!|
|Runners come at this intersection from all directions.|
This climb seems to take forever, mostly because it does. It wasn't all that warm out, but being in the sun for so long managed to make things a bit toasty.
|That's the 50K winner's back. Tterb (not his real name) set an impressive course record in winning this race.|
|"There's this guy back there with frogs on his hat. He can't be right in the head."|
After spending so much time climbing up that hill, it was great to see a pink flamingo, since that meant the aid station was near. (Or maybe she was right and I'm not quite right in the head. I touched the flamingo just to make sure it was real.)
Our third aid station, mile 7.8, where the amazing and delightful Nerak Bacon (not her real name) worked her magic and passed out popsicles.
Not long after that aid station, we really are at the top of that long climb and get to begin a long downhill dash (or slog, in my case).
This is probably my second favorite part of the course. It's a bit past halfway in the race, but you know all the hard bits are done and your reward is this pretty trail, surrounded by wildflowers, and all downhill.
Eventually I made it back to the Bermuda Triangle area. At this point I'm mostly on the same trails I came out on (minus those two small hills, which we thankfully get to bypass).
I managed to survive that creek crossing and make it the fourth aid station, mile 12.4 (this was also the first aid station, and was still pretty loud).
And then there was the finish line. I had not seen Mrs Notthat once after the race started, so she likely handily beat me. (She did, by nearly 20 minutes.)
|My twin Knarf, not his real name, and I post race. He didn't mind if I sweated on him.|
When I first saw Mrs Notthat, she asked if I had a credit card with me. Shopping opportunities at trail races?
|I now have an official Honey Bucket t-shirt!|
As usual, this race raised a lot of money and awareness for the Save Mt Diablo group, which works to protect, expand, and improve the Mt Diablo open space area.
And, as it turns out, cheer on trail runners like maniacs!
That's it - move along…
PS: You can see more of my pictures here.