Above is my GPS data from the event. The big loop was 3.33 miles long and the little loop (to the bottom-right) was 0.65 miles long. For 11 hours we would try to run as many big loops as possible, and then for the last hour, we would run as many little loops as possible. (Only loops that you complete are counted, and it would not be a good feeling to be 3.32 miles through the big loop and have time expire, so the little loop provides a much less risky way to add on some miles.)
This is the GPS data from the start/finish/BBQ/usable toilet area. As you can see, there was a little bit of extracurricular wandering around. That BBQ isn't going to eat itself.
Above is the elevation chart for my race. This makes it look like there are potentially soul-crushing hills on the course, but in reality, that wasn't nearly the case (the big loop had about 150' of elevation change). The other thing this chart does is make it look like I was a machine out there, ticking off loops like clockwork! HA! That chart is plotted based on distance.
This is the same chart, but plotted based on time. That's more like it - the first few loops were fairly consistent, and then things started unraveling a bit. Note the long flat spot after the 8th loop - I sat in the start/finish area for a bit before convincing myself to head out again. At that point I had officially gone a Marathon distance, and there was a part of me that felt that was pretty good. But I was dragged back out for another lap, and then peer pressure happened and I managed to knock out two of my fastest loops of the day. The end of the chart shows the little loops that I did - they weren't exactly flat, but not far from it.
For the second time, the course was tweaked a tiny bit, replacing a "hill" with this nice shoreline single-track stretch.
|Picture by Mick, Brazen volunteer.|
Kind of a funny thing is that there is an aid station halfway through that big loop. The idea is to allow runners not named Divad to go as light as possible, and possibly even get by without carrying any hydration at all. Slow runners like me though, still need to carry something, so I carried a small handheld bottle. That worked fine while it was still overcast and cool, but once the sun came out, I would end up draining that bottle between the aid stations (this one and the one at the start/finish area).
Every time you finished a loop, you had to run the gauntlet of canopies, tents, and other items filled with spectators or other runners (there were a few fixed-distance races scattered throughout the day, as well as teams, so the smart runners got to relax for a lap as someone else wandered around the trail).
The gauntlet was generally a blast to pass through, although it was also a great mental test since it looked like it was a lot more fun to be sitting there than slogging around the loop.
There were two parts of the course that were less than ideal: A weird short detour around a new bathroom that was being installed (which meant passing by an old one that smelled so bad, even from a distance, that it was hard to imagine anyone being brave enough to try it out), and this stretch of trail through what appeared to have been a controlled burn.
|Picture by Brazen volunteer. Mrs Notthat and others storming down a short downhill bit.|
|Clockie was wearing a Western States belt buckle. If Clockie gave some advice, for example, "Pick it up Frog Boy!" you should probably listen.|
|My token "Hall of Trees" shot - I love running through this stretch with the creaky eucalyptus trees.|
The Brazen Rabbit was busy during the day putting up motivational signs. When you saw her out riding Spokes around, you knew fresh signs were in your future.
|Weird Haired Mom and Mrs Notthat passing through the start/finish area. I think she is threatening me with a piece of watermelon. (Mrs Notthat ended up getting 10 loops done!)|
I innocently decided to walk a 9th lap after sitting for a bit - my revised goal was to get to 10 laps which gets you a 50K - and was minding my own business about half way around when Clockie got ahold of me. "Let's pick up the pace a bit" he said, and before I knew it, I was actually running again. By far the most glorious result of that was getting to pass Sirhc (not his real name). I managed to pass him once last year, but he was battling an injury that most people would have been hospitalized for; this year there were no excuses. (He still managed WAY more distance than me, and then spent the following weekend running the TRT 100 mile race. But I passed him this one time, so that's the bit I'll focus on.)
|Photo by Nek, not his real name.|
|It's not a Marathon; it's a sprint!|
|A special arch and timing mat just for the little loop!|
The little loop started with an avenue of trees. It was a bit downhill (which meant there was a bit of an uphill coming up), but it was really an easy loop which was perfect for tired runners.
When I finished my second loop, I was ready to sneak off and be done, but guess who I saw coming at me.
As a total shocker, I ended up doing seven of those dang loops, which brought my final total to 37.25 miles in the 12 hours. And Clockie gets the credit for me getting more than the 50K I was prepared to settle for. (For those of you that read my Western States thing, Clockie was Mr "All Day" Ken, who actually is a coach and does the entertaining Running Stupid podcast.)
The 6- and 12-hour runners got a great hoodie and a finisher's medal that doubles as a coaster and bottle opener. And maybe a weapon.
A special thing about this event was that it was Brazen's 100th event! Mr Brazen designed this flag (on the t-shirt that the 5K and 10K runners got) that's pretty cool since it lists all of their events.
I couldn't resist going through that list and working out which events I had been at. (Green are events I ran, blue are events I volunteered at, yellow are events I got a DNF at, events with no color are the ones I missed.)
Dirty Dozen is a great event. I know many of you would rather paint yourself with honey and try to pet a bear than run a looping race, and I would agree most of the time. Dirty Dozen is a bit different though, and worth a shot. The trails are varied and fun, the BBQ is great (as is the pizza that shows up around lunch time), and the atmosphere can't be beat. And if you are not up to the timed events, it's pretty novel to run a 5K in the late morning or a 10K in the late afternoon.
And besides, everyone needs the Swiss Army Knife of finisher medals.
That's it - move along…
PS: You can see more of my pictures here.