Oh, I've had to run parts of races without a camera several times, seeing as how I've managed to kill so many of them in the middle of a race, but I'm pretty sure I've never lined up at the starting line without one in my hand.
I contemplated a DNS (Did Not Start), but was reminded by Mrs Notthat that technically, I did have a camera - my iPhone. The phone can take pretty good pictures, but trying to use a touchscreen when you're sweaty and trying to bounce along the trail is challenging.
For a normal Half Marathon, I take between 80 and 100 pictures. For this one though, I took 20. Which is sad because it's a great course that I've run a number of times before - Coastal's Crystal Springs race out of Huddart Park is always a blast with great trails shared with many friends.
The race starts with a fun single-track downhill bit that gets you nice and warmed up for the LONG uphill bit.
Eventually you make it up to the aid station at mile 6, which this year, had live entertainment! I had to resist the urge to plop myself down and enjoy the rest of the morning there.
However, Nosila (not her real name, and a two year veteran of the Last Chance Car Wash at WSER 100) wasn't having any of it, and threatened to dump a pitcher of electrolytes on me if I didn't get going.
Then things got weird.
When you leave this aid station, you cross a small road and head out along the Skyline trail for a bit over a mile before you turn around and head back to this aid station.
I crossed this road while a number of faster runners were already coming back from the turnaround, and a couple of cars had to pause for a second. I was trudging along with a hand full of M&Ms when a window rolled down and my boss's ex-boss called out my name.
I was totally stunned - if I was a tiny bit slower or faster she never would have seen me. Naturally I had to get a picture of this, but I only had one free hand; it took a bit but I managed to grab this shot as she pulled away.
A cool thing about this out-and-back is that it gives me a chance to see how far ahead or behind various runners are. Mrs Notthat wasn't as far ahead of me as I thought she was. (Note that I couldn't get the phone out fast enough to get a front picture, and had to settle for this shot of her running away from me.) I was closer to her than I thought I would be, but I knew there was a lot of fine downhill coming up so I had no chance of catching her.
|It was a little hard to miss the Half turnaround.|
And then faced my arch-nemisis, Yram (not her real name). She was not that far behind me, and I was relieved that she did not witness the epic fall. But seeing her gave me the boost I needed to pick up the pace and try to get this done before she had a chance to catch me.
|If you haven't heard, California is in a major drought. I've never seen this area so brown before.|
When I looked at the results, I saw a time of 3:08, which I figured was a timing error. And then I remembered that we started a half hour later than the longer distance runners; in my mind I was sure we had started at 8:30 and was doing the math based on that.
Here's the really stupid part - all I had to do was look at my GPS watch and I would have seen what my actual time was; math was not required. I swear that not having my camera dropped my IQ by 30 points, and I really don't have enough spare points to be losing any.
I had tried to talk Mrs Notthat into upgrading to the 22 mile race since there were so many runners in her age group in the Half and none in the longer distance. But she made a rude face at me and stuck with the Half. And won third in her age group (I had forgotten that when there are a lot of runners in a particular distance, Coastal switches to 5 year age groups instead of 10 year groups).
In addition to that, she had beaten me by almost ten minutes, and broke her course PR by a whole 12 seconds! And had fallen twice in that same area that I had fallen (note her right knee).
I missed out on an age group award by less than two minutes, but broke my course PR by six minutes.
|The back of my shirt and vest, showing the bits of the trail I brought home with me.|
However, I think we've already got the things packed and ready to go for this weekend's Brazen Bear Creek race.
That's it - move along…
PS: You can see a (very) few more of my pictures here.