The cure turned out to be working an aid station at the PCTR Eldrith race - watching all those runners tackling the Marin Headlands made me want to tackle something myself, and the Coastal Lake Chabot race fit the bill nicely.
This race had a bunch of distances to choose from: 5M, Half Marathon, 30K, Marathon, and 50K. Since the trails around Lake Chabot are fairly manageable, as far as climbing, I really wanted to do something longer than a Half. My finger hovered over the Marathon button during the signup process, wavered a bit, then confidently mashed down the 30K button. 30K would be the longest distance I had gone since July - baby steps.
|The Kid's Race. The bumble bee owned this race!|
|Mr. Coastal: "How many of you need to thaw your sunscreen?"|
|See all the runners that are already WAY ahead of me? This is about a mile into the race. Sheesh.|
(I counted them up, and this would be my 17th time running a race around this lake since 2010. I also have 8 other races here where I didn't go all the way around. There's a pretty good chance I have done more races here than anywhere else.)
|"Way to go Yekcim! Not your real name!"|
|The Bridge of Death. Look at that nice trail running along the side. Some day…|
|Another bonus of Lake Chabot races are the outhouses scattered around the lake.|
There are still climbs, but they are fairly manageable. The top of this climb led to the first aid station.
|The adorably named Honker Bay aid station. With the equally adorable Rimidalv (not his real name).|
|Seriously nice trail.|
|Blue ribbons mean bad - don't go on that trail. I happily avoided that climb and stayed on my flat trail.|
The problem with all that downhill is that it's followed by the biggest climb of the race. That climb is rewarded with the second aid station, mile 8.5.
By this point we have wandered a fair distance from the lake, but we now turn and head directly towards it. The trail from here to the finish is not all downhill, but it mostly is, with a number of short climbs tossed in just to break things up.
If you keep at it, you soon arrive back at the lake.
And then you are presented with the finish. Unless it's not yet the finish. For the Half Marathoners, this is it, and they are done. For all the other longer distances, you fill your bottles and head back out. For the Marathon, you do another complete lap of the lake. For the 50K, you do that bonus lap then go out a third time to do the 5M course.
For the 30K, I only had to head back out and do the 5M course. I was feeling tired, but everything was fine - no worrisome pains or any hesitation about heading back out. I even toyed with the idea of doing an impromptu Marathon. I had hoped to get the Half done in under three hours, and I think I managed that (barely). That meant a four hour 30K was possible, but it would be tough. A Marathon would likely be in the seven hour range, which was a lot of hours.
|Look - it's a trail race. There will be hazards such as this you'll have to face. Deal with it.|
|I should have mooned the Bridge of Death as I skipped it this time.|
|The finish, for real this time.|
There were 194 finishers in the Half Marathon. There were 25 30K finishers. I finished in 24th place, beating only a 74 year old guy. Barely. But I still managed to get an age group award for third place! Yes, it was by default, but I'll still take it!
This event was a blast, as always. The weather was perfect and the trails were well marked and gorgeous. (Well, with the exception of the paved bits - no way they will ever be gorgeous, although since they are along the lake, they aren't pure torture.) A huge thanks to Coastal Trail Runs and all of their volunteers for making this such a fun day, and a successful return to racing something with double-digit mileage.
That's it - move along…
PS: You can see more of my pictures here.