To recap, back in May, my old enemy, a partially torn meniscus in my right knee, got a bit irritated, so I dialed things back a bit (and yes, maybe running a race each weekend for 18 weeks in a row, starting in February, may have contributed).
So I took some time off, and the knee got better. By the time I was volunteering at Western States near the end of June, I considered myself 90% healed. And then, just a few hours before I was going to head out from there, I managed to twist the knee by stepping in a hole not big enough to hide a golf ball, and everything reset, with the knee being in much worse shape than it had been in May.
This recovery has been not fun. After a month or so, it was significantly better, and I restarted my lunch walking and was getting excited. Then things took a dark turn again.
I work on the 3rd floor and despise the elevator, but had been taking it while the knee got better. The day after my successful lunch walk, I took the next step, and started using the stairs again. That day I ended up making three trips up and down, and things seemed fine, but that night, things were not fine. By the next morning I was back to barely being able to walk again.
After that setback, I did something I've never done, and started seeing a physical therapist. I continued to take it easy and embrace the elevator, and am now back to being able to do lunch walks, and even more exciting, taking the stairs again. The next step will be a small attempt at running, but that's likely still a few weeks away.
This has not been a fun summer, from a running standpoint. There have been many races I had been looking forward to that I had to skip. But Mrs Notthat and I committed to streaking at Brazen Racing this year, so I still participated in quite a few races (many when I should have been sitting on the couch) - mostly just hobbling the 5K.
Following is a recap of sorts.
Brazen Stars and Stripes - July 4 (My Pictures)Redwood City has a fun Fourth of July race, which, if I was actually up to running a race, I would have much rather run (largely because it's local). This was nine days after the injury, and I was still severely hobbling. But a streak is a streak, so I intended to limp around the 5K in lovely, but far away, Concord.
Then a call came out for volunteers, and I jumped at the chance to instead take pictures of the other runners.
|The arrow-through-the-head made an appearance! Picture by Jason.|
|"I said NO PICTURES!"|
Brazen Dirty Dozen - July 8 (My Pictures)This was a race that, when I had signed up, I had hoped to get a reasonably fast (for me) 50K. So I was set to run the 12 hour event (well, not really 12 hours, but more on that later) and Mrs Notthat was going to run a 5K and a 10K.
This event is a blast with the main event being a 12 hour and 6 hour race around a roughly 3.4 mile loop on a fun trail. You do as many loops as possible - there is a shorter loop (0.7 miles) that opens up in the last hour so that you can squeeze out as much distance as possible.
To add some spice, there are also a couple of normal 5K and 10K races scattered throughout the day. Those races don't start until late in the morning, while the 12 and 6 hour races start at 7AM. So, to avoid making Mrs Notthat have to get up early only to sit around for four hours, my plan was to show up and start my "12 hour" at about 11AM, making it an 8 hour race for me.
For me to get an official finish, I needed to complete one lap, and it wasn't going to be easy. But I did it, using hiking sticks for the first time. My official time was just barely under six hours (even though I started really late, my official start time was at 7AM), but the actual time was a bit over two hours. The knee was not happy, and ended up getting iced a lot when I finally staggered through the finish.
|Mrs Notthat storming to the finish in one of her two races that day.|
|This was not my finish, but hours later when I was getting a picture of Mrs Notthat. Grandkid Second Born is realizing he could easily beat me in a race. Picture by Jay.|
Brazen Bad Bass - July 22 (My Pictures)This 5K is all paved, but has lots of rolling hills. The knee was feeling much better than at Dirty Dozen, so I silently gave myself a goal of going sub-one hour.
I missed that goal by four minutes, but was pleased to not leave in worse shape than when I got there.
|A first and likely last - a reserved parking spot for me! Not because I was fragile, but because I had the It's-Its!|
|Mrs Notthat also ran the 5K, so she ended up having to wait a LONG time for me.|
Brazen Summer Breeze - August 5 (My Pictures)Now that I was 60, this was a race I was targeting to get my Ageless Wonder status (run a 10K in fewer minutes than your age). Sadly, that was not to be this year, and instead, I was going to be shooting for a sub-one hour finish in the 5K. Heavy sigh.
This race is wildly popular, but for reasons that escape normal trail runners. It's on a trail, but it's generally flat and kind of boring. It's built for speed, and since I'm not, this race is not a favorite (unless I'm shooting for Ageless Wonder).
|Photo by Volunteer Alex. Sunscreen was not an issue.|
|Mrs Notthat also ran the 5K since this is not her favorite race either. The 5K course is actually a bit more interesting than the other courses.|
Brazen Bear Creek - August 12 (My Pictures)
This race was the first after the stairs setback, and I was a bit worried. The last mile or so is shared between all distances. It's normally my favorite part of the course, since it's moderately technical single-track with a nasty creek crossing sort of thing just before the finish.
The problem is that I was going to be hobbling along, using a hiking stick, with many faster 10K and Half runners wanting to pass. I'm fine with stepping to the side - I wasn't winning anything - but this single-track is lined with some of the most healthy poison oak you'll ever see.
|Mrs Notthat ran the 10K and passed me in that final single-track bit of trail.|
|The creek is no big deal, and it's actually often refreshing, but erosion made getting from that last step down to the ground challenging if you have a knee that should be resting on the couch.|
|Photo by Jay. I was not in great shape heading to the finish.|
I used only one stick so I could keep one hand free to take pictures. The problem with that plan was that it was my left hand, and my left hand had never taken a picture before. It took a lot of really bad pictures that day.
In the end, I got it done, but the knee was not happy and I ended up with a fair amount of poison oak.
Diablo Dash - August 19 (My Pictures)This was not an actual Brazen race, but Brazen was running it, and they needed some volunteers, so Mrs Notthat and I headed over to help out (well, Mrs managed to sneak in and run the race). I ended up working the first aid station then taking hundreds of photos. My knee was thrilled that I didn't push it.
|Mrs Notthat blasting through the first aid station.|
Brazen Trail Hog - September 2 (My Pictures)
This race turned out to be one of my favorites since we got to introduce two friends visiting from The Netherlands to trail running. It was the first race for either of them, and they were a bit nervous. But that went away pretty quickly once it all started - then it became fun!
|The M and M Twins live streaming a bit of the race back to a disbelieving Netherlands.|
|Photo by Jay. Note the lack of walking sticks or a knee brace. I was getting better! Well, except for that stupid rubber pig snout.|
This race had record heat, and this course is very exposed, so many runners had to go much slower than normal or drop down in distance.
|Dutch girls dealing with the heat by eating ice cream! Sadly, they now think all races here end this way.|
|A sweltering Mrs Notthat finishing her 10K.|
Mrs Notthat is normally impervious to heat, but this race really got to her. When the race started, I thought there was a pretty good chance she would finish before me, but that didn't happen, which worried me a bit. But she hung in there and got it done. (She actually let people squeeze a sponge with icy water on her head at the finish - it was really hot out there!)
Brazen Drag-n-Fly - September 16 (My Pictures)
The Drag-n-Fly 5K course is fun - there are no big climbs (the other distances are infested with big climbs) and you get to go around the lake. Mrs Notthat ran the 10K, but it's a tough 10K, so I was pretty sure I would finish before her (I did).
|Photo by the Chasqui Runner - It's a thrill when a professional photographer takes your picture! I'm about a half mile from the finish.|
|Mrs Notthat pushed really hard, and was completely drained at the end.|
|Getting her third place age group medal managed to revive her quite nicely.|
Brazen Rocky Ridge - September 30 (My Pictures)
Oh man. There is no "easy" distance at this race - even the 5K has a large climb to fight through. I decided to try to up my game and walk the 10K. That would mean a large climb up the dreaded Paved Hill, but maybe worse, that would mean a long downhill bit. With my knee, the downhills tend to be more of a problem than the uphill - I can manage to walk flat and uphill with little to no limp, but downhills, not so much.
So Mrs Notthat and I both did the 10K.
|The paved Hill was exposed and hot. And long.|
|A nice surprise was that, once you got to the top, you were in a nice cool marine layer. That was amazingly refreshing!|
|Photo by a Brazen volunteer. As much as she likes the sun, Mrs Notthat also liked this cool fog.|
|A stunning turn of events - I won my age group! And beat someone in it! (Note that I wouldn't have even placed in the two age groups older than mine - it's good to be in an unpopular age group!)|
Brazen Tarantula - October 14 (My Pictures)
And that brings us to current time. And the first race that was in serious danger of breaking our Brazen streak.
The fires up north had actually forced our daughter (Weird Haired Mom for you history buffs) and her family to evacuate their house. The grandkids (and their cats and dog) came down to stay with us where the air quality was at least tolerable. We weren't sure at first whether we would be able to go to this race, or even whether the race was going to happen. But the air cleared up a bit, Aunt Aubri volunteered to take the kids up to the Exploratorium, and the race happened as scheduled, although on a highly modified course.
For safety, we ended up running only on trails that were near the park's main road, which actually made for a fairly fun race since we got to see the other runners multiple times. Mrs Notthat and I both did the 10K. I was a bit borderline as to whether to attempt running or not, but decided to stick with walking for now.
|One fun thing about the course change was that we got to go to the top of the dam. Yes, it was on a paved road, but getting to go where people aren't normally allowed was kind of cool! Here, Mrs Notthat is flying back down that climb.|
|Photo by volunteer Michael. I made it to the top of the dam! And didn't blow away!|
|Mrs Notthat is wildly not fond of costumed mascots normally, but she was fine with this tarantula/RD. "I could see his face, so it was all good" she said. I think that secretly she really likes spiders.|
That's it - move along!
Late Breaking PS: Mrs Notthat messed up her ankle at the SF Zoo while trying to rescue the grandkids from a zookeeper that was sure they had escaped from a cage! She will be volunteering at Goonies! With the grandkids!