I've run seven races, all 10Ks except one 5K and the Half Marathon last weekend that required me to write this post.
First up was my favorite San Francisco-based race, the Coastal SF race. You start in the Crissy Field area, run up the hill and under the Golden Gate Bridge, then keep going along the coast until you get to Baker beach, where the 10K turns around and heads back. (The Half goes to the Sutro Baths, which is even better.)
|I've turned around and am heading back into this amazing view. The North Face Endurance Challenge is going on over in the Marin Headlands on the other side of the bridge.|
|Even for a Bay Area trail race, the aid station was a bit, ummm, colorful. And All Day is NOT a yeti.|
|The Huddart Park trees are so fun to play around in, and the creeks were running nicely.|
The next day, I ran the 5K at the Coastal Quarry Lakes race. Alert readers might remember that we had just done a race there three weeks earlier, and time traveling readers will know that we will be back here in two weeks. The trails are pretty flat, mostly gravel, and not all that interesting, other than that they wind around the various small lakes that make up Quarry Lakes. One thing in this race's favor is that it's fairly close to home.
|Lakes, blue sky, and green hills. What more could you want!|
|A bit of a rain threat for this race.|
|Allets and her person, Ymmat (not their real names), flying down the Live Oak hill.|
|China Camp State Park has some of the most fun trails around, and they actually held up really well.|
And now, you are all caught up to me deciding to attempt the Half distance at the Brazen Coyote Hills race.
I had not run a double-digit mile race since my Run-De-Vous 50M race way back in the middle of August. I had not run a Half Marathon since WAY back in the middle of June! This astonished me, and I don't have a great explanation. The ankle injury certainly affected races since September, but that's still a REALLY long time between Half Marathons.
In any case, I was really happy with how the ankle had been responding to all those 10K races, and decided to upgrade to the Half at Coyote Hills. The Half there is two loops of a long 10K course, which isn't my favorite idea of a race, especially since there is a lot of pavement, but there were some fun very muddy bits that helped. The course isn't flat, but the climbing is less than some of those 10K races, so it seemed like a nice ankle test.
|The course wasn't really as confusing as this makes it look.|
|We're trail runners. This was WAY too nice of a bus for us. I'm not sure they were able to save these busses after they hauled us muddy runners back.|
|My cheering squad! (And concerned race people making sure I've signed my liability release.)|
|My very own start line!|
This turned out to be a very wise decision on my part, even if it did mean I would be on my own for the first several miles.
|The Emergency Backup Cone of Turnaround.|
|And me without my swim fins.|
|Some volunteers are more helpful than others.|
|"That's the only flavor you have?" No, I didn't really say that - but I think I broke his heart since I didn't take the GU.|
|It wasn't raining then, but they did get a shower shortly after I left.|
|The pretty bay shoreline.|
|"Which way do I go?"|
|The Endorphin Dude!|
|Great looking shoreline and green hills.|
|The really close toll booths for the Dumbarton Bridge.|
|Look at all that sunshine! And note the trail still looks pretty good.|
|Again, some volunteers are more helpful than others. (I'm pretty sure his daughter is telling him he's doing it wrong!)|
|I'm going to talk a lot more about Kcnarf (not his real name) the paparazzi later.|
|Don't blow away!!!|
|Acire (not her real name) ordering a pizza.|
|Aid station 3, about mile 6.5.|
|"Which way do I go?"|
|"Which way do I go?" The fourth aid station, about mile 8.|
The second loop was a lot like the first one, but with no rain and a lot more runners on the course. The one big difference was…
… on that dirt out-and-back. A LOT of runners had been on it (and there had been a small shower) since the last time I had been here, and it was a lot sloppier. I loved it!
|Somebody is sure happy to be leaving the fifth aid station! (About mile 11.)|
And then I looked at my watch and realized I had a realistic chance to break three hours. At the start of this race, I was thinking 3:30 would be a fine time - I was really surprised to find 3:00 in my sights. But I would have to hustle - no more walking bits I should be running.
|Back to that final hill, and sub-three is still possible!|
Once he got the shot, he sprinted back down to get a shot of runners coming up to the hill.
Then, depending on the traffic, he would bound back up that hill to get another shot of the runners. He easily did more climbing than us Half runners!
|Picture by Kcnarf. I think this was on my first lap.|
|This time, I get to turn right!|
|Mrs. Notthat waiting for me to finish.|
|Roving gangs of volunteers trying to get runners to eat multiple ice creams.|
|The shiny medal and muddy shoes.|
|The robot coyote shirt, medal, and bib.|
My plan is to try the 25K at the ITR Fort Ord next week if it all works out. It won't be as fast since it has a bit more climbing, and there's an early threat of rain that day, but it will be a nice test. And that will be followed by another shot at Ageless Wonder (a 10K in fewer minutes than your age) at the Brazen Bay Breeze.
It's fun being back to a full schedule!
That's it - move along…
PS: If you are keen to see more pictures of the above races, here they are:
Coastal San Francisco
North Face EC volunteering second day
ITR Woodside Ramble
Coastal Quarry Lakes
ITR Pacifica (China Camp Edition)
Brazen Coyote Hills