Tuesday, December 28, 2010

It certainly seemed longer at times

Warning: This is going to be a long and boring post of interest only to me and, well, probably just me. Feel free to go spend some quality time at YouTube. Or my favorite dirty magazine.

This post is to wrap up our 2010 race season. I spent an absurd amount of time making this spreadsheet:

I doubt you'll be able to read anything in it, even if you double-click it to make it larger. So here are the highlights:

• I was at 18 events this year (three as a volunteer).

• I went a total of 208.79 miles in 52 hours, 48 minutes, and 2 seconds (which works out to a 15.17 minute/mile average - there is no reason to alert the US Olympic Committee).

• I climbed 23,231 feet.

• My entry fee cost per mile worked out to $3.05 (which would have been higher, but two of my volunteering efforts resulted in free races).

And here is all my bling from the year.

(I've got plans for a display for these that I hope to put together before the 2011 race season ends.)

Mrs Notthat's vital statistics:

• She was at 15 events this year.

• She went a total of 130.1 miles in 41 hours, 51 minutes, and 52 seconds (which works out to a 19.30 minutes/mile average).

• She climbed 12, 994 feet.

• Her entry fee cost per mile was $4.83 (it's much more cost effective to do the longer races - that should be a marketing pitch!).

And here is all of her bling for the year.

There were many highlights throughout the year, but here are the ones that come to mind (in chronological order):

• That first Brazen race we did, the New Years Run, was the spark for the whole year. We really had no idea what to expect, but it was a blast and the Krispy Kremes at the finish line sealed the deal! (There were only two Brazen events I missed this year, both due to being out of town for family things. Hopefully the family will know better this year.)

• That second Brazen race we did, the Winter Bear Creek, was certainly one of the most fun. The mud was astonishing, but even more astonishing was Mrs Notthat and Ann doing the whole Half Marathon when they were given a relatively easy way to shorten it to a 10K.

• The Avenue of the Giants Marathon was our only overnighter, and it was a lot of fun, with both Andrew and Ann making the trip. It was Mrs Notthat's first Full Marathon. For a hill- and trail-free road event, it was a blast.

• The Wharf to Wharf event in Santa Cruz also was a fun and goofy road event that we will be signing up for again next year.

• The Brazen Bad Bass event was probably my favorite of the whole year. Joining Mrs Notthat and I were both of our kids, our daughter's husband, both grandkids, and to add a little Ohio spice, two cousins who flew out for the race. There were lots of winners of age group medals and, even better, no injuries! (Especially surprising for Jesse and Raven who both did the Half Marathon with me - their first event ever and they both finished in well under three hours.)

• The Brazen Rocky Ridge event was memorable because it nearly killed me. The only reason I finished was Stubborn Paul who dragged me, kicking and screaming, up that last hill.

• We only had two events where we had to slog through rain, and both were this winter (Brazen Diablo Trails Challenge and the Zombie Runner Bay Trail Race). I'm more than happy to not have any more of those for a bit.

OK, one more shot at the bling:

That's it - move along...

PS: Hopefully it goes without saying that the above stats are dwarfed by the amount of miles and elevation covered doing training hikes and such. I'm not nearly anal enough to work out those figures.

PPS: Just for my own purposes, I'm going to add links to my blog posts for each of the events.

Brazen New Years Run
Brazen Winter Bear Creek
Brazen Bay Breeze
Brazen Diablo Trails Challenge
Brazen Wildcat
Avenue of the Giants
Apple iWalk
Brazen Nitro Trail
Wharf to Wharf Santa Cruz
Brazen Bad Bass
Brazen Summer Breeze
Brazen Drag-n-Fly
Brazen Rocky Ridge
Brazen Diablo Trails Challenge
Brazen Nitro Turkey
PCTR Woodside
Brazen Summit Rock
Zombie Runner Bay Trail

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Cutting the fudge, one leg at a time

Following are a bunch of mostly unrelated things, thrown together to get me caught up a bit. In order (probably):

I woke up Tuesday morning to find Mrs Notthat in bed with another man. Monday night was to be a slumber party of sorts at our house. Real life, as it often does, got in the way of those plans and in the end, Darci spent the night at neighbor Selma's house and Riley stayed here with us. And so that everyone would (more or less) get a good night's sleep, I slept on the foldout while Riley slept with Mrs Notthat. And the plan worked. More or less.

Mrs Notthat made fudge. When a recipe says it will make 52 servings, she makes sure there are 52 reasonably equal servings, even if it involves a bit of math and a ruler. (The fudge was great, by the way, and weirdly had no pumpkin in it.)

Friday was special in a couple of ways: Neither I nor The Boy had to work, and it wasn't raining. So time was spent working on Hey Jude the Jeep. The axel is now mostly in place with just a few odds and ends to tie up. He's dying to get this thing All Together Now.

A box arrived from my parents for the grandkids. Given the time of year it is, my guess is that it contains pumpkin fudge and snow. Darci was extremely excited. "Have you ever felt a heavier box in your life?" she asked.

As they say, everyone puts their pants on one leg at a time. Nobody says much about which leg in which hole though. Riley is not much into details like that.

But he did correct the issue as soon as it was pointed out.

There's no way this look doesn't send shivers up your spine. It's like he has pulled a prank and he can't wait for it to be discovered.

Meanwhile, Darci drew this. It's a picture of Mrs Notthat, inexplicably with purple, out-of-control hair. I asked about the circles with checkmarks on the bottom; the small one on the right shows you how to put a checkmark in the circle on the left, and since she figured we would get it wrong, she just went ahead and added the checkmark on the left for us.

Smart kid.

That's it - move along...

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Weather fit only for a Zombie Runner

Diane and I could not pass up the chance at a blingable event only 15 minutes from home and on trails we are fairly familiar with. So we signed up for the Zombie Runner Bay Trail Run put on by Coastal Trail Runs.

The only problem was the forecast, which called for rain and wind and cold. But the weather people are rarely right, so we didn't sweat it.

We woke up Sunday morning to heavy rain. Driving to the race on 101, three of the four freeway lanes were closed due to flooding at one point, and the fourth lane should have had a life preserver requirement. But we knew the trails were pretty solid, and there were no real hills to worry about, so how bad could it be?

That's Diane waiting for the ferry to the picnic table. The main parking lot was mostly under water. It was moist out.

We were not nearly alone in our pursuit of soggy bling - nearly 250 people finished the various races.

The people that deserve the biggest congratulations were the aid station workers who had to stand around in the wind and rain and cold for hours while we slogged our way around the course. This guy was alternating between filling cups of water and holding down the awning. Alert readers will note the goldfish and other non-wind resistant snacks scattered on the ground behind the table.

Most of the trails were fine, with puddle avoidance being the biggest challenge. But there was also this fun stretch of trail that was doing its best to turn into a creek.

Diane did the Half Marathon while I did the Full Marathon. The Full Marathon was actually two laps of the Half Marathon course. So as I approached this nice friendly-looking finish line the first time, I knew it was an illusion. It was also a gut check though; the woman asked if I still wanted to go take my second lap, and it would have been awfully easy to justify saying no. The rain had backed off to just scattered showers, but it was still cold and I was pretty wet. And tired. And my right ankle hurt a bit from a noble (but futile) attempt to hurdle a large puddle.

But I turned around and headed back out again.

Shortly after heading back out, I came across Diane, who was smiling broadly since she knew the finish line really would be the end of her race. (A lot of the trail looked like this, but with more puddles.)

I tried to take a picture of the two of us, but it just came out kind of goofy.

One of the coolest things about the race was that we had a genuine celebrity there: The Walking Diva! This woman, who probably smiles through dental surgery, has already set the world record for most marathons in a year by a woman. She is now aiming to set the overall record - this was her 104th marathon (which is actually a bit misleading, since many of her "marathons" were actually 50K and longer events with challenging elevations). The day before this event, she did a tough 50K. She's nothing short of amazing - it was great to be out there with her.

You wouldn't call Ernie a "diva" (at least not to his face), but he's this amazing guy in his 60s that we see all the time at events like this. And he too is always smiling. And he had done a 30K the day before. I believe this was his 30th event of the year.

Seeing people like Ernie out there under all kinds of conditions, always having a good time, is hugely inspiring. It's people like him, The Walking Diva, our coaches Paul, Andrew, Curt and others, that made the decision to keep going after that first lap actually pretty easy.

Here's Diane powering across the finish line.

And here I am less than two miles from being done. (Don't let the running fool you - you see a camera, you start running - at least until you hear the shutter click.)

And here is the finisher medal! The bling!

I won't say this was my favorite event, but it is easily one of my most memorable ones. Considering the conditions, it was very well run, with great goody bags (thanks Zombie Runner!) and hot soup at the finish line.

This was my third weekend in a row doing an event - it was Diane's fourth(!) - and we are taking the upcoming weekend off. Our next event is January 2nd, the Brazen New Year's Run at Lake Chabot.

Our clothes should be dried out by then. (By the way, the Montrail Gore-Tex shoes we bought at Zombie Runner during their Black Friday event worked stunningly well, making puddle avoidance not really all that necessary.)

That's it - move along...

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Auberry's loss and getting a new rear end

This post has two wildly unrelated things. The Blog would apologize, but frankly, that sounds like a lot of work, and if he apologized every time this sort of thing happened, he'd never have time to read the sports page.

First, against all common sense, there really is a town in California named Auberry. The Blog wrote a series of posts about a visit there about a year ago. In any case Yram (not her real name) and her family has moved back to wonderful Redwood City. As a bonus, they brought along their newest family member, Mail (ha ha ha - not his real name, but ha ha!).

Mrs Notthat loves holding babies. A lot. Obviously, Mail (ha ha ha) loves being held by Mrs Notthat.

Nermac has gotten older and bigger and now has a fondness for power tools. It's great to have them around again. (I have not gotten a confirmation yet about whether their wonder dog, Murphy, also moved down here with them.)

Completely unrelated, The Boy received the new rear end for his Jeep, Hey Jude. (For those with short memories, here is the post that talked about why Hey Jude needs a new rear end.)

The first thing that needs to happen is to remove the old rear end. As usual, The Boy chose to do this at night. And I "helped." "I'll keep it from falling once you remove that last bolt" I confidently said.

Seconds later there was a loud thud as the old rear end smashed into the driveway.

There are a few logistical issues to work out for getting the new rear end installed, most involving how to keep me distracted enough to not offer to "help" anymore.

That's it - move along...

I'm a believer

One of my favorite animated movies of all time is Shrek. It takes a fresh and twisted approach to fairy tales that really tickles me. I was dubious about Shrek the Musical - in large part because I am not a musical fan.  But a guy I know wrote this review and it intrigued me. Then Mrs Notthat was able to score half-price tickets, and The Blog caved in.

So today I ditched work and, along with the grandkids (one of which was technically too young - there was a 5-year-old cutoff - but got special clearance when Mrs Notthat called and complained before buying the tickets), headed to The Big City and the Orpheum Theater.

We had to break Darci out of school a bit early for this. She was heartbroken. (HA!) We got on BART in Millbrae and rode it to the Civic Center stop. A perfect time to get your hair done. (Darci managed to cause trouble by trying to get through the BART gates before her ticket went though. It was pretty dead at the time though, so nobody was arrested. BTW, it cost $8.50 each for us to ride BART, although Riley was free. We probably could have driven and parked cheaper, but the kids loved riding the train.)

Riley followed along on the BART map. At the San Bruno stop he said "That's where my dad works!" He was so excited to be in the same town.

Fortunately we picked a dry day to do this, otherwise those fountains would not have gone over very well.

I think we were getting close by this point. (Actually, the BART station was only one bock away - less if we took the right way out.)

After picking up the tickets, we were still too early, so we headed back to the farmer's market by the fountains. Flavored honey sticks helped the time go by.

Riley explaining how big his honey stick was.

The play itself was great. LOTS of singing (sigh), but the songs were mostly fun with clever lyrics. Many bits are exactly as they are in the movie, but there was a lot of new stuff too. Like an explanation of why Lord Farquaad is so short. (The guy playing this role did it on his knees and was amazing - they pulled off a number of fun tricks with him this way. On the way home, Darci was surprised to learn that the guy had been on his knees the whole time - she thought he was really just short.)

My favorite was the amazing dragon (which is in the really bad picture above that I illegally took during the show).

The kids did pretty good. The theater provided cushions so they would sit a bit higher (there were a number of kids I saw that looked to be well under the 5-year-old cutoff), and Riley stayed in his seat the whole time while Darci spent most of the show on Mrs Notthat's lap. They both got a bit squirmy during the slower middle parts that get a bit mushy, but the belch/fart fest on stage shortly after the start of the second act perked things back up nicely.

The BART ride home was a lot more crowded since it was rush hour, but it still went well. Here, Darci is holding an orchid that Mrs bought at the farmer's market while Mrs tries to put the Fiona crown on Riley. (The woman sitting next to Darci was reading a book on her iPhone while texting on her Blackberry. I suspect she had a third phone for making actual phone calls.)

Riley with his Shrek whoopee cushion (two places to blow it up and twice the obnoxious noise output!) and Darci with her Fiona crown and ears.

It was a great afternoon, although Darci wondered where the baby Shreks were.

There's bound to be a sequel, right?

That's it - move along...

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Rocking the Summit

This morning was the Brazen Summit Rock trail race - their first one in the South Bay. This put it much closer to us, living on the Peninsula, than their normal events. This didn't mean though that it had any less challenging of hills or thrills.

We arrived in time to see Paul getting last minute instructions from Mr Brazen before heading out as the Hiking Division. Mr Brazen is explaining how the hill will seem "this big" but is really not that bad. (For the record, Paul didn't buy it.)

Frequent hiking partner Ann volunteered at this event, handing out timing chips and guarding the sweat check area.

This is the staging area. As usual, everything went smoothly and was well organized.

And because I'm a bit dense, I didn't realize that Lorna and her entire family were also doing this race! (She basically told me this, but I somehow misunderstood "We will be there and watch your back disappearing into the woods." She's Canadian, so I'm going to go with this being a language issue.)

I did the Half Marathon (Diane wisely did the 10K). I started at the very back of the pack and took this picture of the wider trail narrowing to a single track trail, which is what most of the race used.

One challenge for Brazen setting up their first South Bay race was that they had to use stoneground whole wheat flour for the trail markings - none of the bleached white stuff they normally use. (Of course I'm making this up! I've been saving this "joke" for about a month. It was kind of funny though that some of the flour did look a bit whole wheatish.)

The first three miles were all uphill. The good part was that there were lots of switchbacks which made the trail a bit less than tendon-snapping steep. (Alert viewers will note runners that appear to be wandering through the forest off to the left.)

This is the first aid station, at the 5K turnaround. Aid station volunteers never get enough praise or thanks. They are all studs!

This is what most of the trail looked like. Very pretty and tree-infested.

This is the second aid station, and the 10K turnaround. There were lots of happy 10K people at this point since they got to turnaround and head back downhill. For us Half Marathoners there was still a small bit of climbing, and some "rolling hills" (which is a nice way to say "don't get too comfortable with the flatness since it's going to change soon and often").

Finally the third aid station, and the Half Marathon turnaround. The race was an out-and-back with everyone using the same trails. This made for some congestion early on, but by this time all the 5K and 10K people (and fast Half Marathoners) had been weeded out, so it was very calm and quiet.

A first for me - having to watch out for apples on the trail. The thing about out-and-backs is that you see the same trail and scenery twice. Except you don't. I completely missed these on the way out.

Paul the Hiking Division was booking it. He didn't get that much of a head start, so I expected to catch him by mile 5 or so. I didn't pass him until about mile 8.

I'm so sorry for the quality of this picture (my sweat somehow caused my camera, which I was carrying in my right hand, to go wonky). This is at that second aid station again. The thing about that second aid station is that you had to climb some stairs to get to it. Very few runners felt like climbing those stairs at this point, so this nobel volunteer stood at the bottom of the stairs with a tray of drinks. (None were of the adult variety though.)

A creek crossing! The trails were generally wet, but not muddy since they were mostly protected with leaves and redwood needles and rocks and roots.

At about mile 11 I came across this group that were going slowly, helping a runner that was having painful knee issues. I tossed her some ibuprofen and took off. (It was really cool that all these people stayed with her, and even cooler that she finished the race standing up, although, as a joke, one of the guys carried her across the finish line.)

Here I am steaming (HA!) across the finish line.

Diane and I with our medals. And contrary to what it looks like, I did not go wee-wee in my shorts. I don't know if it was humid or I was well hydrated, but I sweated a LOT. At the aid stations I would take my hat off so sweat wouldn't drip off the brim onto the food.

After eating pie and ice cream I decided to head out to see how far away Paul was. I got almost 50 feet before I saw him coming into the finish line. He did great, and other than having a bit of a brawl with his jacket at one point, had no issues during the race.

The bling. I am not much of an ornithologist, but I wasn't sure what kind of bird this was. For some reason, I took it to be a very irritated owl. Others (probably correctly) have insisted it is a very irritated bald eagle.

And that's about it. A great course and great race. The weather was also good - foggy down low but sunny up on top of the mountain. We couldn't ask for anything better.

Well, maybe an escalator at that 10K aid station.

That's it - move along...

PS: Diane and I did a trail race last weekend and are doing another one next weekend (the Zombie Runner Bay Trail run - total elevation for the Full Marathon is 60 feet; my calves won't know what to do).