Sunday, January 30, 2011

Brazen Coyote Hills 5k

Because we love Brazen Racing so much, Mary Sue and I signed up for the Coyote Hills 5k. This race sold out and we had the luxury of shuttle buses to get us to the start finish line from the overflow parking lots. Lets just say, we contemplated riding the shuttle all morning because it was so much warmer on the bus!! We had plenty of time to go through the usual "what were we thinking?" and I told Mary Sue I would hold it against her if the day went bad since she picked the race, and than I was reminded that I talked her into 13.1 miles... I kept my mouth shut after that.

It seemed like we waited forever in the cold wind to start. 1 minute after the gun went off we crossed the start line (this would prove to be a problem later). There were so many people and we had a lot of walkers to navigate through. Another huge frustration of mine, if you are walking, start in the back! We hopped up on the grass along the paved path because people were walking 2-3 wide and we literally just could not get past people. Eventually we had to move back down and just deal with. I had a guy running at my pace with his dog on a retractable leash! Really, I decided to keep my mouth shut this early in the race. We navigated across the boardwalk, which was awesome and so pretty. At this point I had more room to pass people that I needed to pass and had time to enjoy the scenery.

Less than a mile into the race we hit single track and came to a stop and than a walk. "Well this sucks!" I said out loud, oops I guess biting my tongue didn't last that long. Some of you know that I have an issue with my heart rate and blood pressure when I came to screeching halt, it results in nearly passing out. Luckily, I have yet to actually pass out, but I came pretty close a few weeks ago. Needless to say, the abrupt stop had me panic a little bit. Once we got through that I was able to get back to a nice pace. I will say, there were clearly lots of newbies out of there with no race or trail etiquette. On an uphill portion, two women decided to walk and they were joking around, as I tried to pass them the one girl shoved her other friend and I knocked into her as I passed "excuse me!" I managed in my most annoyed voice, to which they started speaking to each other in another language. And then there was the couple who was running and holding hands, passed me and then pulled right in front of me and slowed to walk! Really? It's totally cute that you are holding hands and all but I nearly ran into you jerks. Don't even get me started on the poor etiquette at the aid station, I was tempted to through my cup of water at the girl standing in the path next to the trash.

Did I mention the course was long? We were told in advance that the 5k was actually 3.5 so I was mentally prepared for it and didn't seem to have a problem with the extra distance, Mary Sue's gps came back with 3.65 miles.

Even though I have listed a lot of complaints here, it was a great and beautiful race. As usual, Brazen put on a great event, I can't hold it against them if their participants are boneheads.

Some photos to share from the day.
Start/Finish Line
crossing the boardwalk

you can almost see me in this shot

one of the many kids that I played leapfrog with

This is the single track where we were forced to walk

I came in 16/55 for my age group, thanks to all of the walkers who made that number look good! Official time 41:45 for somewhere between 3.5 - 3.65 miles.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

2011 Brazen New Years Run

I can't even begin to tell you how much I love Sam and Jasmine of Brazen Racing,every race I have participated in has been awesome. This one was even better because it was a free race after volunteering at the Diablo Trails Challenge Race last year.

I will admit, the alarm went off and I was totally unmotivated to get up and go out and run, especially when I heard the rain outside. I got out of bed anyway and donned my warmest running gear and hit the road. I had already picked up my bib earlier in the week, so I didn't need to get there super early, but it's also better to leave the house before the kids wake up so they aren't sad when I leave. Needless to say, I arrived at the park at 7:30am for a 9:05 start time. I sat in the car for about as long as I could stand my boredom, trying to stay dry.

I grabbed my timing chip and tried to find the driest spot I could to wait it out, which turned out to be under a tree by the food tent. Turns out there was a very bad crash on 580 and they shut the freeway down, they delayed each race for 10 minutes to allow for folk to try and get into the park. While this is very considerate, it meant 10 more minutes in the cold for me.

View of the start/finish line

They had an amazing New Orleans Jazz band playing since there is no amplified sound allowed at the park, I must say, they were way better than any amplified sound they could have possibly had.

I watched the 1/2 Marathoner's take off, then the 10ker's before it was finally our turn to line up. Normally, I would be irritated with folks who don't actually start running until they cross the mat, today I was relieved. The grass was so soggy and muddy and by the time we started it was just a big slippery mess. Walking to the mat meant avoiding mad splatter early in the race.

I ran with my hood on for about the first mile, it was that cold.

Just a glimpse of me as I run by incognito

Overall, I felt really good during the race. Although the way out is mostly downhill that means the return is mostly uphill. The turnaround point seemed to come quickly and I was pleased to be making my way back. I think there were only 2 hills that I had to walk up, other than that I trudged up the others at a slow run pace. I was thrilled to see the 3 mile marker, but than I saw the finish line and realized either the course was long or they misplaced the 3 mile marker, cause it was for sure more than. .1 miles back to the finish.

Happy to be so close to the finish
Approaching the finish line was interesting, I had enough in me to sprint, but I was pretty nervous to sprint and slip and fall in the muddy conditions. I didn't want to be that person, who falls flat on their face or butt before they cross the line. So I kept a reserved pace assuring that I would stay upright.

It felt great to be done, it felt great to have those running endorphin's again. No matter how much I complain in the morning getting out of bed, this is a great way to start the New Year!

Official time 37:25. I shaved 3:25 off of last year's time. 1/2 marathon training and running in the Lamorinda hills really helped me beat last year's sucky time. I also came in 9/30 in my age group. All in all, a great day!