Yes, still new to running, so I'm selecting the "fast and flat" courses to try out before getting into the more challenging trails + hills or even hillier road races. This event out by the San Leandro Marina, is the speediest of races Brazen offers, and apparently so flat and boring that hardcore trail fiends Mr. NotthatLucas and his family chose to volunteer for it rather than actually race. We were very lucky with the weather this year, since it was apparently very wet in 2011 with gale-force winds threatening to knock runners off their feet as they braved the course.
I signed up earlier in the season, and was happy that DD offered to come along, bring the Harlow, and take some photos as I ran. We got there around 7:15ish, Endorphin Dude having announced something about a Half Fanatic photo prior to starting. Though I was technically not yet in HF, this race would be my 2nd Half in under 14 days, so I qualified for entry-level "Neptune moon" status. And besides, ED said it would be ok, and who am I to argue with such a running luminary?
So we got there, and it was chilly, and I needed to use the bathrooms. Mr. NotthatLucas might appreciate this shot of the porta-potties. Notice how I was bundled in thick sweats and North Face puffy down jacket.
We finally got around to taking the Half Fanatic Photo, about 5 minutes before the Half start. Mr. Sam Brazen made an announcement and a bunch of us gathered off to the side. Glad I managed to get Harlow in the photo.
The photo above illustrates how much of the course looked - flat, next to the water, under grey and overcast skies. It was definitely chilly at the start, but I warmed up pretty quickly.
Basically this was my best race so far, but I ran it at quite an effort, trying to pace folks in the beginning who eventually left me behind, and then managing to pace and pass several others on the way back. The photo above, taken by Danni, shows a couple of folks who I paced in the beginning, and then pretty much left me in the dust during the last part of the race.
DD had driven out to a place where he thought he might be able to catch me, and eventually, braving a ranger's ire (dogs are not allowed on certain portions of the trail), managed to stop for a bit and grab shots of nice number of runners, including the lead runner of the race, as they came flying back towards the finish. He managed to also get me on the way back. I had run behind the gentleman in the bright orange for a good portion of miles 7-10. During the last few miles, I passed and didn't see him again.
Seeing familiar faces at the Aid stations on the way out was helpful, but this definitely helped more during the last 6 miles back.
There was something wonky going on with my Garmin - an extra lap recorded for about 2 minutes, but the pace seemed consistent with the rest of the run, so I finally got over it. Still, it was a little disconcerting to have it beep about 1/2 a mile before the actual mile marker. Again, I think I started off too fast in the beginning, and miles 2-4 were my attempts to slow down a little, fearful for the later miles, wondering whether I'd be able to sustain the same pace. As it turned out, though again, there were no negative splits, I managed to run it all at under 9 minutes/mile - which is a crazy first for me! There might be something to be said for treadmill running, which has been making up a good portion of my weekly training runs.
This chart is funny - shows my pace by mile. It's pretty consistent all the way through, except during around mile 6.5 I had slowed down at the aid station (well-stocked with water, sport drink, GU and candy) to grab a cup of electrolytes and a Vanilla GU, circle the turnaround cone, and head off again. No electrolytes, but they had Coke! Against better judgement, I grabbed a cup anyway, gulped it down, and immediately felt a little bloated and icky. Thankfully, that feeling eventually passed, and I think the Coke did help in retrospect.
I managed to hi-five Endorphin Dude shortly after seeing DD -- always enthusiastic, always energetic -- so nice to see him on-course.
As always, it's nice to see familiar faces - Mr. NotthatLucas, Ultra Woof, Weird-Haired Mom - were all out in various stages. I thought theirs was a more difficult job staying out in the elements to take photos/ hand out sustenance to us runners.
And then, I was done! It was painful during the last 2 miles, but once I got the finish line in sight, felt so much better at the prospect of finally stopping!
And, as usual, a great post-race spread of tasty things - bagels and potato chips, mini cinnamon rolls, brownie bites, cut up bananas, oranges and pieeee - Brazen has the *best* spreads. Again, unfortunately I never want to eat right after running; this time I managed to consume some potato chips, an orange slice, and some electrolyte drink. DD consumed some pie and peanut M&Ms (on my behalf).
Supercute technical t-shirt and medal, though I think in the future I shall ask for mediums rather than smalls. More photos on Flickr here. Oh, and my Half Fanatic membership/ profile (#1935) is here.