I should note that this was only my second 10k trail race, so of the two, I liked it more. My first one being with Ben, my brother, last summer. It was fun, but I wasn't as in of good of shape, and I liked the trails on this one a lot more.
The one we did last summer was Reservoir Dogs by Inside Trail Racing, was exactly a 10k (6.2 miles), and had 575 feet of vertical. Basically it was fairly flat with one big climb in the middle of the race.
Today I attacked Grizzly Peak Trail Run by Coastal Trail Runs, which had just a hair over 1,000 feet of vertical, and it was a touch under 10k at 5.8 miles. I hope this is ok, screen shot from their website:
It was in Tilden Regional Park near Berkeley. I had never been there before; pretty place!
Originally my running buddy and I were going to travel up early in the morning, but she woke up sick, so the family ended up coming with me. Jeremy was up at 5:30 making eggs for everyone while I got the boys dressed and packed stuff to take with for kids. Flexible family support! Was very thankful for Jeremy's willingness to change his plans and drive up with me, he's the best!
Got there, potty break, grabbed bib and shirt, sat in van. All the other races started at 8am, so Jeremy took the kids to see that. I read the first two chapters of Ecclesiastes. Helps me chill and put things in perspective, that book.
Then we met at the bathroom for another potty break, and it was off to the starting line.
And we were off!
Pictures Jeremy took of kids while I was running:
On these trail races I like starting slow, warming up and finding my place in the pack. Which seems to be behind the middle of the pack, but not the last. Front of the last third. Or maybe that's front of the last quarter. However you want to put it.
Started out flat for a short bit, and then we hit the first climb. And the trail was a disaster of mud. As in, it was thick, goopy mud covering the entire trail that people were having a hard time navigating. People mentioning aloud that if one person wiped out we'd all be going down.
To start the race out like that was a bit of a downer, I have to admit. I was wondering if all the trails were going to be like this, and also worrying a bit about wiping out myself. Not afraid of getting muddy, but of hurting myself due to a fall, or worse yet hurting myself and taking out one or more others in the process!
Turns out that not all of the trails were like that, just a lot of the short, uphill sections at the beginning of the race. Mud that squished around your entire foot and you felt yourself slipping just a bit with each step.
A couple of road crossings later brought us to the loop section of the course, and at the beginning of that is where I dropped the people I had been by for the first part of the race. Nice climb, took the downs, and then took on the toughest climbing of the race, which I'm guessing is where it says "Tower" on the map above. PG&E trail type steepness, and beyond. It was during this part that I realized I was in the must beautiful section of trail, and thought about how in life when we go through trials are when we really see the beauty around us.
Also on this steep section I quickly found out that the only way I could make it up the steep, slippery muddy trail was to hike in the little stream that was running to one side of the trail. There were no footholds otherwise!
Prayed for a friend who was scheduled to get induced today as I was hiking uphill and appreciating the beauty; I found out later that she had gone into labor on her own early this morning, which was an answer to prayer!
One turn on a series of switchbacks was so steep and muddy that I had no other choice but to scramble up on all fours! Then after that there were steps of rock. And then the beloved section of downhill. I love running downhill, it feels almost effortless!
Most of the loop I was alone on the run, and that was very much enjoyable. Towards the end of the loop was when I started getting passed by the fast male runners from the other distances. 12 passed me. Four had to loop back and passed me again going the other way.
On the long section of downhill and the rest of the race really I felt awesome. On the down I was thanking God for my legs to run with! Loving it.
Going down the really muddy parts that I had climbed on the way up were tricky, I did not run those, but watched the guys who passed me how they handled it, and decided they were braver than I. At some points I was sliding a good half foot with each step!
Jeremy got this shot of me running strong on the flat to the finish:
Man, I was feeling so good at this point. Realizing I still felt awesome after doing a harder 10k, realizing that my training of running 3x each week faithfully paid off big time.
Although, to taper for this race I did not run at all this past week. Instead as I was getting all antsy towards the later part of the week, I caught up on housework which was much needed.
After the race Jeremy told me I had gotten a faster time even, and wow, that was awesome too. I think I ran something like 1:38 with Ben, and today I did 1:27. Even with the slow mud slogging and almost 2x more climbing. Granted, .4 miles less, but still. I was happy with my performance today. Finished 65th out of 84 10k participants, and for my age group and gender I finished 10th out of 16.
Jeremy snapped this pic of me with my finisher's medal:
And there's a story to go with this one. We were hanging out by the water's edge with another mother of four who I was chatting it up with. Jeremy came and got a picture, and just in that moment right after he snapped it Blake fell headfirst into the lake and was floating facedown in the water. Jeremy bounded over and jumped in and picked him up, so it was only a few seconds, but it was just so crazy!! He cried after Jeremy picked him up, and then I took him. The other mother offered her baby's blanket to wrap around him, which was so kind, but I told her we'd just go to the van and I'd get him some dry clothes to change into.
Google maps directed a slightly different exit of the park, and so on the way out we came upon this view which we had to pull over and get some shots of:
In the picture above Oakland is on the left, San Francisco straight ahead, and that's the Bay Bridge connecting the two, with the Golden Gate Bridge to the right if you can see it. Here's a close up of Bay Bridge on the left and part of the Golden Gate on the right:
Beautiful day, and what a view! Had some nice views from the top of the climb during the race today too. Looking forward to running my first half marathon with my brother this summer! This was a very encouraging race for me today, as well as the most fun I've had with trail racing, which has been a grand total of 4 races. (I've run Brazen's Summit Rock 5k the past two years with Hayley. '12 was fun, '13 not so much.) On my four races I would say that 10ks are more fun than 5ks. :)
Special thanks again to Jeremy for making this day awesome! Not only did he do all the driving and take the kiddos on a walk during my race, he also got his run in with them in the afternoon so I could go to a ladies event at church after the race. Put the kids to bed around 6:15pm and they were out by 6:30. Sleep time for me now!