Sunday, December 12, 2010

On Your Left! Race Report: Summit Rock Trail Half Marathon

You probably don't know this about me, but I'm a bit of a tree hugger.  Which may or may not surprise you, since I do live in the tree hugger capital of the world: the Bay Area, CA.  True story:  I'm such a fanatic about recycling, I used to take home all the recyclables from my office I used to work at.  I couldn't stand that they didn't recycle, so much so that often when I left on Friday's, my car was stuffed to the brim with all the office recyclable garbage!
Tree Hugging Saturday

But I digress.  I forgot to mention this to all of you, but I had a little race to run on Saturday:  The Summit Rock Trail Half Marathon, with my buddy Punky.  Yeah, maybe not the smartest idea to run a trail half less than a week out from a pretty grueling marathon, but I couldn't pass up a Saturday run with Punky or the beautiful trails that were pretty much in my back yard. 

I like to think of myself as a pretty on-time person, mainly due to the fact that growing up, my parents couldn't be on-time to save their lives.  I was often late to school, girl scouts, soccer practice, even Mass!  So, being on time to me even means being about ten minutes early.  Saturday I had told Punky to be at my pad around 7:45.  I got up around 6:30, dottled around as I got ready and thought I had plenty of time to get going.  But then, around 7:10, I got a text message that read, "You should really buy a rake."  WTH?  Ron?  Followed by the next text at 7:11, "I'm outside."  Oh $hit!  He's here!  Already?  Quick, get dressed and let him in!  Dude was over a half hour early!  Talk about on time!  And talk about embarrassing!  So, I let him in and scrambled to get ready as he drank my coffee and hassled my dog.

Soon enough, we were in the car making the 20 minute drive to the race.  The race was almost in my backyard, in the beautiful Santa Cruz mountains in Saratoga, CA.  This was the first event that Brazen put on at this park, but they did an awesome job as always.  Thank goodness Punky was early - it took us almost 15 minutes to get into the park with all the traffic.  After we parked, got body-glided up, we headed over to pick up our chips and meet up with my girl Stacey and Ron's friend Anne. (Side note: did you ever notice, Punky has a LOT of girl runner friends!)  The weather was really perfect, overcast and a bit foggy, but not too cold.  After a few pictures with the gang, we lined up at the start together.  Stacey was doing the 10K with Anne, while us two stupids, Ron and I, were doing the half.  Stupid only hit us when we were a half mile into the run and wanting to turn around and find a doughnut shop instead ;)
Stacey and me - she's the smart one on the right

Stacey, Ron & Anne - a stupid sandwich

Neither Ron nor I had really looked at the course map or elevation chart - big mistake!  But I guess ignorance is bliss, because if we had looked, we probably wouldn't have even started.  The whole run is pretty much single track, where you are enveloped by the beautiful canopy of redwood tress.  It was damp and dark, just the most beautiful scenery you could ask for.  Right away, the course went up hill.  And just kept going up.  It was an out and back course, so in the beginning we told ourselves that this would be great - negative split, baby!  But it became pretty apparent right away, that might not even be doable.  The race director, Sam - great guy by the way - had encouraged runners to walk the uphill parts and run the down hills - pretty smart advice.  So, walk we did.  All week, my legs felt pretty great after the marathon, but all of a sudden, on those hills, I felt like a lazy butt.  I couldn't run up them if I tried!  We were both out of breath and sweaty messes by the time we finally, finally hit mile 1.  No worries, it's a trail run.

The theme of the day became, "on your left!"  We heard it constantly from the majority of our fellow runners passing us.  Hahaha!  Neither Punky or I could keep up with the mountain goats passing us.  No big deal really, we had plenty of beautiful scenery to keep us occupied, and well, when you run with Punky - a good time will be had, even if your walking.  I really, really wish I had put a sign on my shirt that read, "I'm not usually this slow!  I ran a 3:34 marathon last week!"  Funny how as runners, we don't ever want to show a "slow" side, but if there ever was one, yesterday was my slow day.  I just hoped I wasn't slowing Punky down too much.

And so the day went on.  Walk, jog the uphills, fly down the down hills - "fly" being relative also.  We chatted with fellow runners, took in the great smells of the damp forest and just generally goofed off as we made our way to the top.
I'm also a bird lover ;)

By the time we hit the 10K turn around and aid station, we may or may not have contemplated turning around.  But the show must go on!  And on and UP we went.  The conversation got pretty "R" rated in here, which means neither of us will be sharing exactly what crossed our mouths as we kept plugging along.  By about a mile and half from the last aid station and half turn around, we had many, many people coming back down.  WOW!  I mean LOTS of people were already lapping us!  Hahaha!  And you wouldn't believe what they kept saying to us!  "You're almost there!"  "Just a bit more to go!"  Did we look that bad!??  I mean, come on!  We had a LONG way still to go!  Thanks, but you can keep your pity comments to yourself.  One woman, and I have to say this, she was on the larger side, looked at me at this point and said, "almost there, they even have pumpkin pie waiting for you!"  WTF?  Do I look like someone who is motivated by pumpkin pie?  Do I look like someone that needs food as a motivator?  Sheesh!  Punky and I just had to laugh, but by like the 100th person telling us "almost there!" with just over a mile left, it got old - quick!

At the final aid station, we both stopped to fill our water bottles and grab a cup of water.  I started chatting with a few runners and the support staff, when I turned around and I couldn't see Punky.  Now, by no means was this a large area, so I would have seen him and his hair if he was still there.  But no, he ditched me!  He took off and left me as I stood there drinking my water.  Argh!  So I high-tailed it down there where I found him running down the hill trying to leave my slow butt.  What a friend, what a friend.  It was when I found him that I got my revenge, I jumped into a giant mud puddle and covered us both in mud!  Tee hee!  That's what you get for leaving me.  Don't worry, he knew I would catch him...eventually.  And so we made our way back down the mountain.

Down?  Yeah, not so much.  There wasn't much down happening on the way back.  I guess it is possible to go up both ways in a race.  We were cursing the course and Sam at this point - he's a dirty, dirty race director.  Our legs were both toast at this point and we still had six miles to get back.  So, back to shenanigans for us!  More dirty jokes, more making fun of our slow selves and finally the miles began to tick by.  We would attempt to run the down hills when we could, but both of us had quads there were screaming at us.  No biggie, we still enjoyed the scenery.
My view for the majority of the race - check out those calf muscles!  Meow!

I look happy, no?

We slowly inched our way down the mountain, only to be greeted by the last two miles that were pretty much straight down.  You had no choice but to run, stopping killed our quads and well, we had been out there so damn long we just wanted to finish.  We both did an awesome job of keeping each other motivated and finally, after 3:17:58, we crossed the finish line together - oh so happy to be done!

Yes, you read that right, it took us 3 hours, seventeen minutes and fifty-eight seconds to go 12.4 miles - or a 15:58/mi pace.  Just think, I covered more than twice that distance the week before in almost the same amount of time - hahaha!  When we finished, we felt like we had just come back from war - we saw some crazy things out there people, some of which will forever be etched into my brain.  But you know what, I HAD A BLAST!  Yes, the course was the most difficult trail race I have ever done, but I couldn't have done it without Punky, and I sure as heck wouldn't have had as much fun!  Thanks Ron, you're a gem, and I'm so glad we got to share this "experience" together.  Note to self: NEVER run this one again!
Before - all happy and ignorant

After - what the hell happened to us?

We finished!

The medals

I'm so glad I did run this, it taught me I'm stronger than I thought.  I enjoyed a beautiful Saturday run in the most beautiful scenery around.  I may not run it again, but so glad I can say I did run it - once!
Thanks Ron for all the great pics - at least the ones I could show here and still keep my blog rated PG.

My legs were pretty tore up all day yesterday, but I iced-bathed when I got home and today they felt pretty dang good so I went out for a quick run.  I was so surprised they felt so good, in fact, they just wanted to run!  I did some fartleks and some speed and enjoyed a foggy run  - 5 miles in 39:44 - 7:57/mi pace.  Did not know I still had it in me.  I even managed to run over 27 miles this week even post marathon.  Recovery went really well, I'm still recovering mind you, but so far so good.

I have a busy week again ahead of me, 2 days of tax classes and some snow boarding are on schedule! 
Have a wonderful week peeps, I'm off to catch up with all of you!
Happy Running!


ajh said...

Looks like you had a good time. You got some fun pics!

MCM Mama said...

Whoa! That sounds challenging - but fun! Glad you are recovering well!

PunkRockRunner said...

That “stupid” sandwich looks like it’s loaded with fat.

This was a really hard run but because of the company the time seemed to fly by. It didn’t seem like we were out there for 5-hours. Oh wait, we were only out there for 3:20? Damn…..

Thank you for spending the morning with me in hell & setting the race report bar so high. I’m sure I’ll be knocking out sub 8-minute miles as soon as I can walk again.

All the best,


Marlene said...

What a gruelling race! No doubt more gruelling since you just busted out a wicked fast marathon last week! Yeesh!!! Looks likw fun out there. CONGRATS!

Shellyrm ~ just a country runner said...

Congrats on a fun trail race!

I can't believe you went for a 5 mile FAST run today. I'd think your legs would be fried!

Jamoosh said...

What? YOU ran a race? I can't believe it...

Denise said...

sounds awesome! nice job and i love all the pics. now you better take it easy for a little! go eat some cookies or something.

Ewa said...

From another Bay Area tree hugger, didn't you know that our mountains go up for 90% of runs, hikes and backpacking trips?
And how come you had some sun out there? We were fogged till sunset.
BTW, great run and you should pat yourself on the back.

Morgan said...

You two kill me, I can only imagine what transpired in conversation out there... LOL!

Katie said...

your hair. it looks AMAZING. maybe next time keep the hat on.

nice run! love all the pics!!!

chris mcpeake said...

congrats on the race. Sounds like an awesome course

Heather said...

Nice job on the race - sounds like a tough one!

Layla said...

I'm still trying to figure out how you ran a 3:34 marathon, then ran this monster, and THEN went out for a 39-minute 5-miler. Are you sure you don't have a clone??

Page said...

You're a bad ass. That's all.

(Oh, and those medals look sweet!)

smartwool said...

Awesome post!!!Like those photos..

Teamarcia said...

So you ran CIM last week and now you're up to it again on the trails? Amazing! Glad you had fun out there---LOVE your shirt!
Hey have you ever done Ave of the Giants? I'm toying with it.

Jill said...

Next time Ron shows up early, have him go for a swim in your pool while he's waiting :).

You totally rock, chica! Am I truly blessed to know you or what?!?!

Anonymous said...

You amaze me :) I am with Jill...we are blessed to know you...or "know you" as it is in my case!

I had the elevation issue when I did not look at Baltimores. Or Jacksonvilles. Or my last 5k ahaha. I have a problem with that!

I love your recycling fanaticism :)

Tara said...

This sounds like a fun race, you did very well considering that you just ran a marathon! Trail racing is super hard. Up, up, UP, UP, UP! I love it when you can finally go DOWN the mountain.

I'm glad that Punky was there, sound like you guys had a great experience.

I'm a recycler too. It drives me nuts when people don't recycle. And I take home office recycling too. :)

N.D. said...

Looks like fun! I can't believe how much running you do!

Anonymous said...

damn girl you're a machine! trail runs are so hard and totally kick my legs ass! I am super impressed at you tackling this post-marathon! You and Punky are both badasses in my book! :)

Jess @ Blonde Ponytail said...

I HEART the fact that you would take home your office recyclables!

Great race report!!!

Laura said...

My parents were also always late, which means I try to be always early. I wonder if that means our kids will always be late?

I really hate when people say "almost there." You're not "almost there" until you're in the ten minutes of the race.

Better a downhill finish than an uphill, though I'm sorry your quads were so sore after.