"...In the end, people either have excuses or experiences; reasons or results; buts or
brilliance. They either have what they wanted or they have a detailed list of all the rational reasons why not."

~ Anonymous
(taken from Matt Erbele's, It Takes Time to Get Good)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Race Report: PCTR Big Basin 25K

To be filed under: What the fuck was I thinking?

Dirty Details (pun intended):

Distance: 25K
(actually it was 25.75K and, oh HELL yes, I am claiming that 0.75Km)

Total Climb: 3420' (yes, if you were wondering, that DOES seem like a lot for someone (e.g. Me) that has been running exclusively at sea level and remaining at sea level for the entirety of each run for months and months.)

Time: 4:37:24
(ummm... yeah. It was a rough day out there)


Heading up to the race (really, we should call it a 'hike/shuffle/stumble', but 'race' is easier to type, so we will stick with that.) Anyhoo, heading up to the race in Big Basin I was enjoying a beautiful view of the Santa Cruz mountains and listening to the new songs I had purchased for my iPod.It was only then that I realized that choosing songs for your run mix immediately after scheduling your husband's radiation implant surgery (and the 12 billion appointments that must occur within 5-7 days of said surgery. All at different offices, mind you) is not wise.

Just a bit of advice, if you do that what you end up with is a bunch of sappy love songs that make you cry.

Here is a sample

Don't worry I don't expect you to click on it. I never click on any of G's. Unless you are in the mood for a sappy love song, then this is for you. Click away!

As a result, by the time I arrive I am blubbering like an idiot. I compose myself and go to check in and am immediately hit with the what-the-fuck-am-I-doing-here-with-all these-hardcore-trail-runners?! feeling that I had gotten used to back when I was doing this more, but it has been months (and months, if you remember) since I have done this, so I got to feel like a huge loser (literally and figuratively. Fucking, skinny ass trail runners. Eat something besides tree bark, will ya?) all over again.

(Hike/shuffle/stumble) Report

The rest of this report will be mostly in pictures because I could not put together a cohesive story about this run if I tried.
The weather was perfect and Big Basin is possibly one of my favorite places to run. Wait, let me qualify that, with some parts of Big Basin are of my favorite places to run. I will illustrate on the elevation chart where that was today:

I must add that the USGS data for this run says, over 6000 feet of climb, I do not think that is correct either, but I strongly suspect it is more than 3400'. That, or I am just whining, which is certainly possible.

For the 25k you did a 15k loop and then a 10k loop. There were 10k, 15k, 25k, and 50k races today. For all of the races, you started off with a climb, because that is PCTR tradition. (RBR Definition of tradition - shit you inflict on other people at some regular interval, whether they like it or not) The 15k, 25k, and 50k started to the left and the 10 started to the right.

It was crowded and slow going. I don't have any pics from this portion of the run since it was so crowded. I will just include some bitchy side notes:

Side note to fast trail race runners: In a self seeded race, get your ass up front. No one will think you are an asshole for seeding yourself up front, but they WILL think you are an asshole if you knock 25 people into the poison oak, as you sprint to catch the guy that is getting away.

Side note to fast trail race latecomers:
If you are late to a race and start behind people that are slow (e.g. Me), then barrel up behind them to make up time, and then, without announcing yourself or even fucking saying "excuse me," you pass on the single track nearly knocking them (e.g. Me, again) off the trail on a technical descent, don't act offended when they laugh their ass off when you eat it HARD 20 yards later (and yes, by 'they' I mean ''me'. "Nice job, Douchebag. Watch out for the roots" *Cheshire cat smile*)We climbed for about a mile and then started what would be the only really runnable descent of the day. It still has some technical sections, but overall it was glorious.

I beat the girl in blue. I did not beat the girl in black, but they did the 15k while I manned up and did the 25k, so I win in the "too stupid to quit" category.

Stairs = steep

After this is when you hit the low point of the course, which means you start climbing. There are two waterfalls in this section that you get to climb up. One of them literally.

Oooh, pretty!

Cable climb up the waterfall

There were sections intended for people MUCH taller than me

Here is me stepping up on the rock. I had to hoist myself up by the cable since I could not get any leverage with my leg at this angle.

Top of the 15k climb, sadly after this you descended and had to climb again before this loop was done.

On the last climb I met up with a very fit looking gal that was struggling. This is my lot in trail running life. If I actually do catch up with someone it is because they are injured, bonking, or just generally miserable. I am ridiculously perky on runs even though I am last and even if struggling. This is about as well received by miserable runners as you would imagine.

Anyhoo... she was struggling with her asthma. The redwoods were blooming and the pollen was killing me too. I had used my rescue inhaler twice already. Alright, any medical professionals avert your eyes for a moment....

No peeking!

Ok, now that we are away from people that will be all like, "Dude, you are not a doctor do NOT give your medication to other people!" I lent her my inhaler. She was very grateful and was feeling better, but was done for the day. She did not do a good job of hiding her shock that I was doing the 25k.

Wheezy Girl: You are going to do the 10k loop?! After this? *gives me the up and down glance* She is a skinny bitch, they can't help themselves. Whatever.


Wheezy Girl: In God's name, why?!

RBR: I think you will be fine, now. Take it easy

and with that I trotted off.

The last 0.5 mile of the 15k loop you ended up at an intersection and it was confusing as to where you were supposed to go if you were running the 25k. I met up with two girls that were doing hte 25k and they were stopped and confused too. A guy that was running (ok, hiking it was really steep) up the trail looked like he knew what was going on:

RBR: Hey, do you know where you go for the 25k?

Much faster than me 25k'er: Are you just finishing the first 15k loop?

RBR: *hands on hips* Well, that sounded judgey!

Much faster than me 25k'er
: uh... I just mean... It makes a difference in which way you go.

RBR: *laughing at my own meanness* I am just fucking with you. Yes, I am just finishing the 15k Loop.

I head down with the other two girls and they tell me that they are bailing at the 15k. That sounds like a fabulous idea! At that point the thought of being done in 0.5 mile was stupendous. Sadly, my ego got the best of me when we reached the end of the 15k loop and the first aid station of the day (side note: DO NOT do PCTR races without your own water, especially in Big Basin. There are very few places to have aid stations so they can be really far apart, like 15km. I personally, never run without my own water. I am just too slow and have had aid stations run out before I get there. I was fine, but other people suffered yesterday)

Anyhoo, when I reached the aid station they were cheering and sweet and directed us to the 10k loop. The other girls kept going to the finish and the guy kept yelling to them so they had to shout out in front of all the supporters that they were dropping. Yeah, I am so not doing that. I filled up my camelbak, grabbed some pretzels and pop tarts (RBR rule: food eaten while running does not count against Jenny Craig) and headed out to the 10k loop.

I regretted it almost immediately.

There are lots of pictures from this section because I was TI-RED. Very, very TI-RED. I will not bore you will all of them, but instead give you the highlights.

You know you are tired, when you take time during a "race" to play with the self-timing feature of your camera

Cool bridge made out of a huge, fallen redwood

This one is for IronJane. Remember this hellish part of the 3 mile climb from Skyline to the Sea?

I was equally thrilled this time. Note: I was actually trying to smile, the misery is real not feigned.

The descent was about 3 miles and painful. Too steep to be fun on already fried quads and shot knees. When I finally made it back to the aid station, I was so grateful to be done and honestly proud of myself for gutting out the 25k.

Oh, and for the what-a loser-RBR-is-at-trail-running record, the guy that won the 50k came in about 1 min and 40 seconds after me


SteveQ said...

Great race! Great photos! Nice job helping out another ailing runner! And your reward? More stalking!


SteveQ said...

btw, I like Ray LaMontagne. Just don't tell anyone.

RBR said...

@ SteveQ: Dear God, man! Have you no mercy?

I mean, obviously my husband does not as he takes and posts these ridiculous pics, but I would have thought a fellow Minnesotan would be kinder.


SteveQ said...

also btw, Glaven will have a field day with your "manning up."

Generation X (Slomohusky) said...

Fun how you can make a trail run of self induced torture funny. Great posting.

wandering sisters said...

Loved this! I am a slow runner and sometimes feel humilated by all those dang tree bark eating runners! thanks for being real! btw.. 25K awesome!

KevOnLeTrail said...

Super fun race report.

And sweet headlamps in the self-timed photo!

Christi said...

Good job on the race! I love the pics and I am very glad you shared them!

Diana said...

I'm thinking that trail running is probably something I won't be trying!
Now you know I gots to comment in regards to the inhaler since that's my "job"......personally, I would have "sold" the hits for like $5!!
Sharing Albuterol is not a wrong thing-when them airways close up, you have to fix it quickly. I seen so many die from asthma attacks that could have been prevented. KUDOS to you for bringing your inhaler along!
Love the last pic with the finger-I may have to copy that pose when I finish my RKC next month!

Georgia Snail said...

great recap...sucks about the D-Bag barreling up behind you, I usually find trail runners to be laid back and polite....Karma always wins in the end....

Jo Lynn said...

My string of sprains started at Big Basin last year, on the 15k loop. It is quite brutal. I had planned on diong the 25k that day but needless to say, I found myself in dire need of a bag full of ice.
Congratulations on beating the 50k dude!!! ;)
I'm looking forward to our half in a couple of weeks.

Regina said...

Nice going! It looks so beautiful there (not that you noticed in your misery???)

Dying to do a train run, but as you can imagine, not many trains in NYC. I have to travel by train to find one; sad really.

The photos are great and I really like that one of you by the tree, you look good.

Way to help out skinny, judgy, asthma girl.

Southbaygirl said...

ok-we must do a PCTR event together! Because I did a 25K in march-and was SLOW as well....lets do one...PLEASE! here is the link to my 25K-yours looks greener and looks like it has more trees and shade-why cant I run in places like that!Well Ms "Thang" we (RBR and JoLynn) have invited your fat ass up to run with us but you have all these excuses.....yeah I know!! And yes, I stop and take pics too!!! http://www.planetynneprunning.com/search?updated-max=2010-03-20T14:43:00-07:00&max-results=20

I'm checking the PCTR calendar now.....Angel Island June 19th????

Glaven Q. Heisenberg said...


I was hoping you were going to say you were flippin' that bird especially for ME.

Good job on your trail run, B*tch!

You know, I would have clicked on that music video, but I didn't want to grow a vagina.


Because who needs two?

Hahahahahaha! Plus, that might make me freaky enough that SteveQ would start stalking me.

O, by the way - nice mother's day pix. I see your husband doesn't appear in any of them.

Smart man!

Man, I have so much more to say but I'm on the desk tonight and these FUCKING PATRONS keep interrupting me and making me do my job! THEY'RE SUCH A PAIN IN THE VAGINAS!1!

IronSnoopy said...

I know you said it was a "trail" run but I couldn't help but notice there's not one iota of concrete in that run. Not one square.

I could never ever ever do that race. Did you say Poison Oak, too?
Yup. Could never do it. Even if they have Pop Tarts. (Are they chocolate, btw?) No - don't tell me.)

So, congrats, RBR on another awesome race. :-)

Drs. Cynthia and David said...

Congrats on toughing it out. The trail up Berry Creek Falls is worth it. I think I'm in the "too stupid to quit" category too. This past weekend at Ohlone the winner finished in less than half the time it took me. So unfair!


Kate Geisen said...

You rock. I found your blog through FitChick's twitter stream or whatever. I've just been running since March and am well acquainted with the what-the-hell- am-I-doing-here-with-all-these-fit people-I-should-just-grab-a-hershey-bar-and-get-back-on-my-ass feeling, but not with the running a 25K on a trail feeling. And I teach, so your previous post was painfully familiar.

Anyway, way to go on the run and the pictures.

Anonymous said...

you are a beast...great job to NOT gut it out..imagien having to yell out infront of EvERYONE that you are dropping. Screw that!!!

U finished....that's all that matter. Cuz dear god that looked incredibly hard as hell!!

Aka Alice said...

You are amazing...I wouldn't have stopped at 15K...but I wouldn't have signed up a trail run either. I'm a wuss...but they scare me.

I liked the sappy tune, and it didn't cause me to grow a second vagina. I don't know what's wrong with G that a love song would cause a vagina to spontaneously sprout from...oh wherever a vagina sprouts in/on/under a dude.

SteveQ has way too much time on his hands.

Glaven Q. Heisenberg said...

@AQA Aleece - Did it ever occur to you that I'm just more of a woman than you? Just for that, I'm not telling you where my vagina spouted from (but I will say, in a related matter, that typing gets difficult when I get excited).

What I wanted to say but didn't get a chance to last night because of ALL THOSE FUCKING PATRONS who pay my SALARY ... That trail looked really pretty. I'd never run a trail like that, but, man, would I ever like to hike it!

Also, after you run a 25k in environs like that, you no longer get to come to MY blog and say you're gonna stop talking to me because I'm too fast. (@Other Commenters: Do NOT be tempted to come to my blog thinking you're gonna find a runner there who is fast in some objective sense. I'm using "fast" here as defined by Teh B*tch. There - I just saved you some time. Well ... not really, if you took the time to read this whole comment, because THERE's 20 minutes of your life you ain't gettin' back. Let's call it even. BUT YOU OWE ME!1!) Because YOU run way FARTHER than I ever ever have, and on way worse terrain, and THOSE facts have never kept ME from clogging your blog up with looooong, rambling, discursive, off-topic, boring, evidence-of-early-onset-Alzheimers comments

In short (is it too late for that?):

Just because you're a better runner than I am, YOU DON'T INTIMIDATE ME, B*TCH!1!

Also ... celebrate the fact that you have some Junk in The Trunk! Those skinny trail running bee-yotches with their nonexistent bedonkadonks ... what's a dude supposed to hang on to?

Girls with trunk-junk give guys like me something to aim at!

Hahahahahaha!1! I'm SUCH a PIG! No wonder I rarely get that chance to take aim!1!

Glaven Q. Heisenberg said...

Uh, just wanted to point out I meant "sprouted" where I wrote "spouted", above. Because the image of a spouting vagina is a bit over-the-top and disgusting, even for me.

Now try to enjoy your breakfast, B*tch!1! Hahahahahahah!

KJ said...

I think you are amazing and amazingly funny as hell. Good for you for finishing. I am a big ole wimp who is running her first 5k on Saturday. Am I allowed to say "I am training for a 5K" or is that just laughable? ;)

I am praying for your hubby and for you. Don't know if you are a praying girl or not, but I am, even though I can curse like a sailor. No one judge me. ;)

RBR said...

@Kimberly: HELL YES you are allowed to say you are training for a 5k!! That is AWESOME!

When I started this 5 years ago, I could not run for 5 minutes without stopping. Seriously. I also could not run at all without hacking up a lung and swearing profusely.

Now I can run a bit longer than 5 minutes, rarely hack up a lung, and the swearing... well, progress not perfection ;)

All prayers, well wishes, positive vibes, etc. are very welcomed and we thank you!

SteveQ said...

@AKA Alice: Too much time on my hands, you say? Looks like there's just enough time to see if there's a mugshot of you out there.

Formulaic said...

Crap! When you said a trail run, I thought you were talking about a run on a trail.

Not a hike up a fucking mountain!

Jeezuz! When you go bad ass, you go BAD ASS!

SteveQ said...

To make up for finding bad pictures of you, I gave Glaven a link to an audio file of me on local radio. There's some really embarassing stuff there.

BrianFlash said...

Another post that is keeping me off of trails! I'm happy to stay on the pavement.

Great report!

Anonymous said...

What the funk were you thinking? Note to self - No trail runs.

You finished and you did well - congrats.

Lindsay said...

you are hands down the most hardcore person ever. and here i whined and complained about a 4-mi trail run last nov that probably had 1/10th the climb as yours (if that).

you are crazy. in a good way :)

mo said...

you rock, 'nuff said.

joyRuN said...

Jaysus. 4:30+ worth of that? Very pretty, but yeah - torture.

How the hell does SQ find all this shit on you?

Nicely done, girl. I would've crawled into one of those lovely mossy tree nooks & taken a nap.

SteveQ said...

@joyRuN. The question is: why doesn't everyone else find that stuff?
Just be glad I decided not to go to Western States, or I would've been close enough to take my own photos.

Aileen said...

So many awesome bitchy moments, so little time to comment. I am applauding though, after I finish typing this.

RoadBunner said...

Great report!! And I would TOTALLY gloat about beating the 50K guy! I guarantee you that most of the time when I hit 13.1 in a marathon the winner has already crossed!

Beckey said...

Sometimes I think we are the same person.

Glaven Q. Heisenberg said...



It (the dance) can't be any worse than the pix SteveQ has already unearthed ... can it?

If yes, then you MUST upload it!1!

If not, um ... you still hafta upload it ...


Christina said...

BRB, I LOVE the blog! Great picks. Adore the honesty! You're awesome!

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