"...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)

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Race Report: Bear Creek Trail 1/2 Marathon

Race Report: Bear Creek Trail 1/2 Marathon - Martinez, CA

Alternative Title: The Tortoise and the Hare CAN get along.


Total distance:
13.33 miles
Total climb:
3030 ft
Total Time:
Total number of times I said "Oh good, another climb":
I lost count after 16

Yesterday I received a comment from Katie A. that she was also going to be running the Bear Creek 1/2 today. (ok, that does not really make sense, but it seems odd to say 'Saturday' instead of 'today', when today is Saturday.... Move on, RBR, no one cares)

Like any good blogger I went and lurked at her blog. Damn! This chick is fast. Like 'qualified for Boston', 'runs with Aron (runner's rambles)' type fast. I figured I would look for her and say "Howdy!" but we certainly would not be running 'together'.

As is the case in real life, the metaphorical Katie is cuter than the metaphorical me. (As a biology teacher, I must also add that the metaphorical me in this picture is a turtle NOT a tortoise)


I followed the volunteers' directions and pulled into the grass lot and look over at the car next to me. The perky little gal in the car excitedly asks, "Are you RBR?" It was Katie A. What are the freaking odds of that?! We pulled in at exactly the same time and parked right next to each other. It was kismet! (Calm down, RBR. There were only about 100 people doing this race it is not exactly inconceivable)

We check in and get our timing chips (Seems odd for a trail race with over 3000' ft of climb. Anyone planning on setting a half mary PR on this course? *looks around for a show of hands*)

Lined up at the start. I figured this would be the only time me and Ms. McSpeedypants would be together for a picture.

Side note: I do have to say that this is the second Brazen Racing trail race I have done and I am a fan! I think they do a great job. Great course marking, great volunteers, excellent goodie bag (with shit you will actually use not just fliers), and snazzy looking technical t-shirts. I highly recommend them if you are in the area.


Katie said that she wanted to take it easy today and have fun ,so she was going to stay with me. I will be honest and tell you that my thoughts were "Yeah, right." Many a fast person has told me the very same thing and they rarely make it more than a mile at my tree sloth on Quaaludes pace before they say "I am just going to run ahead a bit. I will see you later."

But, bless her little heart, she did stay with me for the whole race. Snaps to Katie! A true endurance athlete!

First climb. Told you, I am a hot chick magnet.

We met up with really nice gal that was training for the Skyline 50k with Team in Training. We chatted about running and triathlons. I felt a little bad ass to be running with these two women.

RBR running with the hardcore club!

This picture really needs no caption, or it needs a really long one. Hilarious!

I felt hardcore, until the next series of climbs started. Let's talk about the climbs...

Elevation profile for the run. I have to say that there seemed to be some sort of physics trick with this run, where you climbed more than you ran down.

The views were beautiful, but like any beautiful view you had to pay for them.

Here was a personal fave. The climb from 6.5 to 7.5 had a particularly nasty billy goat climb that you had to practically scramble up. I snapped this shot of Katie climbing...

You will note I had to zoom since I was still WAY far back scooping up my lungs from the trail

My taking of the above photo elicited this response from our delicate flower....

I know, I was proud too.

After this we began a particularly miserable section of the run. Full sun, long uphills, almost non-existent downhills. And then we were stalked by a cow.

Cow stalker

Katie has some SERIOUSLY bad running juju. I don't want to tell her stories, but go check out her blog I am sure she will tell you, but let's just say that it was not totally outside of the realm of possibility that we had an unfortunate cow encounter, so we kept a wary eye on our bovine friend .

After narrowly escaping the rogue cow, we celebrated with another climb to complete mile 10 and more beautiful views

The last 3.1, wait I mean 3.3 miles, were not easy, but we kept our sense of humor and got 'er done.

The Finish

The last tenth of a mile we ended up at the bottom of stairs. STAIRS!

My sentiments exactly!

After climbing AGAIN we were done. Katie has never had the pleasure of a last place or almost last place finish. She was a little taken aback by the "special olympics" type cheering and empty parking lot.

Before we started, I was telling Katie that when I finished a race there was never any of the good food left. I told her, "Donuts, cookies, sandwiches? All gone. Fucking watermelon, that's all that is left when I finish."

Well, Katie, did you enjoy your watermelon?

Welcome to my world.

The tortoise race experience is a little different from that of the hare, but when they race together I found that they can have a hell of a lot of fun. Thanks, man. It was a great day.

Randomness (meaning it came on TV while I was typing this post, eating a sandwich, and watching a Hoarders marathon. What can I say? I am a multitasker)

This is just hilarious


Chris and Amy said...

Just found your blog and you're absolutely hilarious. I'm definitely bookmarking you. I live in Japan, but just got back from a vacation in CA. While I was there I did a 25K trail run with Pacific Coast Trail Runners. They were also well organized and fun to run with. Not actually a goody bag, but the aid tables were well stalked. I know CA is big and they might not be in your area, but if you're in the bay area check them out. Thanks for the laugh, Amy
P.S. As a former environmental educator, I appreciate you noting that it's a turtle and not a tortoise. To get even nerdier I'm pretty sure it's Trachemys scripta. :)

Chris and Amy said...

I guess I was think of your cow, but the tables were well stocked. However, with the number of runners they were probably well stalked too.

Chris and Amy said...

Now it's just getting weird because I'm leaing a 3rd comment, but I just looked at your race schedule. I was at Angel Island too! We must have seen each other because I finished in 3:30. I ran it with my mom. I think I was wearing brown shorts and a blue visor.

Ginny M said...

Well done, tortoise, well done!

justme said...

a trail half .....yikes i have never even considered that

MCM Mama said...

That is so cool that you got to run with Katie! She is awesome and it looks like you guys had a blast! I'd say I'm jealous, but I would so not want to run those hills.

Regina said...

What a fun race! How menacing was that cow anyway? It's too bad you are not a math teacher then you could have worked out he probability factor of parking right next to her.

those views are killer. I always have longing when I see the beautiful places other people live. I live in a concrete jungle.

that commercial is hilarious! Diaper jeans? Seriously? Poo in style? those folks were actually looking at that kid and thinking, what a freak and his mother must be an even bigger freak.

Shelly said...

Love this race report! I can relate to the "special olympics cheering" and no food. At my last race I was happy that I finished before they started the awards ceremony! Glad you had fun. Slow is Beautiful!

SteveQ said...

Ooh baby, so much goodness in one race report! First of all: it's the first full-spandex photo you've allowed and... you don't need no cropping! 2) How much do I love that you know the difference between turtle and tortoise (I get stuck on terrapins)? Enough to point out that rabbit's ears aren't long enough to be a hare. 3) Tree sloth on ludes is hilarious. One of my all-time favorite things was a nature show that had a sloth falling out of a tree into a river. "It's swimming for it's life, it's heart racing... maybe 8, 9 beats a minute." Okay, I may have been drinking. 4) "hard core club" - something going on in those woods you're not telling me? 5) It took 100 milers (20000 feet of climb) for me to find out what it's like to have the only people at the finish be officials and them all with the "It's about friggin' time!" look. 6) That course looks amazing; I WILL make it out there for a race someday!

Anonymous said...

Short time reader, first time commenter.

I'm not sure what was funnier, the commercial or your post (ok, your post, but still, jean diapers? Hilarious).

Hill runs (hell, hill races) are definitely not my favorite, so kudos to you on knocking out a tough 1/4 marathon.

Jo Lynn said...

I met Katie at that exact run in January!! She and Aron were doing the 1/2 and I did the 10K. Glad you had fun and she stuck with you. She is speedy man. I've been reading her blog since January and am always amazed at her numbers. Good job on another good run. ;)

Christi said...

Congrats to both of you on what looks like a very fun and exciting run! Watch out for those rogue cows!

Katie A. said...

I first need to say - I LOVE your writing and now my post looks like crap compared to yours - thanks!

I had so much fun with you out there! I CANNOT wait to do it again! So funny everyone is hung up on our rouge cow- tee hee! And I don't know about you, but my ass was sore yesterday! Even walking those damn hills/mountains killed them!

You are a rockstar and I am so glad I got to meet you! I hope this is the start to a very fun running relationship :)

Glaven Q. Heisenberg said...

The Tortoise and the Hare CAN get along

Wait. So the tortoise represents the penis? And the hare is the vagina? Or is it the other way around? No, no - that wouldn't make any sense! The hare HAS to be the vagina.

But what if it's had a Brazilian wax? Not so hare-y then, is it?

Dammit, the sexual subtext of this post just confused me! And I didn't even read the text - just the subtext.

Although ... there seemed to be some hot, girl-on-girl action goin' on at the text level. And it took almost three and a half hours ... Now THAT is hawt.

That's the last time I waste my time on reading subtext at this blog!

SteveQ said...

My break from posting is killing me! So...

I was handed my bill at a restaurant and I asked the waitress, "Would you take a third-party post-dated out-of-town check for more than the correct amount?"
"Would you take a promissory note from a Nigerian price I met online?"
"Would you take a mix of confederate currency and the scrap metal in the trunk of my car?"
"Do you take Diner's Club?"

SteveQ said...

Typo - I meant "prince."

Indi said...

Just started following you! Loving it:) and being a fellow tortoise myself I'm all over it! Just getting into trail running myself and so pretty awesome job finishing what looks like a constant climb of a race!! Congrats!

SteveQ said...

Speaking of commercials, there's the ones based on my life: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J1imLlJzcfY&feature=related

Jill said...

Hey...found ya via Miss KatieA!! Katie ran with me in Boston, and the same thing...she's like: I'm going to run with you, I'm not feeling that well. No matter how many times I told her to get her ass moving and leave my sorry one, she hung with me for the first half (and later I hung with her for the last few...another story though) and I was never so moved over her actions to run with me. We had a blast...so I know how much you guys enjoyed running togegther!! Great job on the race...looks like some serious hills there, yikes! I'll be in SF for the marathon next month, will be staying with Katie, maybe we can hook up!! Have a great week!

ShutUpandRun said...

I love the one of Katie climbing. Nice ass!

Looks like a tough course. Nice job!

Maryland Girl aka Michelle said...

You rock as always and it looks like you guys had a blast!

Sammie Girl said...

I had to take a moment to comment... I love reading your blogs they are always entertaining to some point or another. As far as this one, I love the race report. I am not brave enough to even consider a race like this, but you made it sound like a lot of fun!

ajh said...

Just found your blog. What a hard race! Good job on doing it!

Herself, the GeekGirl said...

OMG, tell me about the stairs. I went up a trail on Sunday called La Luz, and it goes from about 7000 feet to over 10,000 feet. when you reach 10,000 feet, you come to a flight of stairs. WtF??? Cement stairs, that you walk up, gasping, and then you still have another half mile to go before you're done. I think some out of shape nerd devises these things to get back at those of us who do fitness things.

Diana said...

It would have been "sweet" if you could have gotten the cow to "flip you off for a picture!"
Sounds like a great time-congrats!

Generation X (Slomohusky) said...

I poo in blue. Enough said.

Fun(ny) report. I will bring the doughnuts next time.

Aron said...

so so so fun you got to run this race with katie! we ran it together in the MUD in january :) you guys look like you had a blast!

Unknown said...

Looks like you two had a BLAST!!!!!

Lindsay said...

love the photos - katie seems like a great match for you! haha.

seriously, you have a knack for making these incredibly torturous races sound desirable. that, or i'm on drugs.

Glaven Q. Heisenberg said...

Do NOT look at the picture in the first e-mail I just sent you! Only the second!


Notes from the Fatty File said...

Wow, that course looks simultaneously gorgeous and insane. I bitched and moaned through my 3 mile, relatively flat run this morning, so major kudos to you for finishing, even if you got stuck watermelon. Just found your blog and it's inspiring me to keep on moving (I can relate to the couch potato thing in your header).

Mel -Tall Mom on the Run said...

I love this post...I am a huge KAtie A. fan and had to come check out the pictures. Running together regardless of the Speed is the best. Hugs!