"...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, October 10, 2010

Race Report: Golden Hills Trail Marathon - October 9, 2010

Alternative Title: Why RBR is one lucky S.O.B


Total Distance: 26.65 miles (another very slight navigational mishap...)

Total Time: 7:12:45 (sounds awful, but I am REALLY happy with this)

Total Climb: 7,719 ft (according to USGS analysis of GPS data which I trust WAY more than Avocet Altimeter data for total climb, which they used to get the reported 5,000 ft of climb. I could go on a big, long winded diatribe about this but, I won't.... today, anyway)

Elevation Profile:

If it looks hard to you, you are right. If it looks like it is not that bad, you are wrong. 'Nuff said.


JoLynn suggested this race to me when we were doing the Mt. Diablo 1/2 a couple of weekends ago. She usually runs it, but she had surgery a week ago and has not even been cleared to drive a car yet, so she was not going to be able to run it this year. I was skeptical about running it myself because I had seen the elevation profile and knew it was a really tough marathon course.

But then I figured, there is a 50 miler going on at the same time, meaning there was essentially no time cut off for the marathon, so, what the hell, I registered.

Plus it had a cool logo

Artsy and pretty, huh? Sadly, this will be the source of my one and only bitch about this race. You will have to read on for that.

Evidence of RBR's Lucky S.O.B-ness #1-Last week I was asked to introduce one of my favorite students for the Homecoming Court (Umm... I mean 'one of my students'. We teachers do not have favorites. We love all of our students equally. Yes ma'am, even your insolent, asshole child that tells me every fucking day how boring I and my class are.)

My 'I don't have a time cut off, just trot along and enjoy the course' marathon just turned into a 'Holy shit, if I am not done by 8 and a half hours I will have to show up for Homecoming "fresh" from a trail marathon and if I do not finish by 9 hours I will miss the goddamn thing altogether' marathon.

Anyone that reads my race reports knows that this was a very legitimate concern on my part. I played it safe and got a 'back up teacher' at the ready in case something went wrong (It was my Run Buddy, because she is AWESOME and this student loves her as well.) but, I told the student that I would do my very, very best to be done in time. His response, "Well, how long does a marathon take, like 3-4 hours? My mom ran Big Sur in 5 hours and she was 12 weeks pregnant with me."

Gotta love teenagers.


The Race

Evidence of RBR's Lucky S.O.B-ness #2 At the start, I was fortunate enough to get to meet some local runners: Theresa (ok, technically, I had met Theresa before, but never really chatted much with her), Jin, and Sharon. They were all tiny, little bird people that I was certain I would not see after the race began, but I was wrong.

I saw them at the finish.

They had been done for quite some time at that point.

Fucking, tiny ass bird people.


They were super sweet and Jin and Sharon are with the local chapter of "Moms in Motion", a running/biking/triathlon group which, in my opinion, should change their name to "Fast as Hell Moms that Kick Your Ass in Races, all the while Smiling and Chatting and Barely Breaking a Fucking Sweat", but apparently that would not fit on the t-shirt.

As you can see from the profile the course starts off with a 4 mile, almost 2000 ft climb. I knew I would end up hiking a lot of it and I hiked/ran to warm up my shins since they have been giving me some grief lately and it takes anywhere from 2-4 miles for me to stop swearing at them... I mean, for them to warm up and stop hurting.

At mile about mile 2 I stopped to take a picture of the beautiful vistas and a gal offered to take a picture of me with the view.

RBR and the view of the East Bay in Berkeley

Evidence of RBR's Lucky S.O.B-ness #3 Her name is Melissa and we started to chat it up. She was from this area and was very familiar with the trails we would be running. The course was a point to point that ran through 4 major East Bay Parks. We started with the standard "running resume" type chat where you compare races you have done, ranked by cuteness of t-shirt (what? That is not how you guys do the "running resume" talk?)

Pretty view, from I am not sure where, I was working pretty hard.

It was not long before I realized that she is a very experienced trail runner, faster and fitter than me, and quite possibly my ticket to getting to homecoming on time. I decided if I could, I would try to run on her coattails until at least the 13.1 mile mark and then I would most likely be able to finish in 8 hours. I was pretty sure I could not hang any longer than that.

I know, that sounds scheming and selfish. But wait, it gets worse. I also decided to not tell her my plan in case she was unsure about running that far with my annoying ass. She was stuck with me now!

Melissa owing the trail and lookin' sassy!

Plus she knew EVERYONE. The marathon course ran from the 50 mile course turn around to the finish. So we saw all of the 50 milers as they were heading out. I swear 5 minutes would go go by without someone shouting "Melissa!" and giving her a hug. Running into an aid station with her was like being a roadie for a Rock Star.

You will note that the pictures stop after the 4 mile climb because they would all look like this:

Melissa set the pace and I hung on for dear life.

I think my end of the conversation for most of the day was:

*gasp/cough/sputter* uh huh.

*gasp/cough/sputter* That's cool.

She had tons of great advice for me in my training for my first 50 miler.

*gasp/cough/sputter* uh huh.

*gasp/cough/sputter* That's cool.

She had just gotten engaged

*gasp/cough/sputter* uh huh.

*gasp/cough/sputter* That's cool.

...and so on, for 25 miles. Well, that is not totally true, there was some pissing and moaning about the trail markings getting erased and going up, then down, then back up, the French Trail. (see that nasty little spike at about mile 17, that is the French trail. We only did the up and back for about half of it, before re-climbing it, but still unpleasant)

Evidence of RBR's Lucky S.O.B-ness #4 At *mumble mumble* miles (amazing how I can not remember anything about this run. I guess I was working hard) we saw Cynthia heading out. I had met her at Rio del Lago and we had chatted earlier this week about this race. She was getting over a cold. She looked great, so I hoped she was feeling better. I was pretty stoked to see her and gave her a hug. She was wearing an ADORABLE run skirt outfit. Damn, I wish I could have snapped a picture, but Melissa was moving quick and I did not want to get dropped. I hope you had a great race, girl!

Evidence of RBR's Lucky S.O.B-ness #5 The trail was beautiful and ever changing. We ran through everything from open fire roads with views of the entire East Bay, to spongy, fern lined redwood trails, to rocky, technical single track etched into the side of the mountain. It was a stunning course and even though it was a challenging run the miles flew by (that, obviously, is a figurative, not a literal, statement)

Evidence of RBR's Lucky S.O.B-ness #6 At mile 17 we were getting passed by the leading age groupers for the 50 mile race (they were at mile 41). One guy is running through the cattle gate and he turns to face us and it is Don (Running and Rambling)!!

This is the man that started it all for me. Now, this is going to sound creepy, even for me, but Don is my first ultrarunning crush. He was training for Western States in 2008 (the one that was canceled due to the California wildfires Link to his Western States 2009 Report it is a GREAT read. Funny, informative, and really gives you a voyeuristic window into 100 milers)

I had started reading his blog because he is a triathlete, a great writer, funny as all get out, and as it turns out, a hell of a nice guy. Then he started running ultras and I was mesmerized. I had heard of these things, but he was the first "real" person (translation: person that can have a life, talk about something other than running, AND be an ultrarunner. A Damn fast one at that) Anyhoo... he was the first real person that did such things.

I know, I am gushing again. I will stop.

Back to the run...

Melissa kept me going by telling me that when we hit Lake Chabot the climbing and punishing downhills would stop.

The Promised Land - Lake Chabot. I almost cried at the sight of it and because I had to run faster to catch up with Melissa when I stopped to take this shot.

The Finish

Heading into the finish, I was actually pretty proud of how hard I ran this and that I was able to keep up with a clearly stronger runner for 24 miles.

Melissa and I at the finish. I was worried that I would not be able to finish in 8 hours, yet she got me across the line in 7:12:45.

Evidence of RBR's Lucky S.O.B-ness #7 I was feeling really good and we came in running strong. The first thing I heard as we emerged from the trail and entered the finish chute was Jo Lynn yelling my name and I turned to see her cheering and smiling from her crutches.

She was not even cleared to drive yet and she came out to cheer me in. I mean, seriously? How did I luck out with such awesome friends? Even if she is too damn gorgeous for me to be taking this close up of a picture with.

Jo Lynn's high school buddy, Lori (or is Laurie?) was there. We met at the Nitro 1/2 and it was great to see her again. She was whining about not being hot enough to run with me (I am the hot girl magnet of running) with her gorgeous red hair and legs up to her neck, I am certain I will lose sleep pitying her. *eyeroll*

Evidence of RBR's Lucky S.O.B-ness #8 I even finished early enough that there was real food left. No watermelon rinds for this girl

shhh, I am aware there was a 50 miler still going on. Just give me this one.

It was a great race and I am really glad I did it. It was well organized, there were well stocked aide stations, great volunteers and a simply gorgeous course. The food after the race was to die for. Ok, mostly the cake and cookies, but the burger was pretty good.

Evidence of RBR's Lucky S.O.B-ness #9 I made it to Homecoming. I even had time for a shower.

Two hours post marathon. I am even wearing heels!

Alright, it was not all sunshine and roses and this IS Run Bitch Run, so here are the only two things that were not so great:

WARNING: Boys, avert your eyes. This is an female over-sharing moment.

Ok, I warned you.

At about mile 12, I started my period. With a fucking vengeance. Fortunately, there was a park bathroom within a mile for homemade maxi-pad application and climbing causes enough pain that it helped with the cramps. And let's just say, black spandex is good for more than just detracting attention from your ass. Unpleasant, to say the least, and a first for me during a race.

Ok, boys can come back...

At the end we got a bag with our finishers shirt. Remember the pretty, artsy logo? The one that was on the volunteers' hats and the aprons of the volunteers cooking the food? That logo?

It was completely absent from the large, unisex, butt ugly shirt I received

That is it. Nothing on the back. Nothing else on the front. Four orange words and 2010. It looks bluish. It is not. It is maximally unflattering gray. Oh, and we got a "Hey, I went to the Prom in 1982!" wineglass. Whoopie.

All in all...

I met some great people. Visited with some old friends. I even kind of "raced" this one, finishing almost an hour faster than I had hoped for, and came in feeling great. I am certainly one lucky S.O.B.


Herself, the GeekGirl said...

No, no favorite studens. Ever. But did you ever notice that the non-favorites are the ones that you see again? And they remember you?

From my perspective, MIM (we have them out here too, them and their perky pink T-shirt) should be called Ringers in motion. And yes, it truly sucks to be passed going up a mountain by perky happy chatting women, dressed all in pink.

I hate them. And yet, >Sob< I want to be one; I envy their cute pink bandanas.

Hey, great job on the course. Sorry about the gift from Aunt Flo. She's a bitch, that one.

Southbaygirl said...

you guys have the best trail races up there!! With shade and green stuff! I'm so jealous!

You are a rockstar runner-I wouldnt be able to keep up with you now! Yes, you are BADASS!!

I hope hubby is doing well! And I hope to see you sometime soon-I will get my fat arse up there to run a trail race some time in the near future!!

Jo Lynn said...

No, WE are lucky because we know you! ;)
Great job on the run - you did so good. I'm happy you liked the course. See? I showed you Mt. Diablo, now this? You just may keep me around for a while. Oh yeah, I (kind of) showed you Angel Island too. :)

Ordinarylife said...

Well done!!!

I want to try and do my first marathon at the beginning of December, Because I also want to do an Ultra and you need a marathon to qualify to enter.... Also just because I want to see if I can. At the moment 15km is hard, but I have never been one to let a little think like lack of training get the better of me. Good luck on your decision on which Ultra to enter.

Diana said...

I know for a fact that "I" would not look as fresh as you did at that homecoming just a couple of hours after a marathon!
There's absolutely NO sign of what you went through or the fact that your bleeding like a pig!!
Congrats on what looked like a killer, yet gorgeous scenery race!

Unknown said...

Looks like great scenery. I keep looking for races out that way for next year. I want to do Mt Diablo!

IronSnoopy said...

What an awesome race report. Loved it!

Congrats on smashing your goal time, eating some great post-race food (oh yes, I noticed -- and want) and making it to Homecoming for your non-fave student.

Your pix are great, as always!

Ok, is it just me, or do you guys have, like, a trail race every day out there? I think we have two here. One in the spring and another in the fall.

Beckey said...

Good job running with your Auntie Flo. Homemade maxis are hard-core.

Glaven Q. Heisenberg said...

Well, the ONE good thing about getting your period is at least your Prom Date couldn't get you pregnant because, let's face it - one way or another, you were gonna put out that night. And who wouldn't! Hubba! Who could say "no" to a kid with a face like that!

Hahahahahha! You do look HAWT in that pic, though, sister. If you ever decide to stop robbing the cradle and become a geezer-chaser, CALL ME!1! (But not after 7:30 p.m. because I'm in bed by then. And definitely NOT during Matlock because that's my program! And be a dear and speak up so I can hear you.)

Good job on the marry! Great time.

And I for one am not impressed with Moms in Motion because - little-known fact¹ - that group was started by a bunch of jealous hausfraus who were rejected when they tried out for MILFs In Motion, which latter group does impress me because talk about LIMBER!1! But if you wanna be a MILF in Motion, you gotta be willing to go that extra mile, and most of "that extra mile" is ... let's just say "south of the equator", if you get my drift.

But the MILFs are not intimidated by that.

So "Moms"? If you really want to be "MILFs,"" work on your down-low game.

The following statement should go without saying at this point, but it's boilerplate and my lawyer advises me to include it, so here goes:

ZOMG, I am SUCH a fucking PIG!1!

Also, don't you just hate the word "hausfrau"? I'm starting a campaign to have it kicked out of the dictionary because it's so fucking annoying and pretentious and I wouldn't look it up in the dictionary if you PAID me to.

Are you with me? Will you sign the petition?
¹ "Little-known" because I just made it up.

Christi said...

Great job!

Turbo Photographs said...

I've yet to find an easy trail race - it looks like a beast. But those pics are AWESOME. Amazing views!

Congrats. And nice clean up! Geez, I never look that good after a race!

Anne said...

What a great race! Congrats! You did an amazing job :) ...Lookin' good all dolled up teach!

Ewa said...

Congrats! That elevation profile looks nasty!
I had fun reading your report. East Bay has the best trails. I am quite envious.

PunkRockRunner said...

Sounds like a great race. All I did this weekend was ride 65-miles with a bunch of professional cyclist from Team Radio Shack and Patrick Dempsey of Grays Anatomy.

You win….. Again.


Reese said...

A trail marathon, you are something else. Actually that has nothing to do with the marathon, you're just something else. And I peeked at the "girls only" part, just that much more impressive that you motored on finishing in style.

IronWaddler said...

Love the race report. Awesome job.

Katie A. said...

You did an awesome job!!!! Holy cow, that elevation is just mean! And yes, you are a hot chic magnet, but you are also one of the coolest, nicest, sweetest peeps I have ever had the chance to run with :) Melissa must have known that right from the get-go!
Glad it all worked out!
And you're right, that schwag is horrid! Miss ya!
Oh, and Jo-Lynn is just plain awesome ;)

Lindsay said...

most awesome race shirt and wineglass ever. ahaha. what a keeper!

as always love the race recap. i am soo coming out and running with you one day. ok? i will even let you stop and take pictures!

Donald said...

Way to go, girl. It was great to meet you in person at last, and I'm glad you had such a great race in spite of your, um, challenges.

Thanks for your nice words about me as well; you're probably inspiring just as many people on your own nowadays. Good luck with reaching your 50-mile goal!

AFib Runner said...

I ran firetrails and pasted by you but didnt realise til after it was a blogger who I read. Sounds like you had a good race. congrats.

Drs. Cynthia and David said...

It was nice seeing a friendly face on the trail. You looked so fresh and perky.

Good job! It was a tough day out there on hot and challenging trails.

I developed one of those ball of the foot blisters. I'm now incredibly impressed that you were able to stay on your feet at all after completing Rio with such beat up feet.


C said...

Congrats on macgyvering a maxipad mid-run. Much better choice than a tampon. Foliage can be very scratchy. I won't tell you how I know this.

Regina said...

"Tiny ass bird people", ok that alone was worth the read.

Well done! I know I say this, like every post, but I seriously need to move to CA, this NYC crap is cramping my ├╝ber lifestyle (the one that exists in my head). I also don't have a bucket list, but have decided to start one today and #1 is running one of these trail runs with you! I just hope you are as funny in person, no pressure though ;P

Jill said...

Woohoo! I'm impressed with the maxipad creation, you are one multi-talented girl! Happy to hear you got to the prom all spiffy in plenty of time. Congrats on a very awesome accomplishment!

SteveQ said...

I would've been glad to know the woman I had my arm around at Homecoming was having her period (female, not pregnant and over 10 years old... score!)

Congrats on another long trail race finish! You know, you're making my decision not to run a marathon next week (maybe this week, I should look it up) look really un-badass-like.

Unknown said...

See! Told ya you'd be able to do it way under 8 hours! It was nice chatting with you during the start and beginning of the race! Glad you two were able to keep each other company! Also glad you liked the course. Would have loved to have run with you guys but I was too busy being nauseous, dizzy, and puking for about 24 miles. Hope to see you back again next year! Hmmm. Guess we should have warned you about the shirt logo. It's the same one each year, just a different color. Oh, and see you at Boggs!!!

Unknown said...

It's a great report! Love the pictures. Nice to know that you have built friendships with them.
Love your blog, this is my first visit, and I know I'll have more to come! GOD Bless! ~chaco~

Tina Mickelson said...

What a great report! I think you should come with me and do the Sunsweet 50K in Red Bluff in April. It will be my first "ultra"-ish race! Its rolling hills and beautiful!

The Mt Diablo race is on my bucket list. I grew up in Martinez so Mt.D was in my back yard yet I've never been up there. Since I just started into some trail racing its moving close to the top of my list.

Do you know if there any races in Briones? I used to run there in High School. One of my most favorite places to hike too.

Good job out there and damn girl, you clean up nice!

kizzy said...

Absolutely right; We teachers do not have favorites. We love all of our students equally. Yes ma'am, even your insolent, asshole child that tells me every fucking day how boring I and my class are.)

Tasha said...

Your blog makes me laugh out loud every time I read a race recap! I love it! Way to go on your hellish trail run! You are a rock star!