"...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, July 24, 2011

Race Report: Golden Gate Trail 1/2 Marathon - July 23, 2011

*I want to thank everyone for your heartfelt support and kindness at the passing of my beloved Lucy.  I have another post in mind to address that, so this will just be a race report. But please know I am very, very grateful to you all.*  

For those of you that have missed the old RBR that would religiously do runs that she was wholly unprepared for and had no business running, fear not, she's back.  

And yesterday you could find her fat ass huffing and puffing her way up the California coastline at  the Coastal Trail Runs' Golden Gate Trail 1/2 marathon. 


Total Distance: 13.1 miles
Total time: 3:13:42 (check out the elevation profile Mr/Ms Judgey Pants!)
Total Elevation gain: 2946 ft.


I decided to do this run because Team in Training's scheduled long run was on The Los Gatos Creek Trail which is a very popular local trail that I happen to run or ride on almost every freaking day. The thought of running 12 miles while following the TNT no headphones rule and running alone (since I am a loser and have no friends on the team, but that is a whole number post) did not sound fun.

Especially since, all the while,  I would be dodging the nine million other trail users, their double wide baby strollers,

Full Disclosure: Pic stolen from a Stroller Striders website, which is an exercise class for new moms. They are actually very respectful of the LG Creek Trail and do their workouts very early before the crowd hits. The ones that piss me off are the random, double stroller family that usually only has one kid in the goddamn thing and weaves across the trail at the highest traffic times and if you say "on your left" to get them to move over so you can pass they look at you as if you tried to run over their precious spawn.

their dogs on flexi-leads that are stretched to their max across the trail,

 This image is actually from the WARNING insert for the Flexi-lead product itself.

and asshat cyclists in their full riding kits that think it is SUPER COOL to ride 25 mph on the fucking bike trail on a Saturday.
This was NOT taken on the Los Gatos Creek Trail and this guy is NOT, to my knowledge at least, an asshat. But I know some others that wear that same uniform in my area that are. Just saying... 

So, yes, less than appealing to do a long run there this weekend.

The Golden Gate Trail run was put on by Coastal Trail Runs which is one of my favorite race organizers. Their races are well run, organized, always held in beautiful locations with well marked courses, and they have a high tech shirt option (yes, you have to pay more for it. I am fine with that) and their shirts are cute.

Cinderella, Diablo, and Golden Gate shirts from Coastal Trail Runs

Here were my concerns about this run:

1. A half marathon was longer than my scheduled 12 mile run and, frankly, I was worried about getting the 12 miles done.

2. This is a trail run and all of my training this summer has been on flat roads. I have not run a real trail run in over 5 months.

Heh heh. I am sure it will be fine.


The run

The run start was at Rodeo Beach which is part of Fort Cronkhite in the Marin Headlands. It was cool, and overcast which is almost redundant to say about the Marin Headlands because it is rarely anything but. I met a gal that was running the full marathon and we chatted about local races that we had in common. She is going to do the San Francisco Marathon next weekend.

Me says: Wow. That is cool.

Me thinks: *sigh* I used to be that girl. I am not that girl anymore. I am not even fit enough to run this half marathon.

We head up the trail with pretty views of the ocean

Rodeo Beach. Lots of surfers today. Foreshadowing for the wind we would encounter along the ridge.

We climbed...

Pretty Cove whose location coincided with my need to stop running and stuff my lungs back into my chest so I snapped a photo.

and we climbed...
Those little white dots waaaaaay up ahead of me are people. Current distance traveled: 0.25 mi. Gonna be a long day for RBR.

Just when we thought we could not climb any more, the good people of Marin gave us some help in the form of stairs....

Lots and lots of stairs

I sure hope I at least get to shake hands with God after all of this climbing. I am just saying...

 Another lung stuffing moment = another photo op. Not even a mile in yet. Yep, a long, long day.


Nope, not at the top yet. 

More fucking stairs....

RBR Rule: Making the stairs pretty, does not negate the fact that they are still fucking stairs

But after those stairs we were finally at the top of the first climb

Elevation profile. Hell of a first climb in less than 2 miles, don'cha think?

After that climb there was a very nice runnable (read: downhill) section. It was the kind of descent where you kind of forget you are old, fat, and out of shape. 

 Action shot. Happy to be running not hiking.

It was also one of descents where you forget that you still have over 11miles of trail to go or, you know, you might want to be able to actually walk the next day.  (Spoiler: I finished the run, but walking today is not going well)

At the end of the first long downhill we ended up in Tennessee Valley and the first aid station. I noticed some "bees" around the cliff shot blocks and then preceded to get stung. Instantly realizing it was my arch arthropod nemesis: a stupid, fucking yellowjacket! Sadly, my reaction offended one of my fellow runners:

RBR: Ouch! Fuck! 

Self-Righteous bystander: My! Such language. What would your mother say? (said in that "joking" tone, that you know means they are not really joking.)

RBR: She would probably deny knowing me (said in same faux joking tone)

Friend of self-righteous bystander: *as she gets stung by yellowjacket* Ouch! Damn! 

RBR: *smirks* What would your mother say? *laughs at faux joke number 2*

Self-righteous bystander: *fake laugh or disapproving snort, hard to tell* Well, you have to admit, yours was worse.

RBR: I don't know. I would rather be "fucked" than "damned," but maybe that is just me. *shrugs*

Apparently I took the faux joking too far. She did not want to talk to me after that, but I made an aide station volunteer laugh.  

Moral of the story: Humor is in the eye of the beholder. or Mind your own fucking business. One of the two.

Anyhoo... back to the run

Heading back out on the trail we started the second big climb of the day. It was a long, boring fire road that climbed FOREVER and crushed my will to live. But at the top, we were treated with a tree lined trail that, when coupled with the heavy fog, created a mini rainforest trail.

 The girl that looks like she is out for a Sunday stroll in this picture beat me. *sigh*

Then later, more of the dense coastal scrub with wildflowers

The fog had come in pretty heavy and the wind was whipping, but it was so beautiful.

Shortly after this picture was taken (around mile 10) I started to suffer in the "how badly do I have to injure myself to get airlifted out so I don't have to run anymore?" way and the picture taking stopped for the most part.

Overall, I am happy with how I ran (and hiked). The distance and difficulty was a stretch for me, but it was beautiful and rejuvenating. There were several miles out there that reminded me how much I really love doing this.

I even had hard earned trail dirt at the end

Don't zoom in too much or you will see my lack of shaving. I was fairly certain that I was not going to get laid on the trail today so I saw no point.

If you are ever in the area and are looking for a great trail to run on I highly recommend this one. There is some hiking involved but lots of runnable sections and the scenery is so beautiful you will almost forget how much the climb hurt. (Click to enlarge)

 Coastal Trail Runs always marks their runs really well,so I did not get lost, but I think this park is well marked and with a map you could recreate it. Well, you probably could I couldn't. 


Anne said...

Thanks for the entertaining recap.
BTW, I too would rather be fucked than damned! :) :)
Good job on the trail!

Diana said...

Congratulations! Nice job on the run/hike/stroll/walk/crawl you did-I never would have even attempted something like that event!
I can't wait until the day I can run again-if that ever comes! I guess I've been "damned".....

ltlindian said...

Omg--that was funny! I love your responses to her comments. I just cannot think of clever stuff that quickly. Made me laugh loudly at my desk this am. :)

Unknown said...

a) I've participated in races with the strollers and dog walkers and cyclists were "sharing" the trail. Apparently their idea of "sharing" an my idea of "sharing" aren't the same.

b) I had a dream last night that I was doing an event that I was not at all trained for. Hence forth, they will be known as RBR events.

c) Look at that climb. Oh.my.gosh.

Johann said...

Nice run and great recap! Loved reading this. Great photos of what seems a good challenge. I'm running the Golden Gate Mountain Challenge here in South Africa in October but our Golden Gate is not a bridge but part of the mountain itself.

JojaJogger said...

I've always wondered, why do asshat cyclists call their package-hugging spandex outfits "kits" anyways?

Reese said...

Very nice comeback on the "rather be fucked than damned." As far as her not talking to you anymore, fuck em if they can't take a joke.

SteveQ said...

Happy Birthday, RBR!

950 foot climb in 2 miles? Seriously? I'm not sure I'm within 1000 miles of somewhere that that's even possible.

Glaven Q. Heisenberg said...

Give me a shot at ya if you wanna know what it's like to be fucked and damned at the same time.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!1! It's funny because it's an indecent proposal!1! (Also? Because it's true.)

... since I am a loser and have no friends on the team, but that is a whole number post

Hey, when do WE get a whole number post? I'm tired of these fucking fractions! Or ... am I tired of fucking these fractions? Damned (and fucked) if I know!

By the way, I not only shave my legs before each race, I also get a Brazilian. Because with my charm, it's pretty much a lock that I'm gonna get laid.

Good job finishing a race that would have killed me in the first half mile, B*tch!

nrmrvrk said...

You nailed it with the reference to the Webcore club when you reference asshats. In my years on a road bike in the bay area I made it a point to waive or say "hi" to passing cyclists and no one snubbed me more than those in the Webcore kit. Every one of them I'd met personally save one had been snobbish assholes. Maybe I just meet the bad ones. What are the chances?

Love your blog, keep it up!

@JojaJogger: I think people call cycling outfits "kit" as a reference to British slang that calls any sporting uniform "kit". I don't think it's specific to cycling.

Willie said...

Damn that looks fucking steep.

My mother always told me it's better to be fucked than damned.

Christi said...

Great job on the run/hike. I love your joke!

Lindsay said...

welcome back 'racing' rbr! :) the reason i am not more into trail runs is because they turn into hikes for me as well, and the hills are not nearly as bad as the ones in this one.

RoadBunner said...

Nice job!! The photos are gorgeous!! I love foggy runs :)

itsallrelative said...

"I would rather be fucked than damned..." classic.

Anonymous said...

Don't people know when they ask you to watch your mouth they're basically telling you to let er rip. It's not like you were swearing inside a daycare. Spare me.

I'm conviced you always have to pick the hardest races. Show off. I will not be taking your advice and signing up for that one thankyouverymuch.

I'm so sorry to read about Lucy. Obviously you gave her the kind of life she deserved. xoxo

TooeleTwins said...

The fog really did make it beautiful. It's probably just as beautiful sans fog. You finished with your sense of humor intact. That's always good. Damn yellow-jackets! I, too, am a magnet for them. Just got stung over the weekend while trimming shrubs, as a matter of fact. I hate them. (The yellow-jackets. Well, actually, I hate the shrubs, too.)

Carolina John said...

That is certainly a mean elevation profile. That's nuts!

That poor volunteer at the aide station. ouch. and yes, they should mind their own fucking business.

Jo Lynn said...

A) Ahem! You *have* done a trail run within the past 5 months.

B) Don't those stairs SUCK!

That is a hard course. Good job. ;)

Jill said...

Hey girl...I popped over to wish you a very belated Happy Birthday - I remembered your special day last year in SF! Hope it was a nice on :).

I loved your come-back to the bee sting...I wish I had your quick wit. Nice job on those mountains, yowzie!

Angela Knotts said...

Lol....awesome. You've precisely identified all of my biggest trail pet peeves (and fucked beats damned any day of the week). ;)

I've looked at some of the coastal trail runs but never actually done a race (mostly because I am too chicken). You've inspired me to think about it.

Always neat to find another bay area blogger! :)

My Blog said...

I love this! Thank you I'm planning to do this in February with a friend who lives out there..I was looking for any feedback and this is the best "fucking" description I could have hoped for thank you!

James said...

Nice write up. I'm registered to run the marathon version of this next month. Two loops of the half. It's going to be tough!