Posted by Lauren
One word: WOW
Saturday has been an amazing day!! Gorgeous trail half marathon and a shutout Sharks game?!!! :) Makes for one happy girl!
My morning started early, but not early enough (spoiler alert). I crawled out of bed and popped a homestyle Eggo into the toaster. I enjoyed the crispy waffle while getting ready for the Coyote Hills Half Marathon.
Out of nowhere, it was 8 AM… and the race started at 9 AM! I quickly grabbed my things and drove the [short] drive from Palo Alto to Fremont. I joined hundreds of excited runners in the parking lot of DeVry University and we waited in the chilly wind for race shuttles to take us to the start line.
I definitely didn’t budget enough time, taking advantage of the fact that Brazen Racing usually puts on *small* races. I should have known better, especially after the kerfuffle of Walnut Creek. Luckily, about 8 minutes before the half marathon start, the organizers called out to the line, asking for half marathoners to skip the line and immediately get in the next shuttle. PHEW. Close one!
I didn’t go to an early packet pick-up this week due to work, so as soon as the shuttle dropped us off at Coyote Hills Regional Park, I sprinted to the registration table. During that time, the race officially started… By the time I had my bib pinned to my lucky race shirt, I was 3 minutes behind the pack. Ain’t no thang!
Race photos of me borrowed from Brazen’s Facebook page!!
The beginning of Mile 1 was, in a word, breathtaking. We ran on top of a deck surrounded by water and water bushes (totally not the technical term). That led to the first “hill,” where, for the most part, I focused on catching up and passing the half marathoners that started before me. Just before Mile 2 was the first water station. Since this was a trail half, all racers were warned ahead of time that the water stations would be at odd points since it’s hard to get the tables and supplies out in the middle of nowhere. I took a swig of water and turned the corner to spectacular bay views.
From Mile 2-4, we ran through the rolling grassland hills with the bay at our right. It was a bit windy and cloudy, but clear enough to see all the way across to Menlo Park, Redwood City, etc. The turnaround came at Mile 5, which was also the next water station. I took a vanilla GU at this point and cruised back towards the start line. Just after the Mile 6 marker, there was a short, gnarly hill (~100 ft gain is a hill for me). I walked part of it and totally enjoyed the downhill afterwards!
The course repeated itself for the final Mile 7-13. I could tell my legs were tired and yes, sure, I lost a LOT of steam. You can tell by my mile times:
Another Brazen Facebook photo (the race also had a 5k and 10k):
Just before Mile 8 I hit the water station, but this time I stopped to enjoy the scenery:
Candy! I took two gummy bears (both red) and a peanut M&M. This is the first race I’ve ever done that has candy on the course. Usually it’s just GU, sometimes an orange slice or banana… but this definitely wins the award for best race food!!
I continued to the turnaround point, enjoying the bay views and sunny skies. That same unpleasant hill came at the end of Mile 12, and I walked a portion of it again. At that point, I knew I blew my previous trail PR out of the water, so…. easy sailing? I cruised down the final hill and through the finish line with an official chip time of 1:42:34. Yahoo!!!!!
3rd place age group?! Coooool.
p.s. did I mention that I was texting a bunch of folks during the race? Namely my mom (who I’m hanging out with tomorrow!) and Kyle, who surprised me by offering to run to the finish line…. FROM PALO ALTO. That’s 9 miles, folks. And he QUOTE-UNQUOTE isn’t a runner?!!! I don’t believe you, dude.
So, after grabbing the awesome finisher’s medal, gulping some water, and visiting the port-a-potty, I found Kyle and we walked to the spectacular food tables. If you ever need a reason to sign up for one of the many races Brazen organizes, how about this: It’s-It ice cream sandwiches, red velvet cake, apple pie, cheesecake, peanut butter, nutella, oranges, bananas, bagels, coffee, hot cocoa….. Total foodie satisfaction.
After a cup of apple pie and coffee… I finally met two local bloggers I’ve been dying to meet: Jacqueline of Skinny Chick Blog and Janae of Hungry Runner Girl. They are smart bloggers and took photos, but I did not so you’ll just have to visit their blogs!
Too small Speed (blue) – Elevation (green) comparison:
Kyle and I had a chance to chat with Janae and Billy for a long time near the race results and in line for the shuttles back to DeVry’s parking lot. I had so much fun talking with them about races and life since they moved to the Bay Area. Hopefully we can go for a run, visit Yogurtland, or go on a double date (not to be confused with doubles tennis) soon!
Also – thanks for sharing your extra It’s-It with me Billy and Janae!
Lessons learned from the race:
- Focus on getting to races EARLY
- Do another Brazen Race, if only for the food and small crowds
- Take advantage of Coyote Hills Regional Park’s 978 acres soon!!! This East Bay gem has miles of trails to go hike, bike, run, picnic, bird watch…. whatever it is, I need to go back soon.
I drove Kyle back to his car across the Dumbarton Bridge and then JETTED to Mountain View for an 8-second shower. I had to get to the Sharks game, which started at 1 PM!!!
More on that in my next post :)
Question: What food would you LOVE to see at the race finish? Runners, do you prefer trail runs or the city streets?