The race was held at Lake Chabot which is literally 15-20 minutes from my house. I have done three other races on these trails, however, nothing more than a 10k so I was excited to get to explore more of the area.
The race started at 8:30 and given the close proximately to my house I didn't even have to get up until 6:30. Since my body is used to waking up earlier than for work I enjoyed some extra sleep and got the opportunity to get in some good stretching before I left.
One great thing I have found with all the trail races I have done is the relaxed atmosphere before the start. Nine times out of ten you pick up your bib race morning and wait no more than 5 minutes to do so. Parking is always plentiful and close so you are able to make an extra trip to the car to drop off any clothes, etc before the race starts.
I knew a lot of people running this race and met up with all of them before the race. Soon it was 8:25 and we all started to head over to the start line. There were 4 different distances - 10k, half, 30k and 50k. I lined up with Layla, Alisyn and Paulette. Layla and Alisyn were doing the 30k and Paulette was doing the half. I honestly had no idea what type of a pace I would be keeping so we all said our "good byes" and "good lucks" and planned to meet up after the race. I secretly hoped I would be able to hang with them just because having someone to run with is much more fun but I promised myself I wasn't going to push myself too hard. I was treating this as a training run not a race and I wanted to finish the race feeling strong since I would still have another 13 miles to run at Way Too Cool.
I had studied the map pretty closely before race day trying to memorize where the hills were and where I would get some relief on the downhill. From cycling I have learned I do much better when I am not only physically prepared but mentally prepared for what is to come.
The first mile and half of the race was pavement before we transitioned to the dirt. After the first mile I was kinda struggling a bit envisioning the 17 more miles I had to go but broke out my favorite cycling trick of just worrying about how much further til the next aid station. First aid station was at 5.6 - less than five miles to go.
Between miles 3 and the aid station at mile 5.6 there was some hills I hiked but also some really great single track downhills - the majority which was in the shade. It was so cool and crisp and just perfect. Around mile 4 I finally found my groove and had managed to still keep up with Layla.
The first aid station was at the top of a hill, hence the walking. :)
Trail race aid stations mirror cycling aid stations in that they have actual food - chips, candy, pb sandwich slices, fruit, potatoes, and soda along side the more traditional water, electrolyte drink and GU, chomps, shotbloks, etc. Now, in a road race I would never ever consider eating real food but for some reason in trail races it just makes sense. Last trail race I was obsessed with cut up Payday candy bars, this race I opted for the Ruffles chips, bananas, oranges, shot bloks and Mountain Dew. The Mountain Dew was actually an accident, I thought I was grabbing the electrolyte drink but it ended up being amazing. I think the last Mountain Dew I had was in 6th grade but it ended up being an amazing mid race drink.
Within the next mile or so out from nowhere we started hearing rapid gun fire and it was close. I started to look around spooked until Layla told me we were by a shooting range. It was so loud though I felt like we must be in the shooting range and expected to see a stray bullet any minute!
As cliche as it is the miles were just ticking by 6, 7, 8. We were really just enjoying the gorgeous day and enjoying chatting with other runners. You would have never guessed it was February with the perfect weather we were having.
Around mile 8 the half and the 30k split off and we headed out onto some wide fire roads. The trail was completely exposed to the sun but there was just enough breeze to keep you cool.
It is probably safe to say I hiked the entire next mile but was greeted with some beautiful views.
It was right around this point I was also thinking, "holy crap," I am really only 1/3 of the way done with Way Too Cool.
What goes up must come down and the next few miles provided large, wide shaded fire roads and I found myself completely alone - I almost forgot I was racing! Another huge difference between trails and the road. I have never ever been alone during a road race before.
I caught up to Layla at the last aid station which was right around mile 14.5. Only 4 miles to the finish and I was still feeling strong.
Around mile 15 she commented we were at the half way point of Way Too Cool. I still can't believe I will be running a race where 15 miles is the half way point. It was encouraging though to know that at 15 miles I still felt good and was actually having a blast. I told Layla I might even meet my super secret goal of finishing in three and a half hours. She told me she would help make sure that happened.
While I haven't had a chance to blog about it yet I did a trail half in January as part of my birthday weekend (it is coming) that because of the elevation took me 3:30 to finish so to know I was already past 15 miles at the three hour mark boosted my confidence.
Not too much further down the road and we were back on pavement for the last 2-3 miles back to the finish. There were some good rollers during those miles but finally we turned a corner and I saw the marina and finish line in sight and we sprinted towards it.
18.2 miles/2800 feet elevation (although Garmin read 3661 I am going with the official calculations)
3:32:08 (11:39 avg pace)
12/20 Female 30-39
After the race we hung around and chatted for bit, got our race shirts and some pretty cool coffee mugs. Then we headed out for burgers, fries and beers. Good races always end with good food.