Let's back up a little, shall we?
Aron, aka runner's rambles, signed up to do Bear Creek Trail Half Marathon/10K/5K Winter Edition a couple of weeks ago and asked me if I'd like to sign up too. She was going to do the half marathon but I only wanted to do the 10K. I met Katie in a park-n-ride in Walnut Creek and we waited for Aron to show up. Once she did, we all drove over to Briones Regional Park East Bay Regional Park District in my car.
Aron, Katie, Me
Their race started 20 minutes before mine so I wished them well and off they went!
The race directors sent us several emails over the past week, warning us of the impending mud and course changes that had to be done because of it. It rained here pretty good last night so I guess that was why the mud was a very wet mud. I understand Katie actually got her shoe sucked off by the mud. I know mine almost did, more than once.
I couldn't help but laugh at all the runners as they tried to get up this hill. It was between mile one and two of the 10K course. It was the worst of all hills! I think this mile alone took about 30 minutes to complete. A lot of people had regular road running shoes and I saw several that looked brand new.
Top of the hill, still smiling! Actually, I was laughing. I was having such a blast, even though I was by myself.
The views were incredible. You could see miles in every direction.
The course itself was mostly on open fire roads (not my favorite) but there were some areas that were covered. I imagine in the summer it can get pretty darn hot out here. A couple of my friends ran this same race last summer and it was over 100 degrees. They said it was pretty miserable.
Even when the road was flat, it was still difficult to run because of the mud. I had to watch every step I placed. I never knew if it was going to sink or be firm. The course was very well marked but it is challenging to have to watch your footing and also look for colored ribbons to follow. I had to call two women back down from a hill because they totally missed a turn through a cattle gate.
After the second aid station, we had about a mile to go. FINALLY, we ran into some single track trails. And boy was it pretty!!
I was doing pretty good through here, it was mostly flat and I was able to run just off the mud part. I was flying by people here. We got to the six mile marker. YES, 2/10 of a mile to go and I HAVEN'T FALLEN yet. With 1/10 of a mile to go, BAM, down I go. Crap! It was on a downhill single track that was super slick. I started sliding, then I did the splits and slammed down on my left side with my hand breaking my fall. I bounced back up and was fine but I couldn't believe I fell that close to the finish.
Then came the reward. Yup, they had donuts at the finish. Yippee! And they had my favorite kind - white frosting with sprinkles. How lucky am I?!
Before the race started I was thinking I would probably finish in 1:30 because I usually average 15 min/mile on trails. I knew after the second mile that wasn't going to happen. I could only hope to be finished in under two hours. My finish time was 1:50. I'll take that!
I changed into some dry pants and shoes and waited for Aron and Katie to finish the half marathon. I was thrilled to see them come around the corner with HUGE smiles on their faces.
Fun day was had by all.