|Pilsner at Jupiter in Berkeley|
|Five and Dime IPA at Barclay's in Oakland|
I settled into just over 6 min pace in the first mile (much of which is on pavement and gravel) and in 5th place behind ultra speedster, Lon Freeman leading from the gun as usual. I overtook 4th place after two miles on a sticky-deep mud climb. I kept 2nd and 3rd in sight until about mile 5, then settled into an "I don't care what place I get" mood and my pace followed suit. The design of the course forced us to navigate a crowded trail of 10k and 5k runners/walkers, which was fine unless it was on a thin, muddy singletrack or on a steep greasy-slick descent. I got a bit of a scare when I glanced back and saw a guy who'd beaten me for 3rd place earlier in the year at another trail half. Competitive juices flowed but never quite made it to my legs, so I relied on descending as fast and recklessly as possible over the penultimate mile and then striding my best pace over the last, flat mile to finish in 4th and holding off 5th by 30 seconds or so.
|Shot I took while marking, from Old Springs Trail in Tennessee Valley|
After the race, I went home got cleaned up and dressed to hit the trails again to mark our Rodeo Valley course for the event the following day. "Hello, BONK." Ten miles into marking the relentlessly hilly course on already-raced legs, I was spent.
|Passed out in the back of the locked pick-up waiting for Mr. Stahler (and the truck keys) to finish marking.|
After marking, we packed and loaded the trucks for the next day and I don't even remember going to bed; just waking up to my alarm at 4:15am the following morning.
Rodeo Valley was perfect. I can't fault the wind but I can praise the clear skies and sunshine. It was a superb day all around and I'm grateful to have been a small part of so many great runners' and volunteers' experience.
All in all, a good week. Life moves on.
|The Irish Pimp (Stahler) holding down the finish line.|
|Starting the races. Photo Margaret Gagnon|
|Wind was ripping whitecaps as far out as you could see.|
|Tan and John managing the 50k pass-through aid station (thanks guys!)|
|Lauri Abrahamsen after her medal-worthy 8k performance.|
|The wind didn't keep people from enjoying the beautiful day.|