My older may never make it onto Oprah or American Idol, but his teacher intentionally moved him right before the started from the end to the center to be closer to the mic, and he did not disappoint with his personality and stage presence.
The next morning I had to pack and load the car. We made it out of the house by 10 a.m. Although we'd been to Big Sur, we'd never explored the coast between Half Moon Bay and Santa Cruz. First we stopped at a random beach off the highway (Bean Hollow State Beach).
Then we visited the Pigeon Point Light Station.
You can't go into the lighthouse now, but the views were great, and a volunteer briefly taught us about whales; my son may have grasped the concept of baleen.
The resort is across the street from the Año Nuevo State Reserve, so we could do a loop hike from the our campground. When I strapped on the Ergo carrier, my wife asked me if I was sure I wanted to carry our 19-month-old. I looked at her confusedly so she added "because of your race tomorrow." Whoa, I hadn't heard her express concern about saving my body for a race in a while! I told her that I would NEVER put my racing ahead of my paternal duties. All right, I didn't say that, and when I race I do leave her with the kids. But on this hike I did carry my little one the whole time.
The views were spectacular. And my older son never whined or asked to be carried.
The trail got very sandy the second half. I found myself working a lot more than I'd anticipated, climbing sections of trail that were essentially over sand dunes. So maybe I was lucky that my older son made us stop several times by while got on all fours on the white sand playing desert commando. I guess I wasn't going to sprint up this hill anyways.
The shower room was heated, as were our mattress pads. No, this wasn't real camping, but this was perfect, since it was fricking windy and cold, and I know better than to make my wife take down a tent and pack with two small kids the next morning.
So back to Sunday, we soon saw a big parking lot on the ocean side at right, and no bus yet. I got out looking like this:
We arrived at the start around 8:30, and I bee-lined for the three Portalets at the end of the filled parking lot, the line shorter than when I took this photo.
A master of multitasking, I was able to change into David's shorts while doing my business and so didn't further hold up the rapidly lengthening queue. I took off my dingy sweatshirt, ate a half-sized Cliff Bar, and filled my bottle with water. I was finally ready to run! But as before my first and last race this year, I was fricking freezing! I spotted super-talented Sportiva teammate Caitlin Smith and introduced myself to her. She was wearing the 2009 Sportiva Mountain Running Team halter top. Will Gotthardt was with her, doing better by being shirtless. Here they are (photo by Cal), both ripped in respective feminine and masculine ways running later:
Like at Diablo Trails, I took off fast mostly because I was freezing, but in this race, the field is thick, including last year's co-winner, Leor Pantilat, so I didn't find myself way ahead of the pack.
It was downhill from the start, and with that, everyone was flying. I was soon completely out of breath, but at least not so cold, but plenty of people passed me. Soon I fell behind this guy who looked older, with a receding hairline. Nothing against guys looking like that, but not knowing his age or fitness level, I was wondering if I should be well ahead of him.
After the race, I determined that bib #168 was Paul Taylor of Redwood City, only 4 years older than me, and ended up running a marathon distance (by inadvertently skipping a loop?) in 4:08; a friend told me I look like a taiko drummer with my visor backwards. photo by Cal.
Several miles later, I eventually passed him.
I takes me several times to get people's names and faces down, so I was pleased to know I now had Brian's voice down. He told me I'd probably pass him again soon, but I told him probably not. "Well you just ran 150 miles a couple of weeks ago," he said; Brian had just done PCTR's Diablo 50 miler last weekend, so I wasn't going to sandbag an excuse-- this might be the first time he's beaten me in a race-- great job dude! The downhill finally leveled out, which I found more forgiving on my body, even if I pushed the pace. I suspected it would be mostly flat to the end, so as only to be 75% wussy, I decided to hammer it home.
Interestingly (and minorly irritatingly) despite the flat terrain and ample sunlight making its way past the treetops, my Garmin Forerunner kept beeping and flashing "Satellite Reception Lost, Click Enter." So when I saw a few water bottles at the side of the trail, and my Garmin read 7 something miles for for the split, I wasn't sure if this was the last aid station or not, so I quickly unscrewed my lid, filled my bottle and sped off.
I ran into the finish area, got handed my finisher's coaster, and saw all these guys already relaxing in the grass that maybe another day I would've been able to keep up with (or maybe not--maybe I'll never know). Rick Gaston, who had been volunteering on the course and now at the finish, then shot a photo of a bunch of us.
As I commented to those witnessing my folly, it's better to think I'm missing my son when I'm not than to not realize he's missing when he is.
The drive home had that happy feeling of having had a great weekend. And my wife told me that she would enjoy coming back and doing the upscale camping thing again I wanted to do the race next year.
Thanks Sarah and Wendell, all the many volunteers (point to point courses like this take many many), David for the shorts, my bro for the call, my Sportiva and other sponsors (see links above at right), and my wife and kids for letting me go run and being so much fun making the whole weekend memorable.
click for Garmin/Motion Based map of run (realizing there were satellite reception problems)