Ever since I ran the 2012 San Francisco Half Marathon, I’ve been itching to run another organized race. I like races for a number of reasons including watching and learning from elite runners, using that as an excuse to run amazing trails and last but not the least, aid stations. 🙂 This way I don’t have to carry that much water and food on longish runs. I got an email from Brazen Racing on Saturday saying that they have spots open for the Diablo Trail Half Marathon. I had registered for the Trail Hog Marathon earlier in the fall, but as a soccer coach for my 9yo, I couldn’t miss the AYSO picture day. So when I saw the email and also realized that I would gain an hour because of daylight savings, couldn’t say no.
Diablo Trail Half Marathon
As my pre-race routine goes, I hydrated up on Chia Fresca, but this time also brought a couple of bean burritos that I was going to carry on my Amphipod. The ~2,500 foot elevation gain was something I was definitely anxious about. The closest that I’ve come to running that was my 3-hour, 16-mile run up to Black Mountain Trail. After an hour drive , I reached Walnut Creek around 7:15, parked my car and registered for the race. We gathered up around 8:45am and toed the starting line. I’m on the far left wearing my Luna Sandals.
And here we go. The first 4 miles past the two aid stations at the Park Boundary and Little Pine were mostly nice and rolling. With no recent rain, we didn’t get much mud or creek crossing, though that would’ve been fun too. Once we hit mile 4 past the first two aid stations, the next 5 miles were pretty much straight up where gained about ~1,500 ft of elevation reaching up to the Curry Point aid station. I was focusing on deep breathing and literally power hiking up this stretch with portions of running. I was pretty amazed to see a few runners who were simply running up this 5-mile stretch.
Once we got to the Curry Point aid station, I wolfed down my bean burrito and then started on the descent. I managed to keep up with many runners during the ascent, but man did they smoke me on the descent. With my Luna Sandals, I kept my stride short and was chop stepping down on the descent, but I noticed some of the other runners broke lose with a pretty fast sprint the whole way down. Must. Figure. This. One. Out! I know, I’ve only been running for 10 months now, but looks like I still need to work on my hill climbing. 🙂 WIth only about 100 yards to go, I checked my watch and I had about 20 seconds to go to make it under the self-imposed 2:30 time limit. So I sprinted the last stretch and made it past the finish line at 2:30. Not bad for my first trail half marathon, though watch this blog for the next month or so on experiments with hill climbing and injury free downhill running with the huaraches.
Save Mount Diablo
By the way, check out Save Mount Diablo, an organization that’s fighting to help preserve all of the wilderness. This is a beautiful piece of wilderness and as I would learn later, also the home of tarantulas! From early September to late November, you can watch male tarantulas leaving their burrows to look for mates.[sc:follow_me]