A Little R&R At Whiskey Hill Half Marathon

With speedsters like Andy Belk, Larry Neumann and Bree Lambert leading the charge, you know it’s going to be fast paced run. For me R&R was Redwoods and Rejuvenation. Since the Dick Collins 50M, I’ve been mostly running asphalt getting my legs ready for California International Marathon in December. But I had to scratch the trail itch (oh and what an itch that was!) and Whiskey Hill Half Marathon turned out exactly to be exactly what the trail doctor ordered. When I began my drive from home,the rain was coming down hard, but by the time I reached Huddart, the blue skies were out, the trails soft and moist and by golly the sharp contrast! Everything looked so bright and alive, but wasn’t so muddy that you lost your shoes. Here’s my Strava activity from the run:

Whiskey Hill Half Marathon

This run was all about being on some of my favorite trails. No expectations on time or anything. Was great to see so many folks that I’ve met through other runs. Rob did his RD announcements and I really should’ve paid attention to the signs. Something about blue for 10K and red for the half marathoners.

Blue skies!

Blue skies!

Rob doing the RD thing

Rob doing the RD thing

With Larry Neumann (finished 4th!)

With Larry Neumann (finished 4th!)

 

We took off at 8am and I redlined within the first mile trying to keep up with Andy and Larry. Slowed down, found my pace and at the 1.5 mile mark took the wrong turn. I was so enjoying my foot fall on the soft trails, didn’t notice the signs. Took me 3+ minutes to recover, but now there were 3 other runners ahead of me.

redwoods

redwoods

single track FTW

single track FTW

I guess with all the asphalt running, I was a little rusty on the uphills. Alternating between 10 strides of walking and 25 strides fastish running kept moving up until I caught up with 2 of the 3 runner by the time we hit Kings Mountain aid station. Didn’t bother to stop. To be honest I didn’t know it was an out-and-back. I thought we were going to summit and them bomb down.

IMG_1259

 

This never gets old

This never gets old

As I was approaching the turn around point, started counting the runners that were coming back. With Dawson Alexander leading the pack followed by the others. I think I counted about 10 and I was thinking I was the 11th. Was hoping to use the downhill on the way back to make it to the top 10. Hit the turn around point and started my way down. Slow and steady until I was approaching the King’s aid station and saw Paul King stopping for water. And so began the chase.

Say hi to the sweeper

Say hi to the sweeper

Paul was keeping up an amazing pace. Switch back after switch back, slowly kept getting closer to him. We were both slowing down, until 2 miles to go, passed him on one of the downhills. Thanks Paul for the extra motivation to keep pushing! Saw the 1 mile marker and of course we all hit the Bay Trail. After a fantastic downhill, we all had to work our butts up the hill to the finish line. Going was slow and didn’t see anyone in front or behind me. Slowly worked up to the finish line hill placing 9th overall and a 2:07 time. But really, these are some of the most amazing trails in the bay area.

Paul King finishing strong

Paul King finishing strong

With Rob Rhodes

With Rob Rhodes

So love these trails

So love these trails

Peter and Peggy

Peter and Peggy

Monica with Luna Sandals

Monica with Luna Sandals

That turned out to be an amazing day in those trails. Thanks Rob Rhodes for organizing the race and the weather for cooperating with us. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some asphalt to pound. Three weeks until California International Marathon!


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