Sunday, July 28, 2013

Brazen Racing Bad Bass Trail Half-Marathon Race Review and Recap

My legs are tired. 

Since I found out that I was coming to California for 3 weeks, I wanted to sign up for a (or a few) races while I was going to be here. Since the trip is 3 weeks, that gave me 2 weekends to get some racing in.  I found the Napa to Sonoma which I ran last weekend, and Bad Bass Trail half. iPad no idea what I signed up for when I did, trails in the Midwest aren't nearly as bad as in California. Needless to say, I paid my registration fee and made the 40 minute drive out to Lake Chabot from the hotel on Saturday morning. 

I got there shortly after 7am so that I could be one of the first to pick up my bib since I didn't attend the early packet pickup. I ended up parking on Lake Chabot Road so i could avoid the $5 parking fee, nominal but i still didn't want to pay it unless i absolutely had to. There was one guy in front of me, so this packet pickup went super quick. Since I had some time to kill, I went back to my car to drop off the race t-shirt and got settled back out to the course. 

While waiting I noticed several things.  For one, this ain't going o be a very large field, the scent at the starting line was horrendous, everyone was really excited. I got into a conversation with Jeff, since he was looking for someone whom I was allegedly blocking his view. Nice guy, super good runner.  One of the things I love about this sport, is the fact that almost everyone is so nice and welcoming. Being from the chicago area, it's needless to say that I didn't know anyone there. I was on the opposite side of the country, so if I ran into anyone, it would have been pure coincidence. 

I wasn't able to hear the race director make the pre-race announcements since they banned the use of megaphones and speaker systems. I ended up starting near the back of the pack, since I had no idea what to expect on my first trail race. 

The gun sounded, and we all took off.  I have found in the past that I don't really like races where all distances start together.  This wasn't the case and I was very appreciative that the 10k and 5k started about a half hour later. I messes me up mentally when we all start together.  

I recall about e first 1.5 miles being sort of easy, then came the first hill, then the second, then the third, and then another.  They just kept coming with no sign of a downhill in the near future. Well, finally the downhills came.  

My splits were as follows. 9:50, 10:50, 10:23, 17:42, 12:26, 11:17, 12:28, 11:54, 15:40, 11:42, 13:56, 13:40, 10:56.  

From the splits you can definitely tell where the uphill just continued. At some points, I felt like I was claiming a vertical wall. According to my elevation map, one climb, at 3.3 miles, was 650 feet, with a small rest near the top. There was approximately 1,780 feet of climbing.  somehow i didnt feel the drop that much if at all. It was a nutty course, that's all I know. I'd totally do it again. I did get the chance to see some of the most beautiful scenery though, and got plenty of pictures to show it. 

Since I had always heard great things about Brazen Racing, two things that are always common, are great medals and great shirts. This year did not disappoint. 

I was pretty surprised that I received a personalized race bib, I registered about 2-4 weeks prior to race day. 

I've never see the back of a shirt look so cool!!

The fact that the bass is gonna kick the butt of the Loch Ness Monster is so sweet!  This medal is so big, perhaps one of the largest half marathon medals I've received. 

Following are some of the pictures that I took during the race. 

The start line, you can see the crowd ahead of me. 

The top of the first uphill. 

A mini downhill. What a tease!

Here is the first downhill. 

Not even close to the top, looking back. 

Forward relentless progress

If you look near the top center of the photo, you can see how long this uphill was. 

The flattest part of the course. 

The following are some of the scenic pictures I took while on the course. 

I'd like to thank Brazen Racing for putting on such a great event. It was truly one of the most memorable half-marathons I've ever run, and will stay there. 

Typical blogger mobile app, photos have to be added at the end. Booooo!  Sorry if its confusing. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Considering joining marathon maniacs

So I'm really considering joining this crazy group o people, I just think it would be neat to join this elite group of athletes. They don't discriminate against times, as long as you finish. I'd have the chance to do it this coming October. I'm running the Bank of America Chicago Marathon and the day before, close to where I live is the Prairie State marathon in Libertyville. It's so tempting. I have a feeling it would be the best time for me to do it since they're both not too far from home. Any thoughts?

Monday, July 22, 2013

Napa to Sonoma Half Marathon Race Report and Review

So I've been out here in Northern California for a week now on a company trip. The first thing I did when I found out that I was coming here was to look for races. destination Events runs a Wine Country race series and I just so happened to be here during the Napa to Sonoma race. This race had sold out in just under 24 hours, so I thought my hopes where shattered of getting in. I went on their Facebook page and managed to find someone willing to sell their race bib to me for just $80!!!  This was a steal considering its cost was originally $135. Destination. events is one of the only race companies that I know of that allows for transfers of a race bib. Albeit there is a $20 fee for doing it, totally worth it.

I went to go to the packet pick up in San Francisco but the girl at the front desk said there was no packet pickup that day. Leaving frustrated I didn't know if I was going to get to run the race so I went ahead and sent an email to the race director email address posted on the site. I received a response within the hour telling me not to worry, but show up at the start line and they would have a bib for me. I made the 2-hour trek up to the Sonoma winery confident that I would get to run. Since there is no parking at the start line, they arranged for busses to take the runners to the start line. Not wanting to allow for any delay I went for the first bus at 5:15am. I got to the start line and they let me run with Anthony's bib. He is the person I bought it from.

I met with a few people on the bus ride over, which I never saw again but the conversation as good. I remember Michele and Susan being their names.  Michele had just gotten engaged the night before so Congratulations to her and her future husband.

Bart Yasso was the master of ceremonies, followed by the national anthem. And the race was kicked off at 7:05am, just a few minutes late as we were waiting on some busses to drop off runners.  I've never been at a rcw that he has been to. We finished near the same finish time, with I had gotten the chance to meet him but I never saw him on the course. 

As we started down the initial downhill, it was quite crowded. Im not sure a steep downhill with 3,300 runners starting a race is a good idea, I'd probably change that if I was the race director. With that number of registered runners, and imagining that a few never showed up, this has to be a maximum and I hope they don't ever increase it.  As far as my experience goes with other races, it seems to be a good number so the course does not get too crowded. I do wish some of the walkers would have chosen to run in the back of the pack since I started having to weave around them pretty much from the start. 

There were a ton of people running/walking with Team Challenge and the coaches out there for them did a great job encouraging and pacing runners. As they encouraged others, I took that as encouragement.  On a race with practically no spectators, this was a huge deal for me. They really don't have any spots for spectators but some of the locals were out watching and clapping and encouraging us onward. Water stations were well placed, I stopped at a portapottie once about half way through and missed the water station, my fault for not turning back, which would have probably helped me out. As far as the course goes, it was amazing!  The scenery here really is the best I've run in.  The views of the mountains, grape fields and the local ambiance was just unbeatable. 

One family was out handing out Guinness around mile 11. I took it thinking from a distance that it was some sort of flavored sports drink, but glad they announced it was beer. Lots were taking it, I chose not to.

Considering i ran 8 miles late in the day before, I was happy with my finish time of 2:10:22.  This was my slowest half-marathon out of 3. I was initially kind of bummed but after talking to a few other finishers, and being in agreement that it felt like the entire course was uphill, I was quite happy with that time. The net elevation gain/loss is -77′ starting at 159′ finishing at 82′ with maximum elevation at 220′.

I usually use Runtastic for tracking my runs, but since I had a 2 hour drive to the race needing GPS the entire way, and knowing I'd need it on the way back, I decided not to use it but instead enter the data on my way home.  I did have music the entire way which was a big help. 

I am excited to have had this opportunity, thanks to Anthony for selling his bib to me for so cheap!  This one goes on the list of favorites. 

Friday, July 5, 2013

2013 Chicago Blackhawks Stanley Cup Champions Wallpaper

Well, as hard as this was for me to do as a Detroit Red Wings fan, I spent a lot of time putting this together for my father-in-law.  Since so much time was spent, I've decided to make it available to everyone.  Feel free to save the pictures and use them.  If you have a device or computer screen with a different resolution, just leave a comment and I'll post it when I can.

Supported Devices:

  • iPhone 4 & 4S
  • iPhone 5
  • 1024x768 Computer Screen

1024x768 Desktop Wallpaper - Black

1024x768 Desktop Wallpaper - Red

1024x768 Desktop Wallpaper - White

iPhone 5 Wallpaper - Black

iPhone 5 Wallpaper - Red

iPhone 5 Wallpaper - White

iPhone 4/4s Wallpaper - Black

iPhone 4/4s Wallpaper - Red

iPhone 4/4s Wallpaper - White