Sunday, October 19, 2014

Tarantula Run - Race Report

I love doing events like the Tarantula Run because I know I have no chance of getting on the podium! Yes, that sounds like a pretty negative attitude to have going into a race, but I am a realist. I have done several 1/2 marathons and I have never received anything more than a finisher's medal. The closest I have gotten is 4th place and I chalk that up to a slower field of competitors at that particular race.

Brazen Racing has awesome finisher medals and personalized bibs

I would never assume that I would do well at a swim meet going up against people that do nothing but swim. I would not expect to win a road race against true cyclists. The same is true for running events...especially running events on trails (trail runners are an entirely different breed). On top of that, there was serious prize money at stake, so there were some serious runners.


Although it has been almost three months since I completed Barb's Race, I am still in the healing process. One small toe nail came off last week but I am still waiting for the big toe nail. This was a concern on Saturday morning before the race.  The nail was still attached on one side, but loose on the other. I clipped and filed what I could then wrapped the toe in a bandage and then secured the bandage with some duct tape.

Want to see what's under the tape? Still around til the end ;-)

Breakfast was my usual pre-race meal of eggs on toast. I added some chia seeds for a little extra oomph! I had a cup of coffee and a glass of water too.  On the drive over to Los Vaqueros I massaged my calves and Achilles with Penetrex. About an hour before race start I took a dose of Sports Legs as well as some Energy Bits.

Sunrise at Los Vaqueros
HS and I killed time by people watching. There was one guy that was especially intense (must be after that prize money). He went through quite an elaborate (and fascinating) warm up routine. He had a race kit, compression sleeves, kinesio name it he had it. I was trying to read the name of the team on his kit when I noticed that his shorts had a shammy. Excuse me? Are you wearing a tri kit for a trail run? HS said the guy reminded him of Napoleon Dynamite. LOL

Where's Waldo? This pic isn't about me ;-)
(Hint: There is only one person lined up for the race)

My main goal for today's race was to beat my time from last year. However, the pre-race announcement made it clear that this wasn't going to be possible. Last year the race was put on by the Contra Costa Water District. The CCWD called it a half marathon although their course was only supposedly 12.2 miles (I had about 11.8 on my Garmin). This year, Brazen Racing took over the event and announced that the course was 13.3 miles (13.4 on my Garmin)...alrighty then.

Back to my goals...aside from my desired time, I wanted to pace myself and come out uninjured. Throughout the race I would remind myself that this was a training run for CIM. I focused on running my own race and to not getting caught up in what other people were doing. The first couple of miles were the same as 2013, but then things changed. Instead of heading up the paved road leading up to the top of the dam, we stayed on a single track trail that climbed and climbed and climbed.

That little green lump in the elevation chart is a lot bigger in person

This pic doesn't do the climb justice either

There was over 2,200 feet of climbing in this race. Mile 3 started at an elevation of about 300 ft. The climb ended a little more than a mile later at about 1,250 ft! Suffice it to say, I walked up the did just about everybody else around me. I walked past people trying to run ;-) Unfortunately for me, I am a little to skittish going down the hills, so my descents are not much faster than my climbs. I was amazed at the men and women that would go barreling down the hills past me. How do they do that?

Whoa! Not too fast!

Brazen Racing had recommended carrying water with you even though there were three aid stations. I opted to go without but after spending around 40 minutes trying to get through the first three miles, I wished I would have brought some with me. (The first aid station was at about mile 3.25). I think it was the triathlete in me that didn't want to carry any extra weight during the race. Of course the trail runners have hydration backpacks that seem to laugh in the face of extra weight worries.

So, since the courses for 2013 and 2014 were different, the only thing I could compare was my minutes per mile pace. Last year my average pace was 11:45. This year my average was 11:12. Not too shabby :-)

Highest elevation was the only thing the same.
Beautiful day for a run
Luckily I had my photographer with me
I love the challenge of this race and will probably be back next year...maybe I'll figure out how to run down hill before then :-)

The Toe Show

So, you really want to see what my toe looks like?  Scroll down...

Keep going...

Here it is...


It's a little shriveled up from the bandage, duct tape and sweat. LOL