Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Brazen Racing's Dirty Dozen - 2013

What a blast! For years I have wanted to do this event, but it always fell on the same weekend as another yearly commitment, until this year.
While I have been looking forward to it, I had done no prep/training at all.  My runs and workouts have drastically dropped off starting in June. This has become a pretty normal yearly pattern due to school activities in June, and then the 3 kids being home once school is out.  We are still an active family, and I like to think I'm always in good enough shape to at least run a 30k w/no training.  But I will admit that I feel the most out of shape that I have in quite a few years.
So while I was excited about finally being able to do Brazen's Dirty Dozen, and had specific goals, I was a little scared about how the day would end up and how bad it was gonna hurt!
I tried not to really think about it until the day before. I did not want to make myself anxious or nervous or put so much pressure on myself that I choked. The night before we finally started packing our bags and figuring out what we wanted to have, eat, drink, that sort of stuff.

This is a good pic of what our area looked like, we had a blanket, chairs, cooler, and our bags.
 In my bag I had extra socks, shoes, compression calf sleeves, muscle rub, Glide, asprin, bags of sugar treats like peach rings, and sour patch kids, and Watermelon Chomps. There were 4 of 5 pieces of candy in each bag. I also had a change of tops in case anything started to chafe. Guys, skip this next sentence....unfortunately, this race lined up with my time o the month. So in my bag I had pre-bagged my femine products into small paper lunch bags and rolled each bag up. That way, when needed, I could just grab a little brown bag and carry it to the next outhouse I came to. This worked perfectly, and I really don't think it hindered my day at all. I know for some ladies that is their worst nightmare, having to run a marathon or whatever during that time, but it was really not an issue.
Moving on, in the cooler we had ice, those small skinny cans of coke, and water.  There were 4 cans for each of us, and I drank 2-3 sips from a can each lap.
Camp Latham, where I avoided "the chair" at all costs!
 Above is Allen's picture. It shows nicely how everyone set up along the starting stretch. The tent on the left was the aid station on this end of the loop, which oddly enough I never used. I would just run straight to our camp area and take  two sips of Coke, grab  a bag of sugar, take off a pin, and head out again.

This was the aid station at the far end of the lap, and when I say that, I should say that it was 2 miles in, and then 1.37 to the aid at the finish, so there was plenty of aid. This was the station I used all day. It had way less people at it and wasn't such a "hang out and visit" trap as the one at the start/finish area. I didnt' eat/drink until lap 3, about 8 miles in, and if anything, that is what I would do differently. I was a bit loopy towards the end of lap 2 and stayed that way through lap 4, but I think I just went too long w/o food. I had breakfast at 5 a.m., so even though I did not feel like I needed anything yet, I should have been eating.
Later in the day, for 3 laps in a row, this aid station had  Baby Ruth bars and Mountain Dew.  Heaven on Earth!!  What a treat that was and it tasted so so good!

So now that you have the logistics down, lets get down to the actual 12 hours! Brian and I had separate goals, and did not intend to run together.  He would be using his heart rate monitor to help him stay slow in the early laps, and I would be using my brain to help me stay slow : )  My only strategy was to go easy, stay slow, and keep moving.  My primary goal was to get 10 laps, which is 33 miles and change.  I would finally get a 50k done if I could accomplish 10 laps! I had 10 safety pins on the bottom edge of my skirt. All I had to do was keep going until the pins were gone.

Just before the start. Did I mention it was really windy, and cold?? Perfect conditions for me!

 We run along the bay for the first almost 2 miles, then come back through the eucalyptus forest. The first section is the flattest,but also has the only really significant hill, and it was pretty small, but got longer and steeper as the day went on.

 Above is a volunteers picture of the first section that is the flattest, but it's really a false flat as you can see, it climbs a bit.
 This was nearing the turnaround point on lap one, you run out to the end of the point and swing right.

I did not carry my camera for most of the day. The above pictures were from lap one. I didn't carry it again until laps 9 and 10. From lap 1-9, I was just really focused. I didn't see Brian at all during those hours. I ran when I ran, and walked when running was too hard. I ate and drank a little at the far aid station, and again at our camp. I sat for maybe 3 minutes, after lap 3, to put on my compression sleeves and knee highs, but other than that one time, i did not stop to rest. Also starting lap 3 I used my Ironman muscle rub each lap on my knees and calves.  I turned my music on and just kept moving.
Below is lap 9 -
Looking from our camp back up towards the arch.

 It was now warm and full sun in places, but the breeze stayed, so I never felt over heated. I knew I was getting sunburned, but didnt' feel overheated...just felt like I was getting a nice tan : )
 I was so happy this lap! I knew with no doubts that i was going to nail my goal, and it was still pretty early in the day. I was an hour ahead of my goal, and thrilled with that.  Only 2 pins left!!
 My hands were the only thing that were pretty swollen.
 I was so happy and amazed to be feeling as good as I was! I was a bit tired, but did not feel like I had already covered a marathon distance.  I was over 27 miles in in this picture and had no pains at all and was not super tired. I was tired, but not like I am at the end of a marathon.
 I loved this section every lap, the waves were so close and you could hear them coming ashore.
 The Eucalyptus trees were so pretty and provided lots of shade. They were pretty noisy with all the wind, lots of creaking and squeaking.

 Heading down my favorite part, the single track. There was a little tricky downhill part that really got my knees by the end of the day though. I knew at this point those Babyruths and mt dew were just down around the corner, though, which kept me moving!

 Not a bad view, even after 12 loop of seeing it. It changed so much as the day went on, in never got old.
 So happy still!
 This is heading back toward the start/finish area, through the woods.


 And there you see the rare double Brazen arch. We always went through the one on the left. The two 10k's and two 5k's stayed to the right.  So in the morning there was a 10 and 5k, and then again in the evening. I just tried to keep my head down and ignore everyone that came flying by and stay in my head and focused on moving at the rate my body needed to move to keep moving for as long as possible. The fresh runners knew some of us had been out there since 7 a.m. and we got lots of encouragement from them, lots of "good job" and "way to go's" as they flew past.
 And then there was one pin left. Lap 10. Such a special lap for me.  First, at the end of lap 9 I looked up and Brian was there waiting for me!  He was also starting his lap 10, and wanted to be together when we crossed the 31 mile mark and hit our 50k distance.  I was actually so focused on finishing lap 10 and hitting 33 miles that 50k had slipped my mind. 
 We saw Allen and Clocky as we headed out for lap 10.
 Right about in here, Brian is holding up his watch saying something like "here it comes, and....right....now....8:03, we hit it in 8:03"....I said "we hit what??" .....50k!!! Oh, yeah, that little thing I've been trying to get done for 2 years?!  In 8:03. What the heck is happening today?? I'm still feeling great, and I just 50k'd in 8:03 when I would have been happy to have hit it, and really thought I would, closer to the 10 hr mark.  I was sunburned and tired, but really felt amazing.
 With the moment over, Brian peeled off for the outhouse and I kept on going w/o him.

 Then he caught back up after a while, but I really needed to keep moving at the pace I had been moving, which was a run when I could, and a fast hike when I couldn't run. When you've been moving that long, any change of pace, slower or faster, is painful. I peeled away at the end of lap 10 and got the finish of that oh so important lap below-
 You can see the grass has taken a beating today as hundreds of us keep passing through.
 And then guess what happened. My main goal was accomplished, faster, and feeling better than I could have hoped for.  So there was only one thing to do. Ditch that last pin, drink some coke, grab some sugar, and do it again. Brian was having some achilles pain and he sat to rest for a bit, so I left w/o him. Now I was starting to think maybe I could hit 40 if I kept feeling as good as I was.  I was getting tired, but not like hitting the wall tired where you feel like you can't take another step. I never felt that way all day. I was just getting a bit stiff and sore and overall tired, but definitely had more in the tank still.
 Tired, but happy and still moving!
 Things looked different again as the sun started getting lower in the sky.

 After loop 10 I switched out my shoes for a fresh pair....let the blisters begin.
 Just came down off the single track, heading to my Mt dew stop, and man the bottom of my feet and my toe nails started hurting pretty bad this lap.
But I finished it. And then, guess what?? I did it again. I headed out for lap 12. Pretty tired now, and my feet...ugh. Every step was that squishy feeling followed by burn.  I told myself just get this lap done and I'm pretty sure you'll be at 40. Nothing structural was hurting, no joints or muscles or anything. Just the blisters, which were already there, so I knew I was fine to keep going. And, I wanted to keep going. There was never a "I can't take another step" feeling. I had the energy and desire, so I just had to ignore the blisters and life was good!  Brian was not at camp resting anymore, so I knew he was getting his 11th lap in.
 So I finished lap 12, and was pretty sure that put me at 40, but I asked Jasmin, who was directing runner traffic, if 12 was 40 and she said to ask Sam. As I went passed the tent Sam was in, he was busy. I asked Marie and she tried to do some quick math, but said to be sure I should probably just do one little lap.  During the last hour of both the 6hr and the 12hr, they open up a smaller .67th of a mile loop so that runners can quickly add on some distance to whatever they already have.  I was pretty tired at this point, gave myself about a  minute of being bent over with my hands on my knees....and then headed out on the little loop.

 Just so happened that Brian was on the little loop and we did that loop together.   At the end, he kept going and I went over and asked the timing lady where I was at mileage wise and she said "41.11".
It was about 6:25, I had time for a few more little loops, but I was done.  More than thrilled to have hit 40 miles, thrilled to feel as good as I did, thrilled to be tired, but not exhausted and in agony. Just tired and happy!! Sam said good job, and handed me a "Brazen's 75th Race" cupcake on my huge medal.

Did I mention the course had nearly cleared out around lunch time? Brazen puts on an awesome bbq with sausages and pizza, and most runners had stopped to eat.  For me, that was one of my favorite parts of the day because I was totally alone out there, no body around me at all. Which meant I could sing as loud as I wanted, and I did.  But, now that I was done, it was time to enjoy some of the famous bbq. I made a plate and settled in to watch Brian do his little loops.

 And then he was done, too.  He ended up with 40.42 miles!!

 My legs after 41 miles, 11.5 hours.
whoa baby did these things hurt after I stopped moving!! My toes, nails, and pinky toes...hurt so bad. I ended up popping all the blisters at about 2 a.m. because i couldnt' sleep they hurt so bad, and my nails. My nails hurt just to have the sheets up against them.

This is an amazing event. Besides my personal experience with the day, just watching Sam and Jasmin and the volunteers manage the 2 all day events, plus directing runners down the correct shoots for the other 4 races, plus managing to get those who wanted to use the smaller loops going off the main loop onto the small loop and across the proper timing mats...it's a huge job and they manage all of it so happily and without a glitch!  The bbq was great, being able to set up your own camp is great, aid stations were amazing, the course is perfect for this sort of event, not too short or long, and it did not get boring ever.  This race they gave runners hoodies instead of shirts, which I did not understand at first, but I do now with it being so cold and windy there. And they are nice hoodies!

I can't wait for next year. With just a little effort training wise, and dropping about 20 pounds....it's unimaginable, but 50 miles would be very, very doable.  If I picked up the pace just a bit,and there's lots of room for that, another 3 laps......I see a 50 miler in my future!

Once again, thank you Brazen!!

There are more pictures on our photo site here.

Brian's recap is here. 

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