Monday, September 23, 2013

Brazen Racing's Trail Hog 2013 - Emma's 13.1

Emma has been asking for the past year to do a 13.1. She's been running since she was 5, so for 6 years now.  She's done some tough Brazen 10ks over the past 2 years, so the natural progression is to go ahead and let her up her distance.  Just as we did with Sophie, we had Emma look at the elevation maps of both the 10k and 13.1 and let her pick what she wanted to do. She went with the 13.1!
While again I say, that elevation chart looks pretty tame, like it's nice, gentle, rolling person it feels much different.  A quick summary would be that you climb up one ridge and then back down and out a valley, nearly back to the finish, which you can see and hear, but you hang a right before you actually get to it. That is loop one. Then you cross the valley floor, and climb another ridge, then back down to the valley floor and out, that's loop two.

A good look at a custom Brazen Bib! And, from year to year, the race name stays the same, but the logo and style of the bib is custom every year, as are the medals and shirts.

She was a bit nervous at the beginning. I kept telling her to pace herself and hold back, not to push herself in the first half, she'd need to save something for the second half.  I'm sure I annoyed her because she likes to always go hard, but soon enough we came to the first climb and that slowed her down w/o any help from me.
Heading out in the first half mile of the course. We pretty quickly had lungs full of dirt!

Thanks to Allen for this one! This was right before the first climb started.

First hill, this is her "I just got geezered by Allen!" face. I explained he's a mountain goat and it happens to me all the time, not to worry about it!
 That's my "what the heck?" face....this hill didn't look hard on the elevation chart!

  Eventually we topped out and ran along the top for a bit, you can see from the wet spot on her shirt we were already pouring water on her to keep her cool. I was starting to realize it was going to be a long, hot day!
 Nice view of what a good chunk of this course looked like, sunny and no shade.

 This was the second aid station, we would hit it again later in the race. Much later.  So after this aid station we had around 4 miles, maybe a little longer, to the next aid station. The next aid station also had a cutoff that we needed to make to continue.  It shouldn't have been close at all, really, but she was slowing, and it was getting hotter, so I was getting a bit nervous, but just kept telling her if she keeps moving, she'll be fine.
There was lots of Spanish Moss, which was really pretty.

 We are now heading across the bottom of the valley towards the climb up the next ridge, and that cut off. She had been running the flat for a while and was feeling really confident on time, it wasn't even close at that point. I had a talk with her about trail running and how you never know whats around the next corner, you could hit half a mile of stairs, or a mile climb, or an entire hill of switch backs...and then your time cushion is gone.  The trick is pushing hard when you can and banking time when you can, but not pushing too hard.
 Yeah, I just realized we were about to start climbing a long climb up to the top of the ridge...not sure how to break it to her...

 I think it was something like, "hey Emma, time to dig deep and climb this mountain so you can make that cut off." I was still pretty sure that if we maintained any kind of forward motion, we'd make it.

 Favorite picture of the day. Most of the course looked nothing like this, but for this 30 seconds I was in trail heaven!
 A few things here, I was really hoping we were not climbing that ridge to the left, and the aid station was just ahead, down in that dip.  We did make the cut off, with a whopping 20 minutes to spare.  She was really really fading, and had said she didn't know if she wanted to keep going or drop. I told her if we make the cutoff, we are going to keep going.  I did not get pictures at that aid station, but they got food in her, drinks, refilled my bottles, iced her down and sponged her off multiple times.  The aid was around mile 8, so we had 5.4 miles after that (it's an ultra half).
 Immediately out of the aid station we were climbing again. I think you can see how she was feeling.
 Those 2 miles went by w/o much happening. We talked about digging deep and really finding out how tough she is.  We had a long talk about how if people knew how ward some things are before, they would never try. That if she had known how hard/hot/miserable she was going to be, she probably would have taken the 10k. But, she didnt' know, and now she's in it, feeling it, working through it, making herself push through it and keep moving, and she's going to finish something what a lot of other people don't even try because it's "too hard".
 When the day started, I stayed behind her to let her find her "easy pace", but now we were at the point where I needed to stay a ways ahead to keep her moving.
 Eventually we made it back to this aid station, aid #2 and #4, repeated everything we did at the last aid, and kept moving on.
 She was vacillating between being ecstatic that she was going to finish, and waves of needing to throw up, and saying she couldnt' pick her feet up any more.  She had me nervous a few times. We were getting close to the 4 hour mark. That is a long time to be out there in 90+ degrees moving. Too long for me, and the first time for her.  I know I go into silent mode when I know I'm on the verge of entering what feels like the danger zone, and she was still pretty chatty, so I figured if I just kept her moving and talking, drinking, and eating Chomps, we'd get through it.
 She had 1.4 to go.
 One tough, delirious kid!
 We were right at the end of the end of the end of the pack (I think there were 2 people who finished after us?)  That means these volunteers at the turn had been standing out here for over 4 hours in the heat. I apologized and thanked them. It was good to see Marie's smiling face though.
 We could see and hear the finish now, she tried to run a bit, but there was just no gas left. I told her to save it for the finish shoot and try again.

 Here she comes!!
 And there she goes, finishing her first 13.4 in right around 4 hours, 20 minutes.  Sam gave her a great welcome home as she was coming down the finishing shoot over the loud speakers.  Sam and Jasmin have been there for all her firsts - first trail run, first 5k, 10k, and 13.1. I can't thank them enough for making our kids so welcome at their events and making us part of their Brazen family, whether we are running of volunteering!
 Once she sat to eat, she was done!  A tray of brownies was placed in front of her, and Jasmin hand delivered her first place medal for her division.

 Yes, I am in the outhouse, and yes, I really needed it. Let me tell ya, this was one hard earned medal!  My hat goes off to all the pacers out there who work hard to bring their runners in and get them through the end of their 50 and 100 milers.  4:20 is way too long for me to be out in that heat. I could not complain at all though, i just wanted to keep Em moving and get her a finish.  It was a balancing act of pushing her and letting her go easy when needed, letting her complain about everything she was feeling, and telling her to buck up and get it done.  This was possibly the most emotionally and physically exhausting race I have done to date!  My legs felt fine afterwards, due to the slow pace, but my heart (rhythm), headache, and stomach took a good week to recover, and actually my heart is still a bit more wonky than I would like.  But, we got it done!!
 Got sodium??  Em's legs were sore for a few days, but other than that, she was fine after this.  She wrote a summary and turned it in for extra credit in PE.  Her overall thoughts afterward were that she would train more if she ever does a 13.1 again. She also agreed that winter races and coastal races would be better for her for her next 13.1 due to heat.  But for now, she wants to stick to 10ks. : )


  1. Ba ha ha ha....I just noticed I have toilet paper in my hand in the outhouse picture.
    Thankfully it was not used, yet.

  2. THIS IS SO COOL! Getting geezered by me is never a good thing, but I really assumed it was temporary. And then it started to get really hot and I knew that was going to make this much harder than bargained for.

    But here's the cool thing - she didn't choose a safe, flat race for her first. She chose one of the Brazen Ultra Half Marathons! That's amazing and very impressive!

    So how many of her classmates have run a Half? This has got to make her the coolest kid in her class, and her PE instructor has to be impressed.

    I suspect her second Half is not all that far away, and that secretly she's wondering about 30Ks. 35Ks. Maybe a Full!


  3. We are so proud of both you. Emma, under those circumstances what you did rates right up there with any world class effort put forth in any sport. Your time does not have to be world class, still it took that kind of effort to just finish on your part. Beth, when we first discovered your heart issue it was nerve racking for a parent. For you to stay out there for emma was awesome. Em, anything you need for future events just let us know. Love you, grandpa and grandma val.

  4. One more thing. When val and I come to visit do we get to meet the Beast and notthatlucas? In my eyes they are legends.

    1. I think you just asked to work an aid station at a race with me : )

  5. Great job Emma!!! Your mom is right, you did something a lot of people wouldn't even try. You are amazing!!!