“The health of the eye seems to demand a horizon. We are never tired, so long as we can see far enough.” (Bad Bass Loch Chabot 10k Race Recap)

Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Plagued by car trouble and a faulty alarm, my friend Ari and I were nearly no-shows at Brazen Racing’s Bad Bass Lake Chabot in Castro Valley last weekend. Luckily, the event was small enough that even arriving 20 minutes before the gun allowed us ample time to retrieve our bibs, take a bathroom break, complete some dynamic stretching, and free-associate while waiting for the 10k to begin. All in all it was a splendid morning of firsts, and at the end of it I had an It’s-it.

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(Thanks to Sarah @craftyxplorer for vouching for these Brazen races and informing me of the snack situation. Honestly, about half the motivation to do this was the prospect of a post-run ice cream sandwich.)

So in addition to food — Lots of goals achieved by finishing this race, none of which were time-oriented.

1) Fulfill a 2014 goal: first 10k race
2) Fulfill a secret bonus 2014 goal: first trail race
3) Continue my streak of 1 race per month since March

Focusing on these milestones alleviated some of the pressure, still I was anxious about the heat, elevation, and of course doing “well” (although I wasn’t sure what that meant in this context, given the unknowns of never racing this distance or practicing on trails). Oddly, coming off a big PR at See Jane Run, I’ve been struggling to stay consistent with my Santa Rosa half training, and thus felt a little under-prepared. I remained consciously non-committal in terms of a strategy other than “have fun,” and to do whatever seemed necessary to tackle the gargantuan godzilla hill at miles 2-3.

bad bass 10k elevation

Dragging a chatty and fun friend along kept me at ease. I’m so used to standing alone in a corral avoiding eye contact with the pacers, or making awkward jokes to exasperated participants, just itchy to get running. Unsurprisingly, buddying up was much more entertaining, even if I performed the actual racing part solo — BIG congrats to my talented friend who finished 5th place overall and won his age group with no training and those goofy Tarahumara Born to Run sandals — seriously!

tarahumara-huarache-sandals-680x680

not Ari’s feet.

Mile 1 + 2 — 8’57” / 9’10”
After quickly getting ditched by Ari on his way to glory, I lagged behind some kid and slower runners, but it was actually my fastest split at just under 9 min pace. By the time I hit the second mile marker I remembered the mountain looming ahead, felt the heat a bit (it was maybe in the mid-seventies but we SF runners are very sensitive…), and kept things easy. I’d gun it in the second half if I felt like it (spoiler: I didn’t).

Mile 3 + 4 — 14’53” / 10’26”
Holy hill! It was what you might expect for a 700+ foot climb in 1 mile. Steep. Felt long. Wasn’t that easy. Everyone around me complaining. My power walking was on-point, and I actually passed a few people on the way up. I watched the leaders come back looking happy to be on the descent, and indeed I hit the turnaround encouraged and feeling speedy. In reality I managed the downhill pretty gingerly, which I’ll attribute to inexperience with the trail racing and poor technique overall. And fear of falling.

Mile 5 + 6 — 9’37” / 9’35”
Upon returning to the flats I felt my energy drain and my positivity weaken. These. Miles. Sucked. I leapfrogged with a couple of seriously overdressed dudes who seemed to be hurting as well, which wasn’t helping me mentally. “Just don’t let any women pass you,” I thought (and stuck to this). But man was this a long 20 minutes. I took a couple of short walk breaks to get my head together, stopped at the final aid station to dump a cold cup of water on my head. Kept reminding myself that this was supposed to be my fun race. Fun?! I was surprised to see these miles at under 10’00” paces. I was certain that I was totally blowing it.

Last 100 Yards AJB (464)

Finish
I hallelujahed at the 6 mile marker and willed myself a little boost, getting up to about an 8’00” pace for the home stretch. My initial excitement turned to grumpiness when I realized that this was in no way only 350 yards to the finish line and indeed results revealed a long course of 6.4 miles.

bodle bad bass 10k results

Shockingly, I took 4th in my age group out of 35 participants! It’s not 5th place overall (jesus), but I’ll take it! 🙂

The race organization was totally awesome (and actually kind of woke me up to the chintziness of See Jane Run. Sorry. I enjoyed that race but other than the booze there were not a lot of perks, or even basic amenities – like easily available water at the finish!) Brazen’s pre-race email correspondence (I had questions about race day registration, followed by a very speedy response and helpful information from the director), bib pickup, shirt and medals, the deluxe spread of edible goodies, the beautiful course…5 stars. I’ve discovered through other blogs and reviews that killing it on organization is just Brazen’s par for the course, to which I thank and congratulate the volunteers and organizers on another successful event! Can’t wait for the next one (although I’ll be icing my ankles first. Gotta work on those stabilizer muscles!)

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8 thoughts on ““The health of the eye seems to demand a horizon. We are never tired, so long as we can see far enough.” (Bad Bass Loch Chabot 10k Race Recap)

  1. Great job. That was definitely done hill! Sometimes it’s just impossible and not smart to run up those things. I have never done a race where there was an ice cream sandwich at the end, but that would certainly be motivation!

  2. Thanks for the shoutout! I’m so glad you enjoyed your first Brazen race! They’re awesome right? BTW, great job on your finish too! I did the Bad Bass 5K a couple years ago and had fun. Hope to see you at future Brazen races! 🙂

  3. That hill is *such* a killer (I know from personal experience) – congrats on conquering it, and more congrats on finishing your first trail race! I can stand by Brazen’s reputation — they are truly a class act.

    I see that you learned a couple of important lessons about trail races — one, that trail “10K”s are often not 6.2 miles, and two, that a “slow” pace will still land you pretty high in your age group. I often look at past results to try to gauge what’s a reasonable finish time.

    • Thanks for the encouragement and advice, Jen! I have been out of the blogging loop lately so I hope that you’re feeling good these days! Any plans for the fall?

      • Other than Ragnar Napa, which I signed up for a long time ago, I don’t have any race plans this fall. My goal is to slowly build my base back up using MAF/low heart rate training — which doesn’t encourage racing, so it’s just as well my race calendar is almost empty. We’ll see how it goes! Are you racing the Santa Rosa Half on Sunday? If so, good luck!

  4. That sounds like such a fun race! I’d love to hear more about your experiences with See Jane Run events…I’m an ambassador and huge fan of their races. I didn’t do the Alameda race this year but went for Seattle instead. I thought it was really well done.

    I noticed you mentioned Santa Rosa. I’m doing the full up there on Sunday – my first ever. I’m super nervous and excited! I was hoping to BQ but am realizing that I’m just going to enjoy my first marathon and put time and other anxieties aside. I hope you have a great run! 🙂

    • Very cool that you’re a SJR ambassador – I read your recap of the Seattle race and it looked like a beautiful run. I enjoyed the fun and supportive attitude of the SJR Alameda race but as I explained in this post I did think some of their post-race amenities could be improved — most importantly by including access to bottled water at the finish. It was a steamy East Bay morning and unfortunately very tough to find free and available beverages in finishers village. That said it was a nice race and I would probably register in the future for a few reasons: timing-wise it’s nice kickoff to casual summer racing, the course is pretty and flat, and it’s friend/family oriented.

      Good luck in Santa Rosa! I think it’s smart to de-emphasize finish time for your first marathon. My advice is to race by feel (Jenny Hadfield’s “run by color” method is a good starting point) and do what you need to do to stay positive. You’ll learn a lot and the experience will make you a stronger runner! Congrats on making it through your training, good luck on Sunday, and have a GREAT TIME! 🙂

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