Of Mountains and Mole Hills

Oh the pain, the agony!

I didn’t get one of the highly coveted spots in the Half Moon Bay Half.  Each time entries have been released, I have frantically scrambled and thrown my entry back into the mix and every time, it comes back full.  I actually found myself pondering entering the full marathon this morning then conveniently begging and pleading on race day to drop down to the half.

I am not above begging and pleading as you can see.

So now, I have my phone, email and Facebook pimped out to alert me the moment a spot becomes available so I can once again throw myself on the mercy of the half marathon entry gods.

I am keeping my reservation at the oh so lovely Beach House hotel just in case.  Love that place.

You know, this is exactly why I entered the Trifecta in November.  That and the killer early bird discount which was further amplified by my club discount AND the multiple entry discount.  Ridic savings, folks.  RIDIC!  I also had this insane fear of not getting into the Trifecta after my failed attempt at entering SEVERAL halfs to finish out the club session.  Lesson learned, or so I thought.  Ugh.  I really want to run at the beach!  Not just any beach, mind you, the beach I grew up on!

Please join me in a collective prayer to the half marathon entry gods because I really, really, REALLY want to run this race.  (And apparently I will be entering it in November as well!)

And speaking of ye old Trifecta…

Sunday’s run took that little spark of motivation I had last week and transformed it into the raging fire we have all come to know and love.  I mean, I’m scoping out running shorts, plotting my successful completion tattoo (oh?  I haven’t mentioned this?  Hmmm…), and dedicating entire portions of my day to pondering what nutritional aids I need to take with me (will it be Gels or would a PB&J be better on Sunday?).  I also have difficult decision of exactly what color of Asics GT-2170s I would like to break in next.

These ones, I think!

Yesterday, I decided I should take a few minutes (hours) to study the course maps and elevation grading of all three courses.  Of course, I have had a hell of a time finding elevation charts and the exact mapping of most of the Tahoe events.  I attribute this partly to the remote starts, meaning we all pile onto over-sized shuttle buses which navigate terrifyingly narrow mountain side roads.  So when you say, “Start at the top of Emerald Bay” what this really translates to is “Have the scariest bus ride of your life to Inspiration Point, get off and wait and be walked down to a nondescript location when the bagpiper says so.”  No, I’m not kidding.  Last year, several of the races were kicked off by a piper.  Don’t believe me?  Here you go:

His name is Shaun, by the way.  I went to Scotland with him.  He’s pretty awesome.

Anyway, because for whatever reason, not even Garmin seemed to have the exact routes mapped (despite the bounty of competitors in every event), I took a few minutes to do a little estimating on my elevation maps (and consulting with the folks I know ran varying parts last year to confirm my general locations and such).  I managed to put some pretty good estimates together based on the information I already know about each of the three halfs.  It helps that I have actually run the 10K which is the finish of one half and the start of another half.  Other than that, these charts may be slightly off at the start and finish.  They do, however, give me a pretty good idea of what I am up against.

Friday from Inspiration Point
(Click to see the full sized image, por favor)

Spooner Summit to Incline Village

Sunday, from Rubicon

Now, normally I would be uber excited that the first two are general downhill in nature except for the fact that I remember the absolute hellish pain that was screaming down the asphalt from Inspiration Point last year.  And I was responsible.  I wasn’t so much screaming as lightly trotting using all that good posture and proper balance I had been coached on.  I still had blisters and broken toe nails from sliding forward slightly in my shoes, plus a fair amount of stiffness in my shins.  I watched runners fall to the wayside left and right after attempting to gallop down the hill at full force.  Hell, a few even sort of rolled down the hill after losing their footing.  Sporting road rash in a foot race is not cool, folks.

Running down from Inspiration Point last year.

This is an aerial shot of the section where I took the photo above. Steep, folks.

But, both declines are actually pretty reasonable EXCEPT for that 3 mile section on Friday (and seen again on Sunday).  I’m prepared for it.  My shoes are a half size smaller this year and I have the most epic running socks of all time.  And my feet look like they have seen many, many miles.  Many, many, many miles.

But let’s discuss that Hill from Hell in the third half that everyone is talking about, shall we?  It is an elevation gain of 520’ over 1.55 miles.  Ha!  That is but a wee mole hill compared to the 650’ elevation gain in less than a mile I ran/walked/crawled/scrambled up in Oban last summer.  And that hill paled in comparison to Cardiac Hill which had almost 1,000 feet of elevation gain over 1.4 miles (and resulted in my almost stabbing a Denny’s waitress with a fork for attempting to remove my virtually empty plate because I was seriously contemplating licking the syrup off it)?  I laugh in the face of the Hill from Hell!  I mock it with general disdain.  I… Oh who am I kidding…after 26.2 miles and change I am going to be crawling up that hill alternating between cursing myself for entering this blasted race and fist pumping to LMFAO’s “Shots.”  (True story: “Shots” powers me up hills.  Weird, I know.)

Just a reminder of what Cardiac Hill looks like.

All in all, after reviewing my crude elevation charts I am feeling pretty comfortable with it all.  Sure, I should probably tackle a few hills between now and then, but I have to be honest:  I am not scared of any of the three courses.  I am, however, scared of the shuttle bus rides.  Terrified actually.  I need to make sure I sit on the driver’s side so I can’t see when the nose of the bus is hanging out over the edge of the guard rail-less sections of the road.  Just sayin’.

No run yesterday (bowling night!), but a group run tonight.  It should be an easy 4-5 miles with Diane in sweltering heat.  I’m still feeling great coming off Sunday’s run so it should be a fun one.