I started the year off right by doing double half marathons, one on New Years Eve, and one on New Years Day. It was tough, but I had a great group of friends to run it with. The courses were on Lake Chabot, and the race was put on by Brazen Racing. I can't say enough about Brazen. They are one of the best race directing companies I have come across. I have not met one runner who hasn't had positive things to say about them, and they deserve it. The courses were perfectly marked, aid stations were filled to the brim with anything you could ever dream of, and of course, ITS ITS at the end! Love it!
So, the races! Lake Chabot is awesome to run at. You get to experience all terrains of trail running. There is steep incline, steep decline, flat spots, single track, switch backs, forest running, meadow running, heat, and coldness. Day 1 was challenging, but rewarding. There is about 1800 feet of elevation gain in this run, and most of it comes at the mile 3-4 incline. I struggled up the behemoth hill, but the reward of the view was absolutely amazing at the top. A friend and I leap frogged the whole way, which was fun because I was able to commiserate with someone about the pain I was in!
This picture is of me right at the beginning of the race! Smiley, happy, not feeling the steep hills yet!
This is me, coming into the finish. I may be smiling here, but it is mainly because I was almost done and was about to go eat some delicious yumminess at brunch! After the race, myself and two of the run groups I am part of went to Elio's (delicious breakfast) and celebrated a friend's birthday and our collective awesomeness at finishing day 1 of our back to back half marathons.
Fast forward to day 2! I woke up feeling tired, cranky, and not at all like I wanted to run. Running 13.1 miles two days in a row was not something I was looking forward to. It was going to be warmer that day, so I decided to wear shorts (a mistake, the consequences of which I will discuss later). When I got to the race, I wasn't feeling any happier about being there. But, I put my game face on and decided that I would just take it easy, take pictures of the beautiful sights, and just enjoy it. There were definitely fewer people there on Day 2, which was fine with me because I got to use the "real" bathrooms and not the PortoPotty!
Day 2's half marathon was run in the opposite direction we ran previously. That ended up being awesome, because you got to appreciate all the downhills that you struggled up as hills the day before, and gained respect for the hills you didn't even notice as downhills. Here are some of the pictures I took of the course:
This was right at the beginning of the race. Beautiful Lake Chabot with the early morning sun rolling in.
Part of the forest-y paths. These trees were awesome and I couldn't stop looking at them and feeling so lucky that I got to run through a piece of nature as beautiful as this.
The top of one of the final climbs at mile 10. You could see the entire bay area from this viewpoint, and the picture doesn't even begin to do this scene justice.
It was all incredibly beautiful and awe inspiring. However, my legs felt like jello by the time I hit mile 8 or so. There were some killer downhills on this course that I didn't really take into account from the day beforehand. My knees were torn up and my hip was angry at me. Even with all my stopping to take pictures, my legs just felt absolutely exhausted.
This leads up to mile 11. Meghan, meet ground. Ground, meet Meghan! You two have met before, right? I KNEW I was tempting fate by running the same trail 2 days in a row. Totally wiped out, tripping over a rock. Tore up my knee, destroyed my sprint bottle, and my camera was definitely worse for wear. If only I had worn capri's, I might have had a little protection! But NO! I had to wear shorts! OY!
The race was finally over a bit after that, and I had the honor of being run in by one of the best runners I know. He ran me in through the last .75 miles, and even though I was hurting and not wanting to run in at all, I had to do my best in front of him!! So, I sucked it up, and ran my best through that last piece of trail. He really gave me the pick me up I needed to finish that race strong!
Running back to back half marathons was difficult, and my legs felt rubbery afterwards, but I think running a full marathon was still tougher than the back to back halves. I was cranky on Day 2, but the miles seemed to fly by during the half. Before I knew it, I was halfway done, and the miles just kept flying. During my full marathon, I was counting every minute, trying to brave through every mile, and feeling like I was about to fall apart mentally and physically from mile 18 on. My ankles hurt, my knees hurt, my mind hurt during the full. During the back to back halves, I experienced moments of "WHY am I DOING this?" But that was mainly on the most difficult hills and overall I thought it was a lot of fun! I would definitely recommend to anyone who is looking for a challenge to do back to back halves. It doesn't require nearly as much training and preparation, and you don't want to give up on life by the end of it :)
Anyways, now that day 2 was over, I earned the best medal of all, the BRAZEN RACING NEW YEARS EVE/NEW YEARS DAY MEGA MEDAL!!!
How cool is that thing? Definitely worth the the 2 day! In the end, I had a blast over the two days. I wouldn't have been able to do it without amazing friends to support me, a great RD company in Brazen, and my own stubbornness not to give up. I am going to have to get used to this though! If I want to get my training right for the 50K, I need to start doing back to back tough trail runs like these every weekend! I guess I'll just have to get used it :)
That's all for now! Thanks for reading, and keep running!