Sunday, December 30, 2012

Brazen New Year's Eve 10k

Brazen Racing is a local event company that puts on very well organized trail runs.  They are some of the best events I've ever participated in - extremely well organized, great aid stations, friendly organizers and crowds, just all around great races.  I was hoping to get in one more 10k before the end of the year, and this one fit my schedule perfectly.

I got there with plenty of time to spare yesterday morning - easy to do when your start time is 8:55 - and I was very happy that it wasn't raining.  I picked up my packet, stashed my extra belongings in my car, and then hung around and waited while the half marathoners took off.

All smiles before the start.
A few minutes later it was time for us to go.  I lined up towards the mid/back of the pack.  I had trained for this event, but it was going to be hilly so I expected a lot of walking.  We took off and the first 1.5 miles went just as planned.  I did my run/walk intervals, grabbed a cup of water at the first aid station (the 5k turnaround point), and that's where the best laid plans went out the window.  The first 1.5 miles were all on a paved trail.  However shortly after we passed that point, we came upon this.

The point where things changed...
We had to cross this bridge for the second portion of the 10k route - all on unpaved trails.  We've had a crazy amount of rain over the past few weeks, so all of that dirt was now mud.  The mud was so deep in some points, I felt like my shoes were going to come off!  Oh, did I also mention that after we crossed that bridge, the course was now entirely uphill?  There was a point on the course where we saw a couple of half marathoners who had decided to give up - the mud was so deep and the hills so steep, they decided to turn back.  But not me...I muscled on!

This wasn't the worst hill or mud...I wouldn't have been able to stop for a picture at that point.
By now I had figured that I was just going to make the best of the situation.  I never expected a fast race because of the hills, but I didn't realize how tough this was going to be.  So I decided to just keep pushing forward up that hill and changed my plan to hike instead of race.  I stopped when I needed to and just enjoyed the view.

Getting closer to the top.
When I finally got to the top and the aid station, it was like a party.  Like I mentioned, Brazen has the best aid stations and great volunteers.  Lots of people stopped and hung out chatting and refueling before making the trek back down.  It was the most time I've spent and the most fun I've ever had at an aid station.

My view from the top.
Down wasn't nearly as bad as up, although it was hard to run even on the downhill because it was so slippery.  I ran where I could, plodded through the mud where I had to, and was happy to get back to that bridge and across to the paved section.  I had been passing and getting passed by the same woman all through the day.  When we got back across the bridge we stuck together and talked the entire way back to the finish line.  She had the best line of the day when she said, "I didn't realize I had signed up for a Tough Mudder race!"

I have to say that this was by far the toughest event I have ever done.  The steepness of the hill combined with the mud made it a brutal course.  But for some reason I couldn't get the smile off my face the entire time.  I had plenty of times when I'd think, "This is brutal," but my thoughts never ran to the negative place of "This sucks."  I really enjoyed myself - I liked that it was hard, and that I never felt like giving up.  I didn't get hung up on my time or how long it was taking me.  I was just grateful to be out there participating.

I think this was the perfect way for me to end 2012.


  1. I tried to tell you about the course :) I got the impression you didn't want to know :) Glad you had a great time and enjoyed it!

    1. This course made the Dam Run seem like a piece of cake! It was much more steep, which wouldn't have been so bad if it wasn't so muddy. But no regrets!