A while back we decided to try something new - a timed race, with a relay option. It was on New Year's Eve (into New Year's Day if you wanted the longer 24-hour version) and seemed like fun. Something John could join us in for a laid-back group effort on a flat course. We opted for the 12-hour event, that sounded doable.
Well, we were all still feeling under the weather, coughing and without a whole lot of energy to go around. The only requirement was that each teammate had to do at least one lap. 1.065 miles. OK, we're pretty sure we can all do that. Let's at least go and see what it's all about.
The race was held at Crissy Field on the north end of San Francisco. Quite a nice location, plenty of space to set up a little area next to the aid station, and an interesting loop with good views.
Getting ready to get started:
Sure, I'll take the first lap. The guys seemed to think I might want to run the furthest so I should go first. There's a big difference between "want" and "consider prudent", but OK.
Easy enough! You're up, Kip:
Kip was the fast one of our group:
John is still under "no running" orders with his resurfaced hip, so he's been doing a lot of walking lately. He took the camera with him for a loop to document the course. Here's the side along the street, heading toward the Sports Basement:
It was great looking over at the bridge throughout the day, a nice shot across the pond:
The turn on the far end, with a slight uphill that provided a little walk break opportunity:
Another shot of the pond, and this turned out to be on the higher end of the tide. It was neat tracking the exit of the water to the bay and the drop of the pond water level over the next few hours.
A well-marked course:
Coming back toward the start/finish, with San Francisco on the skyline:
The little path cutting back to aid station, with the Palace of Fine Arts over on the right:
My turn again, heading out across the timing mat. We were allowed to turn around and run the other direction whenever we wanted, so we all tried a counter-clockwise lap, but we agreed we liked clockwise better (especially since it was way easier to see each person coming so the next one could jump up to take the timing band from them).
Kip brought chairs and blankets, exactly what we needed for hanging around and watching the festivities:
Another nice view of the bridge:
Well, we're still going, no stopping after 1 lap for any of us. I think we all enjoyed the easy pace, the breaks, and the chance to leisurely peruse the aid station fare. I've never eaten multiple bagel pieces during a race before. And the Noosa yogurt samples were amazing.
A few more photos from the course, on a nice cloudy (but not too cold or windy) day. Quite pleasant.
The backstretch, where lots of other people strolled by and tried to figure out what was going on.
The timing mat, where we missed recording a couple of our laps, oops. We were handing off a timing chip on an ankle strap but mostly not actually putting it on our ankles since we were switching off every lap. We'd usually bend over to swipe the chip over the mat but apparently missed twice. Oh well, everything about this was just for fun, we certainly weren't here to set any records!
But we were here for some naps, apparently :) Yes, John can definitely sleep here:
No matter how I try, I haven't figured out how to center the camera AND put on a good selfie face, yikes:
Every hour that we were still there was an accomplishment. Kip and I kept switching off every mile, and John walked a mile once an hour. Finally Kip decided that 10 miles was enough for him, after the big 50+ mile effort the prior weekend. I went for 16 laps since that would result in an extra mile for 17 miles total. John spelled me for one more break toward the end, thanks John!
We finally got our "group photo" that I wanted for this blog post, yay!
During my last couple laps, the sun briefly came out and lit up the bridge. Nice!
And - good enough!
We lasted way longer than we expected, almost breaking the 7-hour mark! Our team total (including the 2 laps that didn't get officially counted) was 35 miles. Good enough for 2nd place in the 12-hour relay category. Out of 2 teams, of course.
OK, we might have to do that again sometime when we're all feeling well. Running as a relay was quite interesting and different, between the breaks and the opportunity for faster running (or not), staying warm in between moving, and having lots of other runners around to watch. Fun event, glad we tried it out.
Happy New Year!