Attempted Runner.

Race Recap: Brazen Racing – Rocky Ridge
10.07.14, 11:06
Filed under: Brazen Racing, Race Recap, running | Tags: , ,


Brazen Racing has an Ultra Half Marathon Series where if you run at least 6 of the Half Marathons listed in the Ultra Series you get a Coaster Medal and a chance to win some money (up to $1000, or even $2000 if you place first in both the series and Rocky Ridge). There are 13 Half Marathons to choose from out of the 28 that Brazen puts on in a year. Of course, they select the toughest of the 28. Sorry guys and gals, no flat as a pancake Summer/Bay Breeze courses for you! You can pick any 5 of the 13 courses and the 6th must be at Rocky Ridge. Obviously with Rocky Ridge being the last half in the series, that equates to it being one of the hardest courses.

With that being said, the 5k is probably also one of the hardest courses. HA.

The race (5k) didn’t start until 8:30, but J and I arrived dark and early at 5:50am so we can get the parking in front of the gates rather than taking the shuttle a mile or so down the road. The things we do, to get good parking. So granted, we did have to just hang out in the car for an hour and a half but its ok. We were in my new car so it was fine. HA.

When the sun finally decided to make an appearance we headed over to pick up our bibs. I lost my $5 somewhere. I got my bib/shirt and Drag-N-Fly shirt for my MIL#1. While I then looked around for the $5, J waited in line to get hers and That Girl’s Rocky Ridge sweatshirt. I never found the $5, so I decided that I paid it forward to whoever found it and just hope that they did something nice for someone else in return. On the way back to the car, we ran into AMERzing and wished him luck on his Half.

We hung out a little more and it was getting closer to race start so we went back over to the starting area. Before the Half Marathon went out, Mr. Brazen announced that it was Frank the Tank’s 80th birthday! They ended up bringing out a birthday cake with a Tank under the Brazen arch. It was cute! and I thought it was very nice of them to do so as well. I’ve said it repeatedly. Brazen never disappoints.

After singing Happy Birthday to Frank the Tank, the half and 10k group went out. We lined up and there was hardly ANY 5k people. My immediate thought, “I could place in my age group!” My second thought, “Haha, yea right!” If the starting line was any indication on how the course was going to be….please note, this was my first time ever doing Rocky Ridge, then boy was I in for a treat! The starting line was on an incline…and it kinda just went up from there.

I stared out pretty good. Even with their being a steady incline, I managed to maintain a good pace. I was pretty surprised with myself with the first 1/8th of a mile, I maintained in the 10s! Then after some rolling hills I went to 12s but still! That was neat!

As we began to approach one of the more serious hills (elevation gain of 200ish) at roughly 1/2 mile in, I was still doing ok, except my lungs felt like they wanted to explode. An asthma flare. I stopped to walk up the hill so I could regulate my breathing better when I heard a girl behind me let out a moan with a “Oh god.” At first I chuckled because I remember those days, but then I realized that she said it with sheer terror in her voice. It sounded like a full on panic attack, scared voice. I thought she was crying from fright. I turned around to make sure it wasn’t J because as you all know, J is NOT supposed to be running. She’s not even supposed to be WALKING! That’s how bad her injury is…and just walking from the parking lot to the starting area, J told me her foot was already hurting. I turned around to make sure it wasn’t her in excruciating pain (she’s very stubborn and wouldn’t be someone to stop on the trail, mid race) and that I didn’t have to carry J back to the start and take her to the emergency or something…..BUT! It wasn’t J, so that was some relief.

When I turned around, the girl apologized and told me not to mind her, but I was like “Oh, don’t worry about” because we’ve all been there. She then went on and said that this was her first 5k and didn’t realize that these hills were going to be that intense. Then she said the word we all dread…..she said she felt dizzy.

California doesn’t understand that its suppose to be cool right now and the weather for the day was going to be 93 degrees. I believe by the time our run hit it was already in high 70s. That’s not THAT bad, but when your also trail running, it’s not pleasant. My thoughts that quickly flew through my head were, 1. Balls Hot out. 2. Shes Dizzy. 3. Shes going into a panic attack. So, when she said the D word, I didn’t really think about it, and I pulled back and ended up keeping her pace up the hill. I started to talk with her to maybe see if that would help take her mind off the course and ease her panic attack. I think it worked because her voice started to stand more normal. The anxious tone wasn’t there anymore. She still was breathing rather rapidly though so I didn’t want to just leave…just in case, ya know? I also noticed that she didn’t have on a hydration belt, so I offered her some of my water or sports drink as the aid station wasn’t for another 1 1/4 miles, but she declined. Not soon after, did I hear J coming up behind me….jogging….which she isn’t suppose to do. We made it up another 200ish feet, out of the trees and into the blazing sun before it flattened out and into a downhill. The girl’s breathing was back to normal and she said she felt ok so she started to run again. I told her I’d be around if she needed help of any sort. I started to run, but kept it more at a jogging pace because J was behind me and I knew that if I started to run…she would too. Because (sorry J) she’s an idiot..and won’t listen to her doctor and NOT run, I thought that if I kept it at a steady jog she at least would go EASY, keep pace with me and it would help her foot. Except now, looking at my Garmin, I wasn’t running my “normal” 12 min mile pace… I was running 10s. HA!!! I amaze myself sometimes and I don’t even know it until 3 days later.

I hit the first aid station and got some water and 3 gummy bears. Then looked up. I saw the most stupidest hill I’ve ever seen in that part of town. It was a little less than a 500ft. elevation gain of a hill. No…MOUNTAIN! straight up, on concrete in the blazing (now high 80s) sun! As you all know…hills and heat are my arch nemesis so I just kept focus on putting on foot in front of the other. About halfway up the hill, J and the one girl (girl1) that I was with earlier, were stopped because there was another (girl 2) girl sitting on the ground. When I got there, a Brazenite (The usual runners who are at almost every event, if not all) gave the girl her water and took off. J and Girl1 continued their accent as well. Girl2 looked pale as a ghost and on the verge of passing out. She said that she just got her flu shot a few days prior and despite being well hydrated and fueled, it just wiped her out.

Again…I didn’t think about my time or the possibilities of placing or anything, I did what I knew was the right thing to do. I pulled out my Honey Stingers Chomp things that I packed for “Just in case-ies!” I normally don’t pack any sort of fuel other than water for 5ks but with the heat and taking a glimpse at the elevation chart a head of time…I thought I’d be the one to have some sort of low blood sugar attack and would need them. I brought them for myself…but at that moment, the pale-faced almost passing out girl2 needed them more. I made sure she was ok and yet another Brazenite stopped and said that she would stay with her to make sure she was ok, so I finished my accent to the top. On the way up, I gave a few more Honey Stinger chomp things out to a few more people who either asked for them or just looked like they needed them.

I felt like the roaming course aid station.

I hit the turn around cow pie cone (hahaha) and my legs felt so wobbly. I passed Girl2 and she looked a LOT better. She was even making her way UP to the turn around. Props. I started running down the hill at mid 9s, until I stopped and talked with one of the aid station volunteers who had been carrying 2 gallons of water looking for Girl2. I told him how I gave her the Honey Stingers for sugar and that she did now have a water bottle from someone but also described what she looked like so he can ask her himself if she needed a medic or anything.

I continued on, but towards the bottom of the hill I started to slow down to a walk only because I still fear the bottom of hills. Its stilly, but my hip flexor strain happened when I reached the bottom of a hill. I’ll eventually get over it but until now, it’s just one of those things. I passed up on the fuel at the aid station because I just felt good. Despite going up that crazy hill in the blazing sun, I felt good. Probably because I stopped a few times for “rest breaks” while helping people.

I thought by this time (1/4 mile to go), I was probably one of the last 10 people to come in, so I no longer cared about anything. I just took in the scenery. I was flocking along at finally, my normal pace of 12, when I approached an older gentleman who was having a hard time. I stopped to a walk to see if he was doing ok and all he said was, “I SWEAR! LAST YEAR THE FINISH LINE WAS RIGHT HERE!!!!!” when he laughed, I assumed he was ok and I finished out the race.

I crossed the finish line at 58:15. Almost an hour later. I didn’t care. If it was under difference circumstances, I probably would have been kicking myself in the pants for taking so long, but I felt good. I felt proud. Proud that I helped my fellow runners. When I found J (yes…she ran in the rest and finished 2 minutes prior), she was with Girl1. As she (girl1) thanked me for helping her along the way, she sounded like she was going to cry. Not a scared panic attack cry but a I am so grateful that I finished and that you helped me finish type cry. That was when I was like….Yep! Today may have been an hour but it was worth it.

I got my medal and my Sundae ice cream and plopped down in the shade. Not soon after, The Chef finished running the 10k and said that she did almost 10 minutes faster than the year before! Awesome! We hung out for a bit before J and I decided it was time to leave.

Later, when I got home I logged into facebook and girl2 posted a special thanks for me for helping her out. I felt pretty good about myself. I also saw numerous of posts about other runners who struggled during their runs. Some having heat exhaustion, some struggling to make it to the top of the hills and even the post race recap from Brazen said there was “carnage” out there. I don’t know to what extent, if anyone needed the medics or anything serious like that but a lot of people struggled but the outcome was all the same….Every single note I read had something along the lines of, “Thank you to the people who stopped and helped. Who gave me fuel or water or even encouragement. I couldn’t have done it without you!”

That was when I was reminded why I love running. Although you run in teams or groups, in the end its a solo sport because you are trying for your own PR or age group medal or what have you, but when it really comes down to it….we’re not just runners. We’re family. We make sure our family is safe. We make sure our family can do it. We are a family of millions all across the nation. I know that if the same situation happened at another place outside of Brazen racing, the results would have been the same. Runners help fellow runners. Runners will help other runners finish. We are that kind of family and in this family, no one gets left behind!

It’s now three days later and after looking at the race results, I clearly see that I could have….WOULD have placed 3rd in my age group if I didn’t slow to a walk with some or physically stop moving to help assist another. I know that if I didn’t stop not once or twice but probably a total of five times, I could have placed. Some people I stuck with for only 30 seconds..Some I was with for a good 2-3 minutes. That time helping out could have made the difference between 4th place and 3rd place. J with a pretty much “broken” foot even finished before me.

Do I regret any of it? No.

Would I do it all over again? Yes.

Will I ever place in my age group? Eventually.

Will I do Rocky Ridge again? Ummm……………….



5 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Holy elevation map, Batman! Yikes. Those hills plus the heat do not sound nice. Major props for being the good samaritan runner helping people out! The reactions (and continued consciousness) of Girls 1 and 2 are worth more than placing any day.

Comment by dgobs

Yes, Robin, holy elevation map. That’s just the 5k. The 10k was 1469′ elevation gain with that 5k spike of a hill (and had to go twice as high) at mile 2. The half was 3989′ and they had to hit that hill, and all the way to the top (we turned halfway) at mile 10!! I’ll stick with the 5k until like 4 years of practice. Haha.

Comment by Attempted Runner

Wow, that sounds rough, congrats on getting through it!

Comment by Falyn @ Slacker Runner

Well damn… what an eventful run. You are like a superhero. I would really appreciate it if you could be my personal race aid stop. Proud of you and yes, you will place I’m your age group. No doubt about that!

Comment by Ratattooee [Remastered]

Only way I could be your personal aid station is if I bring my mountain bike to the runs to keep up with you speedy.

Comment by Attempted Runner

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