Saturday, May 08, 2004

The Devil Made Me Do It – Mt. Diablo ½ Marathon, May, 2004

The Trail Runner Magazine Trophy Series has been going on for three months now, but they still haven’t posted results on the site (www.trailrunnermag.com). Unfortunately that’s going to be a curse for me – if I don’t know where I stand, then I gotta keep racing! Maybe that’s their trick – keep us all in the dark so we enter everything we can.

I would like to think there are lots of people doing the TRM Trophy Series, but I’ve only run into a few that are aware of it. It looks like Malcolm Dunn is going to keep racing, but he’s also a track coach so I don’t think he can go every weekend. Well, who knows.

Race #6 found me at Mt. Diablo, an impressive mountain about 40 miles east of Oakland. We’re going to run up the north side, but I’ve heard you can also bike up the west side if you’ve got legs that can handle Alps d’Huez kinds of incline. About 140 have arrived for this race, and again, there are lots of new faces. Redwood Trails has been very busy marking this crazy trail, and has put an aid station right at the top of the 2,400’ peak. Weather is an outstanding 68 degrees.

The pack sorts out to a half dozen runners within the first three miles, and the long climb spreads us out about 4-5 minutes. Matthew Timmer, a tattooed Outward Bounds instructor from Santa Cruz, leads us right up the hill, smiling the whole way. At the top, everyone takes a few seconds to take in the 360 degree views (can you imagine this happening in a triathlon? No way!) and stock up on food. Matthew heads down like a gazelle, and we let him go. 1:51 later, I cross the finish line in third (http://www.redwoodtrails.com/2004_results/diabloresults.html). Kudos also should go to Mark Strawn, who despite adding a half mile due to a wrong turn, only finished a few minutes later.

As I’m looking back on the last three months of racing, I feel lucky to live in SF. Marin, Castle Rock, Golden Gate, Mt. Diablo, Napa, Woodside, Purisima….all so different, but all so breathtaking. It shocks me to think that most SF residents will never see this side of the Bay Area, but then again, I hadn’t in the first four years I lived here. Props to the race directors for giving us a reason to get out here!

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