Coyote Hills Half-Marathon

When I woke up on race morning, the last very last thing that I wanted to do was to run a race. For once I had slept up to my alarm and I wanted nothing more than to continue sleeping. If I hadn’t made plans to meet up with friends who were also doing the race, I would likely have skipped it altogether. Truth.

Coyote Hills is in Fremont (as I just learned), which is about 20-minutes away from me. The race didn’t start until 9 am but I knew that the 5/10K had sold out, so I wanted to get there early for parking.

It was foggy and gloomy, normally the kind of weather I LOVE to run in, but I guess I’ve gotten spoiled with the high 60-degree weather we’ve been having. It felt a tad too cold for me (it was in the high 40’s when I left home) so I wore my Lulu Running Resolution LS-T and shorts. Compression shorts, which I think are the ugliest piece of clothing ever invented. They make my legs look like sausages. But my hamstring was acting up last week, so for the sake of self-preservation, I sacrificed wearing cute Lululemon shorts for them. (Be kind when you see the photos.)

While driving over the bridge to the East Bay, I debated downgrading to the 10K. I wasn’t feeling a half. When I got to the race, I lingered from picking up my bib until I met up with Elise and Deanna (they did the 5K). They managed to talk me into sticking with the half.

Since we were there so early, and the race start was delayed a bit, we had a lot of time to chitchat. I finally got to meet Jess (a Daily Mile and Twitter friend) and her boyfriend, and also visited with Ron and his family and friends.

Eventually it was race time. The half-marathon started first, so I said goodbye to everyone and joined the others lined up at the start. I don’t get nervous at races any more, but I was excited for this one because it was my first trail race. I even wore my new trail shoes (don’t worry, this was my second time running in time).

The Start Line was on top of a hill, so we started running downhill on grass. Then we ran on asphalt for a couple of miles, but also crossed this:

And even had to run in a single file like this:

{you can see my pink hat at the back of the line}

I felt so good the first 6 miles. There were rolling hills, but I didn’t even feel them.

Then the half-marathon course split from the 5/10K course and we had to climb a big hill, which was tough but paved, and doable. But then the course turned right onto dirt and grass, and then to a steep incline that I had to hike (yes, I said hike) up. There was no way I could’ve run it, which then meant the downhill on the other side of it was rather steep and rocky. I was afraid I’d slip so I had to take my time coming down. It was on that downhill that I looked up and saw Jess cheering. Judging from the medal around her neck, I guessed she had already finished the 10K. And seeing that medal motivated me for the second half of the race. And I needed it because it was at that moment that I realized we’d have to repeat the first 6 miles.

Yes, I am a dumb-dumb. When they said it was 2 loops, it didn’t register in my head that we were running the same thing twice (don’t ask, the map confused me).

It’s a good thing I really liked the course because it felt like Ground Hog day. But as we ran along the Bay, the sun started to break (and I got overheated), and I thought to myself, “How many people can say they started their day this way?” {sorry, no photos of the scenery, I stopped running with my phone a few months ago.}

The second time around the course was a lot tougher than the first. Even though I stopped at the aid stations for drinks, and ate a Hammer gel at 4.5 and 10 miles, I still got tired. The last 3 miles did me in. I took more walking breaks. My feet hurt and I was tired of running on rocks and gravel.

By this time, the crowd had sparsed out. My mind kept going back to a text conversation I’d had with my cousin Lauren. After an interval workout that didn’t go well, I had texted her and asked, “Tell me why you like sprints.” (She was a collegiate sprinter and hurdler.) She responded with, “Compete! Its only fun when you get to race people and beat them.” Okay, so I wasn’t winning anything here, but I could try and pass as many people as possible. So that’s the game that I played to get me through the last 3 miles.

At the last half mile, I thought our course would turn and follow the 5/10K course, but no, we had to climb that damn hill again…the one I had to hike up and down. Ugh. But somehow I made it…

And crossed the Finish Line at 2:22:02, which I’m pretty happy with for my first trail race.

Half-marathon #9 is in the books and it came with a cool medal…

…and the best post-race treats!

So here’s the Skinny on Brazen Racing:
• They put on FUN races, by far my favorites (this was my 3rd one)! They are very well organized and provide informative communications.
• Race fees are affordable.
• Courses are well-marked.
• Aid stations are stocked with water, energy drink, all the GU’s you could want, bananas, oranges, pretzels, candy, chips, etc.
• Quality shirts in gender-specific sizes.
• Goody bags of stuff that you’ll actually use.

• Free photos, but you have to go through Picasa albums to find yours. The photos aren’t tagged, so wear bright colors and recognize the people who ran around you. Makes it easier to find your own photos.
• And their races have a community feel. After doing a few of them, you start to recognize people from their other races.

If you’re a Bay Area runner, I would high recommend trying out one of their many races. In fact, my next one is in 3 weeks – Bay Breeze Half!

7 Responses to Coyote Hills Half-Marathon

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  3. jobo says:

    Wow, congrats!!! that is an awesome time, and the route looks gorgeous. Now I wanna do that route ;-)

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  5. Lisa says:

    Naomi….You Rock! This is an amazing trail run time for a half. You should come do the Hallow Eve’s trail North Vancouver, BC with me in October. It’s a blast and some of the costume’s are crazy! I would suggest doing the 10KM as it’s a real killer!

  6. Alisyn says:

    Loved the recap! Congrats on your first trail race. Careful they tend to be a bit addicting! Your a rock star on those hills! And your right – A very cool medal indeed!

  7. Jess says:

    NICELY done girlfriend!!! That is an awesome half time, especially given it was a trail run!! I don’t know how you do it…and to think you have ANOTHER one in three weeks? Damn, I better start signing up for races!!

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