28 March 2011

Oakland Marathon Relay Recap!

Such a sunshiny medal!

I could sum this run up in three words...

Smoked. Pissed. Thrashed.

But that would be super boring ... and you all want to know the details, right?

Right off the bat, I need to tip my hat to all the finishers of this full marathon... they are all rockstars, each and every one of them deserves a Nail award.  This course is really, really demanding.  The elevation profile doesn't do the difficulty justice... at all.

Danny pointed out that if you do the math, it is just a 1% incline.  F that noise.  The subtleties are absent in that profile.  The climbing seems to never. stop. for. eleven. miles.  Okay, there are microscopic dips and levels occasionally... but they are just enough to give you the hope to keep on truckin'... and just enough to make it equal that 1% figure, balancing out the climbs.  Imagine, if you will, going uphill for the first 11 miles of a marathon.  Not up and down hills... but UP.  Just UP.

Okay, now on to my leg o' this madness...

The whole shebang was beginning at 7:30 a.m. down at City Hall.  The lead-off runs 6 miles up into the hills and hands off mid-hill to #2.  Here is the scene at the hand-off:

My lead-off thought it would take her about an hour to get there, meaning a hand-off at around 8:30. I arrived at around 8:15 to get warmed up and nervous excited.  It was a really cool scene... I have never participated in a relay, and I have never done a big, urban marathon before.  The diversity of peoples in every single way imaginable was awesome!  The relay component sky-rocketed this level of diversity, I think.  As I was watching the people pass by or hand off at this spot, I started to realize just how hard the lead-off leg was.  When my lead-off got there, the hand-off went smoothly, and I started my chug up the hill.

I knew right away that this was just a test of survival.  And I couldn't imagine the fortitude of those doing the full.  The course winds through a hilly residential neighborhood that is very lovely... I saw none of it.  It goes through a little neighborhood shopping area... it was a blur... and not because of my speed.  It was ALL. UP. HILL.  About a mile and a half into my leg, I got smoked. She was the first relay person to pass me. Smoked. Ah, well....
Then I heard these guys!
How could I not stop and take a picture?
this was in the middle of a moderate hill that felt like freaking the Alps...
appreciate that I stopped and took a pic for the blog 'cuz 
starting again was so hard :P
When I got to the top of the Alpenhorn incline, I got smoked by some chick who runs for the same club as the other smoker. Sheesh.... I just watched her bright gold shirt zoom off in the distance ahead...

The course leveled off for a moment, and I entertained ideas of speeding up to try and stay the same distance behind her... but then the incline started again and I just focused on steady running and smiling :) The 10-mile mark (for me indicating about a mile to go) was at the top of that particular incline... things got really steep as you near that mark... then you go through a parking lot and past the Mormon Temple.  There were LOTS of people cheering in front of the Temple.  As you round that bend, the huge descent begins....


Knowing that I would be done in about one mile and the hill was about one mile, meaning that once I was at the bottom, I was almost done, I just let 'er rip.  But....

I had to pee.

No matter how delicately you try to run down a massive hill, it is going to be somewhat jarring.  And... well... I pissed in my pants.  Not completely.  But enough.  And I totally didn't care 'cuz I was almost duh-huunnn!  Mile 10 to Mile 11 was done in 8 minutes.  Things leveled there and I could see my hand-off point.  My girl was right in front.... waving and waiting.... I was sooooooo happy to see her!  I gave her the thingy and that was it. Over. Wet.

And my legs were thrashed.

My family was there waiting!  Woo hooo!  Actually the kids were all sitting in the car, supremely annoyed that they had to leave the house in the morning to drive into the ghetto to see mommy run.  But they cheered up when I announced that I was sorry it would be smelling like pee in the car because I peed in my pants.  Yeah, they thought that was hilarious!

I went home and took a shower and washed my hair... but this is me at home before cleaning up, still in my spiffy racing duds... 20-year old peed-in Sporthill pants and a faded 15-year old cotton tank top. My shoe is untied because the car key was in there.

Here is my team!
We finished the whole thing in a combined-effort 4:13 and change.
My leg was a little over 5 miles in just under 50 minutes.  And our anchor (the woman in black) 
did her 7.5 miles in one hour.
I went back to the finish line after I got showered and changed... kinda lame, but...

And I had a heck of a time finding parking because of all those dang marathoners!  
I did such a totally amazing job parallel parking,
I had to share it.
Be impressed!

That is my mondo pickup truck... 
really, I parked it between those two cars.
With no help.

Did you race this weekend?  How'd it go?

Are you a good parallel parker?
– this truck is 23 feet long.  It is a crew cab, long bed.  And it's wide.  I am a parking rockstar.


  1. That sounds brutally hard. Brutally. Did I say brutally? I could not do 11 miles of uphill. I would cry and pass out.

    You did amazing for your part and I love you even more that you pissed your pants and that you wrote about it.


  2. Well I was impressed by the running and then blown away by the parking. I do not parallel park. I would park 5 miles away from my destination if it meant avoiding parallel parking. I can barely do pull in parking.

    Awesome job on the run though, that sounds brutal.

  3. great job...I dont think I could have done this!

    parallel parking is a must for where I am from. you have to be good at it or you dont park....EVER.

  4. Congrats! What a fun race! For the past 3 years I have said I was going to get back into running and run the local 10k, and I haven't done it. A friend of mine did it and I was so jealous that I vow to do it next year. I have a full year to train!

    I used to be a parallel parking rockstar in my tiny Tercel. In my Jetta I was too scared. In my Explorer? I'm still able to rock it.

  5. Hilarious! Pants pisser! I have avoided that situation thus far but I'm not beyond doing it for a race-ha!!!

    Great great job on a monster course! Congrats to all of you! I drive a Chevy Suburban with a back full of hockey gear at ALL times. I like to think I'm an awesome parallel parker but the dents in my vehicle say otherwise.

    Really funny report! I loved it:)

  6. Madge! Thanks I feel like I was there! Laughed out loud when I read that your children were annoyed UNTIL they heard about your, ahem, situation... They're never going to let you forget this. You pee your pants one lousy time.... You'll forever be known as my mom who pees in her pants.
    I love you to bits!

  7. The Runner's Code of Conduct states in Section 26.2 Paragraph 5 that in the event that an alternate is needed to fill a relay team the remaining members of the team must volunteer to take the hardest leg or provide an all you can eat lunch for said alternate.

  8. You ARE a parking rockstar! I have a smart car and I couldn't have fit it in there! You're also a rockstar in so many other ways, too...gives me inspiration for our upcoming dragon boat race :) I'd stop in the middle to take a photo, but I think my coach might drown me...I'll see what I can do, though. It's pretty cool that you got one in here.

  9. I love it! Not only did you not die but you lived to tell about peeing your pants.

    Not knowing how to parallel park around here means that someone is driving you or you take the bus. But considering that you are not a frequent parallel parker (or even if you were) that is some impressive parking there!

  10. congrats!
    never raced. probably never will.

  11. Awesome job on the race! I really enjoyed your race report and it sounded like a brutal horrible good time...
    that is one helluva parking job- coming from a girl who CAN actually park a truck (haul a trailer, back it into impossible spots, etc) But really- your truck is freakishly long. Shows some talent!

  12. Where on earth did they get the Alphorns from.....3 of them!!!! Following your blog from Switzerland!

  13. Way to go! I have been out of the bloggy loop way too long. Sounds like a great time and you did a great job-especially with no notice. :) And hey, at least you had a great view right before you wet yourself! haha! :D
    How fun would it be to do a bloggy runner meetup relay team? There would be way too many tmi conversations I'm sure.
    Also, I will never live in a big city because I hate parallel parking. And I'm doubly impressed because that sucker is even longer than the bus I drive!

  14. Wow! Congrats on actually doing the run, it sounds incredibly difficult and makes me feel even lazier for sitting on the couch all morning : ) Can I say that I LOVE LOVE LOVE that you stopped to take ap icture while you were running, that's just perfect.

  15. Wow. I'm so not worthy! That is impressive. I trained for a 5K a couple years ago and it about killed me. LOL

  16. Thanks for the nice blog. It was very useful for me. I'm happy I found this blog. Thank you for sharing with us,I too always learn something new from your post. Oakland skyline at night


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