Saturday, September 10, 2011

Drag 'N' Fly 10k

My doggie nanny, Chris Bliss, has decided to pursue the Brazen streak next year. Her goal is to complete every half marathon Brazen Racing has to offer. We are big fans of Brazen. These guys have never disappointed us. They always put on great events complete with a wide selection of post race food, free photos, and super cool medals. It's no surprise that the Chiweenie's nanny wants to go all the way. The only challenge is that quite a few of Brazen's races are on trail, a surface that Chris Bliss is not too experienced with. For this reason, she wanted to give this half marathon a shot.

Drag 'N' Fly is located in the Contra Loma Black Diamond Mines in Antioch, CA, and is arguably Brazen's most challenging half marathon. Chris Bliss knew coming into this race that she would have to pull out all the stops. On top of the demanding rolling hills, she would have to deal with the scorching East Bay heat. All this sent Miss Bliss into panic mode, so I upgraded my 5k to the half marathon so that she would have some company. The added bonus was that our Cribbage partner, "The C.B. Cruiser," registered for this race as well, so the three of us would trek the hills of Contra Loma together.

It's like that big burning ball in the sky is following Chris Bliss up the hill.

Drag 'N' Fly earned it's reputation as the toughest Brazen Race out there. The three of us toiled our way up hills and through trails that never seemed to end. As the clock ticked away, the sun beamed harder and harder, zapping all of our energy. Even with the well stocked aid stations and the fuel that we carried in our Camelbacks, there wasn't anything that could have made us go any faster. At least we had each other, and that was what kept us going. I could go on an on about this how grueling this course is, but I think it would be best to post photos so that you can actually see it for yourselves.  I hope you're sitting down and have a gallon of water. This could tire you out!

The hills are alive with the sound of Endorphin Dude, The CB Cruiser, and Chris Bliss panting.
First aid station stop. I didn't like the look of that mountain!
The sun was so scorchingly bright that my camera didn't know what settings to automatically click on!
Chris Bliss pushing her way up the mountain.
Yay! I made it to the top. I got excited too early. Once I turned the corner, I saw more mountains to climb!
The view of the aid station from the top!
Ooh! Down hill! And shade!
This was only mile three.

After we climbed that first mountain, we bowed down to the second aid station. Ah, water and gummy bears saved us!  Well, it saved us for about four minutes and then it was off again to climb more mountains. The second set of quad-killing hills may have been in a shaded area, but it was very technical. If we weren't careful, we could have very well slipped on a rock, banged our heads on a boulder, dropped dead to the ground, rolled down the hill, and surrender to the coyotes, where the savage four legged canines would gnaw at our bloody carcasses. Chris Bliss, The CB Cruiser, and I continued forth, one step at a time.

Chris Bliss continues to climb. At this point, her asthma started to act up.
Not happy.
We knew we were in trouble when the sweeper caught up to us. The stress of being followed nearly made Chris Bliss collapse.

By the time we reached the 10k mark, exhaustion and lack of oxygen wiped Chris Bliss out. She worked hard to get to this point but the elements proved to be too much for her.  I applaud her for making this far, especially for her first trail race. While we waited for Miss Bliss to catch her breath, The CB Cruiser interviewed me. Here are my thoughts on Drag 'N' Fly:



After six miles of our quads being pulverized by a meat tenderizer under a heat lamp, we decided as a team to pull out. We figured we hit the 10k mark and there was an aid station right around the corner, so this would be a good stopping point. We would load up on gummy bears, chips, and soda, and then get a ride back to the the finish line. Wishful thinking! HA! The thought of just jumping on to the back of the aid station volunteer's truck was one big fantasy. We had to hike back to the second aid station to where the parking lot was! Just when we thought our 10k was done, we had to back track three miles! Boy oh boy. Knowing this, we prepared ourselves by replenishing our system with fuel, and then away we went!

Can you hear me now?
Here we go again.
A cemetery? How eerily apropos.
Family portrait. All the men in these womens' lives have been buried. By them!
Woo Hoo! Victory!

At the end of the day, I dragged and just couldn't fly. This was one tough course and I was glad to have been able to squeak out about 9 miles. It would have been nice to get another half marathon under my belt, but I'm happy with the 10k medal. 

Gotta love the Brazen medals.

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