General Discussion Race Reports! » The Dick Houston Memorial Woodminster Cross Countr Rss Feed  
Moderators: k9car363, alicefoeller Reply

The Dick Houston Memorial Woodminster Cross Countr - RunOther

View Member's Race Log View other race reports
Oakland, California
United States
Total Time = 1h 37m 27s
Overall Rank = 142/204
Age Group =
Age Group Rank = 34/56
Pre-race routine:

I went to bed late-ish (after midnight) then jolted awake at 2 a.m. when I realized a) I hadn't checked the start time (I had seen 9 a.m. before, but that's kind of late and I wanted to check it again) and b) I had no clue where the start was. I knew the race was at Redwood Regional/Joaquin Miller park, but there were at least a dozen places where the race could start. Ha! I'm so lame. I looked all that up and went back to bed. I got up at 7 a.m., dressed, bought some coffee and picked up Michael at 7:45. We made it to the start a little after 8 a.m. Perfect! I got to use the bathroom twice!
Event warmup:

Nothing. I ate a Lunabar about an hour before the race.
  • 1h 37m 27s
  • 9 miles
  • 10m 50s  min/mile

They started this race in handicapped waves, four minutes apart, with the slowest (oldest) folks first. I was in wave two. I was a little worried that this would mean I'd spend the whole race getting passed by the speedies behind me, which did indeed happen but it was actually kind of fun. For once I got to run with the really strong folks and it meant there were always lots of people around. Fortunately the race was small enough (only about 200 people) that crowding on the trails wasn't much of a problem.

The course starts nice and easy but very quickly, I want to say in the first mile, you hit the first really nasty climb. I was proud of myself for running all of the last race and I wanted to do the same with this one, but ha! No way. It was too steep and there were too many rocks and roots you had to climb over. No big deal, everyone was walking. I passed one or two women on the first hill -- one person early on when I was still running, and another person about halfway up.

Walking that early on was a little demoralizing, and in the mile or so after that climb I was feeling kind of sluggish and unhappy. For some reason I had that feeling of water sloshing in my belly, which is weird because that almost never happens to me and I hadn't drank any more than usual that morning. Fortunately it went away pretty quickly.

I got into a nice rhythm after a couple miles and was feeling pretty good, even when the fast folks started passing me. So many of them were really nice and encouraging as they ran by. There was one very narrow section of trail where it was basically impossible to pass anyone and I got stuck behind a slow dude from the previous wave for a hundred yards or so, but the breather felt good.

After the narrow section we came out of the woods and had to cross a busy street where Boy Scouts were stopping traffic for us. Yay, Boy Scouts! But we had to climb another steep hill from there, this one on the road. It was short -- short enough, in fact, that one woman, I believe from the wave behind me (she was moving fast), ran right past the turn off onto the trail again. I started to follow her when I saw the white arrow and a bunch of us stopped and called her back. Other than that spot, the trail was extremely well-marked and I was never confused about where to go.

From there we had another mile or two of pretty easy running and we hit our first water station. I know the trails around this area pretty well, having hiked there a lot. I also know how hilly it could get, but since I don't know specific trail names very well, I wasn't sure which hills we'd be going up and down. I was also running totally blind as far as pacing and mileage -- there were no mile markers and I couldn't really tell how far I'd gone based on my time. After the water stop, which I knew was at the three-mile mark, I was clueless about distance.

We ran on one of the two ridge trails for a while after the water. I was a little worried about the ridge trail sections, because I know those trails can be very exposed and therefore very hot, and there are some sections that have short but *brutal* hills. Fortunately, we didn't hit any of those hills and the sun was out but it wasn't too hot. Perfect running weather, actually.

After about a mile on the ridge trail we took one of the trails down into the valley. It was very steep and very fast and very fun. Some more dudes flew by me here, as I was being careful with my footing on the downhills. At the bottom of one hill a guy started passing me who wasn't zooming right by and I asked him when we'd hit the Woodmonster. That's the infamous hill on this run. I don't know the elevation gain, but it's about a mile and it's STRAIGHT UP. No running, no way. The guy said he thought it was about two miles up ahead, but it turned out it was only about half a mile. Whee! We crossed a couple of streambeds and then we were on the hill.

It's a monster, but with everyone walking it, eh, it's like a tough hike. Any time the hill eased up enough to allow running I'd do a short jog, just to keep the legs happy (although I did pass one or two people doing this). There wasn't a lot of chatting here but no one seemed truly miserable, just kind of gutting it out. At the very top I ran by a woman who was on the ground clutching her knee. There was a guy waiting with her and up ahead I saw a couple of volunteers on their way. Poor thing!

After the Woodmonster I had no clue what to expect from the rest of the race, but it turned out it was a pretty easy three or four miles to the finish. It was actually a blast! I was feeling really strong and fast (ha! Probably not, but it felt fast) and hardly got passed at all in the last few miles -- although that was probably because all the fast people were already way ahead of me, heh. I loved this section. The trails were beautiful. The course was pretty technical, with rocks and roots and trenches and whatever, which made it really interesting and fun. It was just such a blast. I had no idea how far I had to go so I restrained myself a little, but I wish I'd just gone all out after the hill. That'll be the plan next year.

In the last mile there's one really treacherous downhill; I actually walked the steepest section. As soon as it evened out a bit I started running again and promptly fell. And hard, too. I was fine but covered head to toe in dirt. I got up, made sure everything was working, and then groaned thinking about having to cross the finish line like that. I mean, I was spitting dirt out of my mouth and when I touched my face I could feel dirt all over my forehead and cheeks and, well, everywhere. I started running again and pulled up my shirt to wipe the worst of it off my face, but clearly I was looking a mess no matter what.

It turned out the finish was only a quarter mile or so from there and I ran hard for it. I haven't had that strong/fast of a finish in, well, ever. I felt fantastic! I hit the finish line and was immediately surrounded by volunteers asking if I was OK. Heh. I told them I was fine, just a moron. They laughed and let me go. Michael just started laughing when he saw me.
What would you do differently?:

Not fall! Other than that, I know I could've gone much faster. I had loads of energy at the end. I'm definitely doing this race again and I will go hard.
Post race
Warm down:

Warm down was mostly rinsing off. I found a water fountain and managed to get off most of the dirt. People kept asking if I was OK. I was glad I'd brought along a spare shirt so I could change. I sat on the grass with Michael for a while, drinking water and eating some Gu blocks(???).

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Poor strategy -- I should have gone a lot harder on the flat sections of the race.

Event comments:

I love this race! It's a beautiful course, super friendly organizers, lots of volunteers, really nice racers. This was the third in the East Bay trail running series, and it was by far my favorite of the three.

Only one complaint: Right before the race started the RD announced that they only had 200 finisher medals and there were just slightly more than 200 runners, so only the first 200 folks would get a medal. That seemed really uncool. If you signed up too many people, at least tell folks you'll mail them a medal after the race. Instead the RD told us we should "run fast" if we want a medal.

But that's a really small complaint and overall this was the most fun running race I've done. I'll definitely be doing it again.

Profile Album

Last updated: 2009-02-09 12:00 AM
01:37:27 | 09 miles | 10m 50s  min/mile
Age Group: 142/56
Overall: 34/204
Performance: Average
My watch had me 30 seconds faster than this, but whatever. Rankings are based on handicapped times, not actual times. My handicapped time was 1:41:27.
Course: Figure 8 course on mostly narrow hiking trails in Redwood Regional/Joaquin Miller regional parks.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race? Ok
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

2009-06-21 7:01 PM

User image

Berkeley, Calif.
Subject: The Dick Houston Memorial Woodminster Cross Countr

2009-06-22 1:24 PM
in reply to: #2232363

User image

San Diego, CA
Subject: RE: The Dick Houston Memorial Woodminster Cross Countr

Sounds like a cool, fun race. Glad you liked it.

Awesome job.

2009-06-22 11:46 PM
in reply to: #2232363

User image

Extreme Veteran
Subject: RE: The Dick Houston Memorial Woodminster Cross Countr
LOVE the RR!!  I swear you make me want to come run this one with fun!  too bad Michael didn't get a picture of your finish! Do they take your picture?  You are an awesome girl and a great runner!
2009-06-23 11:12 AM
in reply to: #2232363

User image

West Chester, Ohio
Subject: RE: The Dick Houston Memorial Woodminster Cross Countr

I am in awe!  Trail running is tough work and you seem to have taken to it very well.  Impressive job out there on a hard course!

2009-06-23 12:26 PM
in reply to: #2232363

User image

Subject: RE: The Dick Houston Memorial Woodminster Cross Countr
Nice race, Erin -- even with the falling part! You're really putting in the miles this year. Good on ya!!
2009-06-24 6:48 AM
in reply to: #2232363

User image

Verona WI--Ironman Bike Country!
Subject: RE: The Dick Houston Memorial Woodminster Cross Countr
Fielding - 2009-06-21 7:01 PM

Nice stuff Erin.  That course looks amazing.  You are becoming quite the trail runner!

2009-06-25 8:51 PM
in reply to: #2232363

User image

Liverpool, New York
Subject: RE: The Dick Houston Memorial Woodminster Cross Countr
Nice race Erin!

General Discussion-> Race Reports!
General Discussion Race Reports! » The Dick Houston Memorial Woodminster Cross Countr Rss Feed