Wednesday, June 11, 2014

playing catch-up

Now that I look back, I see what may have made me lose interest in posting my races here. After a fairly run of the mill half in August, my next race was a DNF...followed by illness...followed by a slow 5k, and an even slower 10k. I've finished races on broken bones and torn Achilles tendon, some of them well. So it's not hard to guess I may have been in a dark place when I stopped posting here. I can't honestly say I'm out of the woods, either, just because I decided to post here again. 2014 has so far been a virtual minefield of difficulties, one which I am still navigating. It's probably going to be like that from here on out, so I might as well just get used to it. My main reason to keep posting here is to have one place where my runs are recorded, good or bad. So here's a quick re-cap of 2013 (I posted through August), and 2014 so far... 2013. Races 18. 6 wins. 1 DNF (kinda...finished jogging with the stroller, but gave up on the race half way in). Ballpark 5k (between hip surgeries) 10th - 18:24 Moms on the Run 10k (1st race after both hip surgeries) 4th - 38:50 No Excuses 5k 20th - 17:42 Superheroes 5k 6th - 17:08 Run to Squaw 7.9m 1st - 48:40 Redline Longmont Half 1st - 1:23 (middle of beer week!) Kaleo 5k 3rd - 16:41 Water to Wine Half 3rd - 1:17:30* Tour de Nez 5k - DNF Labor Day 5k - 5th - 16:54 Run to Remember 10k - 37:17 Tahoe 10k 1st - 35:11 Urban Cow 5k 3rd - 16:36 Light the Night Trail 5k 1st - 17:50 That Damn Run Trail 10k 1st - 38:48 Almond Bowl 5k 2nd - 16:34 Davis Turkey Trot 3rd - 16:13 (black lung finally going away) Nevada City Turkey Trot (trail & road) 1st - 34:55 Followed that up with a recurrence of heel pain that owuld force me out for most of December and all of January. 2014, so far. 7 races. 2 wins. You Gotta Be Crazy 5k+ 6th - 20:13 (1st moderately hard run after 7 weeks off) Undy 5000 1st - 17:31 Shamrock 8k 14th - 28:49 (return of the black lung - are you freaking kidding me?!) Carlsbad 5000 20th - 16:29 (squeezed in a decent run between coughing, throwing out my back, and the regular s---) Zoo Zoom 10k 4th - 34:50 Avenue of the Vines 1st - 16:32 Hit The Road Jack 2.22m 2nd - 11:31 (allergies definitely coming into play, but the treatments do no good) Nearing the half way point, holding on for dear life, but still hoping to improve, and have a shot at 16:00/33:30 by the end of the year (though the target date keeps getting pushed back).

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Water to Wine Half Marathon

The swag (there's a darker wine in the box, the bottle on the right is a custom label I had made for Abby's first half/33rd Bday:
Going long again - for me anyway. After finally getting back under 17 with a 16:41 5k last week, it was right back to the half marathon distance, but this time without the brewery visits beforehand. And a little more training. The bonus would be that this was in wine country, and would be Abby's first half marathon EVER. We grossly overpaid for a standard hotel, though Dave got his own lil' kids room, and we loaded up on the carbs for a couple days beforehand. I had tweaked my left calf (probably due to the Achilles) three days before, but by race time, it was feeling pretty good by my standards. I did a little bit longer of a warmup to get ready, and we were off. The leader was a 14-minute college 5k runner, so nobody tried to hang with him. Then a pack of 3, with me hanging on the back. Pretty quickly we started to break up. I was in 3rd by mile 1 (a slightly downhill 5:43) and would stay there the rest of the race. 2nd would usually put a few seconds per mile on me pretty regularly. Though I could see him most of the time, this was a very lonely run. Just me and the clock. I was able to come through halfway slightly under goal pace in about 38:16. I knew it would be hard to hold that pace and hit my 1:16+ A goal, as I was feeling it already, but all I had to do was run within 10 seconds per mile to hit my B goal of 1:17 & change. I kept a close eye on my watch as the miles ticked off, and although I ran a couple of the harder miles at 6 minutes+, I was still on pace at each and every mile (total). I hit mile 13 in 1:16:56 and was closing well. Should be under or at 1:17:30. Then, the last 0.1 miles took 1:15 (shoulda been about 33 seconds). What the cake?! When I saw 1:18 on the clock my heart barfed (you didn't know that was possible, did you?) and I crossed in an official 1:18:11. Fortunately, I wasn't the only one to notice this, and all 4 GPS watches we checked had the course at 13.24-13.28 miles. I'm happy that I hit my goal, but disappointed it doesn't show in the results. Abby managed to break 2:00 in her first ever half, running 1:59 (1:58) & change, and Dave shaved a few seconds of his pr, even with the extra couple hundred meters. Although the drive in both directions was ridiculously slow, this was a super fun trip. Thanks to Jim and Betty for taking the kids for the weekend. I plan on keeping an eye out for at least one more fast half to run before the end of the year...I really want to get a 1:16. Til then... The borrowed dog:

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Run to Squaw, Redline Longmont Half & Kaleo 5k

I was holding out for some pictures from these races before I bothered with a blog, but one event took a while,and they're not free anymore, and the other event's photographer was supposedly MIA. So no pics. Sorry. I'll keep it short. Kinda. Boring without all the pics. A few weeks ago, Dave and I drove to Tahoe City for the start of the Run To Squaw, a 7.9 mile run on the rolling (but flat for Tahoe) bike path that runs most of the way from the lake to Olympic Village in Squaw. Unknown to us, there were a few course changes since the last time we ran it, but still the beautiful start at Commons Beach, the run along the river, then a slight uphill into Squaw & the heart of the village. Last time I ran this I was in better shape. I'd led from the gun, but blew up badly 3/4 of the way through and ended up 2nd. This time it was my goal to be within 3 minutes of my previous time (course changes not withstanding). I think I was just over, but it was a good race, tactically. I started out letting a couple other set the pace, but took the lead fairly early on. There was one kid who stuck with me after the initial wave went away, and we'd trade the lead a couple times. Within a couple miles, though, I was struggling to keep up, and he seemed incredibly relaxed...playing with the pace (and seemingly with me) as he'd open up gaps on me repeatedly. But - he'd always come back. I couldn't figure it out. Was he scared to lead alone. One thing was for sure. If it came down to a sprint, it was obvious he had another gear that I didn't, but honestly - in my head, I was starting to think about 2nd place and just racing the clock. To do so, would be to my benefit to keep him in sight. So I did. And he kept coming back. One of the changes in the course added a mean short-but-steep dirt hill to jump from the path to the road (to avoid having to cross the FWY). This took out my favorite part of the course, but also was were I unknowingly made my move. It was still fairly early in the race...maaaaybe 2/3 of the way in, but when I went up and over that hill, the challenger (who'd been setting the pace) dropped back for the first time. I still thought the was messing with me. But, eventually, I made the turn to Squaw, still in the lead. And went up and over the main little hill (that broke me last time). The finish had a couple different turns, and a slightly different location (which was unnerving when you're holding on for dear life) but I ended up keeping the lead and winning my first race in nearly a year(!) in just over 6 minute pace. The kid must have been struggling late, because he didn't come in for a couple minutes more. Dave & I went straight to Donner for Rocco's 3rd BDay party (which Abby had put together) for a stress free (bwahahahahaha) afternoon. The Redline Running Co's Longmont 13.1 (really 13.3 :)) was to be the main attraction for the first leg of Abby & I's 10th Anniversary trip. We left the evening of the 4th, and it was early in the morning on the 6th. Here's the problem, though, in 2 parts. 1-I haven't raced anything longer than 12k or so in more than 2 years. 2-there's a LOT of good beer in the Denver area, and to fully appreciate that, we'd do a decent amount of drinking in the days leading up to the race (and of course immediately after). I found out I was in pretty good shape. For an 11 miler. So the race starts right next to some posh houses on a little lake somewhere in NE Longmont. We circled the lake, running either on packed dirt or concrete. That was my only complaint about the race. Concrete is hard, and there was a ton of it. There was also a headwind. As this was a point to point course, I was worried it would stick around for most of the race, but the skies cleared and the winds calmed, and my splits dropped from 6:17 the first two miles to within a second or two from 6:05 per through mile 11. There was one guy that took off in the lead, and I made it my goal to just keep him in sight for as long as possible. He built a pretty good lead, and I seemed to have a pretty good lead on the chase pack behind me. I didn't want to be running solo, but I didn't want to slow down either. Eventually, to my surprise, the gap started to close. By the halfway mark, I was closing fast, and I caught and passed for the lead somewhere after mile 7. Immediately, though, I was running solo again. He didn't stick around, and the bike(s) were juuuust far enough ahead of me to not count as company. Anyway, I ran comfortable and built a big lead through mile 10 before (6:09 pace) before starting to tire. I figured I better drink a sip or two at mile 11, but it was already too late, and I almost barfed it right back up. The last couple miles (where I was supposed to kick when I saw Abby, Ben, and Jamie on their out-and-back 5 miler) were a bit of a death march...but I didn't get caught. I ended up winning my first ever race in Colorado in 1:23.
I noticed that Abby looked to be pretty far up, but I was far too out of it to be counting when I saw her. By the time they did official results, she knew. This will forever be the FIRST time we have ever won on the same day (Abby's first ever win)!! We eventually got outta there and continued on with Ben to a plethora of awesome breweries, and eventually to SoCal for more vacation. I took 6 days between runs after this half, doing some swimming and hot yoga to keep me sane. Hard to tell if it payed off, as I felt very rested and ready to go for a couple days after, then struggled for a week or two before popping off my best effort so far this year... About that. Since I've been lazy, and I STILL have no race pictures from any of these three races, I'll include last weekend's Kaleo's 5k here too. Dave and I got out of town this past weekend and ran at the Sheriff's K9 Training Academy in Sacramento. It was a cool course that ran a quick loop in the campus before heading out on very new, very smooth (and shaded) neighborhood streets. The winning time has been all over the map the first few years, ranging from 15:56 to over 20 minutes. I was shooting for the 16:40's. At the start, two other guys took off, and I eventually tucked in behind them as the kid's burned off. I did the first mile in 5:15, perhaps a little fast, but not reckless. They slowly but surely pulled away from me as my turnover slowed a little. I kept them close, though. Didn't want to get caught from behind and I knew if I stayed in the game mentally, I'd hit my goal time. After an aborted race attempt at Tour de Nez, I needed to do that. Anywho, the kid in the lead started to pull away as we climbed back on the levee off the AR bike path and ran on some pea gravel (the only remotely slowish part of this fast course). Rich Hanna (on the pace bike) offered words of encouragement as he lead us around a 180 turn. I believe I responded hhhhhhngnnngggggg. Or something like that. I couldn't catch up. but kept my pace in the 5:20's (5:23 average) for a 3rd place finish in 16:41 - so far my fastest post surgery 5k and the first within a minute of my 15:45 pr. Dave came in a hair over 8 minute pace, and after some traffic, we spent a great deal of time at Drake's BC before a TRX workout and a trail run at Breakout Fitness in Folsom the next morning. That was the first time since the Folsom Trail Series a few years ago I've been on the Negro Bar Trail. VERY cool. Next up...Water to Wine Half. And hopefully some pictures.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Superhero 5k

Since it was nearly two weeks ago, guess I'll do a quick recap of race #3 in the "Unleash The Gimp" comeback. The fam was dressed as a squad of superheroes for this one, as a majority (but not all) of the 3,000 others were. Myself (with help from Rocco's wardrobe) as Captain America, Rocco as Iron Man, and Abby and Hannah as Superwoman & Supergirl. The race went well for both of us. Though the mens field was deeper than I'd have imagined, I managed to place 6th with a time of 17:08. I fell off a little each mile, but never got passed, so it must not have been too bad, right? Right? But I definitely didn't have a kick to go after anyone in front of me, either. I unknowingly finished as the first costumed runner, so that's a plus :) Abby was the 15th female, and in the top 100 overall, with a time of 23:35 (a PR even in her suit, which has since been crushed).
Rocco got to meet Iron Man (the really really real one) and as usual, Capital Road Race put on a good show, with a nice, accurate course (an out and back and two loops around the Capital was pretty cool). *Abby has since run 23:01, placing 6th last week at the Reno 5000. I'm hoping to be under 17 on my next 5k, but the next one's not for a month...& won't be flat. Next up - Run To Squaw (7.9 miles) in three days...

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Gimpy Chris comeback #...hell, I've lost count!

So, a short summary of the 2 races I've run since being told I could never run again. After a loooong break (my last W was last July, and the only race I've finished since was right before having the 2nd hip surgemacated on in January) I'm trying to get back into things. Now mid-June, I'm in my eleventh week since starting over. I'd been able to have a cardio base before starting to run again, but actually running was like starting over. On Mother's Day, I opted for the longer distance at Mom's on the Run (here in Reno) & did the 10k. When I signed up, I chose the 10 because I thought I might be able to get under 40:00 by then. As it approached, my weekly improvement had me dreaming about getting under 38:00, but that was not to be. I started out well back in the field and moved up throughout the first half, climbing up to 6, fighting through the throng of 5kers and walkers the last 2 miles, then moving up 2 spots in the last quarter of the race. The mile markers said I ran positive splits, but from other runner's feedback, the 3 mile marker was at 2.9, so it's probably pretty even. I did gain a couple spots after all. On a day with perfect running conditions, I ended up 4th overall in my 2nd race in 10 months, and first after 2 surgeries and 2 rehabs. I really didn't expect anything more, though I could have done without the tightness in the right hip and the blisters from earlier in the week. Race #2 was on Memorial Day. I've done the No Excuses 5k three times, with a best finish of 2nd in 2011, and a best time of 15:51 (3rd) in 2010. After missing it last year, I really didn't want to skip it again, slow or not. I had been improving weekly and expected to be significantly faster than the Mom's 10k. 5:40's on a perfect day. I know from experience the first mile is fast, but I was still excited to hit it in 5:33, my fastest mile of 2013. I did pay for it, though, and ran weeeeeeell into the 5:40's for the next 2 (though I gained spots until losing 2 in the last 2 minutes). I held steady most of the way, though I was passed down the homestretch. I ended up 20th overall with a 17:42 (5:42 per mile) though I was dying at the end. I've hit a little bit of a wall since then. My training has been solid, but not improving like it was, as the hip has been on red alert. Next up is another 5k, but this one is costumed. We'll see how that

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Upcoming races

Well, just cause I'm way slower doesn't mean I'm going to sit on my ass all summer, right? While I don't expect to be even relatively close to my former self before, say, Thanksgiving, I'm signed up for 2 May runs to get the competitive juices flowing. In 2 1/2 weeks, I'm going to attempt a 10k at Moms On the Run here in Reno. It's "Reno flat". I'm hoping my 5k pace now will be my 10k pace in a couple weeks - since it's only week 4 of the UNLEASH THE GIMP comeback, another two weeks will do me some good. Two weeks later is the Buzz Oates No Excuses 5k in Sacramento. While I have a 15:50 best on that course, my goal will be to beat the 18:24 I ran in SF 4 months after surgery #1 (this one is 4 months after surgery #2). On a perfect day, sub-18, but that's a HUGE stretch right now. Not under 20 yet. I may focus on base and core strength in June, though there is a Reno 5000 race the same day as Burton-wherethehellisthetrail-Creek. Otherwise, the schedule is open til the Reno Ten Miler on 8/18. I'm sure I'll keep busy til then. Every day is a high wire act of trying to get better while not doing too much, or too little. Hoping to stay on the wire!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

2012 Recap

Well, most of you know 2012 was a bit rough from a running/general well being standpoint. I was just getting back into shape from a 2012 partial Achilles tear when years of biuld-up in my hip(s) finally came to a head at the end of February. I have no mileage logs, and raced far less than usual, spending most of the time injured or getting back in shape. Here's a quick run-down of my nine 2012 races. January - Whole Foods 10k (1st) High 35. Still getting back into things. Ran an ok time on a moderately hilly course, but hit my goal for the shape I was in. February - Davis Stampede (2nd) 16:23. Beat my goal, and saw progress from the previous month. Sub 16 at Bidwell becomes a realistic goal. February - Getty Owl (2nd) 16:32. Was in better shape than Davis, but had a little bit of an off day in the wind. Cool new race in Sac, though. February - YGBC 10k (4th) I've mentally blocked out whatever my time was, and just a couple weeks ago I didn't even recall ever running the 10k course. That's how bad it was. Blech. March - Bidwell Classic 5k (5th) 16:20. 2013 proved that it's deeper every year I show up, and 5 is my number (I'd have been easily 2nd with the same time this year). I was primed for this...16 flat on a good day, 16:10 should happen, then pulled a hip flexor 3 days before the race. If only it was JUST a hip flexor pull... May - Rock N River 10k (1st) 37:24. Had no business winning a race with that kind of time, but nobody showed up. I was using it as a fitness gauge after taking March off, and knowing by April I had an arthritic and (literally) broken hip. Hit my goal, though running 4:23 slower than your last run on a course hurts the pride a bit. Surgery loosely planned at the end of autumn. June - Run to the Beach 5k (2nd) The delay didn't help. After a calf pull cost me a couple more weeks, I wasn't in great shape for this, and it showed. Young Jeff pulled away immediately and I barely held on for a slow, distant 2nd. July - Truckee Running Festival (1st) A little better. I was able to actually have more than 1 gear, even if they were both a little slower than I'd like. Starting to get fitter. July - San Francisco Marathon 5k (1st) 16:39. Not back to early spring form, but improving, and not only was my goal time hit, I came from pretty far back to win by 1 second. Unfortunately, my Achilles hurt immediately after, and after one more aborted attempt at running, I'd move the (L) hip surgery up to Septemeber, and was done for the year. January 2013 - Ballaprk 5k (10th) 18:24. On a mediocre amount of cross-training and a little running, I ran even splits and ran faster than the 19 & change I thought I'd pull off a week and a half before the second (R) hip surgery was scheduled. I am now hoping to be running 3 days a week by mid-April, to beat my Ballpark time on Memorial day, to be back in the upper 16's by the end of the year, and to be under 16, or pretty damn close to it in the spring of 2014.