Sunday, August 31, 2008

Run On The Sly...and a record I'd rather not have

before the start and at the finish...

Abby and I left for Lake Jenkinson (just southeast of Placerville) after work last Saturday. It’s a beautiful drive from Carson City on Hwy. 50. After the "Y" @South Lake, we’d never been on that stretch of road. It made the 2.5 hour drive much faster. We met Abby’s parents at the camp-site on the SW side of the lake, who’d already been there for two days. It was a little crowded at the site, being a holiday weekend and all, but not too bad. I’ve only camped out the night before a race once, and that was at Pyramid Lake before the 1998 Pyramid Lake Triathlon. Needless to say, I was a bit younger and healthier then, so there were no ill effects during the race. I turned in about 10-10:30 and actually got a little sleep, even over Pippin’s occasional barking and Jim’s snoring (maybe I’ve built up a tolerance?).
I was up before 6 the next morning to get ready to go, and Abby and I were at Fresh Pond around 6:30 to sign me up. I’d originally been attracted to this particular race for two reasons…the distance (20 miles, along with an 8 miler and a 50k), and the views. I’d looked at several of the pictures from years past, and it seemed like the 10-12 miles around the lake were pretty awesome. It was not a let down in that regard as I almost tripped over several rocks and roots while taking in my surroundings as opposed to, ya know, actually looking where I was going. In the few weeks I’d been running since my injury, I’ve only managed a long run of 8 or 9 miles, so the 20 miler was going to present a challenge for me, and I was hoping it would be a kick-in-the-pants to my unmotivated training of late. Abby tried to talk me into doing the 8 miler, which I considered til that morning, but I knew I’d be pissed at myself…and it would have been easy to just do an 8 miler at home. Having other people, aid stations, and great scenery would help me through 20 miles, right? I was also counting on a bit of muscle memory from the past year as I’d been in shape at the end of May to run a good 50k.
We started a few minutes after 7 in near perfect conditions. I knew we had a climb right away, so I took it easy at the start, but still found myself tucking in behind the leader, who was actually running the 50k (8 milers started an hour later). We had no mile splits, but we were running at a comfortably hard training pace up a steep half mile climb, followed by a few rollers on our way to the first aid station at mile 4.1 or so. I was carrying 20 oz. of water and had no specific plans for each station, other than to take something, so I grabbed a banana slice, watermelon, and 2 e-caps, and went on my way. Since I knew the course was slow and therefore didn’t care as much about pace, I’d come to a stop at every aid station during the race. I didn’t look behind me, but I’m pretty sure that our lead group was down to 3 or 4 by the first aid station, with others close behind. The 50k leader, whos name escapes me, was great company. We ran together quite a bit, talked quite a bit, and would only occasionally put a few seconds on the other. There was one other runner who’d shadow me the whole way that was also a great guy…if it weren’t for him I might still be out there. I’d nervously take over the overall lead before the half-way point, and stopped for water at the station just after mile 10. The 50k leader went by as I watched (the e-caps here were still factory sealed, so I waited as a friendly volunteer tried not to panic as she opened them J. We wished each other luck as he went by, and I started into new territory, as I hadn’t run this far in almost 3 months. I could tell right after half way that my body was questioning what I was doing to it, but still felt pretty good. We had a double creek crossing within a few minutes, and I lost the trail. Luckily, runner #2 was right behind me, and we’d (read:he’d) find it after a few seconds. He assumed the lead for about a third of a mile before I took it back on the next climb. This would be a pattern…I’d build a small lead, only to go off course. At mile 13ish, I went about 50-60 yards in the wrong direction before he saw me from a hill above and pointed me back to the turn I’d missed. I was a bit further behind this time, so it took a few minutes to catch him, and then I drafted on a couple climbs before taking the lead on a descent. By this point I was starting to struggle with the distance, but apparently so was he. My hip flexors were getting tight, and my Achilles hurt, making climbing very slow, so I’d try to press my advantage on all the flat and downhill portions, and merely try to survive the climbing. There were several times I walked for a short distance on hard climbs, and some that probably wouldn’t have been hard an hour or two before. For the last two miles or so, I was in full survival mode as my hips and heel were killing me, my endurance stores were depleted, and my IT band was sliding out of it’s groove every step. That would keep me out of training until yesterday, and still does not want to stay put. Anywho…#2 got close to catching me on a couple of these hills, but I was able to stay in the lead from mile 14 to the end, coming in with a time of 2:43, or a minute slower than my last 26.2 miler! Even though the course was hard, I have the distinction of owning the slowest winning time in the race’s history. Maybe I’m Irish… But I’ll take it…1st place was a handmade medallion and a $100 certificate to Fleet Feet in Roseville. I’m thinking of trying the new Nike Lunatrainer or Lunaracer, both of which are right at $100.
They had a nice spread for after the race, including great food and showers!!! My Asics DS Trainers were white no longer, as we’d run through ankle deep dirt/dust after running through the water. After a gigantic Taco salad, we were off to Jack Russell Brewing, and Placerville Brewing for lunch. For the ladies, we also stopped for a tasting at David Girard Vineyards, and they were quite good. On my second day of running this week, I was able to do what was probably my hardest workout-21 minutes (3.97miles) of intervals on the tread-so as long as I can still walk tomorrow, I’ll consider that a success. Take care and happy running…
PS-I was going to wait for the results to be posted, so I could remember who I was running with and have their times as well, but they’re still not up…I’ll keep an eye on

Monday, August 25, 2008

Ghidotti Phoenix Run & Sierra Brewfest

Greetings from Chris. *The first paragraph is about running, the second about beer. My two favorite things! Proceed accordingly. As usual, Brewfest weekend was dominated by high temps. For the first time, I ran a race about 7 hours before getting drunk as a skunk. Unfortunately for me, I spent most of June and part of July in a walking cast. I've spent the last 5 weeks getting back into running shape, but it's taken me 5 weeks to run 115 total miles at an average of 7.5-8 minute pace, as opposed to 75-90 miles a week below 7 minute pace in May. Last week, I was able to run a 5k on the treadmill at well under 18 minutes, so I thought i'd have a chance at running with Larry, Jeff, and Austin, who all ran just over 18 minutes last week. I started conservatively on the initial downhill before co-leading the race with Larry when we hit the first of many hills. There were several ridiculous hairpin turns on this mostly trail course that you didn't see til you were right on top of them. The volunteers seemed to enjoy waiting til you were about to pass them before telling you which way to go. I beleive this might be the slowest 5k course I've ever run. I was not planning on attempting to run in the front til late in the race, but by halfway, i started to slowly pull away on the downhills. I ended up coming in 1st in 19:02 (it was harder than it sounds ). Larry was second across the line in about 19:50, and Peter was third, a week after run-hiking the entire TRT! Due to an error on the race flyer, Austin (last weeks winner in 18:02), and weekly age-group champ Zach showed up late. The race director was nice enough to let them run solo, and allow there times to be inserted into the overall results. Obviously, many will have mixed feelings about that. It was nice, since it was the RD's fault that they were late-the 8:00 race time was 8:45 on the flyer but correct on the web, BUT...i don't know how happy i'd be if i was beat out by someone that i wasn't able to actually race against. Austin ended up officially placing 2nd, about 15 seconds ahead of Larry, and about 30-35 seconds off the lead. I'm sure it would have been a totally different race for both of them had they been racing each other. While it was a fairly succesful return to racing for me, I'll probably skip this one in the future. There are already 2 better races run around the trails in this area...without the break-neck turns and poor orginization. I'd like it on the record that Austin tried to kill me the day after the Brewfest on the Western States trails, burying me during an 8 miler in near 100 degree was actually a nine miler, but i was seeing spots at 8, so i slow-walked up the last climb...then went to In-N-Out for "recovery".
Here's the link to Steve's article in the Union...
The following are the rankings on the 52 beers that were sampled by yours truly under a 95 degree sun later on race day. Deschutes, Stone, and Moylans sat out this year, leaving the competition for best Brewery wide open. As far as the individual beers go, the first half of the day was dominated by hops, before getting a pleasant surprise with two longshot beers from Sam Adams that we voted on for future mass production. (B) is bottled. scores are out of a possible 100...1. Sam Adams Coffee Stout 92 (B)
2. Auburn Gold Digger IPA 91
3. Boulder Hazed and Infuzed 86
4. Sacramento Red Horse 83
5. Backstreet Belgian Brown 82
6. Anderson Valley DBL IPA 81
7. Blue Frog Scotch Ale 80
8. Boont Amber 78
9. Sam Adams Cream Stout 76 (B)
10. Blue Frog IPA 75
T11. Sam Adams Irish Red 72 (B)
T11. Sierra Nevada Harvest Ale 72
13. Sierra Moonshine Honey Bown 71
14. Sacramento British Pale 71
15. Backstreet IPA 70
16. Boulder Porter 69
T17. Sam Adams Blackberry Wit 68 (B)
T17. Hoppy Amber 68
T19. Hoppy Black 67
T19. Boulder Amber 67
T21. New Belgium 1554 66
T21. Sierra Moonshine Sp. Wheat 66
T23. New Belgium Fat Tire 65
T23. Hoppy Red 65
T23. Alaskan Amber 65 (B)
T23. Sam Adams Summer 65
T27. Backstreet Copper 64
T27. Sierra Moonshine Pale Rye 64
T27. Sierra Moonshine Smoke 64
T30. Buckbean Black Noddy 63
T30. Black Diamond IPA 63
T32. Blue Frog Red 62
T32. Auburn Wheat 62
T32. Sierra Nevada Anniversary 62
T32. Alaskan Summer 62 (B)
T36. Sam Adams Oktoberfest 61
T36. Sierra Moonshine Black Ras. 61
T36. Pyramid Apricot Wheat 61
T39. Boulder Copper 60
T39. Alaskan IPA 60 (B)
41. Sierra Nevada Pale 59
42. Backstreet Pale 58
43. Trumer Pilsner 57
44. Backstreet Wheat 56
45. Pyramid Hefe 55
46. Pyramid Thunderhead IPA 54
47. Leinenkugel Wheat 53
48. Sam Adams Brown 52 (B)
49. Pyramid Curve Ball Kolsh 50
50. Black Diamond Hefe 48
T51. Buckbean Orange Blossom 42
T51. Hoppy Blonde 42
90's are exceptional, 80's very good, 70's good, 60's average-above average, 50's disappointing, 40's=don't bother. We skipped Firestone, Fox Barrel Cider, and Wyder's Cider. Rubicon ran out half way through. Beerman's, Butte Creek, Fifty Fifty, Lost Coast, and Wolaver's were no-shows. I'd say the top 5 were Sam Adams (2 in the top 10, and both were in bottles!), Anderson Valley (2 of 2 in the top 10), Sacramento, Auburn, and Boulder, with Pyramid, Black Diamond and Buckbean bringing up the rear.