Sunday, September 28, 2008

City of Reno second annual River Run 5k

I can blame it on the sun, but yes, I was hurtin' at the end!

This is the second of three consecutive weekends of racing for me.
No issues so far, as these first two races were only 5ks, they feel about the same as your basic hard interval or tempo run, and you usually recover quickly. This course was faster than last weeks Draft Horse Classic. Even though it was here in Reno, at about 4,400 ft. elevation, it was all paved and almost as flat as a pancake. After getting everyone to the line on time, they had a processional of guest speakers, including first lady (of Nevada & RGJ gossip columns) Dawn Gibbons, followed by other speakers, the national anthem, sung by somebody's kid, and finally, the start, about 20 minutes later than advertised. It was actually a nice start to the day, but I'm sure most of the runners would have appreciated the speeches (to kick of Domestic Violence Awareness Month) at 20 'til, instead of right when we all thought we'd be starting.
The run started and finished in beautiful Idlewild Park, and for most of the race, ran along the Truckee River. Last year, this race was a few weeks later in the year and quite cold from what I'm told. This year, the weather was near perfect, maybe even a little warm afterwards. All in all, a great morning to run. I ran into a few old running buddies before the race-Gary Brooks (at 61 years young still running 20 & change for a 5k), and with whom I travelled to many a race in my early 20's, Joerg-who, as a deep tissue massage therapist, has tortured me on occasion, and Ryan Ress-who, like me, has fought injuries for much of the last 7 years, and can be found at any given time running 16 or 24 minute 5ks...or not running at all. Ryan and i raced several times when both of us were pretty healthy in 1999-2001, trading victories a few times. We lost Gary when he went to his car, so after jogging for a couple minutes solo, Joerg and I warmed up together and ran a couple miles of the course. After the guest speakers got their 15 minutes of fame we were off.
My only goal for this race was to be easily in the 16-minute range, which I've only been able to manage twice (both times on th treadmill) since taking June & July off to heal. I'd planned on starting more agressively than I had at the DHC last week, and I was, perhaps, a little overzealous in that endeavor. Today's course was marked every kilometer (.62) instead of every mile. To run a 16:40, i'd have to average 3:20 per K (=to 5:22-23 per mile). I knew i'd started a little too fast to take the lead before a couple tight turns. I hit the 1k mark in 3:11 (on pace for a 15:55) and forced myself to back off a little, before it was to late. As it was, I was still hurting between 2-4k, and a little worried about "blowing up" before the finish due to my fast start. The course, however slight, was uphill (less than 1%) for the first 1.75 miles, and therefore ever so slightly downhill for the last 2k or so. That would come in handy as I'd slowed noticeably between mile 1 and the turn. I was able to pick up the pace a bit when I turned, even though I was really struggling to hold pace at this point. In addition to building lactic acid in my hammies, I was developing a side stitch-my arch enemy of a few races of yore. CRAP! I was on pace for a good time, but wasn't sure if I could hold it. Well, I didn't exacly enjoy the middle-late stages until I turned into the park with less than a half-mile left, and realized that I hadn't lost a whole lot of time. I was able to muster something that may have resembled the cousin of a kick...luckily I had nobody to fight off at the end. I came in with Abby, Hannah, and my Mom cheering me on, struggling to breath at 16:29 (5:19-20 per mile). Not far off my better 5ks in the Spring. Now maybe it's time to work on the endurance!
Ryan held on for 2nd in 17:48, and 3rd was 18:05. The women's race was tight between a 20-something year-old, and a hard charging 13! year-old, who'd come in second, just a couple seconds off the leader, just a hair under 21 minutes.
While they got the results together, I did a couple miles with Ryan (who wants to add a full marathon to the Rock-n-River Half next May...sweet!). He was quite happy with his race as well. Unlike me, though, he actually ran pretty even the whole way. We hung out a little with Joerg & Gary (both pictured above), and brought Hannah to the dog and cats they had for adoption, as well as a bounce house, rose garden, etc... It had turned into a beautiful day. Hannah was fast asleep in her stroller for the awards, which were a handmade medal (age group) and a $100 gift certificate to Eclipse Running for the overall win. As well as the course was marked and seemingly organized (they had chip timing for cryin' out loud), everyone's results were exactly 30 seconds faster than they actually ran. We were tipped off when the 3rd place finisher's "official" time was 13 seconds faster than 2nd places actual time. Mine was a 15:59 (if only!!!)
Apparently, although I signed up on-line, I also have an R at the end of my name. Oh well. Overall, a very enjoyable race, and they'll hopefully fix the results before they're published. Afterwards, we went to Walden's Coffeehouse for some liquid crack, er...french-pressed coffee.
Up in Lake Tahoe, Peter is kicking a@# and taking names in the Super Triple, as he had a lead of over 40 minutes heading into today's 72 mile jaunt around the Lake. He's attempting to reach the start of today's Tahoe Marathon at the same time the marathoner's take off so he can see Turi, and maybe run with him a bit. If my technical skills hold, I'll add a link to their results when they're posted.
Next week in San Fran at Bridge to Bridge. Should bring the 4 race win streak to a decisive end, but I'm reheheally looking forward to it.

great run on the TRT

These are a couple of the amazing views (and challenging climbs) on Relay Peak, starting close to the Tahoe Meadows Trailhead. The first pic is the last, and hardest, part of the climb to the peak. The 2nd is the view from the top southwest towards Lake Tahoe, and the last is the view west from the radio tower just north of relay peak. How can you not love running here? Was it Edmund Hillary who said life begins at 10,000 feet?

Monday, September 22, 2008

Race #16 Draft Horse Classic

Max after the kid's run & the homestretch...

…#3 in comeback #9999, or does it just seem like that many? Luckily this last break wasn’t as long as others over the last few years. Of course, the problem is that the injury that forced me to take a break has taken up residence and has ignored all eviction notices and threats of litigation. Oh well…look at it this way…back in biblical times, 31 was past middle age. Right? Anyway, I’m closer to where I was in May than where I was in July, so that’s a good thing.
The Draft Horse Classic was held on Sunday, and was race #9 of 12 (I think) in the Gold Country Grand Prix. The two races I missed dropped me from first in the overall points (probably for good), but I still control my own destiny in the age-group competition. There was a significant amount of anxiety over the new courses this year (3rd different set of courses in the three years I’ve run this race). The start/finish is always within the fairgrounds, during the last day of actual Draft Horse competition, which is really cool. Other than that…the 2006 courses were a disaster. I loved the 2007 version, but apparently there were traffic issues for the 5k walkers & back of the pack 10kers. Course #3 looked to be as confusing as could be, and I honestly had additional doubts as this race, and possibly the running club that puts it on, might be finished after this year. I didn’t know if they’d be going through the motions or not. But…it was actually marked really well, and a few minutes in, I was no longer waiting to get lost. No issues of any kind that I saw.
We started a few minutes after 8:00, with the usual kids sprinting up front before fading. I settled in to a comfortably hard pace ‘til I got a better feel for the course. I’d planned on trying to run even or negative splits, which ended up being easy as the second half, especially the last mile, were more downhill.
I’d run 16:52 on the treadmill the previous week, and a 16:26 (1% downhill) 3 days before the race, so depending on the course my goal was anywhere from high 16 to high 17. The first mile went by in a fairly pedestrian 5:40, and I had a very small lead. There was a short off-road section, and rolling hills-more up than down-so it wasn’t too bad. I’d have felt better if that were the first mile of a 10k, rather than a 5. On pace for 17:34 so far. The only notable event in this stage was Frank Ribeiro (assistant RD) and motorcycle pacer, frantically yelling and honking to clear the course a couple minutes in. That sight actually made me laugh out loud. Mile two had one big-ish hill, and the majority of the trail portion of the 5k, so it went by a little slower, as I hit mile 2 in 11:33, for a 5:53 split. I’d have been unhappy with the time so far, except that the remaining 1.1 miles would be fast, as I’d been conservative to this point-and there was only one hill remaining, with the rest being downhill and flat. The last mile or so is the only part of the race that felt good, but I suppose it’s better to feel good in the latter stages as opposed to only the first mile. Mile 3 went by in 5:16 (that’s more like it), over a lot of the same terrain as mile one, but in the other direction, and I had a good kick, putting in the last 0.1 in 29 seconds (just under 5:00 pace). So the last 1.1 miles was faster than the middle 1.0 (5:45 to 5:53), for a grand total of 17:18. Not bad for a hilly course, but after knowing the course, I’d have liked to be at or below 17:00 to be really happy with the time. As long as I keep going forward, I consider this one a success. Austin Violette has shown dramatic improvement with his speed since getting Nick Vogt as his coach a few months ago (Nick coached Yuba College when I was at Lassen 10-12 years ago). He was easily in 2nd place, 30 seconds back in 17:48. Larry was 3rd in 18 and change (once again I didn’t get a look at the board). Over in the 10k, Pete Lubbers earned 10 points for an overall and age-group win, with Neal making a great comeback, placing second after an injury-induced layoff. Robert Warner ran strong for a 3rd place finish.
After a lengthy cool-down/cheering and the awards, I thoroughly enjoyed a steaming cup of coffee with the wife, Peter, Troy, Neal, and Robert (Mahrer?) of 2006 Grand prix fame, before heading to Roseville (for shoes) and Auburn (for Hannah and beer). I may have even succeeded in talking Peter and Troy into running legs 2 and 3 of the Redding Marathon Relay in January! I’m hoping to run the full marathon (and leg one of the relay) simultaneously. I was unimpressed with the miniscule shoe selection at the Roseville Fleet Feet, but I had a gift card, and lucky for me, I really liked the only two pairs I tried on. I ended up with the New Balance 908-a pretty lightweight but rugged, low profile trail shoe. They’ll be great for ultras if I can coax my body into running that far again. This was an eventful weekend as the largest and usually the most competitive local race happened here in Reno on Saturday. The 40th annual Journal Jog had over a thousand runners, plus a multitude of walkers on a beautiful Saturday morning. I’d planned on running this one earlier in the year, but what can I say, I needed the GP points! Several friends did well, placing high, and/or chopping precious seconds (or minutes) off last years event. Conrats to Turi, Amber, Fred, Nick, Jeff the Younger (who placed second!) and Jeff the Elder (who placed 11th in a deep field). No rest next weekend as I’ll be running a flat 5k, hopefully in 16: something, and Peter will be doing the infamous Tahoe Super Triple. Super indeed. Keep an eye on his blog for a recap/pictures, etc… The following weekend, I’ll be running the Bridge to Bridge (still deciding 7k or 12k), one of my favorite races of the good ol’ days (1997-2001), before a rest (meaning a long slow run instead of a race). I’ll see most of you at the next grand prix race. Since there was a pace vehicle last year, I feel confident that I won’t get lost, so I’ll run the 10k instead of the "sprint".
here's the link to Steve's article in the Union...