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...


SnowLeopard said...
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SnowLeopard said...

Even if you weren’t completely satisfied with your time, I’m glad that you are feeling better than you did this summer. And you still amaze me with your splits~ Thanks for the recap- and good luck in SF!