Saturday, May 31, 2008

Run For The Community-May 2008 recap

This event was held in near perfect conditions on Saturday, May 31st, at the Twin Cities Church in Grass Valley. It was event five of twelve in the Gold Country Grand Prix. The points competition is starting to thin, just a bit, as the attendance/competition in the newer races is not usually as high as the beginning and end of the season runs. Consequently, there is only one male and one female that have earned forty of a possible points coming into this race.
This race was somewhat of a disaster last year. I could blame it on Shawn Ryley, as it’s still possible he jinxed me when we warmed up together last year, but I suppose it’s just as likely that I was still getting back into shape and just got wooped by a faster runner. I’d run 18:15 at the relatively flat/rolling Daffodil 5k, and about 18:40 at the hilly Save the Animals 5k a month later. I didn’t gauge how difficult the 5k course would be until after I ran the first mile too fast chasing Reno High runner Brandon Nied (everyone else did as well as this was a first year event in 2007). After a downhill first mile of road and soft dirt, the 5k winds around an orchard, climbs back out and does 2/3 of a mile up the road, back to the church. After a 5:08 at mile one, I’d run 13:38 the rest of the way (or 6:29 pace for those keeping score). NOT fun! After narrowly winning the first two 5k’s in 2007, I was 49 seconds off the leader in this one and never challenged. By the end of the year, I was able to run much better at the Turkey Trot 5k by outpacing him 16:18 to 16:59 for the win.
This year, as I’ve been training for longer distances, I am more comfortable with the 10k distance, so that’s what I’d signed up for, but I had my doubts…as slow as the 5k course was last year, the 10k course is harder. After running most of the 5k course, you bomb downhill on a dirt/rock/gravel trail at between a 7% and 10% grade for 1.1 miles. At that point, you do a 180 and head back up for about 0.8 miles before a nice break-a one mile out and back on a ditch trail (the only really flat part on the course). You then finish the 1.1 mile hill that you flew down, make a left, and do the last 0.4 miles the same as the 5k course (still climbing 1-4% here).
I ran into Joe Parker of Reno right before the race, and he let me know that Brandon would be gunning for me in the 10k and Joe would run the 5. I was more comfortable with racing a track/cross country runner in a tough 10k than I would have been in a flat 5k. I felt a mix of hopefulness/confidence that my endurance & strength could overcome his superior speed due to the terrain and distance.
We started "comfortably hard" on the downhill, sharing a few words before hitting the mile mark side by side in 5:05. I was quite pleased that I was feeling great with a 5:05, as the 5:08 first mile did me in last year. We hit some loose dirt and dust between mile one and two. At one point, one of the two pace bikes fell off pace enough that Brandon was getting a mouthful from his tires! We pretty much played Siamese twin for the first 3 miles of the race, with neither of us ever being more than a second in front of or behind the other. At the top of the big hill, I played the good sport and let him know where we stood ("it’s a 5k from here back to this point, and then less than 0.4 to the finish").
At one point on the downhill I may have doubled my lead to a whopping two seconds before the turn back up. I did not feel fast up this hill, but it was so long and unrelenting that I was actually able to build a five or six second lead by the time we turned onto the ditch trail, ¾ of the way up the climb. I’d talked to Peter (last year’s 10k winner) about strategy on this part of the course during our warm-up. Do you hold back a little so you get the heart rate down and then finish the climb well, or try to make up time here and hope for the best. We’d decided that pushing was better (within reason of course J) so I tried to extend my lead on the flats. I ran as close as I could to a normal 10k pace, conserving just enough to insure I wouldn’t implode on the last hill. On one hand, the strategy seemed to fail. When I got to the turnaround a half mile later, Brandon was only three seconds back. I think I was able to get it back to five or six seconds before finishing the hill, and then was able to run scared up the last hill, and on the road to the church, and extend my lead to 35-40 seconds before the end. So in the end, I wasn’t able to extend my lead on the flats, but I was able to push Brandon hard enough that he didn’t have a kick up the hill. We came in (approx-I haven’t seen official results) 37:03, and 37:40. If I would have been able to get into the 36 minute range, I’d include this as one of my better races of 2008, but I think the Daffodil (34:50 on a hilly course, but they were normal sized hills), and a 43:41 at the Salmon Run, have been my strongest races so far. Peter was able to take 18 seconds off last year’s time and came in 3rd at 44:01. Joe represented Reno well by winning the 5k in 18:36. As usual, they were quick with the results…they’d actually started age group 5k awards while myself, Peter, Austin, Joe, and Brandon were finishing our 5k cool-down. To my surprise, I heard my wife’s name called-IN HER FIRST EVER RACE! She ran the 5k right at her goal time, 32:52, and placed 3rd in the female 20-29 AG. Way to go Abby!!! I screamed like a little girl for her, but alas, we were to far away and they didn’t hear me. We are now plotting which one to do next!
After the race, we had a little down time before Laurie Goodnight’s wedding at the United Methodist Church, and the following reception at the Stonehouse. Abby’s Dad and I ran out of gas at 10, and left Abby and Betty to party without us.
The next two weekends are full of relays…the twelve person Reno-Tahoe Odyssey (198 miles) June 6-7, and the 7 person Tahoe Relay (72 miles around the lake) the following weekend. I hope all is well.
See you at the races!
here's the link to Steve's article in the Union...

1 comment:

SnowLeopard said...

Nice one Chris! And way to go Abby! That’s pretty darn fast for your first 5K! You probably would have beat the stuffin’ out of me. J If you guys are in town (and me too!), maybe we can run the Turkey Trot together while Chris is up at the front… Whoo-hoo!