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

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