Sunday, May 11, 2008

Smoked Salmon (with Apologies to Peter)

Hannah after lunch... Oxygen? I don't need no stinkin' oxygen...

post awards...

Pete Lubbers looking way too fresh...like he didn't run hard enough


uphill finishes suck...


My weekend festivities started on Friday night…Abby’s Mom was working on race-day (and we’d be back in Reno for Mother’s Day), so we exchanged gifts on Friday night. I’m only including this here because it involves running! I’d been plotting with the in-laws for some time to surprise Abby with a trip to Hawaii (she’s been nagging me since we’ve been married). On December 7th, I’ll be running in the XTerra World Championships, a 13-14 mile extreme off-road race in the location where Lost and Jurassic Park were filmed. For 3 days before and a few days after the race, we’ll be having a great time exploring volcanoes, snorkeling, and apparently having mai-tai’s on the beach (according to Abby). Needless to say, she was quite surprised. She’d actually solicited me to run Les Wright’s (the Tahoe Marathon RD’s) race in Maui in January. I shot her down of course, only to reveal a couple hours later that we were already going. The only downside to this trip is that I will have to postpone running Boston. Maybe 2010?
On to grand-prix race #3…The Salmon Run. Easily the hardest course on the series, rivaling other tough courses like the TRT (without the elevation) or Prison Hill. The course has 4 distinct sections. After a brief (0.3) mile stretch of road, you hit a 2+ mile descent on a rocky trail to the river basin. I’d run max speed on this section last year, and even though I’m in better shape this time around, I was figuring to cut a max of 30 seconds here. Section 2 is the dreaded Salmon Ladder (check out Peter’s blog @runlaketahoe.blogspot.com for an elevation profile). 700 meters straight (and I mean straight) UP. I walked more than half of this section in 2007. I figured if I ran it all this year, I could cut 30-60 seconds here as well. For the next 2.4 miles we were on a relatively flat and winding flume trail. After being so taxed from the ladder in 2007, this section was slow, which allowed for the possibility to cut a very large chunk of time off previous years. The last section met up with the trail and went back up a large portion of the initial descent, before hitting the road for 0.3 back to the start/finish.
I’d run 49:36 in 2006 (the bridge was washed out that year, so this included a river crossing-maybe sub 48 with the bridge?) two months after running sub 35 at the Jester Jog (6.1 miles) in Carson City. Last year, with the bridge back but with a little less fitness, I was able to run 49:44, and finally pull away from Peter at the base of the last climb. This gives you an idea of the difference between this course, and a flat 10k. Besides the hills, this "10k" course is actually between 6.7 miles & 6.9 miles. The course record was my goal for Saturday, held by a runner I know (Ross Mcmahan 47:36 from 2004). Dan King may have run a slightly lower time in 2005, as he was definitely 47 & change as well, but I couldn’t find the exact time). Originally my "A" goal was 44-45 minutes ("B" goal of 45-46). Since the night before the Spring Run, however, I’ve had severe stomach issues and had missed several days of work, and skipped/shortened several workouts. I was hoping I’d still done enough to get a taper benefit without having lost any fitness. I did about a mile warm-up around the Sierra Friends Center before joining Peter for another mile or so to the start. The warm-up didn’t feel so great, but I tried not to pay any attention to it…
Peter had stuck to me like white on rice on the downhill last year, and I was expecting more of the same as he is my superior when it comes to hilly/mountainous running (much like Fred in Reno)…they actually like this stuff!!! I felt like I was running a little faster down the hill than last year. For a mile or longer, I could hear Peter behind me. Half way down, I could no longer hear him, but I know he was still close...lurking. I hit the bottom feeling pretty good. While this downhill stretch beats the crap out of your legs, you can run it at a fast clip (close to 5 minute pace) without the heart rate getting too high. That would change almost immediately when I hit the ladder. I was able to run up the whole thing, although I paused briefly at the top to take in a couple ounces of water. This allowed my heart rate to creep down (as it was dangerously high) and allowed me to wipe the rivers of sweat flowing into my eyes. This also allowed me to go hard immediately on the flatter section, unlike last year. This section seemed long, although I know I was going faster, because I was dreading the climb at the end. I got some encouragement from the last couple walkers that had started a half hour before us, and tried to lean into every winding turn to avoid losing any speed. I nearly ran into the out-house again, as I had last year, but I saw it soon enough that I was able to jump back down to the lower trail as opposed to hopping the fence. I had to do this a couple other times as well to stay on the trail, but it only cost me a total of 5-10 seconds. I knew if I hit the road in under 45 minutes, that I’d have the course record in the bag, as there was under 2 minutes left from here to the finish. I was able to accelerate slightly when I saw the finish (after feeling like a slug up the last climb) to a surprising finish time of 43:41-over a minute faster than I was expecting! I think 90% of the 6 minutes I was able to cut from last year’s time came between mile 2 and 5.5. Needless to say I was happy with the result, especially given how I’d felt over the past two weeks. The stomach issues are ongoing as I haven’t gotten any test results back, so it was nice to know I could push through them.
As I had predicted, Peter came in under 50 for the first time, in 49:16. His time actually beat both my winning times from 2006 & 2007, and was (from my research into the course record) the 5th fastest time ever in the 8 year history of this race. Austin Violette continued to show his dramatic improvement & strength by coming in 3rd in 50:00 (fastest 3rd place time ever), with Greg, Neal, and Robert coming in shortly after.
My parents had both made the trek from Reno that morning, and it was great to see them both at the finish! (Peter, Neal, and Austin-we have pics of all three of you-I’ll send them along when I get them). Along with Abby, Hannah, & her Dad, we all enjoyed a great post-race lunch (after Neal informed me after our cool-down that I talk too much). Abby scored another great Patagonia jacket (no wonder she likes this race!) and my Dad & I even got in a round of ping-pong after lunch.
All in all, it was a great day. This continues to be one of my favorite races for it’s course, as well as organization, food, and great prizes! It feels great to run a race that scares so many people off as well. Peter and Austin are trading places with me next week…as I travel to Nevada City for race #4, the Animal Save 5k, they will be in Reno, running 50 miles up and down Peavine Mountain in the Silver State 50 50. Good luck to you both…I’ll be thinking about you as I enjoy my 17 minute run and am eating lunch!
Chris
here's the link to Steve's article in the Union...
http://www.theunion.com/article/2008237408392

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