Sunday, October 26, 2008

Blue Planet Run, Tahoe Rim Trail style

As with any of the pictures on this blog, just click for full size... Hannah was kind enough to drive us to the start of our 23+ mile trail run. From the left, that's Peter, John, yours truly, and Turi right before the start.
Turi after the first climb of the day, and John & Peter disappearing into the distance
lots of scenery shots...more to come

Washoe Lake to our left (with Tahoe on the right)

at hour one

Peter & Turi approaching Marlette Lake after another big climb
Marlette to the right with Tahoe above it...just after half way

Turi, with Marlette & Tahoe behind
Turi looking for his contact???
John haulin' aspen about 16 miles in
part of the climb towards Snowy Peak
Marlette & Tahoe now behind us

some random runners we met on the trail

John pulling in around 3 1/2 hours
the after-effects of a 23-24 mile run at 8,000 feet elevation, or maybe he's doing that new "bench" yoga?
Turi & Peter bringin' it home
...and after
the ol' lady brought us Gatorade & Stout...quite the combo!
@King's Beach with Hannah
soaking after the was even warm enough that I didn't scream like a little girl
Well, today we completed the last 23 or 24 miles of our Blue Planet Run, running from Mt. Rose to spooner on the Tahoe Rim Trail, and managed to raise a little money for drinkable water in Tanzania in the process. The weather was near perfect, chilly at the start & just starting to get warm at the finish around noon. John Ostezan, the fearless leader of the Battle Born racing team, decided last minute to join us as well. Not counting three long-ish breaks, we were much faster than when Turi & ran this section in 2006, and even counting the breaks (to get all four of us at the same place at the same time), we were a little faster. If any of us can manage to hold (or slightly improve) our pace when you add in 8 miles or so of Flume Trail & the dreaded Red House loop, we'll be in pretty good shape at the TRT 5ok next July. I'm feeling pretty good except for a couple body parts that were already pissed off going in, and we'll have to wait & see how my body heals at the ripe old age of 31!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Gold Country Grand Prix points update

10 down, 2 to go.
The points race is starting to take shape as there are only 2 races left this season. This post will only go into the men's points race (for obvious reasons I'm paying closer attention to that one), but after the Turkey Trot on 11-27, I'll post the final standings for both men & women. After missing 2 races due to injury, I was a ways back in the points, but due to a missed race or surprise winner here & there, I'm only 2 points off the overall lead! My destiny is not in my own hands, however. If the leader earns the max points at each of the last two races, I can't catch him...and, there's no garauntees I'll be able to do the same.
As participants know, points are based solely on age-group finish, not your overall place in the race, and are scored as follows: 1st place-10pts., 2nd place-7 pts., 3rd place-5 pts., 4th place-4 pts., 5th place-3 pts., everything else- 1 pt. The number of races ran is in (), followed by total points, & age-group placings. The names in bold are leading their respective age groups in points. Thank you Gary for doing this monumental task!!

Here's the men's overall top-10:
1. Mike Buzbee (10) 82 pts. 6 wins, 2nd, 2nd, 3rd, 5th
t2. Jeff Boutte (8) 80 pts. 8 wins
t2. Ron Gross (8) 80 pts. 8 wins
t2. Chris Badolato (8) 80 pts. 8 wins
t5. Austin Violette (8) 77 pts. 7 wins, 2nd
t5. Darryl Beardall (8) 77 pts. 7 wins, 2nd
7. Kael Newton (9) 75 pts. 4 wins, 2nd x 5
t8. Larry Defeyter (8) 74 pts. 6 wins, 2nd, 2nd
t8. Cody Carlton (9) 74 pts. 5 wins, 2nd, 2nd, 3rd, 3rd
t10. Steve Bond (9) 73 pts. 4 wins, 2nd x 4, 3rd
t10. Zach Stoll (9) 73 pts. 5 wins, 2nd, 2nd, 3rd, 4th
As you can see, it's a little crowded, as there is only a 9 point spread seperating 11 runners. Meaning, theoretically, one could drop up to 10 places by skipping one of the last two races! Congrats to everyone for all the great race finishes, and especially to Mike, who is the only runner on this list to complete all 10 races so far...the last one being a week after running the Bizz Johnson Marathon. What an animal!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Nevada City Run Through The Colors (literally)

a little too sore today, maybe a good idea to get more cushioning than 4.5 oz. shoes offer for huge downhills...
Pre-race and the start...

just before the finish chute...

greeting crew at the finish line...

Hannah stealing Dad's coffee, now she's hooked...
just after the race...

Pioneer Park

Sunday, October 19th was the 1743rd annual Run Through the Colors. Well, not really, but this race is somewhere between twenty & thirty years old. After running the 5k in 2006, and the 10k each of the past two years, it's easy to see why. Not only does the course run through the fall folliage (get it...Run Through the Colors...I think it must be a coincidence), but also straight through downtown Nevada City. By the time we're coming down Broad St., the tourists & shoppers are begining to show up. They, along with some locals, are good about cheering us on, but I imagine some of them are wondering just what the heck we're doing. In addition to the scenic, but very challenging course, the volunteers & orginazation are top notch as well. The fall has always been my favorite season to run. The day would get pretty warm, but anyone from Nevada City knows that Pioneer Park, for some reason, is the coldest spot in town, so the race itself was pretty chilly. I decided to forgo my arm-warmer-thingies & gloves. The arms were a little numb halfway, so I probably should have hung on to them, but the less I wear, the more comfortable I am (usually).
We started the 5k & 10k together at 8:30, took a left out of the park, and had a downhill to warm-up on before the longest & steepest climb of the day. (is that Nevada St??) I'd shared with Peter Lubbers during our warm-up that last year's 10k was the first race of 2007 where I really felt good. I relaxed just enough during the last climb though, that I just missed out on breaking 35:00. I ran a 35:03 that year. I thought I was in better shape this year, even after a month and a half break this summer, so one goal was to beat last year's time. I was curious as to how it would go. I really didn't expect to feel as good as last year, but to be faster. That would prove accurate-I was already struggling halfway up that first big climb, but I was able to really hammer the flats & downhills to make up for pretty weak climbing throughout the whole race. The race was marked every K (1,000 meters), and I was looking to be under 3:30 per to run under 35 minutes. The only time I was behind pace was after a slow 4th kilometer. But the second half would prove a little faster, and I felt more comfortable pushing the pace a little as the finish drew closer. I'd run 17:30 for the first half, and 16:51 for the second half. I've been told this course is 200-300 meters short of a true 10k (6.02-something as opposed to 6.2), but the hills more than make up for it. So, I ended up finishing strong and coming in 42 seconds faster than last year, in 34:21(5:42-43 per mile). 2nd, 3rd, & 4th all came in between 38-40 minutes, but none were grand prix regulars. Pete passed a couple guys up the last hill to come in 5th in 40:01-i'm sure he'll be at least 2 seconds faster next year...I know what that's like! Neal came in shortly after.
Over in the 5k, Larry held off all challengers by winning in 18:50(ish), with Jeff (way faster than last year!) and Cody hot on his heels. Even with the extra weight of his new wedding ring, Steve took 16 seconds off last year's time. Good job guys! Pete and I did a couple extra miles on the course (shoulda taken my camera) before going up the street to Broad Street Bistro for large amounts of coffee (& some food too). Hannah had her share of excitement while Pete & I were jogging. She was bit (in the face!) by a dog. A rescue dog, even...and she wasn't even touching her at the time. She's a tough cookie, though. Still loves dogs, and she had a ton of fun with the scarecrows (and my coffee) at the coffee shop. After 5 straight weeks of racing, I'm a little beat up today. Probably due more to pounding the downhills than the 5 races, but I'll take it easy for a few days either way. Gotta be ready for the 24 mile Blueplanetrun I'm doing with Pete & Turi on Sunday. Me & the fam are staying in Tahoe for the weekend, so it should be lots of fun. 8 down, 2 to go for me in the 2008 Grand Prix. Probably one 5k & one 10k. In two weeks, I'll be flying to Buffalo with Hannah to visit family, so that should be interesting. Check out Turi (Turi's running blog)or Amber's (big pencil blog) for details and pics from the Fall Colors trail half marathon in South Reno, or Pete's (Run Lake Tahoe) for a different perspective of this race. I'll add a link to Steve's results later in the week.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

tentative 2009 racing schedule

Ok… 2009 already has 15 races that I know I want to do (in bold), and a bunch of choices for the other ten or so to fill out the year. I’ll probably race 8-12 of those 20 weekends, putting me at 23-27 total for the year. I’d like to do at least 2 marathons, hopefully 2 50ks, and at least one open water swim (leaning towards the Sharkfest), just for the hell of it. July will be interesting…a mile on the 4th, and the TRT 50k 2 weeks later J I’ll probably do (at most) the minimum 5 Grand Prix races next year to earn points, especially with the Salmon Run going under. This year was my last shot at the overall title…stupid Achilles L Of course, some of the Saturday races will depend on being able to get time off. That’s always fun!
The ? are for dates not yet made official…

Sun 1-11 PCT Angel Island 8,16,25k *
Sun 1-18 Redding Marathon (relay?) *
Sat 2-7 Jed Smith 30, 50k
Sun 2-15? You Gotta Be Crazy 5,10k (Reno) *
Sat 2-22? Almond Blossom 8k (Ripon)
Sun 3-1 Napa Valley marathon, 5k
Sun 3-15 Shamrock’n 5k, half (Sacramento) or Top o’ the Mornin’ 5k (Sparks)
Sat 3-21 Fort Bragg Whale Run 10k
Sat 3-28 Climb California San Francisco *
Sun 4-5 Daffodil 5k (16:33 or bust!) *
Sun 4-12? Zoo Zoom 5,10k *
Sat 4-18? Earth Day 5,10k (Sac.) or 4-19? Zippy 5k (SF) or 4-19? Run Rocklin 5,12k
Sat 5-9? Run-a-Muck (relay) *
Sat 5-16? Pauite Meadows Trail Run (Susanville) or Silver State 50/50 or Animal Save 5,10k
Sat 5-30 Reno Tahoe Odyssey or TCC Run for the Community 5,10k *
Sun 6-7 Auburn Trails 25,50k
Sat 6-13 Lake Tahoe Relay *or Fitch Mountain Foot Race (Healdsburg)
Sat 6-20? Shriner’s 8k *
Sun 6-28 Big Blue Adventure Burton Creek 10m, 20m *
Sat 7-4 Firecracker Mile (Truckee) *
Sat 7-11 Run for the Stinkin’ Roses 5,10k (Gilroy) or Sun 7-12 Alcatraz Challenge 1.5 m swim, 7 m run
Sat 7-18-09 TRT 50k *
Sat 8-1 Squaw Valley Mountain Run or Santa Cruz Pier Rough Water Swim
Sun 8-9? Haulin Aspen Trail Marathon (Bend) *, 8-8? Eagle Lake Trail Run or 8-8 Donner Lake 2.7.m swim
Sat 8-15 Alcatraz Sharkfest *or Friendship Run 5,10k
Sun 9-6 Run On the Sly 20m,50k *or Whiskeytown 1m, 2m swim
Sat 9-19? Journal Jog 8k
Sun 9-27 Lake Tahoe 10k, marathon*, or Folsom Lake 1-2 m swim
Sat 10-3? XTerra Incline Village 5,10k* or 10-4? Bridge to Bridge 7,12k or Cowtown 5k, half, marathon or Lions Turtle Bay half
…or the RCP Tiburon Mile swim*…busy weekend!
Sun 10-11? Bizz Johnson Trail Marathon *
Sun 10-18? Run Through the Colors 10k *
Sat 11-14? PCT Stinson beach 12,20,30,50k
Thu 11-26 MB Turkey Trot 5,10k *
Sat 12-5 PCT Woodside 10,17,35,50k or 12-6 Cal International Marathon or relay *
Sat 12-12 PCT Muir Beach 11,17,33,50k
Sat 12-19 PCT Rodeo Beach 8,20,30,50k*

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

fun with PRs and age grading

Out of curiosity, I came up with a list of PRs (personal records, or personal bests) from my pre-Ahcilles surgery days (1994-2001), and from 2006 to the present (post gimpy years), and age graded the results (factoring in my age at the time of the run). As I suspected, the results were skewed towards speed in my early 20's, are are now starting to skew towards endurance. For example, even though my best mile today would be close to 25 seconds slower than my best from 2000, my best 5k today is only 35 seconds (or only 11 seconds per mile) slower. My track/interval workouts are also significantly slower now, but I can run farther than I could back then. Even though I was faster before 2001, I won only 3 of the 8 older races listed, compared to 6 of 7 for the more recent ones. I think I was third in the 800, 5th in the 1500, 2nd (by a half second) in the mile, won the steeplechase & the 2 miler, 2nd in the 5k & 8k, won the 10k, and was 3rd? in the half. I generally regard the 4:18 mile and the 32 minute 10k as the best two races I've ever run. The 1500 was well on it's way as I was on pace to hit or break 4 minutes with 300 to go, but right about when I started my "kick", the wheels fell off and it was all I could do to lose only a few seconds.

800 1:59.0 (85.6 ag) 1997 //n/a
1500 4:03.4 (85.0) 1998 //n/a
mile 4:18.8 (86.1) 2000// n/a
steeplechase 9:45 (?) 1998 //n/a
2 miles 9:33 (82.8) 2001 //10:17 (77.0) 3/06
5k 15:51 (81.7) 1999 //16:26 (78.7) 3/08
8k 25:59 (81.7) 2001 //27:18 (77.9) 2/08
10k 32:34 (82.5) 2001 //34:49* (77.3 w/hills) 4/08-34:21 on a slightly short, very hilly course 10/08
half 1:15:45 (78.5) 2001 //1:20:40* (73.4 trail) 10/08
30k n/a //1:53:55 (76.0 w/some trail) 2/08
marathon n/a //2:42:10 (77.2 w/some hills) 3/08
To get an age-graded score of 80 or better (lower National Class) at age 31, I'd have to run under 2:37 for the marathon, 1:48 & change for a 30k, just over 1:14 for the half, 33:43 for the 10k, 26:37 for the 8k, or 16:12 for the 5k. Although the most potential to drop a large chunk of time would be in the marathon, I've been closer in the 5k, 8k, & 10k. Considering the fastest 10k I've run was on a fairly hilly course, taking 66 seconds off that time is definitely possible, although it would take the right race on the right day, for sure. The 5k time is only 17 seconds away, but man, I just don't think I can coax any more speed out of the ol' legs. We'll have to wait and see...

Monday, October 13, 2008

Jack Frost visits Lake Tahoe

Had to get at least one with the Lake in it...
There was quite a bit-o-snow where the sun don't shine...
the now mostly frozen waterfall, from the top and the base...
Mt. Rose mocking me from above. I wouldn't get within a thousand feet of the top...

I attempted to run up to Mt. Rose Summit this morning, only to be turned back by mother nature just as the climb was getting interesting-but check out the visuals, frozen waterfall and all...ran half way up Rose and a third of the way up Relay Peak instead.
As with any of the pics on this blog, just click on 'em to get the full sized version.

winter running on the Bizz Johnson

At the start, & at the finish (trying to get a rise out of Hannah).

I don't know what that face is...she was happy...really!

Some sights from Hobo Camp and the last 1/4 mile of the course. Great place for fall running!

The Susan River, which we crossed many times, and a link to a photo from about mile 9...

Late last week (3 days before the race was to be held) my co-worker Amber received an email stating the first annual Run thru Reno had been cancelled. As Turi has previously posted, no surprise here, as it's supposedly been in the works for quite a long time, with no courses or any other new info being posted on the website for months. Wonder if she'll ever get a refund! So, I suggested that she go to Susanville to run on the Bizz Johnson trail. On Sunday, they held the 5th annual Bizz Johnson Marathon/half/10k/5k (with the "express" half marathon on Saturday). I ran for Lassen College in 1996-1998 and ran on the Bizz almost weekly. She then had the bright idea to carpool with Turi and myself and we could all run the half on Sunday, but Turi was not interested, and therefore, neither was Amber (even though it was her idea in the first place)! I'm convinced she would have gone if Turi did...
Anyway, the idea was now in my head, and although I was originally non-commital to the idea since I'd raced each of the last three Sundays, I have to admit I was intruiged. I knew the trail was beautiful, and I'd actually planned on running the full marathon last year before it filled up. My original plan was to do a long run this weekend, possibly on the rim trail, of between 19-24 miles, so to justify skipping a long run to do yet another race, I'd have to put in some good miles. Needless to say, by the time I knew neither Amber or Turi were coming, I had pretty much talked myself into racing for a 4th straight weekend. If I ran an additional 6 miles between my warm-up & cool-down, I'd still have put in over 19 miles. editor's note-after a 2.5 mile warm-up, and 2.2 mile cooldown, i'd fall short of 19 by just over a mile.

Abby, Hannah, & I left about 6:15 on Sunday morning and made the 85 mile drive to the Susanville Train Depot. Pretty cool place for race HQ, but since the shuttles to take the marathoners to their start hadn't loaded yet, the place was packed like sardines. I eventually made my way to the registration table with the exact amount to register (including one dollar in change), only to be told that the price had gone up for race day. Not entirely unique, but it would have been nice if that were advertised. The incredibly nice lady behind me was kind enough to spot me $5, so I told her to look for the lady with a cute 21-month-old after the race, and tell her she owes you 5 bucks. We stayed inside for a while, as the temperature was in the low 20's at 8 a.m (not much warmer during or after). I coaxed myself into a 2.5 mile "warm-up" at 8:30, and made it back to the line in time to drop weight (he he he) and stretch for a few minutes before we were off @9.
The race began rather uneventfully. I'd seen, from previous years, that the half and marathon were the only competitive races. The 5k and 10k were small enough and slow enough that even though we all started together, I had the overall lead after about a minute. The first mile had a couple obstacles in the form of unopened gates (why, I couldn't say). After about 3/4 mile, we passed Hobo Camp, where all races would turn into for the finish. The miles on the way out were marked at 0.9, 1.9, as to be on the back of the mile markers for the marathon. The shorter races all started at the depot, and were out-&-back, while the marathon was point to point. The half gradually climbed about 400 feet over 6.9 miles, before turning back down the trail, and going back down about 350 feet to Hobo Camp. I fully intended to go out conservatively on the 1-2% grade, so I'd be sure to have enough left to take advantage of the faster return trip. I hadn't really shared my goals for this race with Abby (or anyone else) as it was a last minute decision, but aparently Abby had noticed a time written on the directions. 1:21:26. That was the fastest half marathon run in the 4 year history of the race. Not a very intimidating time, but this was a trail course after all. My lifetime best is almost 6 minutes faster than that, but on a much faster course. So in the back of my head, the course record was my goal, but because of lingering stomach issues (again) and uncertainty about running fast on a soft, rocky surface, I did not share that goal. To run that kind of time, I'd need to run about 6:13 per mile, and I imagined that would be about 6:20 on the way up, and 6:00+ on the way down.

I was a little uncomfortable running alone from such an early point in a long race, but I broke it down mile by mile (especially for the last 6), so as not to be intimidated by the distance. I ran a comfortable 6:18 for the first mile, and had climbed 50 feet or so, so I imagined I could hold that pace to the turn. I was still comfortable at the turn, but not entirely sure how much faster the last 10k would be. I hit it in 44:14 for 6.9 slightly uphill miles, 6:24 per mile (or about a minute slower than I was hoping for). To have a shot at the record, I'd have to run 37:11 for the last 10k-or just a hair under 6 minutes per mile. I also would not have anyone pushing me as I had about a 2 1/2 minute gap on 2nd place. I instantly sped up after the turn, figuring if I didn't make a move now, the record would be out of reach. I was very happy to have a split close to 5:30 for mile 8, but I also knew I couldn't hold that pace. For the rest of the way, I pushed myself harder than I had for the first 7 miles, and was well under 6:00 per mile every mile but one (8-9). I ended up 46 seconds under the old course record in 1:20:40 (6:09 per mile/36:26 for the last 10k). I'd opened up a bigger lead over the last 6 miles as well, as 2nd place finished nearly 7 minutes back. Next year, I really hope to stay healthy so I can try to run the full marathon in the mid 2:40 range (the course record there is 2:45 and change).

The finish area in Hobo Camp was even cooler (no pun intended) than I remembered, as you can tell from the pics. They had a nice spread, and just about everyone was in good cheer (especially when the pizza delivery guy showed up!!!). The sun hadn't quite cleared the giant trees, though, so while we ate, we huddled around a fire pit about 10 yards from the finish. We hung out for quite a while, til it was time for Hannah to go down. Before leaving, I talked to Mike Buzbee, who'd ran the early bird marathon at 7:30. Brrrrrrrrr! He's hoping to be recovered in time for next week's 10k, and also plans on doing CIM in December. I'm planning on a 10k next weekend for my 5th straight week of racing (I think that's the most I've done since college), and want to move up to the marathon in January. Good times! I'm relieved to say that there is no unusual soreness or fatigue (for me) from this extra race (#19? on the year), so I should be ready to hopefully cut 4 seconds or more from last year's Run Through the Colors 10k. We shall see...