yours truly finishing my "race"
...and I didn't even fall
I baptize you...
The pain refers to my new back/hip/a@* injury that has knocked me off my feet since Monday, and after run-limping through a 10k (2nd annual Monster Run) today, it is showing no signs of letting up. Apparently, my sciatic nerve and peraformis muscles are only speaking to me when they want to yell, and they are doing that quite well. I'm really hoping to find a solution before this latest thing ruins what's left of 2008 (Turkey Trot & XTerra Worlds), and the long runs (January marathon and February 50k) that I have planned for early 2009. The waterslide refers to the only part of today's course that would have been fast IF it hadn't been raining cats & dogs since last night. When we lined up at the start, I was literally standing in a mini-river, currents and all...and that was the easy part. Today's run was on a course that is a trail runner's dream (for a training run), but I think whoever thought it would be a good idea to have a race here may need to seek help from a medical health proffesional. After a 100 yards on the only stretch of road/river on the course, we made a left and immediately started a muddy downhill. Not a gentle grade mind you, but a steep mudslide, take baby steps so you don't end up on your keister type downhill. So the only part of the course that may have been fast under normal conditions turned into a downhill crawl. On top of the mud, which alternated between the sinking several inches variety, to the slip-fall-break your neck variety, there were hairpin turns conveniently located where there was the worst possible footing. Several people (especially on the second 5k loop, when everything was slicker from 1st loop traffic) where using their hands, as well as their feet, to make the 1st ridiculous turn and climb the ensuing uphill. Pete led down that 1st hill, and I tucked in with a small pack behind him, Larry, Zach and a few others. It didn't seem like anyone was or could run particularly hard for most of the first mile. That's the difference betwen today's course and Pete & I's favorite GP run, the Salmon Run. While the Salmon Run was harder, it was also entirely runable. There were rocks and monster hills, but at least you could race it. Today, even without my injury, would have been about surviving.
I was hurting from the warm-up, and again right after the gun. The good thing is that the pain reached it's height pretty early and just stayed the same the rest of the way. I didn't take the lead until close to the mile mark, and I hit the downhill mile in 6:40. 6-freakin'-40! In the lead! There weren't any stretches that were much faster the rest of the way. Mile 1-2 was flatter, so a bit faster (6:20ish). Mile 2-3.1 was mostly climbing, a 180 degree turn, and a couple switchbacks so it was pretty slow. The 10k ran the 5k course twice...I came through 1st in about 21:42 (7:00 pace). Zach was next. Larry came in right after as the first 5k runner in 22-something...there was no clock. As I'd taken it pretty easy the first loop (partly to manage my pain, and partly due to the course) I thought it would be easy to run even or negtive splits. I didn't know how far back Zach & Pete were, but I wasn't planning on working any harder unless I needed to. Due to the half mile long slip n' slide, though, the fourth mile was 20 seconds slower than the first. I ran the remaining 2 miles or so well within my limits but hurting like hell nonetheless, and came in 1st in between 43:28-43:31 (again, no clock...i hope they took times...). Mile 5-6 is the only part of this race where the heart rate was anywhere near where it should be during an all out effort, which is both good and bad I guess.
Not too many stuck around for the "awards" and bbq-still raining cats & dogs & all. Although it was stated as clear as day on the flyer/registration form that they were doing awards for the top 3 overall, as well as age group and best costume, the RD disputed this when Pete (who came in 3rd overall in the 10k) brought it up. Shoulda got my form from the car. Not a big deal, as they only had ribbons for age group & a medal for 1st overall...but it's the principle of the thing (RDs are you listening???). If you're going to advertise awards for top 3 overall, you might want to actually have awards for the top three overall. There is such a wide range in quality of races/organization/awards within the Gold Country Grand Prix. This one, like a few others, had the quality of being thrown together and being nothing more than a fundraiser. Probably not one I'll do again. When my wife pointed out that the shirt back advertised a 5k only (meaning this year's shirts are probably last year's leftovers) that was just the icing on the cake.
Not to be lost in my rant, is that 13 year old National Class runner Zach Stoll had one of his better races of recent years. He finished strong and came in a few seconds under 46 minutes, second overall in the 10k! Good job Zach! After jumping in the lake to get the mud off before returning to our vehicles, Abby, Hannah, Peter and I went out for coffee & food. I'm off to NY now with Hannah, who is almost 2. Enough said? What do you get when you add an impatient Dad, a thrown out back, a "normal" 22 month old, and an 8 hour plane ride? I hope they serve strong drinks!!! We'd taken Hannah out in her Cinderella costume for Halloween, which is where the non-race pics are from.
Hopefully, I'll get back into my routine before returning to Reno next Saturday...the Turkey Trot was the deepest 5k & 10k in the series last year, so I can't hope to win anything running like I did today. Wish me luck, and see y'all later in the month.