Thursday, October 29, 2009

Gold Country Grand Prix points update (2009)

The leaves have settled after last weekend's Run Through the Colors, and the points series is one race from it's end. Here are both the male & female overall top 10, with Age Group Leaders in Red.
Men
1) Ron Gross 70+ @90 points
2) V Neelakantan 40-49 @87
3) Mike Buzbee 50-59 @85
4) Larry Defeyter 30-39 @82
5) Lars Weston <10>
6) Jim Kepfer 40-49 @68
7) Cody Carlton 15-18 @65
8) Drue Mathies 60-69 @64
9) Ken Gaal 60-69 @60 - a nice race to the finish in this AG!
10) Darryl Beardall 70+ @57
Women
1) Lynne Hurrell 70+ @90 points - clinched
2) Joy Castro-Wehr 11-14 @72
T3) Anne King 50-59 @71
T3) Jeanine McNeill 60-69 @71
5) Linda King 60-69 @68
6) Tamara Zuromskis 30-39 @66
7) Diana Wilburn 40-49 @57
8) Therese Ikonian 50-59 @47
T9) Wendy Baker 50-59 @44
T9) Nadja Young-Warner 40-49 @44
***Ava Warner currently leads the <10 ag with 27 points but has not run enough races to run the minimum to qualify with only one to go (5). I don't think an AG winner has ever been short, but this group is pretty slim this year. As of now, 3rd place Ava Warner is the only one who has a shot at qualifying for a year-end prize in this group. In the F 11-14 group, topped with 18 points, NOBODY will meet the 5 race minimum for an award. I think the plan to shorten the age groups fpr younger kids (to keep the competition honest and encourage participation) has backfired a little this year, but interestingly enough, the younger boys have placed two of the top seven overall amd there's a 1 point race (48-47) for the 11-14 age group!
The final points race will be the Michael Bratton Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Run Through the Colors 10k

start of the 18th annual Run Through the Colors in Nevada City (I'm hiding!)
Dave pushing up one last hill to the 5k finish
Ditto in the 10k
post-race, and post-wine dinner!
I'll keep this one short, since it's been a few days and it was another ok race day. My "A" goal was to match or beat my time from 2008 (34:21) and my "B" goal was to match or beat my time from 2007 (35:03)...which means by the clock maybe I got a C/C-? I started aggresively, even leading the first 5ker (who'd break the 5k record in 17:07) downhill the first 2 minutes, up Nevada St. the next 2, and til the split. I wished him luck and headed off by myself with a couple other guys, including Ryann Ress from Reno not far behind. I maintained a good pace for a few more minutes, but it became evident my "A" time would be out of reach when I hit the next hill. I was pretty much stuck in one gear for the rest of the run and could tell even without consulting the watch that it was a bit slower than I wanted to be going. I ended up hitting the hard half in 18:10 (opposed to 17:30 last year) and the second half in 17:27 (16:51 in '08) for a time of 35:37. Good enough to keep the current win streak alive, and take the 10k for the third straight year, AND the 13 year old course record in the 5k was smashed, so that was cool too. As usual the race was great. Tons of volunteers. A scenic, challenging, well marked course, and another Sierra Club Calendar for 2010!
That evening, Abby, Betty, Dave & I went to Club 141 in Grass Valley for a wine dinner hosted by one of our favorite local vintners, Indian Springs. I think the picture above pretty much tells you how that went. Anyhoo, back to the trail run series in Folsom next weekend, sans Sacramento Brewing Company.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

2009 Gold Country Grand Prix

With 8 races down and 2 to go, there's some fierce competition for both the overall title and within several of the age groups. On the men's side, 71 year-old Ron Gross is in the lead with a perfect 80 points, and will be hard to catch if he shows at the last two races, although the top 4 men overall are seperated by a mere 8 points! You earn 10 points for an age-group win, 7 for second, 5 for third, 4 for fourth, 3 for fifth, and one for sixth and higher.
Overall, there are 9 men who've earned at least 50 points thus far...
1) Ron Gross (71) 80 pts.
2) V. Neelakantan (49)* 77
3) Mike Buzbee (57) 75
4) Larry Defeyter (35) 72
5) Drue Mathies (62) 64
6) Lars Weston (9) 60
7) Jim Kepfer (45) 58
8) Cody Carlton (15) 55
9) Ken Gaal (69) 53
On the women's side, 74 year-old Lynne Hurrell is once again running away from the field with a perfect 80 points, and is 2 points away from clinching for the 4th straight year. There's currently a tie atop the 60-69 age group, so it'll be interesting to see how that plays out. Overall, there are 7 women with 50 or more points...
1) Lynne Hurrell (74) 80 pts.
2) Joy Castro-Wehr (12) 62
t3) Linda King (62) 61
t3) Jeanine McNeill (65) 61
t3) Anne King (51) 61
6) Tamara Zuromakis (35) 59
7) Diana Wilburn (49) 50
Next up is the Run Through the Colors on Sunday, October 25, and the MBII Turkey Trot on November 26th.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Folsom Lake Winter Trail Run Series (Race #1)

That's right...that's the Dave's legs!
a couple minutes in, Dave's just happy cuz we haven't hit the hills yet.
Molly:race-series mascot
photos all courtesy of breakoutracing.com

After not hearing back from anyone regarding the...uh...fullness of the Bizz Johnson Half (real professional there, guys), I had in my inbox an email from Breakout Racing on Saturday morning regarding the Folsom Lake Trail Runs series, which in other seasons has been Thursdays. I've deleted them thus far as driving 4 hours round-trip on a weeknight just didn't seem like the best idea. This series, though, starting on 10/11, goes for 8 races every third Sunday, and offers a short (3+ to 5 miles) & long (10-13.1) run on each date. Nice.
So, Dave & I hit the road early Sunday morning and drove to Negro Bar between Folsom Lake & Lake Natoma. Even though I feared man-card revocation from Gretchen, I talked myself out of the half on the way there for several reasons. We were on a schedule and more running would mean less beer before going home, the short race was cheaper, and, I haven't slept well lately and just didn't feel up to it, so I opted for the 3.03 miler along with Dave.
I warmed up on the course so I could insure my directionally challenged self wouldn't get lost en route. After a 2 minute loop, the hills would start, and there were a couple doozies. Dave measured the second (& longest) one as a 295 ft. climb. Knowing I'd have to start fast to even have a shot at running a decent time on a course like this, I did so (maybe too fast, Idunno)-I didn't really have a good sense of pace yesterday. All I know is I had a good lead by the time we hit the hills and the singletrack, and while I figured I may have been losing a couple seconds on a few of the rocky/technical downhills, I was shocked to hear footsteps (for the first time) on the final descent before a flat sprint finish. Luckily I'd been holding back enough for a kick (foolishly thinking I had a bigger lead) and I was able to finish fast and build a 12 second lead over the last minute or so. All in all, I ran a 17:54 (5:54 pace), 2nd was 18:06, & 3rd was 18:58, then a 5 minute gap before runners started to file in every few seconds.
Dave came in on this slower-than-we-thought-it'd-be course in 31:00. The way the scoring works for the series is a percentage based on the male/female winning time. The winner in each gender persuasion gets 100 points, and all following runners divide the winning time into theirs to get a % (ie-a male runner would've gotten a 50.0 for running a 35:48 based on my time). AND, you get to drop your worst 2 results if you run all 8 races (6 count). If all goes to plan, I'll run 7 of 8, and get 1 mulligan. Gotta like that! Points within each race are for your overall time, regardless of place, but at the end, you will be in your own age group. The cool thing about this season (as opposed to those past) is that their is no long series/short series...just the one. So Dave & I plan on running both long & short courses during the series. In fact, I'm already registered for the 10 miler on 11/1.
Anyway, we went back to Sac Brew to have more of the Amazing Mirror Mirror from Deschutes Brewing, as well as a couple other solid brews (Sac's own black IIPA, New Belgium Eric's Ale, & Firestone Walker Double Jack) before heading back to hang with the fam before my brother gets shipped off again. Anyway, I'm finally taking a weekend "off", and am looking forward to a good long run on the TRT on Sunday. Anyone & Everyone welcome...

Friday, October 9, 2009

Finally matched an effort from the spring!

In my last 5k time trial in May before running the Buzz Oats 5k in Sacramento & the Fitch Mountain 3k in Healdsburg, I ran a 3k/5k time trial with a slightly faster start than I was used to, a kick at the end of 3k, and another at the end of 5k. I ended up running a 16:31 a few days before running a 16:32 on a fast course in Sac and a 9:29 3k on a fast course a couple weeks later. Today, after struggling a bit since my breakthrough in New York, I was able to run a time trial comprable to May. Needless to say, I was happy with it, and if I ever hear back from the Bizz Johnson race director, I'll follow through with plans to run the half on Sunday. Anyway, here's the splits from May compared to today's...
May /October
.25 @5:13 pace /2 miles @5:21
1.37 @5:21 pace/ .9 miles @5:18
.25 @5:00 pace /.2 miles @5:00
.99 @5:24 pace
.25 @5:00 pace
16:31-3.11 miles /16:29-3.10 miles
That was pretty much my peak for the spring...hopefully I can build on it this time around. If I can match my 1:20 from last year's Bizz, I'd be ecstatic!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Kokanee Salmon Trail Runs

TLD before
1/2 marathon start
Dave low-fiving near the end of the 5k
mile 13 of the half

TLD after
support crew
getting...sleepy...(the pavement was warmer than anything else if you found a dry spot)
wine and a fake salmon - beat that!

Yesterday I had the pleasure of going to South Lake Tahoe with Team Library Dork (and a few others) for the 20th Annual Kokanee Trail Runs. For the past couple editions, they've offered a 5k, 10k, and half marathon. It had been my intention to run the half, but I'd begun to waffle over the last few days, since I got sick the night after the last race and haven't totally recovered yet. Sunday's forcast was beggining to call for snow well below lake-level, and sure enough, as Abby, Hannah, Dave & I drove through Carson, we could see Mt Rose had a fresh coat, and there was even a touch through Washoe Valley, at 5000 feet! Oh well. Snow running is actually quite fun, but due to my condition, this particular day I would have welcomed 50 & sunny. We met Amber, Turi, Gretchen, Abby II, & Sarah (TLD Carson) at about 8:15. I bit the bullet and signed up for the half for two reasons...1) a 13.1 mile training run is better than 3.1 or 6.2, and 2) It was 29 degrees and trying to snow, and I really didn't want to wait an extra hour in the cold and then attemp to run fast (the half started at 9, the 5k/10k @10). I chose to forgo the warm-up completely, opting to ease into the run over the first mile or two, figuring nobody was going to be going to fast, between the elevation, rocky trail (which was covered in fresh powder) and hills. I was half right. Nobody started too fast. As we climbed up a gradual incline for the first mile and a half, I settled into second place, but was having a little trouble with my breathing. It was cold, but this suprised me a bit this early in a race, and going at a pace that more resembled a training run. As we hit the trail at 1.55 miles, I was still hanging onto the leader, but was passed by old buddy and Odyssey teammate Ross McMahon. 9 minutes later I was passed again, struggling to maintain contact with the lead pack. Luckily for me, though, nobody was breaking away. The runner who took lead the first mile swapped the lead with Ross a couple times, and just when one guy would put a few yards on the other, they'd get reeled right back in. Meanwhile, 19 minutes in, I'm now sitting 4th. All three of these guys are taking turns with the lead, but nobody is pulling away, yet. I'm struggling to hold onto the back of this pack, never moving up from 4th, but not losing contact either. For the first 5 miles, our group is pulling slowly away from the rest of the field, but we're only a few seconds apart from each other at any given time. Even during the early struggles of this race, it was hard not to notice the scenery, running along the shore of Fallen Leaf, and around Tahoe Mountain.
At mile 5, the runner who'd started 4th had taken the lead and began to push the pace. He finally broke from the group and would put 20-30 seconds (per mile) on us between miles 5 & 7. About 5.25 in, there was a long, hard climb, and I took advantage to move back into second place, with first continuing to pull nearly out of sight. This was the first time since the start I'd been able to respond at all in a positive way, so I was quite happy with it, & surprised my first move came on the biggest hill on the course. By mile 7 I was starting to feel better, and once or twice through the trees, I was able to get a glimpse of the leader. The next two miles were rolling hills, and a couple mellow declines, and I was able to push the pace much more than I'd done before. From 7-8, I was able to cut the lead in half, and surprised myself by doing the same in the 9th mile, and was running side by side with the leader about a minute or two before the nine-mile mark (only 3-4 miles after barely holding onto the back of the pack). Just goes to show no matter how much you're struggling, to keep your head in it, and see what might happen. Between mile 9 & mile 12 I ran either directly behind the leader (he knew the course far better than me, and there were a few suspect turns) or ventured briefly into to front for short lived leads. Each time I'd start to build a lead, I'd lose the trail (3 times to be exact - stopping dead twice to wait and get going the right way). So, the race really started anew just before mile 12, but as I'd been running comfortably, especially compared to the first few miles, I was confident I'd have a kick, as long as the side-cramps that have only been absent in one of my six races after taking half the summer off, stayed away for the remainder. They did, and once I knew where I was going, I was able to finish strong, speeding up considerably, especially during the last half mile downhill (road) section, and came in 35-55 seconds ahead of 2nd, in 1:34. Sorry...no official results yet. There was some sort of computer issue, so the results weren't in 'til about 2 1/2 hours after I crossed the line, and as of now are not posted yet. I found Dave, who had run the 5k at 10:00, and we were able to see Turi, Gretchen, and Amber finish the half (after a chili dog of course). Gretchen was coming off a win at the Lake Tahoe Marathon last weekend, so this was a "recovery" run for her...as much recovery as a trail run at 6500 feet and a few inches of snow can provide.
After they got the results ironed out, we skiped the planned outdoor Oktoberfest at Camp Richardson due to the cold, and instead went to the Brewery at Lake Tahoe. I distinctly remember Sean, Rocky, & Hayes thoroughly enjoying their pizza after the Tahoe Realy in June, so the 8 of us had 2 giant Pizzas (one greek & one Thai chicken) that could rival just about any Reno has to offer. Throw in a couple beers, and some artichoke dip, and it was quite a tasty lunch. I gotta say, through, if anyone's listening...it's October and there's several inches of snow on the ground. Time to ditch your spring/summer seasonal for the cold weather ones, no?!
Up next is Bizz Johnson, which I think will be my 6th race in the last 6-7 weeks, trying to race my way back into shape. So far so good, but I'm leaning towards the 5k in that one. I'd love to do the marathon, but I'm not even close to ready (just a handful of runs over 10 miles this year) and I did the half last year. Too bad there are no breweries in Susanville, though...

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Yankees, Breweries and a great race to boot!

our first two stops...
the rivalry!
the new Stadium...quite the palace


Riverside Park...we finished on the pier...and forgot our cameras til after the race
my new BFF DJ Lance
sorry, no bueno...

Time to catch up a bit...
At the end of September, Dave "Hi Alt Dawg" Eveland, Ben Biggs & I took a whirlwind trip to New York City, with "sidetrips" to Pennsylvania & Deleware to visit Dogfish Head & Victory Brewing Companies - two of the best in the country. We took a redeye from Reno-LAX-JFK two Wednesdays ago and left for Rehoboth Beach, DE (Dogfish) first thing Thursday, by way of Downington, PA to hit up Victory for lunch. We knew about the toll roads but were a bit surprised when the very first one was eleven freakin dollars! 11!! Both breweries were great, and we had quite a mix of styles, although all three of us were hoping for a better selection of Dogfish Head's crazy experimental beers. We stayed the night there before driving back up to East Rutherford, New Jersey and checking into our hotel. We actually went beerless on Friday since the Brooklyn Brewing Co was closed (and is open to the public a whopping 11 hours a week) and we only saw overpriced pee-beer at Yankee Stadium that night. That's ok though. That made for a better race for all 3 of us the next morning, and we still thoroughly enjoyed the Yanks taking it to the Red Sox in the first of a 3 game set (they would sweep the series and clinch the division that weekend!).
Saturday morning we drove to Riverside Park along the Hudson for the 5th Annual Race for the Kids, a 3000+ strong 4k run/walk put on by Big Brothers & Sisters of NYC. A rare case of the stars aligning just right alowed me to run my best race of 2009 in this race. A combination of things really. I slept well the night before, and was at the tail end of a good but lower mileage running week a week after putting in my highest mileage week of the year, so the training was starting to pay off. In the pleasantly cool morning, I wore a newly bought pair of compression sleeves on the shins/calves, which I beleive does help with circulation and/or injury, at least a little. I'd also warmed up at a faster pace than usual. I ran most of the 2.48 mile course in my racing flats, as we'd all forgot there'd be a bag check and left our extra gear in the parking garage several blocks away. This caused me to start my warm-up too fast, but by the time I caught myself running at workout pace, I just rolled with it and left out the strides and slow jogging, running about 6:20 pace. The course was also suited to my strengths. It rolled up and down some small hills for the first half, just enough to vary the muscles used, and had a downhill immediately following every up. By the time you'd start to tire, the course hit the river path back down to pier 70, where it finished, and was flat as a pancake for the last mile.
When the gun went off, we elbowed our way past the press still blocking the course, absent-mindedly still taking pictures of starter Nick Canon (of Nickelodeon & America's Got Talent fame). I noticed after the first little hill that maybe I'd gone out a little fast, but felt ok so far, and knew I'd have to red-line it to have a chance to win a run of this size. I led solo from about 0.1 and hit the mile in 5:04, right behind the pace bike. When we hit the turn, it looked like I had a good gap on #2, but it was hard to tell, so I tried to keep the petal to the metal (just hoping I wouldn't get into oxygen debt too far from the end). Mile 2 was a push as the lactic acid was starting to get into the bloodstream, but even though there was a couple times when the pace bike had to slow too much to get walkers going in the opposite direction on the path, I hit mile 2 in 10:14, for a 5:10 split. Fearing I'd slow too much and blow a sub-13 or get caught from behind, I pushed as hard as I possibly could in the super oxygenated air right off the water, and was able to drop down to 5:00 pace for the last .48, and finished 1st in 12:36+ (5:05 per mile, my fastest since running 5:04.5 pace for a 3000 in June). My friend both exceeded their goals as well, Dave just coming off a calf injury, and Ben running in his first ever race. We stuck around a while for the GIANT after party, and I do meen Giant. Ex-New York Football Giants great Tiki Barber was there, as well as a wide contingent from Nick & Nick Jr., as this race was part of Nickelodeon's Worldwide Day of Play. I even stood in line with a bunch of snotty nosed toddlers to get a pick and autograph from DJ Lance Rock (host of Yo Gabba Gabba, one of Hannah's favorite shows).
Well, we earned our grog, but didn't want to deal with more city driving than needed, so we left the car, and hoofed it down Broadway for 3 miles, past the late show, Columbus Circle, Times Square, etc...to our destination at Heartland Brewing Co at the base of the Empire State Building. After lunch, beer, and the walk back, we were ready to go relax at the hotel, and would enjoy a good dinner there that night, a pumpkin-only beer tasting, and a hot tub soak, before going down for the last night. I'll leave out the grusome details of the return trip, only leting you know that
a) Delta sucks
b) Dave got home on time, Ben & I paid extra to get home 4 1/2 hours late
c) our bags were delivered to our house at 12:30 the next morning. Nice...
Anyway, the trip was great, but I think it's time to figure out a way to get the brew crew up to Deschutes Brewing in Bend, OR. I hear they have some races up in OR occasionally too. Another NY trip may be a ways off...