Thursday, December 24, 2009

2009 Year In Review trips to Hawaii this year, and for the first time since it started, I did not participate in the Gold Country Grand Prix, which I missed (figuratively & literally). On the plus side, however, I found a new points series, the Folsom Winter Trail Run Series, which has been a blast through four of eight races. I'm also finishing the year in better shape than i've been in for nine years! I'm cautiously optimistic about the prospects for 2010 - but first, a look back at 2009. By the numbers...
22 races
16 wins
4 course records
1 (once again) slowest ever winning time in the history of an event
a 7 race win streak (22 seconds & a side cramp away from being a 12 race streak!)
By the numbers, the similarities to last year are astounding (17/23 w/a 7 race streak in '08), but I peaked at different times this year (May & Nov/Dec), and finish the year already signed up for two January races...Folsom WTR #5, and the Redding Marathon Relay.
In 2009, I didn't race 'til mid-February due to injuries yet again, and only had eight races under my belt (winning four) from February to June, before having to shut it down again. So I took half of June & all of July off, not letting myself get too out of shape by swimming and lifting lots of weights. I did the swim from Alcatraz in July, which was one of the more fun & adventurous events I've ever done. Every trip to the bay area is marked by awesome eats and some good brew too, so that helped! In August I decided I needed to jump start my lacking endurance stores and signed up for a hilly trail half marathon (at elevation) as my first race back. My time wasn't great, but I hung on to the leader for 11 miles before taking over and pulling away over the last two. After getting "chicked" at a 5k for my second race back, I began the 7 race streak, and started to peak in both my workouts and races by mid-November. I've been able to run 15:53/20:52/26:19 for 5k/4 miles/5 miles over the last three weeks, which, although on the treadmill, are the fastest times I've run in years, and only a couple seconds per mile off my all-time bests.
My favorite races of 2009 (in chronological order, so I'm not tempted to rank them)...
Fresh Tracks Snowshoe 5k (February) - my first ever snowshoe race was a blast. Turi & Dave joined me, so I was in good company, and Dave Cotter was the RD. The weather was perfect, the race fun, and there was hot food afterwards. What more could you ask for?
Climb Claifornia (March) - this being on the list had nothing to do with the results. One look at my face right after I crossed the line, and you know I was NOT happy with that. That being said, this was my first foray into competitive stairclimbing. 3/4 of TLD was there, as was Ron & family, and we had lots of fun after the race. We had great breakfast afterwards, visited the dive that is the Toronado beer bar (visited with Turi & Amber) and debated with Ron & Abby at the Rogue Alehouse about what, exactly, flashing consists of ('til 2 a.m.). Sorry dear...your still wrong on that one. I am currently plotting my revenge on this race in March of 2010!
Run-A-Muck (May) - more with the firsts. First race I've ever done with a 60 foot mudpit. First race I've ever done in a bra. And, I beleive, the first relay I've won since junior college. Throw in some awesome swag that was awarded to Turi & I for our efforts, and even though I didn't run anything awe-inspring that day (in my defense, the football players got me first) it really couldn't have gone any better.
Buzz Oates No Excuses 5k (May) - just a couple weeks later, all of TLD went to William Land Park in Sac, the perfect race venue, for this race. I ran well enough to be quite happy (16:32) and also met up with the Nevada County contingent while there. Steve, Ron, and Therese were all happy with how they ran, and it fun to watch as the age-graded results poured in, Steve narrowly missing the hot seat (50th overall age-graded, winner of a leather recliner). Afterwards, we went to the zoo with the kids and a brewery for lunch. All in all, a great day!
Race For The Kids 4k (September) - this was one of the two big races this year where I did not expect to contend, but somehow came home with a win. On a perfect day and a riverside course in NY, I started at a nearly reckless speed and held it for as long as possible, with ended up being close to 5:00 pace and a win by close to a minute. It remains the biggest race (by # of competitors) that I've ever won. I met DJ Lance and SpongeBob after the race, and went to a brewery in the Empire State Building after walking through NYC after. Did I mention we watched the Yankees spank the Sox the night before the race, and had already visited two awesome breweries in the days leading up to the run. Even with our return flight being as horrific as possible, nothing dampened this trip.
Davis Turkey Trot 5k (November) - this was part of a rare double race weekend, complete with a nice hotel and lots of great food. Throw in another win in a big race that was totally unexpected, along with my fastest 5k in years, and this was a memorable one, for sure. No beer that day (as I had to race the following morning as well) but it was worth it. Through four races in the series, and even though I'd run hard the day before, I managed to put more % points between myself and second than any of the other three races.
Honorable mention to my two June races...the Tahoe Relay & Fitch Mountain Foot Race - both enjoyable and on the docket (probably) for 2010.
Speaking of 2010, I'm still on the fence about what to train for. As much as I'd love to run and contend in the TRT 50k in July, I know that will take a certain amount of endurance training that I haven't done in two years, and I'm not sure that I want to risk my relative good health to do it. Or do I? Dun dun duuuuuuuuun.
Last Sunday I ran 5 miles further than I had in over a year (20.6), and did so at a good pace (6:19 average). It had me thinking dreaming of 50ks instead of sugarplums...for the rest of the day anyway. The next morning I awoke to an all to familiar pain in my right knee that still hasn't gone away, which is causing me to weigh yet again the risks of marathon/ultra training versus what I've been doing, which will still lead to some good times for 5k to half marathons. I don't know when or if that question will be answered definitively, but you'll know if you see a marathon posting on here that I threw caution to the wind.
I hope you all enjoyed 2009 as well, and look forward to a happy, healthy 2010.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

8k time trial (after a couple cross training days)

the IT band/knee is not all the way better, but it affected me post-run today more than during the run. Todays treadmill workout looked like this...
3.5 miles (22:00) warm-up w/5 x 65 seconds @5:00-5:18 pace
5.0 miles (26:19) 4.77 miles @5:16 per mile, 0.23 miles @5:00 pace
3.33 cool-down w/3 x 65 seconds @5:00 pace
20 sets legs, 5 sets core, and a little stretching. The legs were fresh after two easier days, the knee is about 80% and hopefully will not regress after pushing it today. Instead of trying for 22 miles on Sunday, I think the new plan is to speed it up a tad, and try to do 19.4 miles (the distance of my relay legs on 1/17) in 2 hours...
On the good side, I'm maintaining my hardest runs at about 2 seconds per mile off pr 8k/5mile pr is 25:59/26:09...from February 2001!

Monday, December 21, 2009

ahhh...the old familiar pain

Well...last week was awesome. The snow has forced me inside, but I had an 84 mile week (my previous high for 2009 was short of 70), and a quality 20.6 mile run at <6:20 pace on Sunday...but as in previous attempts to run further than I am really in shape for (ie-Run on the Sly 20m, post marathon & 50k) my right knee/it band is quite pissed and will probably force me to cross train (hopefully for only a couple days) this week. I tried to do 10 today, and got to 3 ok, but after that, it was a real struggle to get along, so I ran 4 miles and did a 5 mile equivelant on the eliptical trainer. The IT band likes to slide out of its groove and rub on the side of the knee when it and the hip get too tight from overwork. Fun stuff. Hopefully it's fully better soon...the intent is to add a mile or two to that long run on Sunday!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

4 seconds off a PR

Thre plan this morning was to break or hit 21:00 for 4 miles. After a long warm-up of 3.26 miles and 5 x 1:00 at race pace, I stretched a little and ramped the treadmill back up to 11.5 mph (5:13.0) pace. I held that easily for about a mile and half, started to feel it between 1.5-2.5, and struggled to not pass out on the treadmill over the last mile...not that that wouldn't have been immensely entertaining for the others in the gym. I've already shot off the back of the treadmill once, and resisted the urge to do so again. I managed to drop to 5:00 pace for the last 0.12 and finished only 4 seconds off my 9 year old pr of 20:48, running just a hair under 20:52. I continued a long cool-down, with 3 x 1:00 hard to keep my miles up for the week (11 for the day), and just barely managed to get a slightly lighter than usual weight workout and some stretching in. If I can get through work today without falling asleep, I'll consider it a success.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Beals Point (Folsom Trail Series #4)

at the 9:15 start, and along the first stretch of singletrack...
Dave on the short stretch of pavement at the start
heading out...
and coming back...
down the homestretch
anybody got a towel???
We had to get through some weather for this one, but luckily both Dave & I's libraries shut down a little early on Saturday, so we hit the road by 4:00. We were a little luckier than Abby (who's left earlier with Hannah & her parents) going over the pass, and got to our hotel in Rocklin at a reasonable hour, and went out to dinner at Chevy's.
As we'd figured, it was raining Sunday morning, which meant this would be a double points race. I signed up for the 7.5 miler, and Dave the 3 miler. After three races, my closest competitior was only 5 points behind (out of 300) so the hope was that with a 200 point race, I could spread that out a bit. I warmed up on the 3 mile course, which had one good hill, and a bit of slippery mud. The 7.5 miler had another hill which climbed (slowly) up to a water tower, down the other side, and around to the lake, where we had an incredible view of Folsom Lake, especially with the storm. this had to be my favorite course of the four. I'd built a good lead with a fast first mile or so, but it was impossible to tell after that. It was a pretty small field due to the weather, and we were spread out pretty fast. Somehow, Dave & I both managed to stay on our feet despite the mud on this hilly, winding course...although there were a couple times I thought I'd be toast. I came in seconds behind Dave, who ran 32 minutes on theshort course, which started about 15 minutes after us, and finished 1st in 46:48. The results so far are screwy for the middle course, but after finishing, we kept an eye on the watch to see how much of a gap there would be between 1 & 2. I was hoping for at least 3 minutes, Dave said 5. Partly because he decided on pants (which had to be heavy in the downpour...even my shorts were), I finished about 5:40 ahead, which should be about a 22 point spread. Woo-hoo! Finally a touch of breathing room. It's a little hard to spread out the point competition when there are 3 different distances to choose from, so three distances in which one can get a perfect score. Anyhoo, I'll post the series points at the halfway mark once the 7 1/2 mile results are sorted out. As well as the race went, not all is well. I think I may have cheated fate during the race, and now he's come to collect. Anyone familair with the "Final Destination" movies? The premise is that a bunch of kids cheat death by getting off a plane that ends up crashing, and leaving no survivors. Well, "death" comes calling for each of them one by one. What does this have to do with me, you say? Since I managed to stay on my feet during the race, I was not so lucky later in the shower. It's a toss up which would have been worse. While I was running 10 mph on the trail, it would have been softer, as long as I managed to avoid the rocks, and I wouldn't have got a faucet between the shoulderblades. I almost went down this morning at the gym too. Once in enough, fate! i'm still sore from yesterday's little payback.
Anyway, that should do it for the year...ending with a 4 race win streak. I'll try and do a long run each of the next two Sundays in preperation for a 19.4 mile relay stretch at the Redding Marathon on the 17th of January. The plan there is to run 6 minute miles 'til I crack (hopefully not too long before the 19.4 mile mark) with trail race #5 on January 3rd being the next race planned. Merry Christmas & Happy New Year...and to all a good night.

here's the women's and men's top 10 after 4 of 8 races...
Susan Grinstead F 52 94.38 98.03 100.00 200.00 492.41
Yvette Ferreira F 35 100.00 100.00 92.37 200.00 492.37
Susan Booher F 47 100.00 100.00 84.79 185.34 470.13
Alicia Mcdonald F 40 86.75 90.19 92.36 179.08 448.38
Tamra Kelly F 41 88.86 88.68 86.52 165.98 430.04
Kelly Mccutcheon F 40 82.63 84.85 78.90 172.70 419.08
Sharon Weatherford F 52 85.68 84.32 79.79 167.78 417.57
Kathy Welch F 56 85.38 90.10 71.20 168.30 414.98
Cathie Apple F 34 99.43 99.15 197.64 396.22
Janelle Weiner F 34 93.61 93.83 191.02 378.46
Holy two women seperated by .04!!
Chris Badolato M 32 100.00 100.00 100.00 200.00 500.00
Kirk Ferris M 29 100.00 94.52 100.00 178.60 473.12
Tony Elwell M 31 73.11 85.19 85.02 180.82 424.14
Trevor Beards M 12 73.36 84.36 77.31 188.98 424.01
Randall Rapetti M 55 73.81 84.56 73.82 183.66 415.85
Bryan Tully M 49 77.98 73.77 75.85 176.40 404.00
Joel Brunkala M 36 80.18 78.20 82.63 148.10 389.11
John Couillard M 28 90.61 97.33 200.00 387.94
John Painting M 49 84.98 84.89 194.34 364.21
Adam Ferreira M 59 79.84 86.20 165.58 331.62
***Dave is currently the 12th overall male.

Monday, December 7, 2009

"Moonlight" Madness 5k & tantalizingly close to a 5k pr

yeah, this is about the best we could see, except for the start/finish in the next two photos
compression socks - keep the legs warm AND make you look like Dr. J!
two of our faithfull library patrons...Hannah was third in her age group!
sometimes, the picture says it all...

Those are air quotes in the title. Oh yes. All of Team Library Dork ran this event last Friday night. The night was overcast, so I was wondering how much, if any, light the moon would provide. Silly me. The full moon indeed peered out from behind the clouds...and it was even a bright one. Now, I had assumed that a race called Moonlight Madness would be planned to take advantage of the full moon's light. Again...silly me. Moonrise, when the big ol' moon finally peeked it's head about the eastern Nevada mountains, was 20-30 minutes after we were finished running. So much for that!
Anyway, three of us managed to leave work early, and met at Turi's house 1.2 miles from the start at Ranch San Rafael Park. I'd already swung by the park and picked up my #, sweatshirt, glo-stick, etc. I also had the important task of dropping off the post-race holiday beers at the house. We lit-up (looks like I need a stronger headlamp), and took off on foot. It wouldn't have been too cold, but the wind was picking up just as we got there. The setup in the pagoda was pretty cool with the huge BBQ fire (for heat only, no!!!) and Christmas lights. Too bad the course wasn't lit that well. They did a good job with what they had, but there were several scetchy spots and more lights &/or course marshalls would've come in quite handy. Dave showed up, and we milled around for a few, warmed-up (my light was better at warm-up pace than race-pace, but still not great) and went to the line for the 7:00 p.m. start.
This was new for me. I've run 2 night races (both New Year's Eve runs in Sacramento) but they were all road races. Running an off-road race at night seemed a bit foolish, which of course is part of the reason we all signed up. There was plenty of light at the start, courtesy of headlights, and by the time we'd gone a hundred yards downhill, the lead group was down to four. I was hoping to be able to get away with not having to run too hard in this one (the winning times in 2008 for the 5k/10k were in excess of 21/47 minutes, but the size of the field doubled in this 2nd year), so the fast pace at the start had me a bit worried. I'd been sick for a week-and-a-half, not to mention I didn't want to be pushing the pace in the dark. We did slow as we turned left, and left again, and headed up the first hill. Now the lead group was down to two. Who told this guy to run so hard! Anyway, I felt a little emasculated running next to, and/or behind this other runner, as my headlamp was just downright wimpy next to his. It was like driving next to a brand new, cherry custom lifted your Ford Pinto. Oh had worked good enough for camping, but now that I know what's available...
So, I stuck with him up that hill, over, and paralleling McCarran on a scary-long downhill stretch to the low point on the course. We headed over a small bridge, which a lot of people apparently almost ran right off (I road a bike off the side of one of those a few years ago - that was fun). After six or seven minutes, though, I was struggling to keep up, compounded by the fact that when I finally did fall behind I couldn't see nearly as well. Oh well. Either i'll come in 2nd, or I'll have a kick on the downhill finish and get 'im at the end. He turned out to be someone I kinda know...a local runner named Tim, who runs PA cross country, and is a little faster than me - so when I heard someone cheering him, I didn't feel so bad that I was having a hard time keeping up. So the rest of the run went by. I almost went face first into the trail only once, but it did the job of shortening my stride after seeing my life flash before my eyes. Tim was pulling away and would come through the start/finish about a hundred yards or so in front of me. Luckily for me, he kept running, and did another loop for a 10k. OK...NOW I felt bad about not being able to keep up, but on the other hand, that allowed me to win a race when I thought I was running for 2nd. I crossed the line in 19:54, also about 2-2 1/2 minutes ahead of the next runner, a freshman runner from Reno High (sorry-no names or times as the results have yet to be posted). Not too impressed with the time, but, this was for fun, and even though I ran about half of it as hard as I could given the conditions, I felt pretty fresh afterwards, to the point that I skipped the unneccesary cool-down. Everyone seemed happy after finishing. We hung out for a bit, ate a little, had THE worst hot chocolate I have ever had in my life (smelled and tasted like an ashtray. not even a chocolate ashtray, just an ashtray) and headed back to Turi's (in vehicles!) for pizza, salad, and a fine assortment of 13 different winter seasonal brews. We were out a couple hours past my bedtime, although I did manage to crawl into bed at about 12:45 a.m. (still didn't sleep good).
The good thing about an easy Friday "race", and the fact that I cut my miles from a planned 60 to 38 last week, was that I had fresh legs for a time trial today. The only times I've been under 16 minutes (post surgery) for a 5k were a couple times when I went to Lakesridge and ran on the downhill treadmills. Today ended up being a bit of a fluke good day. The two hours I spent driving in the snow to drop off Abby, Hannah, then head to the gym, allowed just the right amount of time to wake up, diest my goo, coffee, etc, and start running...and I got a decent night's sleep, like before Davis. A half mile into the warm-up I could tell today would be better than the last couple weeks, and it was. A 20:22 3.2 mile warm-up, where the 5 x 1:00 hard segments didn't feel nearly as hard as they have been, a couple minutes of stretching, then the time trial. The plan was to start at 5:10 pace, and just see how long I could hold it. But since the warm-up felt so good, I dropped it to 5:07 (11.7 mph). The first mile was cake. What the heck? I felt like a machine again, and not a busted one! I managed to get to mile 2 @10:15, though I started to feel the hard pace about 9 minutes in. The last mile or so was tough, but I managed to hold it steady at 11.7 mph to mile 3, and dropped the pace to 5:00 for the last tenth. 15:53! Another 5k (w/3 x 1:00 strides) for a cool-down. Yeahhhhhhhh, I was happy. I know it's a tread, but usually my flat road times aren't too far behind, and 4 seconds faster would have been a personal best. I'll go back to the downhill trial in a week or two and shoot for 15:30's for the first time, assuming I'll eventually not be in a state of semi-illness. Heck, I even managed to complete my weight workout, which is the true sign of a good day at the office after a trial or interval workout. Now if I could just get some frikkin consistency!!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Congrats to all Gold Country Grand Prixers (yes, that's a word)!

The 4th edition of the Gold Country Grand Prix wrapped up in Nevada City on Thanksgiving Day. This was the first year I have not been a competitor, but I've been keeping track of my running buddies in California. This year, there was one runner with a perfect score of 100. Here's the breakdown of the top 10 overall (age division winners in bold)...
1. Ron Gross 100 points (10 races) 70+ age group
2. V. Neelakantan 97 (10) 40-49
3. Mike Buzbee 95 (10) 50-59
4. Larry Defeyter 89 (10) 30-39
5. Lars Weston 80 (8) 10-14
6. Jim Kepfer 75 (9) 40-49
7. Drue Mathies 74 (8) 60-69
8. Cody Carlton 70 (9) 15-18
9. Darryl Beardall 67 (7) 70+
10. Ken Gaal 60 (8) 60-69
1. Lynne Hurrell 90 (9) 70+ *I beleive she is now the 4 time defending ladies champ!
2. Joy Castro-Wehr 79 (10) 11-14
3. Jeanine McNeill 78 (10) 60-69
4. Anne King 71 (8) 50-59
5. Linda King 68 (9) 60-69
6. Tamara Zuromskis 67 (9) 30-39
7. Diana Wilburn 62 (9) 40-49
8. Kathleen Stranton 51 (10) 40-49
t9. Judy Alberts 50 (5) 40-49
t9. Linda Hagle 50 (5) 60-69