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!!


SnowLeopard said...

Holy ba-jeezus that's fast! I can't even sprint a half lap that fast! Congrats on both your win, and your awesome blazin' time trial~ :)

Turi said...

Clicked on your finish pic - I don't remember you having elbow lights... :) Fun race, cool that we could get everyone together. And thanks for bringing the beer!

Gretchen said...

Oh the beer. I missed the beer! I'm crying in my Moose Drool right now. But in spite of my jealousy, I'm glad you all had so much fun, and that the guy was actually running the 10K - that was funny!
Nice job on the TT, too! Yikes! What is the big race you are training for now??

slowrunner77 said...

i'm hoping to be consistantly healthy enough for December and January to get somewhere near a pr at the Davis Stampede in February...but that seems so far away! Too many things can happen...but there's only one more race for 09, a trail run in Folsom on Sunday. Either the Redding Marathon's 5k, or a two man relay if Peter is game (and my training goes well) in January...a couple more Folsom races...Snowshoe 5k at Camp Richardson in February...but Davis will be the flat fast one, which is my forte right now, but i'm working on that. How'd CIM go?