Monday, December 13, 2010

Walk Woof or Hoof It 12.4k*

So far December is treating me a little better than the previous few weeks, so for the second straight Sunday, Dave and I went to Cali for a race. This one looked to be pretty low key, but of course it only takes one other person to make it a race, right? For us, it was the distance and the possibility of rolling hills, not to mention that there was going to be a TON of animals there for Hannah* (*=and Dad) and that it was the only thing close enough to get to on Sunday!
It actually started at noon, so we didn't even leave the house til after 9. By that time, the weather was already getting nice, and Loomis was to have a high of 65. The race started just down the road from Del Oro High School, and was 2 6k loops. The finish line, however, was on the other side of the HS, so if the first loop was really a 6k, then the 12k looked to be almost a half mile long. No worries, though, I need to sneak some miles in there any way I can. There was a younger kid there who was decked out in the River City Rebels gear (one of the Sacramento racing teams). I didn't catch his name, though, as he had headphones in the whole time. Funny, though. Everybody and their mother seemed to be pointing to him at the start and saying something to the effect of "well, we know who's winning the 12k". I had to have heard that at least a half dozen times. 6-7 months ago, my inner competitor would have gave a hearty silent chuckle and a "we'll see about that", but the fact that I'm still quite a bit slower than I was made it so i just quitely smiled to myself and focused on my pace. If it was enough, so be it, if not...hopefully I still had a decent day.
We took off and seperated from the pack pretty quick. I never looked back, but it seems like it was down to the two of us almost right away, especially since the 6k was starting a few minutes later. For a mile and a half, I played shadow and struggled a little bit to hold the pace he was setting. Maybe it was in my head, but he sure looked more comfortable than I felt. Maybe, just maybe, it was partly due to the fact that my warm-up was a mile short and I took a bit to get in a groove, but after about 2 1/2K, I took the lead. We didn't run together after that for more than a few seconds, and there was a 2nd decent climb between 3 and 4k where I put a gap between us and then pushed juuuuust a bit harder on the downhill and flat to the end of the first 6k loop. I passed 6k (which ended up being a tiny bit short...maybe a tenth k?) in a little over 21 minutes. My goal now was to run as evenly as possible, and not implode before the end and get caught from behind. The fear of that pushed me through a couple rough patches, and I started lapping the 6k walkers, who were full of encouragement. Holding pretty steady...probably 5:49ish per mile on the first loop, and 5:52ish on the second. I snuck a peak once when I heard some cheering 30 second after I went by some walkers with about 2k to go, but saw nobody. As it turns out, the kid either made a huge mistake and ran the 12k thinking it was the 6 (though it was pretty clear it wasn't) or the pace broke him, cause he didn't even run a 2nd loop. Glad I didn't know that or I may have involuntarily slowed down a little.
As it was, I had timed the distance between the end of the first 6k loop and the start of the 2nd loop at 2:24, so this would be a 12k plus a little. I'd say each loop was 100m or so short, but the in-between was 600-700m long, so...400 meters or so longer than advertised...came accross in 45:18 (my goal was high 43 for an actual 12k, so pretty close to spot on) and about 5:50 per mile. My last two hard efforts were a flat road 4 miler at 5:40 pace, and a flat treadmill 10k at 5:45, so this was pretty close to right in line with those. I'm hoping to run a 5k in under 17:00 in the next month or so, but I think there's still some work to do before I get to 5:29 pace. Afterwards, I jogged back out to where Dave was coming up the last little hill with just under 2k to go. I think he's starting to see some tangible progress, cause although he was hurting, he was pulling away from one runner and catching up to another. He even dropped me up the last little hill before the fast finish, passed someone down the homestretch, and finished in 68:51 - just under 9:00 pace. Not a super hard course, especially when you get used to mountainous trail runs, but not exactly a speedburner either, so it was a worthy effort (and a long painful drive home!) for both of us. Luckily we had lunch and beer in Auburn to help us through, and Abby was kind enough to drive us. We even got a box of cupcakes from the race, which didn't last long once we got back. For the record, I'm not a big sweets fan, unless it's chocolate or honey in my beer, but these cupcakes were fanfreakintastic!!! Hannah's was decadent chocolate with a candy cane frosting. Mine was bavarian cream filled. Nice! AND...there were 4 of them and 4 of us, so how can you go wrong?
Next week, if the weather holds (it was 64 during this race and I actually had to remove my glasses twice to wipe sweat from my eyes) I'll head over the hill one last time in 2010 for the Holiday Classic in Sacramento. I'd love to do the north Bay trail run on the 26th, but that's just too long to drive the morning of, and for some reason, the wife wants me around Christmas night. Next year, looks like Captain Kirk and I are going to do the Redding Marathon relay as a two person team, just like Dave and I last year, but maybe without the rain? This is a cool race, but I pushed a little past my distance threshold last year and it hampered me until April. This year, I'll be doing the first 11 miles and Kirk the last 15.2. It'll still be the longest run I've done since last year's 19.5...but I'm looking forward to it. Maybe something else in between as well. Til then...

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Ferry building 4 Miler

no pics of us, but these'll give you a general idea of the awesome location!

Sunday was my first race in a while. Things were going in reverse and had gotten so bad I didn't even bother to blog about my last October run. Too bad it was such a horrid day for me, cause the race organizers at that one had a real passion and plan to expand the Girls on The Run series in Truckee from 5ks to 5's, 10's and halfs. Hopefully, I'll get healthy enough to do a few.
Back to the present. Dave and I headed over the hill Saturday night and stayed in a Hampton Inn where one online reviewer promised "the chronic" from the front desk guy. Too bad for us it was a female at the desk. Not only did she not beleive our story, but she was loyal to the hotel even when we showed her the review on Dave's phone, laughing the whole time, and wondering why she was keeping the chronic for herself :) Anyway, the hotel was super comfy, to the point where I really didn;t want to get out of bed at GO TIME the next morning. We'd had a good trip so far, scoring 11/12ths of Auburn's entire supply of Deschutes the Dissident.
It took us just under an hour to get from the hotel to the Maritme Museum right by Ghiradelli Square, and much to our surprise, at 8 a.m. there was even free parking!
The place where we'd go back to for breakfast was a bar two blocks from the start, and I owe them a little extra debt of gratitude. Even though there were 150 racers, there was no port-a-john, so I was incredibly happy that Jack's in the Cannery was open at 6, and allowed me to use the restroom. I usually have to take care of biness about 18 times before a race, and things would NOT have gone well if I'd had to hold it.
We started right at 9:00 about 10 yards from the Bay, and headed back towards Fisherman's Wharf on Jefferson, then the Embarcadero. Once we hit the main drag we had to jump up on the sidewalk but it was wide enough that it was a very minor inconvenience. At that time of day, I actually had more runners getting in the way ont he return trip than pedestrains. Anywho, a DSE runner named Ky set the pace right from the gun. Man, my first sea level run in a while feels nice. Mile 1 was a 5:30, which made me a little nervous. I was running in second, trying not to lose contact, but had hoped to be 8 or 9 seconds slower to run 5:40 or under for the whole thing. A mile-and-a-half in I passed for the lead, but we knew we had slowed. I hit the turn in first, though not by much, in 11:19, for a 5:49 split. Yikes. I ran a couple miles at the Napa Marathon at that speed! Ky was still in second, but was followed closely by another runner who'd end up passing before the end. Miles 2-4 were all about pain management as I was starting to redline to hold pace. The 3rd mile was a 5:47, still slower than I wanted to be going, but I was racing more to win now than for splits. It was cool running on the Bridge to Bridge course, one of my all-time favorite races to do. I even got to warm-up and cool down on the hill. When I saw the cannery, I managed a little burst and ended up only 3 seconds off a straight 5:40 pace, winning by 34 seconds in 22:43 (5:40.75). After catching my breath for a minute, I headed back out and saw that Dave was moving pretty well too. He finished at 8:20-21 per mile in 33:23, 50th out of 139 overall.
For me, still about 35 seconds per mile slower than what i could've done healthy, but an improvement over recent runs. I was able to manage a treadmill 10k a few days later in 35:39 (5:45.0 per) which is exactly 30 seconds per mile slower than my 2010 best treadmill time. Of course, the rest of the day was dedicated to food and beer. Back at Jack's we had a great breakfast and very unispired service, and hit up a couple beer stores on the way home, including the always awesome City Beer over by AT & T park. Next up is likely a 12k in a couple days in Loomis where I have rather loose goals, not being at all familiar with the race or the course.
Til then...

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

top 10 in the 10k

Geez...I knew things were spread out because of the small field, but here's the top 10-
Chris Badolato 52.15 M 33
Li Huang Chen 59.45 M 34
Cindy Smith Derby 1.10.20 F 55
Carol Myers 1.11.08 F 50
Beth Kauffmann 1.11.41 F 57
Donna Glogovac 1.12.54 F 50
Christie Giellman 1.14.36 F 41
Andy Baron 1.16.47 M 55
Paige Clock 1.17.13 F 44

OK, that was only 9 (i thought I copied 10) but you get the idea.
Off the track, this may be the smallest race i've done (only 20 in the 10k, more in the half).
The good - at 43+ miles, it was technically the best week of running I've had since I started up again almost 2 months ago.
The bad - it's rare that i feel like getting out of bed in the morning. I know how uncomfortable those first few steps are going to be, and more days than not, it doesn't go away. A few more PT visits, then I'm throwing in the towel if it's still the same. No sense spending $20 a pop to feel the same, right?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Fall Colors Trail 10k* & Half Marathon

up, up, and awaaaaay!

it may have rained a smidge

OK, so I sucked it up, an overpayed for a race. Not the first time, and probably not the last. After the fact, though, I still can't figure out why the race cost so much. BUT, the die hards were out in full force, and that made it fun. The forecast had called for heavy wind and rain. When I got up to let the dogs out, it was windy, but 55 degrees! Cloudy, but no rain. It even looked like it may not be raining as Dave, Turi & I drove to the race.
We were wrong in assuming that being so close to the mountain might sheild us from the wind. If anything it was worse there than in town. Not freezing, but sideways rain will make you guess low on the temperature every time. BIG TIME thanks to Dave 9who was Team Library Dork's support crew) and to the volunteers who stood around in the elements for hours to get us a beatiful trail race!! I woulda stayed in bed!
Well, the plan in the race was to run up the first big climb with Kirk, who was doing the half marathon. The 10k* course (and by * I mean 11k) split to the left after about 10 minutes and crossed a couple streams before meeting up with other parts of the half course. But within a couple minutes, I could tell things were not going to be going particularly well today. Even though we were going a pace that wouldn't neccessarily scare a high-school girl, I was having trouble pretty quick. One guy (who I'd assume was doing the 10k) took off and we let him. No sense bonking on the first big climb with so much race to go, but when the 2nd guy caught us, Kirk went with him, probably assuming I'd tag along, but I was getting NO power off my decrepit Achilles tendons, and for some reason, it felt like my lung capacity was about half as much as normal. I realize the race was at elevation (the 10k fluctuating between 6000 and 6800 feet) but this was ridiculous. But, like I said, lots of race to be run. I'd guess by his speed up that hill, that the first guy (in a green shirt) turned for the 10k, but he was too far ahead of me to see. I'd actually get passed by two other guys, who I stuck right behind, who turned out to halfers, so I made the turn thinking green shirt was the only one to chase down. We crossed a couple streams, and though it was early in the race, I just didn't care about getting wet, so I passed on the rock hopping and just ran right through em. It actually woke me up a little, but as I continued to climb on singletrack, up switchbacks, and one some parts where I couldn't tell there was even a trail (lots of leaves and pine needles) I still didn't feel like I was (or even could) make up any ground. I remember hitting a steep downhill (too steep to attack, especially in the rain and on switchbacks) and finally starting to feel a little more normal, though still struggling. I was absolutely by myself, with nobody in front or behind, and though I was hurting, I was able to appreciate my surroundings, at least a little. 27 minutes in I hit a portion of the trail I'd run before, and was able to pick up the pace quite a bit, but after a while was starting to wonder how long it would take to hit the road. Around the next turn for sure. Nope. Over that next little hill. Nope. It seemed to drag on distance wise over the latter half, having me think the course was about a half mile long. No matter either way. No fast times were going to be run out here. After a much deeper creek crossing, where I rock-skipped this time, I finally hit the road. 0.7 to go. I tried to change gears, but didn't really have much for the slightly uphill finish. The pleasant surprise came with a couple minutes to go, when I was told that I was the first to go by. Really?! There was a stretch this year where I was choosing the more competitive distance almost every time out, but I had quite a bit of luck this time. There was no way I'd have stuck with the top 2 or 3, or even 4, in the half, but I was able to run a whopping 52 minutes to win the short course! Definitely the slowest 10k I've ever run, long course or not. There was about 5000 feet(!) of elevation chnge in the half, and probably 2000 or so in the 10, so it's not like I expected to run under 40, but sub 50? Yeah, I expected that, but just didn't run well.
We stuck around for Kirk and Turi to finish the half. Kirk stuck close to green shirt all the way, and finished 15-20 seconds behind, although more than 4 minutes ahead of last year's course record. Turi took all the pics you see during his 2:25 out in the rain (though he took most of em before it got too bad). Dave was kind enough to charge his camera battery, but old enough to forget to put it back in the no pics of yours truly. Which is too bad. I ran naked! Or did I? Unless you were out there, you'll never know.
Next up? Who knows. I hurt. Hard to beleive I ran a PR five months ago! But I'll keep trying...and drinking beer.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Weeks 5 & 6 and a "Tough Mudder"

Week 5 in the latest comeback, was, how to put it** on a stick. 14 miles and 48 sets of weights. That's less than 2 good days worth. Oh well. I'll blame it on Harold & Kumar, one last time.
Week 6, which just ended, was better, though the Achilles and heel pain isn't really improving, which is causing me to wonder when or even if I'll be able to get back to the days of old (when I was only a little injured).
33.4 miles, 100 sets of weights, and a 18:08 5k time trail. Still 2:40! off my treadmill pr, but inching downaward. Next week I'll try to get in the high 17's.
Tough Mudder doesn't deserve, and therefore will not get, it's own post. While Bear Valley Ski area is absolutely amazing, the race was an oversold, overpriced, overcrowded and poorly organized mess. I've done marathons and 50ks and never had spent so much on a race fee before, and what do i get for my hard earned dollars?
Dos Equis beer and a line at every freakin obstacle, so at best, we could do intervals with long-ass waits in between. Not to mention when the overpriced first day sold out, they then (and only then) offered a second around $40 less than what I paid for day 1 two months ahead of time. This mess/7-mile-long-line that was the course could have been easily remedied by capping the field at, I don't know, a reasonable number! Or less people per wave. Or more time between waves. However, it was such a ridiculous clusterfudge, they'd have to do some combination of all 3 of those to keep the people moving. As long as those checks clear, though, right guys? One thing that did go well (ok - two if you include that team WWMD "What Would Magnum Do?" all finished as a team) was the 'stache. I looked like cast from an 80's cop movie (Magnum was a PI but we're splitting hairs)...and that was before we darkened our upper lips, to better match Mr Selleck's lip hair hue. Dave, Turi, and I went au natural whilst Ben and Amber had some help from the Halloween store. In addition we all had Hawaiin shirts (which hold mud quite well) and Tiger's caps. Afterwards, we pigged out at Snowshoe Brewing Co in Arnold and headed back to the hotel for beer and baseball. So a fun trip, but I "race" I definitely won't do again. I'll post some pictures once Dave, Amber, and Turi load there's up (to steal)!
This week I'd like to get another race in, but I'm still struggling along. I'd planned to do the Fall Colors 10k in South Reno, which for the last two years has been a small off-road half marathon in the foothills below Mt Rose. It's a beautiful and difficult course. They added a 10k this year, but even though it'll likely draw only double digit attendance (and what follows will pretty much guarantee low numbers) they chose to charge the same entry fee as the half marathon. Why? You got me. $45 in advance, and by advance, I mean a month ahead of time. Not a day or two, or even the weekend before. A month! Which meant, if I want to run this tiny little 10k, I'll have to shell out $55. If they're giving out cotton shirts and Dos Equis, I just might snap. So I'm debating. This would be the most I've EVER spent on a race shorter than a half, and even most halfs I've done have been I'm considering skipping it on principal alone. I'd run the half to get my $$$ worth, but I don't think I'm even close to ready for that. I can't even get an answer as to the reason behind the premium price, and to add salt to the wound, couldn't even find the race on, where they advertise it to be. The can sign up on race day. Guess it doesn't matter since they raised the price a month ago...

Monday, October 4, 2010

21st annual Kokanee Trail runs (week 5)

After last weekend, when I got up to Mt Rose Meadows for my first really fun run in comeback #777, I'd planned on trying to stretch my wings (or Achilles) a bit this weekend. Another motivating factor was that this was the last chance for a Tough Mudder tune-up. So, I signed up for the 10k and was ready to go. I'd done a few runs of 5+ miles in the last couple weeks, with a long of 8.
Then my wife called to see if she needed to be present at my urology "consultation" on Friday. This was Wednesday. She found out that, no, she didn't need to be there, and they'd be able to get "the procedure" done right after the consult. Whoaaaaa, horsie. Didn't plan on that one. When I later called and asked about running on Sunday, 46 hours after getting the ol' snip snip, they just laughed at me. When I pointed out that Dave Barry got knocked out when he got fixed, they just laughed again. Nobody takes me seriously anymore!!! Anyway, Friday went as well as can be expected when someone is using a scalpel and cauterizing your junk. The ice pack was my BFF, for the rest of the weekend anyway, and things turned a nice shade of leprosy black and purple. Nice, yes? And you thought this was a running blog!! Mwa ha ha!
In the back of my head, of course, I was a good boy for two days in hopes I could still run on Sunday. Not that it's recommended (for a week) but recommendations aren't rules, per se, just general guidelines. Those with the balls (henceforth to be referred to as Harold & Kumar)to do it could do it, right? My plan was to go to South Lake with Dave and Turi, the male contingent of Team Library Dork, and if my warm-up jog was uncomfortable beyond what I was willing to endure, Turi would be me, and run the 10k in my stead. Dave was signed up for the 10k as well. I was actually leaning towards skipping the run on the way up (bumps in the road were no bueno) but at some point Turi mentioned he went for an easy run 2 days after the fact, which gave me a needed mental boost. By the time we got there, and I did my 50 yard jog with Harold & Kumar still intact, I was loosely planning on signing up (as Turi) for the 5k and Turi would be me in the 10. It wasn't meant to be, though. I manned up and Told Turi to sign up for the 10, and we all ran the same race.
There was no snow like last year, but the awesome weather from 2 days ago turned into thunder-storms and lots of rain. We hung out in the car for a bit after watching the half go off at 9, and for the first time since early June, I did a warm-up for something. I made the mistake of thinking my slower pace at the start of the half would serve as my warm-up last year, and I suffered for 5 miles before finally finding a rythm. I only did a mile and a half. If I would've done more, I'd risk too much fatigue in the race, since my mileage has been so I was warmed up. A little.
The uphill start proved to be taxing again, but no 5k runners took off as expected in front of us. I ran with Mike Keck past the 5k turn in 2nd place, and leading the 5k runners, which was a huge surprise. I wanted to find a decent mix of aggressiveness and conservation with my pace, not having pushed for more than 3 miles since I've began running again. When we made a left onto the singletrack 10-11 minutes in, that was the first time I had a mental break. Running for 2nd now, which was still better than I thought I'd do. Mike forced a gap of about 12 seconds by the half way, but as far as I could tell, we'd seperated from the field. A minute or two later, he took off up a steep hill and pulled out of sight. Even though I'd stayed closer than I thought I would to that point, this was the second time I thought the race was over. I went up the hill as well I could, and then things changed a bit. I hit the downhills, twists and turns, and quickly made up the 12 second gap. Between mile 4 and 5 I was still 2nd, but the gap was less than a second, and I was feeling good. A smile even crossed my lips at some point in there. The problem was, Mike was feeling good too. After the re-crossing of the bridge at Fallen Leaf, he decided to run atop the wall rather than slow step the wet stairs at the end of the bridge. He put 10 yards on me there, but that was it. I caught up, and when I saw the yellow aspens we'd passed the first mile, I made my move.
If I'd looked at my watch first, I'd have realized it was too soon for a 165 pound version of my 150 pound self to start a kick. At elevation. Turns out there were two segments of aspens, and I chose to kick at the sight of the one farther from the finish, so...I had to back off a tiny bit. Just couldn't hold the kick, but I wanted to keep the pace hard enough to not let race open up again, while also not burning all my gas before getting to the end. The second grove came into sight, and I had enough to ensure not getting caught from behind at the tape. The official results (which we didn't stick around for due to the now torrential downpour) were all over the place. I think I was just under 43 minutes...let's say 42:50's, with Mike 30 seconds or so behind. Somehow the official results have me at 40:11, him at 43:18 (close to accurate), Turi (18th) at 53:02 (his watch-53:13) and Dave at 65:03 (his watch at 65:48). A completely unexpected win on a day I almost didn't run. Hopefully, this will become a springboard for fall/winter/spring training. My runs til now have all been well over a minute-per-mile slower than when I'm in top form, so there's lots of room to grow, as long as I can get & stay healthy.
Harold and Kumar did ok, though the ice is still close by, and will be for a few days. We texted Abby that I was still looking for Harold on the course, but she didn't know what the hell I was talking about. I'm sure she's not the only one. Once again, the weather caused us to skip the festivites at Camp Richardson's Oktoberfest. This time around, they were packing it in by 11 am. So, a return trip to the Brewery at South Lake Tahoe. Awesome food and service, so/so beer.
After a 30 mile week 5, this week I'll get 3-4 runs in, and maybe 25 miles. We shall see...the ice-pack becons. And to my secret source...Harold & Kumar say thanks for the vicodin!
PS-I'm sorry Turi is such a lazy a** and didn't bring his camera, therefore not allowing me to poach pictured from his blog. That is all.
Tahoe Daily Tribune link:

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

8 1/2 weeks down...3 to go

Well, it's been over two months now since I've gone for a run, and "the boot" has been on for 23 days and 4 hours, not that i'm counting or anything. I've done a total of 10 minutes of cardio in those 23 days, and have been lifting heavy. My weight is up to 166 (from 150-151) and climbing. I plan to try and stem the tide at around 170, but I am so bored without my running that I need to keep lifting as heavy as possible to remain interested. My routine is pretty much 6-7 days a week at the gym, one day chest/shoulders/core, one day back/arms/core, with a halfed version of a leg workout (quads, hammies, hip tensors and flexors - yes, leg press, lunges, calves - no) every 2-3 days...rinse, lather, repeat, repeat, repeat, etc...
I hope that the week of September 6-12 I am able to do 2 easy runs (a 3 miler and a 4 miler) 2 spinning classes, and 2 x 25-30 minutes on the eliptical trainer, in addition to the weights, and go from there.
Tough Mudder NorCal is only a few weeks past that (7 miles of hills & obstacles). I'm doing it as long as I can walk, even if that means in the boot...though I'd much rather be able to actually run. I wonder if they have a time cut-off...

Saturday, July 10, 2010

at the half way mark

It looks like the second half of 2010 will be pretty uneventful for me on the running front, so I took a look at my goals for the year at week 26 to see where I was at.
Miles-goal: 3000+ actual: 1525 @week 26 (3050 pace)
weights (sets)-goal: 5000+ actual: 2608 (5216 pace)
wins-goal: 18 (i've won 17 in a year a couple times, never 18) actual: 13, 8 course records
goal: run for 11 months (48 weeks)...ain't gonna happen
5k time-goal: <16>15:46 (new pr!)
8k time-goal: 26+ actual: 27:03 on a hilly course, didn't get a shot at a flat one
10k time-goal: <33>33:01 so close...
half time-goal: 1:13-1:14 actual: none...ran a 5k and a 10k instead of two halfs
So, some of the time goals were met, and I averaged 60+ miles (with a peak of 82) and 100+ sets per week til things started getting cranky. I'll have little problem maintaining the weights while not running (300 sets the last two weeks), but the running miles may not reach 2000. I do hope to return to training this year, and maybe even racing, but three weeks after stopping my training runs, nothing is better, so I'll have to play the waiting game there.
Now that Abby has had the baby and is dropping weight, time for me to add some. I've put on 5 lbs. and counting in the last two to three weeks. Before any of you make any wisecracks about my girlish figure...I realize I don't need to worry about putting on 10, or even 20 pounds, from a general health standpoint. 160-170's for a 6 footer is perfectly fine, but as far as performance is concerned (and that's the goal afterall) I'm best at 150ish. My eating (and drinking) habits have already begun to change, as well. The snack foods that I usually pass right by when training and racing are somehow making their way into the cart, and the weekly beer tastings have increased in frequency (not that there's anything wrong with that)'s just contributing to how much weight I'll have to drop come 2011 to get back to running 5 minute pace for a 5k...

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Rocco James Badolato

I know this is a "running blog", but it may be a while for another run related post, and we did kinda have a busy weekend after all...

Sunday, June 20, 2010

trying a new approach...Burton Creek Trail Runs

not on purpose, really. Mr. Nathan Biggs turned 5 and had his party at Rock Sport last night. I worked yesterday and shot over to the party right after. Consequently, my pre-race dinner consisted off McDonalds, Twizzlers, birthday cake...and Gatorade. Gotta stay hydrated, right? Ironically, me and Dave were theorizing about the effects of a fast food pre-race meal on the way back to Reno last week! That's Hannah above during her first foray into rockclimbing.
We got to the first Big Blue Adventure of the year (The Burton Creek Trail runs) outside of Tahoe City just after 8, and Kirk and I got back to the line just as they were getting ready to head out. This year, they had a 5k (3.47 miles) a 10k (6.95) a half (12.45) and a marathon (25).
Team Library Dork was once again in full force. Turi was the only one to man up and do the half, with Dave, Amber and I in the 11-12 K. Kirk was in the, oh, lets say 6k, and we did about the first 1.2 miles of the course before turning around, trying to follow the end of the course, losing it, heading back the way we came, and getting to the start 2 minutes before go time.
All distances took off at 9, and immediately started a long but fairly mellow climb. Kirk and I, along with an 18 year old 5k runner and Peter Fain, eventual half champ, started to seperate pretty quickly. We climbed up some single and double track to a watertower, hung a right, headed back down a little, and crossed a short dam (with a break in the middle), then got on some crazy winding singletrack for a bit. The young runner went by and me and Kirk just tucked in behind him. He wasn't willing to lead on the big climb (which came up pretty quick) so he relinquished the short-lived lead back to me with Kirk right behind. We started to pull away a little on the hill, and for the remainder of the flatish sections at the top. Here's where it got interesting, though. With a big lead, and the two of us running together (I'd say comfortably, but the aforementioned pre-race meal was wreaking havoc on my innards in the form of multiple side and stomach cramps) the pace bike (which hadn't let the whole time but at most of the turns) stopped. Within 30 seconds we came to the part of the course where the arrows had stopped during our warm-up. We figured we just hadn't gone far enough to see them. We were wrong. We went straight as all the arrows (which were all on the right side of the double-wide trail) went straight. After those three, nothing for nearly a minute-and-a-half. After some PG-13 cursing, we turned around, figuring we were both screwed spotting our competition a 3 minute lead. Well...we saw the back of the arrow for the missed left turn, not only on the other side of the trail, but it had been placed 15 feet or so off the trail, so you'd have to have already made the left to see it, or have known it was right there. So, we finished hard and came through the staging area (the end of the first loop/short course) with only the one kid having come through already, maybe a minute-and-a-half before.
The wrong turn having cost Kirk the win, I'd talked Kirk into pacing me for the second loop, but by the time he got through the chute and started back up the hill, we could see that may be difficult. I slowed a bit to see if he'd catch-up and to give my cramps a rest (which worked) but at the water tower, he went backwards up the back half of the course. I ran a hardish workout pace for the first 2/3 of the second loop, not willing to risk all the cramps returning unless I was being challenged for the lead. Me and Kirk met back up near the top of the singletrack and that was enough (along with the rolling downhills) to pick up the pace a bit. The cramps threatened, but never fully returned. I felt better about my own navigation skills, but sorry for everyone else, when Kirk told me there was a fairly large number of people that he'd pointed the right way just as they were heading straight and missing the poorly marked left, same as us. We ran together for another minute, then I mustered a bit of a kick, so I wouldn't get my man card revoked for slacking off between 3.5-5.5 miles. In the end, I came through 1st in 48 & change for what ended up as a high altitude 12k.
The course was pretty stinkin sweet, so we headed back out for one more loop as a cooldown. By the end, I was glad I'd decided against the half. At about mile 11 or 12, my IT band flaired up again (the Achilles was already pissed but manageable) forcing me to walk a little over the last mile - but we made it back, stuck around for a little BBQ, bean bag toss (we sucked) and awards. I wish the kid who "won" the 5k would have had the integrity to give Kirk 1st like Eric at the /Veggie Chase a few weeks ago. Alas, it was not to be. Not a word, even though he wouldn't have been close. No worries Kirk, you killed the course. An extra 700 never helps, though. Kirk's Dad even ran, and did well (2nd AG) in the short course!
Amber and Dave both finished second in their age groups in the 10k, with Turi finishing third in his in the half. Go TLD!!
We drove a few minutes back to Commons Beach in Tahoe City, unwilling to get all the way in, but soaking the legs and chillin on the beach for a bit. The weather ended up perfect for running...high 40's in the a.m. and low 60's when we left. Lunch at the goodbutoverpricedwithquestionableservice 50 50 Brewing in Truckee, and back home. Barring a miracle in PT, this is it for me. The walking of the cooldown cemented that. Who knows what the fall will bring, though. If you'd asked me any of the previous summers I had to re-retire if I though I'd be running PRs in 2010, I'd have asked if I could have some of whatever you were smokin, and the first six months of this year were great, despite working through more than one injury. I'll keep y'all posted...
da start
loop 1, just before i learned that i still had the lead
da finish

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Fitch Mountain Footrace II

Actually, it was the 36th Annual, but the second time for me. Last year I went to Healdsburg and Santa Rosa with my wife and the Biggs's's's's. This time, it was Team Library Dork's turn to paint the town(s) red. Turi & I drove over Saturday afternoon, slightly delayed in our arrival by the unfruitful quest to find him a new running hat. We were in our room & relaxing by 5 p.m. though...well, Turi in the room, me at the pool, as it was about 90 in San Rafael.
Our quest took us to the New Balance outlet in Vacaville, where only ladies buy hats, apparently. However, we ran into John Ostezan, who was the captain of my Odyssey team in 2008, and who joined us on the TRT that fall. Fresh off the 2010 Odyssey, he (along with Paul Miers & his wife) were travelling to a race the following day as well, just not the same one as us. They were all running the (recently featured in Runner's World) Dipsea, but in a weird coincidence, were stating at the same hotel we were. So when they all got checked in, I was retrieved from the pool, and we went with them to the same italian pizza joint they went to before last year's race. At the risk of having our man card's suspended, Turi & I split a beer (so as not to test the sip-per-second theory, which originated on this same trip in 2009). I think it was safe to enjoy 6 ounces of light italian lager with a meal without the race being affected, but if you think it slowed us, please feel free to subtract 6 seconds from Turi's & my times. We don't mind. The pizza was quite good, and the conversation quite entertaining...and it's nice to know I'm not the most immature person I know (thanks guys!!). Back at the hotel, I went out to get some hot-tub therapy before settling in. Dave & Amber showed a little after 9, and we watched highlights and made fun of Kobe Bryant before calling it a night.

Sounds of the "A" Team awoke us at 5:something and we slowly joined the land of the living. We were on the road to Healdsburg (49 miles north) just after 6, and there are ready to go by 7. As much as I've grown to like this race, the T-shirts are about as attractive as Tom Arnold in a speedo (for the second straight year). Maybe Hannah needs a nightgown??? Anywho...last year I was unfamiliar with the course, but thought I could remember it this time around, & did 2 laps of the 3k course as a warm-up. My recent resurfacing of chronic issues manifested in my right hamstring of all places the night before the race, and made me hope the race would not come down to a sprint finish. Even walking around it was tight enough to pull back on the knee and hip (in opposing directions). Stretching only made it angry. Oh well - running at warm-up speed felt ok, but as I did a couple strides, I could feel there would be no top gear today. That usually is fine. If you're running too much faster than race pace, then you didn't pace too well anyway, right? So the plan was to go out at the pace I wanted to average so not having much of a kick wouldn't matter.

At 8:00 we were off. Me in the 3k, the rest of TLD in the 10k, but we all started together. After going up for a block, we veered right, and over a couple more rollers, while the 10k continued straight out and around Fitch Mountain and the Russian River. No sprinters in the field this time, but I didn't take the lead for about a half mile. By that first turn, Peter Egerton & myself had seperated from the pack as well as the 10k leaders. I'd pass on the second little uphill and just tried to push the pace from there on out. We ran by a Relay for Life at one of the local schools, and had a gentle downhill about a half mile before the end. I'm glad I had a comfortable lead by then because juuust where I'd have liked to drop the hammer and push on the downhill, I didn't have another gear. I think I went fast enough to sustain my pace and tried to pick it up as I rounded the last corner and saw the finish. I'd end up running 9:15 (9:29 last year) and as far as I can tell, that's the CR. Peter finished 21 seconds back, with nobody else under 10:00.
After a shoe change and short cooldown, I just missed Turi's 10k finish in 47 minutes, but did manage to get back onto the homestretch to cheer on Dave & Amber & snap a couple pics. Sorry I slacked on the pacing duties guys, but that hammie was pissed.

They were pretty quick with the results (which are posted below) and after the awards we had a little time to kill before Bear Republic Brewing Company (part of the reason I've run this race two straight years!) opened at 11:00. We passed the time climbing trees, eating a killer breakfast pizza (yep, same one as last year...bacon, egg, asiago cheese, & my good buddy Herb. Sometimes, change is bad.) and some juice and coffee. We were the first one's in, & had a tasty lunch before heading back to the hotel for some sun pool-side. We were finally able to find Turi a men's running hat at the outlets in Petaluma on our way to Santa Rosa for dinner at Russian River BC. The beer was outstanding, and the pizza greasy & cheesy...which I'd pay for later but it was sooooo worth it. We even managed an awesome (but too short) trail run at China Camp state park before lunch at Marin BC in Larkspur the following day. All in all, a fun & succesful trip for TLD!
I think the good ol' Achilles may be past the point of no return. I've already dropped my miles down into the 50's the last two weeks after 10 weeks of 76 miles per, but things feel worse than before, so this week I'm skipping the runs & seeing what happens. If a long break seems imminent I'd like to get one more trail run in (Big Blue Adventure Burton Creek) on Sunday before going into yet another shut-down mode, just as the weather is getting nice. I'll keep y'all posted...
Here's a link to Sunday's results-

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Hit the Road Jack 2.2 miler & 10k

We started at the Plaza, and passed Sebastiani Winery a few minutes in.
Funny how the universe has a way of correcting itself to maintain balance, right?
Remember the awesome deal we got on last weekend's hotel? Well, universe, we're even now. Are you happy? Seriously, if you find yourself staying overnight in Vacaville for whatever reason, steer clear of the Best Western. I was happy that we got an $80 room for $51, but my goodness, what a dump! The only positive on this 93 degree day would've been the pool, but of course, it was closed. We were hit with a wall of heat when we opened the door to our room, and after leaving for over an hour (with the "air conditioner" on full blast the whole time) it was maybe a couple degrees cooler. If you were more than a foot away from the AC, you wouldn't be able to tell it was on, except for the louder than normal whirring of the motor. You got used to the noise, til it clumsily shut off a couple times in the middle of the night, only to start up again 20 or 30 minutes later. Good stuff!! I think the room was habitable by the time the alarm went off in the morning, but alas, it was time to leave the oasis that is the Vacaville "Best" Western...never to return.
It took about 45 minutes to get to Sonoma Plaza at around 7 a.m. Cool place. It was a little eerie how much this place (and the race itself) reminded me of the Fitch Mountain Foot Race (in Healdsburg this coming Sunday). They both start on a street lining the town square in the northern Califirnia wine country. Both have gently rolling hills that run you close to vineyards and surrounding neighborhoods, and both have a 10k and an abnormal distance short course (this one was 2.2 miles, next week is a 3k). Dave had pre-reg'd for the 10k & I signed up that morning for the short one, with my sights on the course record of 11:12, just a touch faster than my recent 5k pace. I managed to find the course and warmed up on it, and while it wasn't flat, there was no major climbing, and just one slow spot towrds the end of the first mile. Getting under 11 minutes would take a really good day, but 11:12 shouldn't be too bad. From what Dave said, the 10k course was similar with the major uphill around mile 4, which he said did him in quite nicely. For the second straight week, someone took off like they were running an 800. Probably even faster than last week. You can tell, though, the difference between, say, me running a 4 1/2 minute mile pace, and a Kenyan running a 4 1/2 minute mile pace. While it would be obvious to even the casual observer that I am sprinting, the Kenyans look relaxed at that pace, so you know they can hold it. The guy in the front was sprinting. He was older than the teens & kids who always seem to go out too fast, but there's no way he's gonna hold this pace. Right?
Well, it only took about a minute or so for the gap to stop getting bigger, and in another minute, he was getting passed by myself and a High School runner or three. I didn't see exactly where he finished, not knowing his name, but he was already feeling the pace less than a half mile in. I'd take the lead from the young'n around the half mile mark and tried to push up and over the hill without over exerting myself. The pace wasn't feeling too hard, but I was tighter than usual, so I wanted to be careful. Being careful, though, likely caused me to not accomplish my main objective of running under 5:00 pace. I slowed just enough when there was nobody pushing right behind me and I didn't kick til the 2/6 mile mark. I crossed the line in (I thought) 11:01, and rounded up to 11:02...and ended up with an official 11:04. Still 8 seconds ahead of the 11-year-old course record. Second was about 23-24 seconds back, and third about a minute. Over in the 10k, 34:19 took home the gold, and was also a semi-local HS runner. After a quick shoe change, I went back out on the course and came across Angela running with the stroller, and her and Larry D's son Max. This was about a mile-and-a-half in and he hadn't walked yet. He's FIVE! I took the opportunity to pace him back and had a blast. He even had a kick at the end, just like dear old Dad. Larry was next. I turned back around, and saw Larry almost in the same spot. I paced him as well, and he was closing the gap on the runner ahead of him, but the kid had quite a kick at mile 6. Larry finished 10th right around 39 minutes. Next up was Dave, who I caught up with right around mile 5. It appeared he'd paced himself pretty well, and traded back and forth with a few runners before coming in just over 57 minutes.
We stuck around for a bit for the awards...had some food...just enjoyed the sun, but we had a prior engagement. With Moylan's Brewing Co. in Novato. C'mon now. Don't act surprised. i know we were in wine country and all, but this is a mighty fine brewery. Did I mention they've got 19 taps running? Can you guess how Dave & I found this out?
Anyway...a fun race that I'd like to run in the future (maybe the 10k?).
I don't know what it is about June, but yet again (for the 4th time in 5 years) my body seems to be breaking down. It seemed like this year would be different, especially since May was possibly the best month of training and racing I've ever had. Go figure. My Achilles is still quite problematic, but if that was all, I could handle it...but my ligaments and joints, especially both IT bands and knees, seem to have suddenly lost all elasticity and are quite painful. So...still planning on Fitch Mountain on Sunday, but another involuntary break from running seems more than likely. Not too happy with it, not that having another baby and simultaneously losing my #1 stress relief option (which becomes an added sorce of stress when I'm injured) has we worried at all!!! I have a feeling that there may not be a better option, though, as my times creep upward with the pain level, and the enjoyment and sheer pleasure from testing the ol' body begins to wane.
We'll see...

Monday, May 31, 2010

2010 No Excuses 5k (but I'm sure I can come up with a few)

Memorial day marked the day for the 6th annual Buzz Oates No Excuses 5k, a flat and fast course at William land Park, right next to the Sacramento Zoo. I'd done this race for the first time last year, and really liked it. So much so that I'd planned on coming back in October and running the Cowtown 5k (same course) to try and beat my time. But, well, injuries happen, more to some of us than to others, and I didn't make it back. Come November last year, though, things were looking up. I even got through a miniscus tear early this year without missing much time, and it's been paying off with some of the fastest 5ks i've run in years. We even got Hannah signed up for a quarter miler for the second week in a row! That would be her (with male escort) below... This weekend started before it began (that makes sense, right?). For those of you not familiar with how to beat the system, lemme tell ya. will narrow a hotel search to any area (in this case, Rancho Cordova, 15 hwy. miles from the race). There are only two 3-star hotels in RC, both of which I've stayed at and liked, the Courtyard, & Hyatt Place; priced between $80-90. Not bad, but I wanted to see if I could get lucky. So...I went through the process & bid on a 3 star, limiting the search to RC, figuring it had to be one of the two hotels, if they accepted my $47 ($59.88 after tax) bid. Well...I was wrong. Apparantly you are bidding on 3-star or higher when you place your bid, and my $59.88 was accepted by the 4-star RC Marriott! They have a choice of either 2 Queen beds or 1 King when you book their standard room, but when you bid on a room, you aren't really garaunteed your choice. Also, after they accepted the bid, I forgot to call to request 2 Queens (sleeping in the same bed with Hannah es no bueno) ahead of time. So I just inquired about 2 Queens when we showed up on Sunday afternoon. They were kind full, which surprised me. I figured they must have accepted the low bid cause they were hurtin' for business. Anyway, they didn't have 2 Queens available, but were willing to clean one for us if we were willing to wait. While me & Hannah were dipping our feet in the pool (complete with waterfalls, Koy pond, etc...) they offeredd guessed it...a suite. For the same price, since we'd prepaid. It. Was. Huge! In addition to the sweet pool area and room that should have cost three times what it did, they had a nice restaurant at the hotel, with outdoor seating, so that night Kirk & his family (who stayed at the same hotel) had dinner with us poolside in the shade. It was very nice to not have to leave the hotel with the kids (4 of 'em) for dinner...and it was quite tasty as well.
Race morning dawns, and I'm not feeling quite as good as I was 2 weeks prior, but like I said then, we've all had good races on days we don't feel great, & vice-versa, so I didn't pay too much attention. After a couple mile warm-up, I made my way back to the start to be sure Hannah didn't get trampelled in the quarter mile. That grin you see on her face was there the whole time. splits! After that, Kirk and I ran another mile and a half, and got back to the line in time for the National Anthem, and then we were off.
Or should I say Jeff (Huxhold) was off. This would be him with a 10 yard gap in the entire field...100 meters into the race!! That gap would continue to grow for the first couple minutes of the race. I don't know if everybody thought the race was now for 2nd place, but I know the thought at least crossed my mind. The dude was flying.

Anyhoo, we settled into a pace, and Jeff had at least a 30 meter lead (on everyone!) less than a half mile in. The pace felt hard, but I couldn't tell yet if it was just preceived effort, or the actual pace, so Paul Smith, Steve Schenck, & I continued to shadow Jeff a few seconds off his pace, while pulling away from the rest of the field. I'd trade back and forth with Steve for 3rd & 4th place, running in 2nd only briefly for a few seconds during the first half of the race. I knew everybody up front to be experienced runners, and that it would be a battle. But I also knew if I could stick close to Paul, the defending champ, I'd be under 16:00. Paul got to Jeff first, just about half way, then myself, with Steve right behind me. Steve would pass me too, and I settled in and tried to hold the pace. The three of us had run a 4:56-4:57 first mile, which was too fast, in order to keep Jeff close (he was probably closer to 4:51-4:52!) and I'd pay for that little mistake the rest of the way, as the pace hurt earlier than it should in a 5k. No even splits like two weeks ago...not with a first mile under 5. I held on for a 5:11 second mile and a 10:08 split, but was flat out hurting by then. Mile three was tough, but I knew I had to keep contact to run a good time. I thought for just a second I may even be able to get by Steve at the very end (see Zoo Zoom 10k in April) but no dice this time. I managed to speed up a tiny bit after the three mile mark (5:14-15:22) but it wasn't enough. I finished less than 7 seconds off Paul, and a second-and-a-half behind Steve, in 3rd place, with a time of 15:51.5 (my third fastest 5k race...5 seconds off my best). I was happy with the time, but can't help thinking what might have been if I'd gone out just 5 or 6 seconds slower. Would it have been enough to take a few seconds off each of the remaining miles? I'll never know, but I'll sure wonder. Jeff held on close behind me for 4th overall in 16:00.0. Kirk pretty much made the same mistake we had...starting too fast, and paying for it over the second half...and finished 11th in 17:13 after a 5:11(?) first mile. We ran the course again too cool-down, while the kids played in the bounce house. I ended up with a 15:44 age-graded (which works out to a 82.03). I actually leapfrogged Steve S in the age-graded race, and got a plaque and microfiber shirt for the 16th place graded finish. Barbara Miller once again destroyed everyone, running under 24 age 70!...Steve Bond ran a super fast 5k in 19:11...and Ron Gross crashed the party as well, with his highest graded finish in this race.
We lucked out with a noon check-out at the hotel as well, so we headed back there afterwards for another hour or so in the pool & hot tub before driving over the hill, which made the adults & kids very happy, and very sleepy.

Next up (probably) is a slight taper this week. Last week was again my highest in 2 years at 81.2! This week I'll shoot for 70, and lift less weights as well, just to see if I respond well. If not, I might as well be running 80, right ;)
After the taper, a likely trip to Sonoma for Hit the Road Jack. I'd like to go after the course record of 11:12 for the 2.2 miler, but I have no idea if the course is hilly, or even accurate. Don't worry, though. I'll keep ya posted.