Monday, January 25, 2010

Redding Marathon Relay & Folsom Winter Trail Run Series #6

Dave at hill #1, race #2, mile 0.9
me at race #2, mile 0.7
post race #2
Dave, drafting, race #2, mile 0.1
me not drafting, race #2, mile 0.1...too bad I couldn't hold that pace!
race #2, mile...uh...0.023?
Dave finishing race #2. I say if he's got THAT much energy in his thumbs, he didn't run hard!
Hannah eagerly awaiting Dave's arrival, race #1
mile 19.53, race #1. IT bands suck!!!
Dave @mile 0.7, race #2
mile 56 of the drive home
why we really go to California every two or three weeks!
in the homestretch, race #2
photos courtesy of Brian at & Abby (I think Ben took the tree one).

I'm going to do a 2 fer 1 post as I was too trashed from the first race to even do a proper post. Lazy you say? Or freakishly efficient?
Anyway, last weekend Dave, Abby, Hannah & I drove to Redding on Saturday night after work. We had an awesome (and by awesome I mean mediocre at best, severely overpriced) dinner at Rose's, the sole italian joint in Susanville. We got in late, but Abby's grandparents, who let us bunk there, stay up later than any of us, so they were there to greet us when we pulled in. Dave dropped me off in the dark and rain Sunday morning to pick up our packet and get on the shuttle to the marathon start. I rode up to the Shasta Dam with Mike Buzbee, who I know from various grand prix races, and we hung out a bit before it was time to go. Worthy of note, but something I didn't know til race morning, was significant changes to the marathon course. Instead of a few miles off road and little in the way of hills in the middle of the race, there was off road between 3.5-15 miles, and more hills. Who loves hills?! NOT ME! It was probably an even more scenic course than before, but the great views from the dam were obscured by heavy fog, rain, and dark. We started in a different spot, and the first three miles or so were downhill and flat. Miles to put some time in the bank if I wanted to run 6:00 pace for 19.5 miles. The first one was fast, maybe a bit too fast, although it felt ok at the time. I'd cross the 5k in the 16:40's before hitting the trails (& mud & puddles). By the time I got that far, I was already soaked through from the rain, so there was no need for time consuming zig-zags to avoid the puddles. Just barrel on through. I led the field through mile 11 (and past the relay exchange, since we did this 3 man relay with 2) and had hit mile 10 in 54:40 (5:48 per). I knew I'd been over 6:00 pace for some time, though, and was beginning to wonder when the trail would end. The marathon leader from Chico TC caught up to me around 11, and we ran together past the half marathon and up and over the biggest of the hills. Through 12, he was on pace for Hal Koerner's course record, but at least in part due to the harder, slower course, would end up missing it by a few minutes. He had enough to pull away from the leading (but fading) relay runner after the big hill, though. We hit the half in 1:18:30 (just about to 6:00 pace now, but adding time fast). Mile 15 was the surprise for me. I thought I was in shape to safely handle 20 miles, hence running the relay instead of the whole thing, without fading or lots of pain. Well...I was wrong on both accounts. My IT band tends to tighten up, then painfully pull over bone, when I run farther than I'm in shape for, therefor comprimising my form. I'm pretty sure the problem starts in the hip, but manifests itself next to the knee (see post Napa Marathon pain, and survival at Run On The Sly 20m). Well, with 4.5 to go, it began, and the last 4.5, just when the terrain relaxed, were to be the hardest. When your hurting, every minute counts, and when I hit mile 19 (now over 6:00 pace for the race) I wondered if I'd have 0.2 or 0.4 left. The race site lists the last leg as both 6.8 and 7.0 miles...but in hind set, like the elevation chart, this is for the old course. After mile 19, a minute passed. Where is everyone? Then two. What the heck...I know I'm still sub 7:00 pace. Then 3 minutes before I saw the exchange zone. I hit mile 19 in 1:56:36, and exchanged with Dave at 2:00:16...3:40 for .2 or .4. According to Dave's GPS, he ran 6.66, which leaves over 19.54 miles for a certified marathon. Based on that, my goal time would have been 3 minutes faster than what I ran (I ended up at 6:09 per mile, which would have been awesome if I'd ran the whole thing). So I was disappointed in the pain that came with a run that really shouldn't have been that much of a struggle, but...we had a good lead on the chasing relay teams.
I went with Abby & Hannah back to the finish at Sundial Bridge and stretched a little...had some PIE, drinks, coffee, more PIE. It was actually getting colder as the day went on. Wind in the open, rain & clouds. At 2:55 I walked out on the bridge, not expecting Dave for 7-10 minutes, but just before 3 hours, he came up the far side of the bridge. We ended up third overall, 1st in our division at 3:00:15, Dave running 9 minute pace and breaking an hour (59:59)!
After freezing our buns off, we were looking forward to our reward. It was obvious this race had trashed us physically way more than either of us were expecting. The pain right after finishing is usually reserved for the night/morning after a hard marathon or 50k. But...our reward was lunch at Sierra Nevada in Chico. I remember their food being tasty, but what we had was just downright deeeelicious! Mine was thai seafood pasta with yellow curry, rice noodles, grilled shrimp w/red chili sauce and a garnish of thai pesto. Ay chiahuahua! All our meals, plus 15 tasters, plus 3 full beers, one dessert, and a growler of their awesome "Old Ale" to take home...for just about the same price as our forgetful meal at Rose's the night before.
Last week was pretty much a waste. Lots of limping, no quality workouts and 22 miles of slow running after 6 days...and I still wasn't. I'd gone back and forth about what distance to run for race #6 yesterday, and decided Wednesday night on the long one, as I thought my soreness/fatigue, etc... was beggining to go away. Yeah...not so much. By the end of Thursday I emailed Diane (the RD) about possibly having to drop down in distance on race day, and she completely understood, and said no problem. It's rare for things to be that easy anymore, but there you have it. Another reason to run the Folsom Trail Seriesisisis. I actually emailed the Davis Stampede the same day (for the same reason) and have yet to even get a response. Very professional. We traveled to Roseville, and although I wasn't yet recovered, we did stay at a Heritage Inn Express. We even had a jacuzzi thrown in with our two queens since they'd given away the last normal non-smoking double queen. Good for my cold soak, but I need to do at least a couple more of those. I didn't decide on a course 'til we got there that morning. I had decided earlier in the week (in my head) to do the short one, typed another email to Diane to put me in the short one, but didn't send it...eventually deleted it, and spent the next 24 hours going back and forth. The problem with doing the short one was that the two guys I wanted to race were both in the long course, for only the second time, not to mention the intermediate and long courses are far more scenic than the short one for this venue (Beals Point State Park). So...after all the fuss, I ended up going short not because I didn't think I'd finish or do as well, but to a.) facilitate recovery this week (hopefully) and b.) not have to run an unfamiliar course, especially when I'm not near 100%. I threw caution to the wind at the staert, though, and took off fast, trying to take advantage of the paved start. After 600 meters or so, we turned onto singletrack, and although it wasn't pouring like last time, there were a couple muddy spots. I did expect to be around 17:30, and was right on pace at the turn, but for whatever reason I slowed on the way back, and never really had another gear at the finish, and ran my slowest short course of the year at 18:03. It was enough to win, but nothing that'll keep me warm at night, especially since I faded for the second week in a row. If I pull that crap in Davis, the leader will be done and stretching by the time I hit the home stretch. Dave came in just under a half hour. I got a B12 shot at the race too, which was cool. I'm hoping I reap the same benefits as one Mr. Barry Bonds. If I take a little flaxseed oil on top of that shot, I should win all my races and hit lots of homers. I'll try not to be an a-hole like him, though. I still have hip and knee pain, but over the last two days, I've run almost as many miles as the previous six days, so hopefully I'm headed in the right direction. Davis is next...distance yet unknown. Stay tuned.
After 6 of 8 races in the series, the points totals are as follows.
Yesterday was a double points race, so there are 800 points possible-
195 males out of 426 total
Top 3 males-
Chris B 800 points
Kirk Ferris 762.24
John Couillard 669.59
Dave E @16th male, 37th overall with 498.21
However, not so fast. At the end of 8, you can drop your lowest 2 scores, which so far changes things a bit. Although Kirk has beaten John two out of two head to head, if you drop each of their lowest two scores (one of John's being a 0 for missing a race), John is still just holding onto second place (out of 600 points) 578.98 to 575.48. That should be interesting down the stretch.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Folsom Winter Trail Run Series #5

this is Abby's pic of the finish
the flat before the storm...

i don't know what he's looking at either...

on the backside of the hill

i don't know these guys, but this pic shows how tough it was at the turn!

We returned to the same course we ran for the very first race in the series this past Sunday. Dave & I were both hoping to improve our times from October, but as we drove into town and cloud cover it became obvious there had been rain & that the course would not be optimal for cutting time. I'd guess that i'm 30-45 seconds faster over this distance than I was at the start, so I was looking to take at least 30 seconds off my 17:54, minus however many seconds the mud would slow us down. I warmed up on the short course and found that aggressiveness on the climbs and descents would be interesting. For the first time in the series, I was questioning whether or not my Lunaracers could handle the terrain. Did I mention these were my newly laundered Lunaracers, and that you really should dry them on low heat to prevent the Lunar foam from turning to marshmallow foam??? Well, a lesson learned I suppose. They were actually quite comfy, but easily the softest, squishiest shoe I've ever run in...and they managed to keep me on my feet the whole race!
My main competitors in the series were running the intermediate & long course today, so I was not expecting a push. I'd run most of the first one alone as well, so I hoped that I'd be mentally tough enough to push myself while running solo. The end result of that was a The kick I easily managed after the last muddy downhill told me I could & should of run faster, but I didn't feel up to it & didn't take advantage on the flats when I had the chance, so...
This course is pretty fun. A short stretch of road/gravel, before cutting across a field, taking a right and going up and over the "warm-up" hill. After that another right, then the main event, which I think Dave measured at race #1 as a 290 footer. Some flatish meandering trail with nice views before a technical descent, a hairpin turn, and the start of the last climb (really a double climb with a short break in the middle) back up to the top...flat...then down again, before 0.1 fast to the finish on the grass.
I came across in 17:42, which with I was neither super pleased or upset. Like I It was a 12 second improvement with harder conditions, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't hoping for more. I laced up my trail shoes and ran backwards on course for a cooldown and to see how things were panning out. It seemed Dave was further along than when I'd seen him on the cooldown last time. I'm just imagining things, right? Or am I? Dun, dun, duuuuun.
Dave somehow managed, in muddy conditions (compared to near perfect conditions last time) to take 99 seconds of his time, improving from 31:00 to 29:21 and moving into the top twenty at 19th overall! 99 freakin SECONDS over 3.07 miles! Holy crap!
Rubios sat this one out, but instead we had a nice, hot, pancake breakfast that Hannah enjoyed thoroughly. It's little touches like that that make a race or a series stand out, & Diane & others at Breakout Racing are really nailing it. It's very obvious they really enjoy what they're doing - not to mention that Brian takes better pictures 9 times out of 10 than the guys at Facchino. As has become somewhat of a tradition, we went for brunch & suds, this time at Hoppy Brewing Co. in Sacramento before heading back over the hill. What a great deal...for $47, Hannah, Abby, Dave & myself all ate (well) & took home 3 complimentary bottles of Hoppy Brew. Gotta love that.
As far as the series goes, I now have a 34.64 point lead in the overall men's standings, with 600/600 points. Dave is sitting in 13th (male I hope) with 381.19 points. It's a bit hard to really know how things will turn out, as you only keep your best 6 races for the final score (for example, 2nd place wouldn't be seconds if you dropped everyones worst two scores right now) but I'm planning on being done with the short courses so I can put a little wiggle room between myself and the competition, and hopefully help Dave out in the process. Here's a link for race & series results so far, and as always, thanks to Brian at for the photos...and Abby too. (i'll get em posted's not letting me save a draft so i'm posting pre-picture :)

2010 goals & miscelaneous shtuff

It seems things have been harder to maintain for the last few weeks, but the weekly time trials have been my anchor as they go up in distance. There’s been 2 5ks under 16, a 4 miler under 21, an 8k just over 26. Today I forced myself to hold 5:19 pace for 5.95 miles with a quarter mile kick at 5:00 pace to finish. I’m paying for it now as I think I crossed the threshold of what my body could handle today, but…although on the tread (just like the shorter ones) it was the first time in nearly nine years I’ve been under 33:00 for 10k, only the second time ever, and at 32:54, 20 seconds of one of my better pr’s from years past. I will reward my self (and Ben and Dave) with the last of 2009’s Christmas beers tonight. Have I mentioned how nice I think it is that beer tasting night just happens to fall on interval/time trial day for the last couple months?!
My succesful at first but ultimately failed attempt at a long run a few weeks ago has made me decide to keep things shorter this year. Most likely meaning no ultras and no marathons. Depending on how the 19.4 relay leg on the 17th goes, I may go for a half marathon pr at the Davis Stampede in February, but that's as long as I'll go for a while. The half is my weakest pr and therefore the only one I think I have even a decent chance at beating. 1:14-1:15...I'll have to check. Which brings me to my goals for 2010. Maybe in the fall i'll be healthy enough to train for a marathon, but definitely not the first half of the year. So...
*run a 5k under 16:00
*run a 8k in the 26 minute range
*run a 10k under 33:00
*run a half (pr) in 1:14
*if I manage a marathon...2:39 or bust!
**take 10 seconds off my Climb the Legacy time, and at least 30 seconds of my Climb CA time
*repeat as Run-A-Muck champs, for the bling! Not really under our control as much as time goals, but why not?
And last, but certainly not least, stay healthy enough to get at least 11 months of running in...which would hopefully lead to 3000+ miles and 5000+ sets of weights!!!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

passed 1400 brew reviews on New Years Day on the ol' Beerpal website. It's been fun. I've traded for some rarities and sent some in return (gotta spread the love) and there ain't any plans to stop anytime soon...onward to 1500!!!