Well, the day came with me feeling good about my overall fitness. I'm about 20-30 seconds faster in a 5k than I was in May of 2009. That would be 4-6 seconds faster in the climb, with everything else being the same, but they were not quite the same. I'd done about 3 times the amount of stair specific training last year, while this spring I had a goal of trying to become consistant with my mileage base. I've acheived that goal, as I just passed 1000 miles for the year during my 12 miler yesterday! I don't even think I hit 1000 miles by June last year. I've also done 70+ miles for 5 straight weeks. The only time I'd ever done that was when I was training for the marathon.
So, I knew I could match last years time, and had hoped to better it by a few seconds, but what ended up happening was I ran less than a second (faster) than my 3:26.8 from last year (3:26.0). It was a weird day. As far as my legs are concerned, I could have (and therefore should have) gone a little harder. You never want to feel like you had anything left at the end of a race. It's a race after all. Why hold back? But in my feeble brain, I was scared of fading over the last few stories, and while I definitely wouldn't say I was comfortable (far from it) I think there was another neglacted gear there. IF I do this event next year, I will not make that little mistake again. As it was, I didn't fade at the top and ran a 3:26 for 1st place (for the second time) by 15 seconds. I waited at the top for the rest of my team (My Drinking Team Has A Running Problem) to finish. The weird thing about this year, and this seems to apply to lots of people, not just me, was that it was even harder on the lungs/chest/throat than previous climbs. While there's always some lung butter, coughing, etc, involved after running up a dusty, poorly ventilated, & often smoky stairwell, this one took the cake...and it was pretty stinking clean! I don't know why, but Dave and I were hacking so much (and for so long) that we were dry heaving emphatically. After my practice runs I'd have a little cough through most of the day, but this was twice as bad as those, and my practice stairwell is far smokier.
Anyway, Ben's family joined Abby & Hannah down on the street and we hung out for a bit, having some fruit and BBQ, waiting for the results. The hardest part about this type of race for a competitive athlete is that you really have no idea where you stand when you finish. Like a time trial on the bike sans radio, so you just have to put the petal to the metal and hope you did enough. No seeing where your competition is. So, we hung out a bit after I got in a nice 4 mile cool-down, giving me 9 for the day & 72.7 for the week. The awards were slated to go off at 12:00 (the climb started at 10), but come 11:59...still tabulating. 12:15...still tabulating. That would become a theme. Some time after 12, we were told the glitch preventing the times from being able to be downloaded to the computer would not be fixed anytime soon, so we went home. Well, we went home after bringing Hannah into the Circus Circus for a bit to ride the tram and play a few games. Gotta keep the little rugrat happy, right? Especially since she'd been so patient in waiting with us. The results were on the site first thing the following morning. 3 guys ran under 4:00, Dave ran a 6:05, and Ben a 6:06. It might be interesting to pit these guys against eachother in a few 5ks. I think Dave's got the definite edge in endurance, but Ben is quickly improving his speed over short-moderate distances. Way to go guys!
Dave and I will be looking into the Sacramento Climb, held in November. It'll be hard for us to sign up for more than one a year, since besides a few of you, our friends are cheap and the fundraising is a pain in the arse. I don't mind doing it at all. It goes to a great cause...I just think I'm gonna be stuck footing the bill one of these times, and I really can't afford to pay $100 for a race that lasts a few minutes. We'd like to both continue to do the local edition, especially since we've done it both years of it's existence, but it's hard to get too excited when the timing has been an issue two years out of two. Third times a charm, though, right??
Next up...two more locals. The Rock-N-River 10k* on Sunday, & the Run-A-Muck relay with Kirk the following Saturday.
*I hope the 10k is a 10k. The half wasn't even close (maybe 12.4-12.5) to being accurate last year. So not too worried about a time goal for that one, I just hope to be competitive.