I've decided you guys can just start calling me three. It seems to be developing into a pattern. Not that there's anything wrong with that. (that's right, Seinfeld is in my blog now...mwa ha ha ha!). Somebody has to take out the fast guys and then watch them blow by, right?
Seriously, though, this was an excellent race. Well run, great layout afterwards, and a nice, well-marked course. But I am still hoping that this recurring pattern of every race I do being deeper than usual just stops. Enough already!
Anyhoo - I toyed with the idea of going to Grass Valley the night before to avoid a two hour drive on race morning. Not that 130 miles is so far, but the body's been cranky and I wanted to avoid it if I could. The down side is that while the race morning trek would've been an hour or less, the drive (after work) the night before would've been nearly two hours itself. Since I wasn't travelling with anyone this time (the wife & kid+ stayed home, and my race buddies were in San Diego enjoying some world-class beers) I couldn't justify the cost of even a cheap hotel, so I ended up leaving the house just before 5 a.m. for the solo drive to Rocklin. Not so bad once the sun started to come up, but man was it a chore to stay awake before that. Anyway, by the time I got there at 7, I was more awake, & had plenty of time to walk around & work the kinks out before I'd have to warm-up. My experience started off rocky, as I heard the person in front of me being told that they were out of large shirts. Already? There wasn't a whole lot of people there yet, & large seems to be a pretty regular size, right? So I pondered the point of signing up ahead of time & filling out your shirt size if they'll all be gone looooong before everyone gets theirs anyway. Lucky for me, a medium fits just fine. So I get up to the table, give them my name. The bibs/chips are in alphabetical order, and matched to a corresponding #. Mine was 42. 42 was not there. So I asked if I should go back to my car & get my active.com confirmation from the 5th. Nope...they looked on the master and my name was there, but my number and chip were gone. So somehow, somebody ended up with my chip & number, but they were on it. Within two minutes, I had a new # & chip, and my info was changed in the computer. That was fast! I can only imagine the insuing calamity at some of the less "organized" runs I've been to.
So never having ran this particular race, I set out to warm-up on the course about 35 minutes before race time. A couple rollers, one sustained for a quarter mile around the mile mark, but really nothing serious. I think actually the rough condition of one of the roads in the middle mile made more a difference than the few small hills. OK...goals intact now that I know the course could be fast..."A" 15:59 - "B" 16:09. I thought either of those may just win it, but, well, you already know how that went.
When the gun went off, there were alot of young'ns sprinting up front, but a couple that looked like they knew what they were doing. When the sprinters faded, though, there was still a large pack up front. Probably about 10 through the first few minutes of the race. We'd just start to spread out by mile one. I was one second off the leader, with a 5:06 split, and was 5th out of a tight-knit pack of seven or eight. The first "hill" spread things out further. A leader (the eventual winner) pulled away by just a couple seconds, and I traded back and forth between 2nd & 4th with a couple of William Jessup U. cross country guys. Mile 2 was a 10:22 split. Struggling a bit, but still holding a decent (if slightly off goal) pace. I was squarely in third now, with the leader pulling away and 2nd with a few seconds gap on me. I made up no ground on him until my final kick, which maybe I should've started earlier, but I was hurtin'. I finished one second behind him with a 16:08, and 12 second off the lead. Just close enough that I wonder what I could have done different in training or during the race to pull it off. We had, however, pulled away from the rest of the pack, as there was a 23 second gap between 3 & 4.
By the time I changed shoes and was heading out on the course backwards for a cool-down, the 12k leaders were coming in. There was an Auburnian Kenyan woman in the field that was a sub 33 10k runner, but she must have had an off day, as she finished behind a couple of guys that can't run that fast. The leader smoked the course, and I think missed the record by a couple seconds, in 38 minutes and change, with two more under 40 before the field started to thin.
So, all in all, a good day. For my $27 entry fee, I got a race, a tech shirt, 2 slabs of rock (one for 3rd overall & one for the AG win), a slice of pizza, 2 bottles of water, 2 cups of coffee (to keep me awake for the drive home), a fudgecicle and a rootbeer flavored popsicle, a banana, and an apple. Good deal, no? AND...$25 for 3rd overall - although I may have been duly inspired for a better kick if I'd remembered at that monent that 2nd place got $50! I would recommend this race in a heartbeat to anyone looking to add one to their calendar. Decent field size too...13 or 1400 in the 5k, and 600+ in the 12k. Thanks to the massive amount of volunteers that helped w/this one - they were great. I am also now justified (and then some) for racing as much as i do. I ran into Greg Mandler, a super-nice guy that Dave & I met during the Folsom Trail series. I've been running into him al ot, and now I know why. Not only does he have a streak of racing EVERY weekend since March...of 2008!...during the busy seasons he'll often run twice in a weekend, and has either raced 100 times in a year, or is well on his way to doing it this year! Holy crap. Makes my "high" of 33 from 2000 seem just downright wussy.
Recovery is ok...lots of...er...let's go with "lung butter" today during my 10 miler, & that was before a shot up the crusty ol' stairwell. I don't think I'll stop coughing anytime soon, but on my fifth try this year (as opposed to at least 3 times that in '09) and just 25 hours after racing, I was able to match my best time up to the 29th floor of the Circus Circus, with the stairclimb race only a week away. In the last month, i've gone up untimed (but slow), 2:28, 2:17, 2:14, & 2:13 today! Like I said in my last post, I'd love to pop off a 2:0-something, but there's just no time. I did manage the 2:13 at the end of a 9.1 mile easy trail run and an addition mile on the road. So I'm hoping to take a few seconds of last year's time, but that was a good race for me last year, so we'll have to wait & see on that one.