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.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Veggie Chase 5k, 2k, 100m, 400m...

those are Bobby Carepenter's legs stickin' outta that there carrot suit!

I travelled with the fam to Rancho Cordova this morning to run the 2nd annual Veggie Chase. There were 3 races to choose from this weekend within 150 miles of Reno, but I hadn't heard of any of them. The Veggie Chase was the most kid friendly, so I signed up for the off-road 5k, Hannah & I did the off-road 2k with the stroller, and Hannah ran not one, but 2 races...1 with the other 3-year-olds, and one with the pre-schoolers.
Hagan park would be a pretty cool place for a road race too. The road/path system hooks up with the American River Parkway, but this one was all on a combo of grass, gravel, and dirt. We started in the park, and ran the majority of the 5k in Soil Born Farm. We got off to a bit of a rough start since they were already out of ALL kid-sized T-shirts when we picked up our stuff (even though you are supposed to be guaranteed the size you specify when you pre-register like we did). Hannah's shirt may fit her by the time she's 10. I warmed up in the park, and after a couple arrows a minute in, I couldn't find the course. Ironically, when the race started, we didn't even follow those first arrows.
We had a bike pacer at the start. Good thing too, as none of us would have had a clue where to go. It was a fast start, especially for the terrain. I started somewhere around 7th or 8th, and made my way up to second pretty quickly. A River City Rebels runner named Eric set the pace. It seemed pretty fast, but again, because of the terrain, hard to tell. After a few minutes, the bike pacers gave way to a couple runners who'd show the way once we were on the farm. They would switch back and forth as we looped in and around the course, and would leave us without a lead for short periods. Eventually we caught and passed one of the two pacers. I ran in second for about 8 minutes before pulling even then taking the lead. I tried to push the advantage on turns and little downhills, which usually signalled a change in terrain. About 3/4 of the way through, I had a lead of 10/15 seconds or so, and was juuust starting to pull away when I followed the pacer down another off-shoot (there were several of these where we'd go out a set distance and pull a 180-not a runners favorite). Well, this one was unmanned and aparently the pacer didn't know where to turn either. We figured out we missed it when the trail hit a dead end and both threw our hands up (THAT was fun!). There goes the lead. We'd heard some yelling but had been too far ahead to understand it, so had just assumed it was cheering for somebody. We turned around and got back to the missed turn right after third and fourth place. I didn't have enough time to catch the leader, who was now well ahead, but I closed the gap a bit and was easily in 2nd again. No idea how fast we were running as there were no markers. I'd guess around 5:20 pace. So just as I was about to finish the last few minutes stewing that the lack of organization would cost me the race, I saw an unexpected example of great sportsmanship...
As we made our way back into the park and made the final turn to the finish, Eric stopped in his tracks and waited for me to pass before finishing a few seconds behind. Since none of the spectators in the park knew what had happened, I'm sure he was on the receiving end of more than a few animated comments. So after all that, the streak (at 3) is still alive. Assuming the 5k was accurate, I ran an extra 50-60 seconds, and came across 1st in 17:21...maybe 16:30 for a 5k? I'm happy with that after the week I've had. After a PR and a 2 year mileage high last week, I came down with a sore throat and a rather persistent and annoying cough on Monday night. I got away with it for a couple days, even getting in a great speed workout in on Wednesday morning. Since then, though, I missed two days of work and have been trying to cure myself on Nyquil, Robitussen...and beer. Not working. I have to break every few seconds as I type this to hack a little more. My right Achilles and heel have been pissed non-stop for about a week as well. What the h-e-double hockey sticks?! Hopefully it'll go away by the end of the week so I can atleast have a shot at the Buzz Oates No Excuses in a week.
After coolin' down a couple miles, Hannah & I did the 2k, with her in the stroller in matching XTerra tops even! It was fun, being all off road as well. Hannah loved it, since she was bouncing in her seat the entire time. I have no idea where we finished, but it was a blast. Off-road stroller rolling is waaaay better!
Next up was the toddler trot for the 2-3 year olds. Hannah ran it without trampling or being trampeled, but was itching for more, as it was only about a hundred yards (50 out & back). So, we jumped in the pre-school prance as well, and she had a little bit more trouble focusing for a quarter mile. After that they had some other kid games and we spent some time on the farm before calling it a day and heading home. Needless to say, Hannah should sleep good tonight. She's runnin' the quarter mile at Buzz Oates too, so now she'll be ready. Mwa ha ha!!!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Avenue of the Vines 2010

Not much more to say than last week was full of PRs. The last couple races had gone very well, and my mileage has been in the 70's for several weeks now. The 79 miles I ran last week were my most in nearly two years. That wasn't the end, though. I was almost keeping pace with last week throughout this week...and on Tuesday (as I'd posted that day) I ran an all-time best 5k on the treadmill. 15:36! But that was not the end. After a warm-up, the treadmill pr, and a few minutes recovery jog, I was able to add 5 x 400 at (slighly) faster than race pace before calling it a day. Hoping to continue that monentum, I did a 10 mile tempo run in 58 minutes the following day, sandwiched in-between a 1.6 mile warm-up, and a 1.5 mile cool-down. Needless to say, that was one of my more encouraging 2 day stretches in a loooong while. Thursday was ho-hum, and Friday's 12 miles weren't any faster than usual, but it felt a helluva lot easier both during and after. Saturday's pre-race run was a half run (5 1/2 miles) and felt easy as well. That's not always the case, as it should be.
So come race day, hopes were sky high, but we've all had great races on days you feel like crap, and crap races on days you feel great, so I was cautiously optimistic. Dave and I had a good meal the night b4 at Noodles and Co., and got a good night's rest in Rancho Cordova. We were even disciplined enough to only watch a half hour of The Hangover before calling it a night. Dave was running the half at 7:00 a.m., and I was running the 5k 15 minutes later, so we were up and on the road to Woodbridge at 5:30.
Cool venue for a race. The races started and finished on a country road in front of the winery, which had lots of grass and benches and picnic tables to kick back on and relax with a glass of vino. I was warming-up when the half started, and got to the line for the 5k a couple minutes before the start. If I was going to get under 16, this was the course. Flat as a pancake, with two mile-and-a-half straightways. Heck, even the roads themselves were built for speed...blacktop (softer than concrete) and not a single pot-hole, divit, etc...
The gun went off and I settled into a pre-planned pace in 2nd place. I took the lead a quarter mile in, and never looked back. Mile 1...5:05. Half-way...7:53-54, 180 turn, still feeling good, but doing the math in my head. I could run a 8:06 2nd half and still break 16. That's 8 seconds per mile slower. Would I slow down that much? That's actually been my problem during my recent close-but-no-cigar attempts...5:05-06 first mile, then I'd fade several seconds over the next 2 miles. The Rock-N-River 10k served as a mental breakthrough for me, though. It was the first time this year my road time was close to my treadmill time, and it was followed up by the mud run, which was significantly faster than the previous year, breakdown this time around. I had a comfortable lead at the turn, so as long as I didn't completely fall apart, the race was in the bag, but to hit my goal, I'd have to push. Mile 2...5:05 again. Feeling it now, but no cramping or stomach issues, and only a mile to go now. I'd break it up into landmarks...ok...get to that telephone pole and there's only 0.7 to go. I was just guessing, but it kept me distracted. When I saw the final turn (and the finish) approaching, I tried to muster a kick, but I was already pretty close to maxing out. However, mile 3 (take a guess)...5:05! I've never run 3 even miles before, even on the track. I came across the line in the high 15:40's, which turned out to be a new PR (and course record) of 15:46.5 - 4 seconds faster than I've ever gone in a race!! Now that's what I'm talking about.
I gotta say, after 2 races in the new heavier Nike Lunaracers, I'm beginning to think the extra arch support & cushioning just might cancel out the extra weight (but I found a new pair of the lighter original just to be sure). Anyhoo, I got in a 5 mile cooldown with Gerardo Alcala, a 19 year old soon to be freshman at Delta College who placed third in his first race in a while. The miles flew by while we were talking and at the 12 mile aid station, a ginormous black dog decided to run with us for a couple miles (he'd end up all the way back at the winery an hour or so later, getting love from several hundred people). All in all, a 5 mile cooldown. We'd seen the leaders of the half out there as well. Rich Hanna (who's company did the timing) set a new course record of 1:13:25 (5:36 pace), followed by Fred Z from Reno at 1:16:10. Both of these guys are masters runners, by the way. Rich is 45 and fresh off a freakin' 2:33 marathon at Big Sur, and Fred (who won the Bizz Johnson Marathon last fall at age 49) will be 50 before his next race. That's right, holy crap! I jogged back out on the course with Fred til we saw his wife, Deb, and ran them back in. Her goal was to crack a 1:40, and her official time was a 1:39:58. Way to go, Deb!
Somehow I got suckered into going on Fred & Barry's cooldown, but I only ran with them back to mile 12, then sat on the tailgate of the truck at the aid station with yet another dog, and waited for Dave. He came along not long after, and I ran with him over the last mile or so. He was able to cut nearly 8 minutes off his RNR time, and ran a 2:14:31. All that cooling down gave me yet another first 80 mile week since 2008! I wasn't expecting that, but I'll take it. We hung out with everyone for a while, had a few samples of wine, and collected more wine for the overall & age group wins. We headed south to Stockton for more food at Valley Brewing Co, before the trek home. As usual with Capital Road Race, there were no issues of any kind. Of course, I wanted to be sure about the course, and USATF and Map My Run both have it right at 3.10. Sweet! I also like to see who my competition is, so I looked up 2nd place on zinsli and got a bit of perspective. His most recent 5k listed was a 16:11. My last one was a 16:08. Different courses, but still. Yesterday he was 33 seconds (10-11 per mile) behind. His most recent race was the 12k from Sausalito to SF, which he ran in 41:21. Hmm...I ran that course in 2001 before any 41:22. That just served to make me feel even better about the day, and hopeful for the future. Today (as has been the case lately) my muscles feel mostly recovered already, while a few joints (right knee, hip, achilles) are a little cranky. As long as they don't get worse, the bar for 2010 keeps going up, and I'm enjoying every minute of it. lovely wife Abby was not present and therefore there are no pictures. I'll link to the official race photos when they're posted.
Next up (for me and Hannah) is the Veggie Chase trail 5k on the 23rd. results, 5k results, half
it doesn't get easier than this off the track (5k course map)...

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

5k pr

1st speed workout of the week...I was able to take 1 second off my previous all-time best treadmill 5k. 2.7 miles at 11.9 mph, 0.4 miles at 12.0 (that's all she had, but the last 45 seconds was on an uphill)...15:36. One of these days I'll get back into the 15's on the road. The funny thing is, I never got under 15:45 on the tread in my 20's, but have done so 3 times this year...the 5k races just haven't caught up yet. Here's to hoping they do. Soon!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Reno River Festival Run Amuck relay (PG 13)

got shorts?

Kirk injects illegal steroids only in his right leg. Hope he doesn't get caught...

Hannah was diggin the helmets

My second foray into the mud was yesterday. Last year, Team Library Dork teammate Turi & I managed to pull out a surprise win in the 4.8 mile obstacle relay course. I had a new partner this year, as Turi is nursing a sprained vjayjay (just kidding buddy!). Seriously, though. I did have a new partner, as Turi has done less running this year and was a little apprehensive about sportin' the old speedo for 2.4 miles. What? I forgot to tell you? Our uniforms this year consisted of a black bikini brief and a blue under armour type shirt. Mine was emblazoned with a yellow "C" for Captain Banana Hammock, and new partner Kirk Ferris had a bunch of grapes across his chest as the Grape Smuggler!
I'd given him as much info about the 2009 edition as I could, but it's not exactly the same from year to year, so we met up at 1 & ran the course as part of a 5k warm-up. It looked like the Reno High football guys were back, but hidden behind a tree before you got to the mudpit, and there was a "maze" after the pit where the football players were last year, although we suspected there would be a more sinister element to that obstacle once the race started. Hay bale hurdles. Check. No crab walk this time, and instead of the balloons at the end, it was a quick round of hopscotch, through the foam pit (which turned out to be a wall of bubbles) and on to the finish.
After the warm-up, we got our barely covered heinies to the start, and at 2:00 were off. I ran the first leg again, and again was a little surprised how many people took off really fast. Most had slowed by the first turn, though, save for a couple. The field had grown to nearly a thousand this year (456 teams), so the people walking and running the opposite direction on the return trip were as much of an obstacle as anything on the course. Three minutes in, I got blasted with a firehouse (on low) and some super soakers by "cops" wearing fake 'staches and shorts that would make Daisy Duke blush. Another minute or so to the park...over the hurdles and onto the little loop where the football players lurked. I was in the lead again, so three of em tried to gang up on me as I was passing through alone, however...after trading blows with the first one (which is surprisingly tiring after a 5 minute mile) I had a Barry Sanders flashback, faked, sidestepped, and accelerated past the others, who very obviously did not expect me to have another gear or two. Well that was satisfying, but starting to tire again. Poo!

As I made another turn onto the grass and approached the pit, I saw Tim, who so mercilessly pounded me the last mile of last week's 10k, gave him a wave, and tried my darndest to long jump into the mud. In my defense, real long jumpers going 25 feet or more don't have to do a 6 minute run-up before their jump like I did. Nevertheless, my twelve footer ain't puttin' the fear in anyone anytime soon. Made for a good splash, though. And my shoes even stayed on this time. On back through the "maze" which was a series of roadblocks that served more as a very brief rest as opposed to a real maze. Gotta like that! Back to the road, running against the grain, feeling a little better, and a little faster than last year, which was good, cause the mummy (that's right...mummy) wasn't really that far behind. After another soak and a quick game of 'scotch, Kirk came running towards me. Pleasant surprise there as last year we had to run all the way back to the start before the second guy goes, but that did cut each leg by 60 yards or so.
Kirk took off without the soap baton that I'd lost when I re-entered the atmosphere in the mud, and took off fast. I jogged in through the foam pit and finish, and worked my way through the crowd to get back out on the course to see Kirk down the homestretch. It was about 20 degrees cooler than last year, which was nice for running, but not for washing of in the river. Luckily for me, between the thin mud and the water/soap hazards, I was almost clean, and didn't have loads of mud in bad places like last year. I got back to the entrance to Idelwild before I saw Kirk flying around the corner and on to the Booth St. bridge, still in the lead. I flipped around and ran him nearly to the finish, before breaking off. Our official time for 4.6-4.7 miles was 24:21, which comes out to about 5:12-5:17 per mile! Whoa...I had NO sense of pace when I was running, but was hoping for something resembling a good 5k pace between obstacles. Needless to say I'm ecstacic we ran (at worst) well under 5:20's including the slow-downs. My expectations (and self imposed pressure) for a good 5k time continues to grow each week.
The mummies finished about 80 seconds back, way ahead of 3rd. I wouldn't know 'til later that one of em was Jeff Huxhold (who at his peak is noticeably faster than either of us). I hope his basketball continues to go well. One less guy kicking my butt on a weekly basis. I still have to figure out how to get Tim that ex-lax, though. We did a couple more miles to cool-down, then hung out at the park, listening to music and putting the legs in the freezing cold Truckee. After enjoying a buffalo burger and a couple tasty Sierra Nevada brews (who replaced Budweiser as a sponsor of the festival) they held the awards on the ampitheater stage like last year. Unfortuntely, with a micro replacing Bud as a sponsor, the Bud girls were absent from the ceremony. Shoot! The price to pay for better beer, I suppose.
It had been advertised that first place would get season passes to Mt Rose, but there should've been an * bigger than the one next to Barry Bonds "records" next to that one. The pass I brought home is good from December to March...except for Saturdays...and Sundays...and all Friday/Monday holidays...and a two week stretch in December/January. In other words, it's a great pass for those who don't have a job! I'd just been thinking what a good idea it was to have a prize that really doesn't cost any hard money, but it's close to useless. Don't get me wrong, most runners, as well as myself, are not in it for the bounty, but I can't help but be disappointed. Last year were such pleasant surprises in May, with swag from a multitude of sponsors, and this year's will end up being a rather worthless peice of paper. Between that and the Silver Legacy who cut about 75% of their prizes for the climb two weeks ago, & that was quite a letdown just based on last year. They did, however, improve upon the rapper-style medallions from last year. I could they, right?! Well, the above pics of the hand painted trojan helmets (how's that for a trophy) should prove my point there!
Today Kirk did not rest, as he was running the 5k at Mom's on the Run, over by Reno High. I started my morning at the gym, did a slighlty abbreviated leg workout, and headed to the race on foot. Nice morning for a run. There were at least a couple thousand, and some familiar faces from the previous day, now in pink instead of costume. I didn't get official results, but Kirk ran a good pace...16:50 for 5k (first time under 17?) and I ran with running/drinking buddy Dave to a 27:40. After another little cooldown, I got to run back uphill to my car at the gym, but all in all, it gave me 79 miles for the week to go along with 122 sets of weights (my goal avg for the year is 60+/100+). Over 70 for another week and my highest total (I beleive) since 2008! I like that the races are going fairly well during the high mileage weeks. I'll try and hold the 70+ a week through June, and see what happens when Dilbert/Stryder/no-name is born.
Next up is another shot a the Avenue of the Vines 5k on Sunday. Should be fun...
~~PS: I'm impressed/surprised that the RGJ actually printed our team name. Seeing Captain Banana Hammock & the Grape Smuggler in the Mother's Day paper was quite entertaining!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Sweet & Sour or Aaaaarrrrggghhhh (the story of the Rock N River 10k) 2010

I started to prep for my 2nd local race in a row a couple nights ahead of time by soaking in a freezing cold ice bath...followed by a hot soak the night before. The former seemed to work to recharge my legs, which are starting to feel the effects (both good and bad) of heavier mileage over the last monthandahalf. The latter served to loosen me up a bit so I woke up Sunday morning ready to go. Kirk & I had run the course the morning before, which isn't something I usually get to do, but Doug (the RD) gave me really good course direction via email, and as you guys know, I can get lost on a track. So that, combined with the fact that last year's courses were not so obvious to the runners (so I've heard) & it served to settle the mind to know the course. I also got to map it on to check the mileage (6.24).
It was cool on race morning, but the wind had died, so it ended up being just a little colder than perfect. I slow jogged and walked around a bit, and caught up with Turi & Dave before their half started at 7:00. I actually ran a mile of their race before pulling a 180 and running back to my car to shed some clothes and change shoes. I was trying the updated* (*=heavier) Nike Lunaracer 2 . The original Lunaracer was (IMHO) the best racing flat ever made, so I have NO idea why they felt the need to add almost 30% to the weight and change the upper material. Heavier or not, the cushioning is soooooo comfortable. I didn't get away with going barefoot in these like I could in the last model, though. My shoes looked a little like Curt Schilling's World Series sock by the time I got back to my car after the race. Outside of that, though, they're awesome. Maybe I'll be able to break em in a little more or wear some moleskin and still leave the socks in the car. I just love the feeling of the shoe and road beneath my feet when I'm racing. If socks aren't necessary, I'd just rather not wear em.
Anyway, back to the action. I got in a couple of strides and stretched a block from the start, and made my way to the line with a couple minutes to go. There were many familiar faces (Fred, Kirk, Scott, Mike Weller...Skip Houk was even the emcee). We took off exactly at 7:30, headed south from the Reno arch and took a right on 1st Street. I led briefly for a couple blocks after the first and eventually settled in behing Aggies runner Tim Koepsell. The last time we'd raced (in the dark) I didn't stay with him past half way and was a ways behind after 5k, but that wasn't a day I ever used as an example of my fitness level. This time we stuck together like white on rice...for most of the race. Mile one went by in 5:18. What a difference from the 5:09 I ran in the wind in Sacramento in my last 10k. I felt good this time as opposed to redlining too early. We headed into Idelwild Park and by the time we left the park, it was down to the two of us. I don't know who had been in 3rd, but judging by the shadow present for a mile and a half, it was either Fred or Scott. Anywho, we reached the turn, which was juuust over the halfway mark, in 16:39-16:40. There were a couple times on the return trip where I thought he was going to drop me, only to keep contact. Mile 3-5 was ever so slightly downhill (maybe 40 ft.?) so these two were actually a touch faster than mile 1-3 going out. When we reached the backside of the 1 mile sign, Tim made another move. Subtle, but one I couldn't match. He was 5-6 seconds ahead when we hit the homestretch, and finished in 32:54...7 seconds in front of my 33:01 (5:19 per mile). Fred came in 3rd in 34:24, Kirk was 4th in 34:42, and Scott 5th in 34:48. Of course, everybody in the top 5 would have won last year's race, where nobody broke 35. That's just been my luck. Not to mention the fastest time in the half was 1:19. 1:19! Oh well, the huge one race winning streak's over. It was easy to deal with, though, as this was the fastest 10k I've run (off the treadmill) since surgery in 2001. It comes out to a 81.96 age graded, which is almost where my 5k/8k/10k pr's are from my 20's. Almost. It's 27 seconds off my pr from when I was 23.
Anywho. I got some more miles in on the course, and got to run Turi & Amber down the homestretch. 77.3 for the week, which is close to my best for the year as well. All in all, a very good week. It's amazing how one good day can blend into another, too. I ran 13.1 trail miles today. Nothing fast, but no dead legs either, and that's possibly the longest run I've ever done the day after a race. We got to hang out for most of the morning too, starting with a coffee stout of course, and eventually progressing to a solid breakfast. The next race for me is only a few days away. I'll be partnering with Kirk for a midday obstacle relay on Saturday. I'm hoping their sponsorship has not dwndled since last year the prizes were amazing!! And the food & beer will be waiting for us at the line. Can't beat that. The next TLD race will likely be the Fitch Mountain Footrace in Healdburg, CA on June 13th. I'll be probably be the short one there too, as the rest of TLD probably run the 10k, while I'd like to take 10 seconds off last year's 3k. Till then...happy running.