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...