Wednesday, October 27, 2010

top 10 in the 10k

Geez...I knew things were spread out because of the small field, but here's the top 10-
Chris Badolato 52.15 M 33
Li Huang Chen 59.45 M 34
Cindy Smith Derby 1.10.20 F 55
Carol Myers 1.11.08 F 50
Beth Kauffmann 1.11.41 F 57
Donna Glogovac 1.12.54 F 50
Christie Giellman 1.14.36 F 41
Andy Baron 1.16.47 M 55
Paige Clock 1.17.13 F 44

OK, that was only 9 (i thought I copied 10) but you get the idea.
Off the track, this may be the smallest race i've done (only 20 in the 10k, more in the half).
The good - at 43+ miles, it was technically the best week of running I've had since I started up again almost 2 months ago.
The bad - it's rare that i feel like getting out of bed in the morning. I know how uncomfortable those first few steps are going to be, and more days than not, it doesn't go away. A few more PT visits, then I'm throwing in the towel if it's still the same. No sense spending $20 a pop to feel the same, right?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Fall Colors Trail 10k* & Half Marathon

up, up, and awaaaaay!

it may have rained a smidge

OK, so I sucked it up, an overpayed for a race. Not the first time, and probably not the last. After the fact, though, I still can't figure out why the race cost so much. BUT, the die hards were out in full force, and that made it fun. The forecast had called for heavy wind and rain. When I got up to let the dogs out, it was windy, but 55 degrees! Cloudy, but no rain. It even looked like it may not be raining as Dave, Turi & I drove to the race.
We were wrong in assuming that being so close to the mountain might sheild us from the wind. If anything it was worse there than in town. Not freezing, but sideways rain will make you guess low on the temperature every time. BIG TIME thanks to Dave 9who was Team Library Dork's support crew) and to the volunteers who stood around in the elements for hours to get us a beatiful trail race!! I woulda stayed in bed!
Well, the plan in the race was to run up the first big climb with Kirk, who was doing the half marathon. The 10k* course (and by * I mean 11k) split to the left after about 10 minutes and crossed a couple streams before meeting up with other parts of the half course. But within a couple minutes, I could tell things were not going to be going particularly well today. Even though we were going a pace that wouldn't neccessarily scare a high-school girl, I was having trouble pretty quick. One guy (who I'd assume was doing the 10k) took off and we let him. No sense bonking on the first big climb with so much race to go, but when the 2nd guy caught us, Kirk went with him, probably assuming I'd tag along, but I was getting NO power off my decrepit Achilles tendons, and for some reason, it felt like my lung capacity was about half as much as normal. I realize the race was at elevation (the 10k fluctuating between 6000 and 6800 feet) but this was ridiculous. But, like I said, lots of race to be run. I'd guess by his speed up that hill, that the first guy (in a green shirt) turned for the 10k, but he was too far ahead of me to see. I'd actually get passed by two other guys, who I stuck right behind, who turned out to halfers, so I made the turn thinking green shirt was the only one to chase down. We crossed a couple streams, and though it was early in the race, I just didn't care about getting wet, so I passed on the rock hopping and just ran right through em. It actually woke me up a little, but as I continued to climb on singletrack, up switchbacks, and one some parts where I couldn't tell there was even a trail (lots of leaves and pine needles) I still didn't feel like I was (or even could) make up any ground. I remember hitting a steep downhill (too steep to attack, especially in the rain and on switchbacks) and finally starting to feel a little more normal, though still struggling. I was absolutely by myself, with nobody in front or behind, and though I was hurting, I was able to appreciate my surroundings, at least a little. 27 minutes in I hit a portion of the trail I'd run before, and was able to pick up the pace quite a bit, but after a while was starting to wonder how long it would take to hit the road. Around the next turn for sure. Nope. Over that next little hill. Nope. It seemed to drag on distance wise over the latter half, having me think the course was about a half mile long. No matter either way. No fast times were going to be run out here. After a much deeper creek crossing, where I rock-skipped this time, I finally hit the road. 0.7 to go. I tried to change gears, but didn't really have much for the slightly uphill finish. The pleasant surprise came with a couple minutes to go, when I was told that I was the first to go by. Really?! There was a stretch this year where I was choosing the more competitive distance almost every time out, but I had quite a bit of luck this time. There was no way I'd have stuck with the top 2 or 3, or even 4, in the half, but I was able to run a whopping 52 minutes to win the short course! Definitely the slowest 10k I've ever run, long course or not. There was about 5000 feet(!) of elevation chnge in the half, and probably 2000 or so in the 10, so it's not like I expected to run under 40, but sub 50? Yeah, I expected that, but just didn't run well.
We stuck around for Kirk and Turi to finish the half. Kirk stuck close to green shirt all the way, and finished 15-20 seconds behind, although more than 4 minutes ahead of last year's course record. Turi took all the pics you see during his 2:25 out in the rain (though he took most of em before it got too bad). Dave was kind enough to charge his camera battery, but old enough to forget to put it back in the no pics of yours truly. Which is too bad. I ran naked! Or did I? Unless you were out there, you'll never know.
Next up? Who knows. I hurt. Hard to beleive I ran a PR five months ago! But I'll keep trying...and drinking beer.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Weeks 5 & 6 and a "Tough Mudder"

Week 5 in the latest comeback, was, how to put it** on a stick. 14 miles and 48 sets of weights. That's less than 2 good days worth. Oh well. I'll blame it on Harold & Kumar, one last time.
Week 6, which just ended, was better, though the Achilles and heel pain isn't really improving, which is causing me to wonder when or even if I'll be able to get back to the days of old (when I was only a little injured).
33.4 miles, 100 sets of weights, and a 18:08 5k time trail. Still 2:40! off my treadmill pr, but inching downaward. Next week I'll try to get in the high 17's.
Tough Mudder doesn't deserve, and therefore will not get, it's own post. While Bear Valley Ski area is absolutely amazing, the race was an oversold, overpriced, overcrowded and poorly organized mess. I've done marathons and 50ks and never had spent so much on a race fee before, and what do i get for my hard earned dollars?
Dos Equis beer and a line at every freakin obstacle, so at best, we could do intervals with long-ass waits in between. Not to mention when the overpriced first day sold out, they then (and only then) offered a second around $40 less than what I paid for day 1 two months ahead of time. This mess/7-mile-long-line that was the course could have been easily remedied by capping the field at, I don't know, a reasonable number! Or less people per wave. Or more time between waves. However, it was such a ridiculous clusterfudge, they'd have to do some combination of all 3 of those to keep the people moving. As long as those checks clear, though, right guys? One thing that did go well (ok - two if you include that team WWMD "What Would Magnum Do?" all finished as a team) was the 'stache. I looked like cast from an 80's cop movie (Magnum was a PI but we're splitting hairs)...and that was before we darkened our upper lips, to better match Mr Selleck's lip hair hue. Dave, Turi, and I went au natural whilst Ben and Amber had some help from the Halloween store. In addition we all had Hawaiin shirts (which hold mud quite well) and Tiger's caps. Afterwards, we pigged out at Snowshoe Brewing Co in Arnold and headed back to the hotel for beer and baseball. So a fun trip, but I "race" I definitely won't do again. I'll post some pictures once Dave, Amber, and Turi load there's up (to steal)!
This week I'd like to get another race in, but I'm still struggling along. I'd planned to do the Fall Colors 10k in South Reno, which for the last two years has been a small off-road half marathon in the foothills below Mt Rose. It's a beautiful and difficult course. They added a 10k this year, but even though it'll likely draw only double digit attendance (and what follows will pretty much guarantee low numbers) they chose to charge the same entry fee as the half marathon. Why? You got me. $45 in advance, and by advance, I mean a month ahead of time. Not a day or two, or even the weekend before. A month! Which meant, if I want to run this tiny little 10k, I'll have to shell out $55. If they're giving out cotton shirts and Dos Equis, I just might snap. So I'm debating. This would be the most I've EVER spent on a race shorter than a half, and even most halfs I've done have been I'm considering skipping it on principal alone. I'd run the half to get my $$$ worth, but I don't think I'm even close to ready for that. I can't even get an answer as to the reason behind the premium price, and to add salt to the wound, couldn't even find the race on, where they advertise it to be. The can sign up on race day. Guess it doesn't matter since they raised the price a month ago...

Monday, October 4, 2010

21st annual Kokanee Trail runs (week 5)

After last weekend, when I got up to Mt Rose Meadows for my first really fun run in comeback #777, I'd planned on trying to stretch my wings (or Achilles) a bit this weekend. Another motivating factor was that this was the last chance for a Tough Mudder tune-up. So, I signed up for the 10k and was ready to go. I'd done a few runs of 5+ miles in the last couple weeks, with a long of 8.
Then my wife called to see if she needed to be present at my urology "consultation" on Friday. This was Wednesday. She found out that, no, she didn't need to be there, and they'd be able to get "the procedure" done right after the consult. Whoaaaaa, horsie. Didn't plan on that one. When I later called and asked about running on Sunday, 46 hours after getting the ol' snip snip, they just laughed at me. When I pointed out that Dave Barry got knocked out when he got fixed, they just laughed again. Nobody takes me seriously anymore!!! Anyway, Friday went as well as can be expected when someone is using a scalpel and cauterizing your junk. The ice pack was my BFF, for the rest of the weekend anyway, and things turned a nice shade of leprosy black and purple. Nice, yes? And you thought this was a running blog!! Mwa ha ha!
In the back of my head, of course, I was a good boy for two days in hopes I could still run on Sunday. Not that it's recommended (for a week) but recommendations aren't rules, per se, just general guidelines. Those with the balls (henceforth to be referred to as Harold & Kumar)to do it could do it, right? My plan was to go to South Lake with Dave and Turi, the male contingent of Team Library Dork, and if my warm-up jog was uncomfortable beyond what I was willing to endure, Turi would be me, and run the 10k in my stead. Dave was signed up for the 10k as well. I was actually leaning towards skipping the run on the way up (bumps in the road were no bueno) but at some point Turi mentioned he went for an easy run 2 days after the fact, which gave me a needed mental boost. By the time we got there, and I did my 50 yard jog with Harold & Kumar still intact, I was loosely planning on signing up (as Turi) for the 5k and Turi would be me in the 10. It wasn't meant to be, though. I manned up and Told Turi to sign up for the 10, and we all ran the same race.
There was no snow like last year, but the awesome weather from 2 days ago turned into thunder-storms and lots of rain. We hung out in the car for a bit after watching the half go off at 9, and for the first time since early June, I did a warm-up for something. I made the mistake of thinking my slower pace at the start of the half would serve as my warm-up last year, and I suffered for 5 miles before finally finding a rythm. I only did a mile and a half. If I would've done more, I'd risk too much fatigue in the race, since my mileage has been so I was warmed up. A little.
The uphill start proved to be taxing again, but no 5k runners took off as expected in front of us. I ran with Mike Keck past the 5k turn in 2nd place, and leading the 5k runners, which was a huge surprise. I wanted to find a decent mix of aggressiveness and conservation with my pace, not having pushed for more than 3 miles since I've began running again. When we made a left onto the singletrack 10-11 minutes in, that was the first time I had a mental break. Running for 2nd now, which was still better than I thought I'd do. Mike forced a gap of about 12 seconds by the half way, but as far as I could tell, we'd seperated from the field. A minute or two later, he took off up a steep hill and pulled out of sight. Even though I'd stayed closer than I thought I would to that point, this was the second time I thought the race was over. I went up the hill as well I could, and then things changed a bit. I hit the downhills, twists and turns, and quickly made up the 12 second gap. Between mile 4 and 5 I was still 2nd, but the gap was less than a second, and I was feeling good. A smile even crossed my lips at some point in there. The problem was, Mike was feeling good too. After the re-crossing of the bridge at Fallen Leaf, he decided to run atop the wall rather than slow step the wet stairs at the end of the bridge. He put 10 yards on me there, but that was it. I caught up, and when I saw the yellow aspens we'd passed the first mile, I made my move.
If I'd looked at my watch first, I'd have realized it was too soon for a 165 pound version of my 150 pound self to start a kick. At elevation. Turns out there were two segments of aspens, and I chose to kick at the sight of the one farther from the finish, so...I had to back off a tiny bit. Just couldn't hold the kick, but I wanted to keep the pace hard enough to not let race open up again, while also not burning all my gas before getting to the end. The second grove came into sight, and I had enough to ensure not getting caught from behind at the tape. The official results (which we didn't stick around for due to the now torrential downpour) were all over the place. I think I was just under 43 minutes...let's say 42:50's, with Mike 30 seconds or so behind. Somehow the official results have me at 40:11, him at 43:18 (close to accurate), Turi (18th) at 53:02 (his watch-53:13) and Dave at 65:03 (his watch at 65:48). A completely unexpected win on a day I almost didn't run. Hopefully, this will become a springboard for fall/winter/spring training. My runs til now have all been well over a minute-per-mile slower than when I'm in top form, so there's lots of room to grow, as long as I can get & stay healthy.
Harold and Kumar did ok, though the ice is still close by, and will be for a few days. We texted Abby that I was still looking for Harold on the course, but she didn't know what the hell I was talking about. I'm sure she's not the only one. Once again, the weather caused us to skip the festivites at Camp Richardson's Oktoberfest. This time around, they were packing it in by 11 am. So, a return trip to the Brewery at South Lake Tahoe. Awesome food and service, so/so beer.
After a 30 mile week 5, this week I'll get 3-4 runs in, and maybe 25 miles. We shall see...the ice-pack becons. And to my secret source...Harold & Kumar say thanks for the vicodin!
PS-I'm sorry Turi is such a lazy a** and didn't bring his camera, therefore not allowing me to poach pictured from his blog. That is all.
Tahoe Daily Tribune link: