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 low...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: http://www.tahoedailytribune.com/article/20101003/NEWS/101009921/1068&ParentProfile=1056