Monday, December 13, 2010
Walk Woof or Hoof It 12.4k*
So far December is treating me a little better than the previous few weeks, so for the second straight Sunday, Dave and I went to Cali for a race. This one looked to be pretty low key, but of course it only takes one other person to make it a race, right? For us, it was the distance and the possibility of rolling hills, not to mention that there was going to be a TON of animals there for Hannah* (*=and Dad) and that it was the only thing close enough to get to on Sunday!
It actually started at noon, so we didn't even leave the house til after 9. By that time, the weather was already getting nice, and Loomis was to have a high of 65. The race started just down the road from Del Oro High School, and was 2 6k loops. The finish line, however, was on the other side of the HS, so if the first loop was really a 6k, then the 12k looked to be almost a half mile long. No worries, though, I need to sneak some miles in there any way I can. There was a younger kid there who was decked out in the River City Rebels gear (one of the Sacramento racing teams). I didn't catch his name, though, as he had headphones in the whole time. Funny, though. Everybody and their mother seemed to be pointing to him at the start and saying something to the effect of "well, we know who's winning the 12k". I had to have heard that at least a half dozen times. 6-7 months ago, my inner competitor would have gave a hearty silent chuckle and a "we'll see about that", but the fact that I'm still quite a bit slower than I was made it so i just quitely smiled to myself and focused on my pace. If it was enough, so be it, if not...hopefully I still had a decent day.
We took off and seperated from the pack pretty quick. I never looked back, but it seems like it was down to the two of us almost right away, especially since the 6k was starting a few minutes later. For a mile and a half, I played shadow and struggled a little bit to hold the pace he was setting. Maybe it was in my head, but he sure looked more comfortable than I felt. Maybe, just maybe, it was partly due to the fact that my warm-up was a mile short and I took a bit to get in a groove, but after about 2 1/2K, I took the lead. We didn't run together after that for more than a few seconds, and there was a 2nd decent climb between 3 and 4k where I put a gap between us and then pushed juuuuust a bit harder on the downhill and flat to the end of the first 6k loop. I passed 6k (which ended up being a tiny bit short...maybe a tenth k?) in a little over 21 minutes. My goal now was to run as evenly as possible, and not implode before the end and get caught from behind. The fear of that pushed me through a couple rough patches, and I started lapping the 6k walkers, who were full of encouragement. Holding pretty steady...probably 5:49ish per mile on the first loop, and 5:52ish on the second. I snuck a peak once when I heard some cheering 30 second after I went by some walkers with about 2k to go, but saw nobody. As it turns out, the kid either made a huge mistake and ran the 12k thinking it was the 6 (though it was pretty clear it wasn't) or the pace broke him, cause he didn't even run a 2nd loop. Glad I didn't know that or I may have involuntarily slowed down a little.
As it was, I had timed the distance between the end of the first 6k loop and the start of the 2nd loop at 2:24, so this would be a 12k plus a little. I'd say each loop was 100m or so short, but the in-between was 600-700m long, so...400 meters or so longer than advertised...came accross in 45:18 (my goal was high 43 for an actual 12k, so pretty close to spot on) and about 5:50 per mile. My last two hard efforts were a flat road 4 miler at 5:40 pace, and a flat treadmill 10k at 5:45, so this was pretty close to right in line with those. I'm hoping to run a 5k in under 17:00 in the next month or so, but I think there's still some work to do before I get to 5:29 pace. Afterwards, I jogged back out to where Dave was coming up the last little hill with just under 2k to go. I think he's starting to see some tangible progress, cause although he was hurting, he was pulling away from one runner and catching up to another. He even dropped me up the last little hill before the fast finish, passed someone down the homestretch, and finished in 68:51 - just under 9:00 pace. Not a super hard course, especially when you get used to mountainous trail runs, but not exactly a speedburner either, so it was a worthy effort (and a long painful drive home!) for both of us. Luckily we had lunch and beer in Auburn to help us through, and Abby was kind enough to drive us. We even got a box of cupcakes from the race, which didn't last long once we got back. For the record, I'm not a big sweets fan, unless it's chocolate or honey in my beer, but these cupcakes were fanfreakintastic!!! Hannah's was decadent chocolate with a candy cane frosting. Mine was bavarian cream filled. Nice! AND...there were 4 of them and 4 of us, so how can you go wrong?
Next week, if the weather holds (it was 64 during this race and I actually had to remove my glasses twice to wipe sweat from my eyes) I'll head over the hill one last time in 2010 for the Holiday Classic in Sacramento. I'd love to do the north Bay trail run on the 26th, but that's just too long to drive the morning of, and for some reason, the wife wants me around Christmas night. Next year, looks like Captain Kirk and I are going to do the Redding Marathon relay as a two person team, just like Dave and I last year, but maybe without the rain? This is a cool race, but I pushed a little past my distance threshold last year and it hampered me until April. This year, I'll be doing the first 11 miles and Kirk the last 15.2. It'll still be the longest run I've done since last year's 19.5...but I'm looking forward to it. Maybe something else in between as well. Til then...