Monday, March 28, 2011

Nutrition Fuels Fitness 5k/10k Elk Grove

As you may or may not know, Dave and I had planned on going to Nevada City for a 5k, which after running there many times would have been my first NC run since October of 2009. Mother nature had other ideas, such as genreally flooding the trail sections of said 5k, so said 5k was cancelled, then rescheduled for next week. Luckily, since I'd scouted the race calendar before settling on Nevada City, there was a back-up plan. Capital Road Race Management, who always put on a good race, was hosting a flat and fast 5k/10k just south of Sacramento, so outside of a little extra driving Saturday night, this plan was actually the easier of the two, and I even got in a couple extra quality miles. I decided to run the 10k (Dave did the 5) since theres a few 5ks coming up and this breaks them up nicely. Plus I think I'm in slightly better shape for a 10k (speed endurance vs. speed). Abby and the kids were already nearing Grass Valley with her Dad when the race there was postponed, so Dave and I ended up in a Fairfield Inn five miles north of the race. So convenient! We got there around an hour before the start, signed up, warmed up, etc...
Looks like the weather will cooperate, at least. Overcast and cool, with a little wind, but not too bad, and no rain! After warming up with arm-warmers, I actually ditched em in favor of a tank, shorts, calf sleeves and a cap. From years past, this race looked to be deep enough almost every year that I'd have to run beyond what I've showed so far this year to get on "the podium". The two races started together, with the 10k running a second loop. We were off, with a bunch of orange and blue Fleet Feeters and red River City Rebels up front. There was a pack of six, then a little break, then me leading the chase pack. I'd hit mile 1 in just under 5:25 (and would nearly crap myself since I just was hoping to break 5:40). I backed off a little, and conciously let someone (another rebel) pass, as it's never too late to fix a mistake, and the sooner the better. Now I was in 8th, then 7th for the rest of the first loop, but only one runner (the one that passed 6 minutes in) kept going for a second loop. The others were all in the 5k. The lead was double digits, and I was trying not to fade. 17:10 for the first 5k (5:32 pace) after the first fast mile. Still hanging on. It was a struggle, and if there was nobody in front of me, or if he'd been further up (or out of sight) I'd definitely have slowed, but the miles kept ticking away, all in the mid 5:30's. Do I have a shot at breaking 35? Only if I don't let this guy pull away. Surprisingly, I started ever-so-slowly closing the gap after mile 5, but I had no sprint to really go after him (as you can see from the pained expression on my face with 0.1 to go) and though I hate to admit this, in my head I was happy that I'd kept it close and ran faster than I thought I had in me. Of course, later, that last minute or so was replayed a million times differently in my head, after I somewhat forgot how hard I'd worked just to hold on. But that's the way it goes. If I'd known you got $50 in FOOD for winning, maybe there would have been a sprint. Maybe...
Even though we were weaving through walkers from mile 4-6.2, my second loop was just about even with the first (17:15) and my final chip time of 34:25 was only 3 seconds off the leader! Gaaaa!!!!!!! But, like I said...5:33 per mile exceeded my goals and hopefully will be a springboard to bigger and brighter things. "Only" 1:51 off my 10k pr, but I say only because it had been closer to 3 minutes. Funny enough, the 30-39 age group top 3 was also the overall top 3. A Davis/Sacramento regular Orlando Velasquez was about a minute behind in third, then the 50-somethings took over. My buddy Steve was in the top 20 overall and 8th! in the 50-59 group. Don't you guys know you're supposed to slow down after 40?
Speaking of over 40, Dave finished the 5k in 25:33, the fastest since we've been racing together, and if he fixes the "glitch" he had at mile 2, he'll be under 25 in no time. Hannah was entertained for a couple hours in the bouncehouse(s) and as usual, Rich Hanna and Co. put on a good show. Hopefully, this'll be one I get back to, and hopefully, oh, about 1:51 faster...but I'd settle for 4 seconds!
Next up, Run Rocklin in 6 days...

Monday, March 7, 2011

Coastal Trail Run - Montara Mountain...& Fresh Tracks 5k (since I'm lazy and didn't post anything last week even though I actually had plenty of time)

Quick recaps of the last two weeks -
Last Sunday I finally made it back to Camp Richardson after nearly two years for the Fresh Tracks snowshoe 5k. I LOVED doing this race in February of 2009, but missed it last year so Dave and I could close out the Folsom Trail Run series finale. No schedule conflicts this year. All of TLD (Team Library Dork) or TLG (Gimp...depending on the day) made it up there. Gretchen pretended she was french and gave up when it became evident she'd have to drive 40 EXTRA MINUTES (gasp!) to get there. Anywho, about 50 of us were there. TLD all signed up that morning after making our way through the maze of fresh snow. The snow was a bit soft, which made things more difficult than last time, but it was beautiful. Ross Mcmahan, an old running buddy of mine (and I do mean old...he's...40-double gasp!!) who happens to be an Atlas sponsored, how to put this delicately...kicked my A@*. I stuck with him for a few minutes, and had a pretty big gap on third, but really didn't challenge him at all after about the four minute mark, and he won by over a minute in just over 22. Dave Cotter was kind enough to grill me up a chili dog with jalapenos for brunch, and after TLD finished (all placing in the top 3 in our respective age groups) we enjoyed a New Glarus Snowshoe Ale from Wisconsin. A quick trip to the fairly new Stateline Brewing Co. at Heavenly was a bit of a letdown...and the reason for the previous cheese themed post, but a very fun day overall. I hope this race becomes an annual tradition.
Yesterday, March 6, Dave and I ran the Montara Mountain Coastal Trail Run 10k in Pacifica, CA. I Didn't think we'd get to go back to SF so soon, but (Bay Bridge accident and insuing clusterfudge of traffic aside) I'm glad we did. It was this, or the Napa 5k (road) and, well...trail races are just better, not to mention the Coastal Trail Runs have been especially chalenging and beautiful. This 10k was just under 6 miles, but had 2 big climbs and descents. Not to mention rain coming in at a 45 degree angle. Unlike the first one we did in December, though, most of this course was runnable, despite the mud and terrain. More fun splashy mud, and less fall and bust your A@# mud, though there was a little of that too, for good measure. Our small, brave group started at 8:00, going the opposite direction that the long coursers were going (the halfers, marathoners, and 50kers did a 7.2 mile loop, then our loop). I'd done the first climb (5-600 feet) during my warm-up, so I knew what was coming. I had planned on starting conservatively, but nobody came with me so I tried to stretch things out. The first downhill was fairly technical and there was a lot of holding back, which was good. The second hill, after a short respite, was well over a thousand feet. It seemed easier than expected for the first few minutes, but I had a bit of a mental lull in the middle, before dialing it back in on what I'll call the Dejavu switchbacks. The last couple miles were an absolute blast, for the most part being able to fly down the hill all the way back down to the finish. I came across in 43:03, crossing the line first for the 1st time since last December (Redding doesn't count as technically Kirk crossed the line first). After quickly getting my long sleeves on, I started slowly back up the hill to see the field and run with Dave back down. I ended up 11:20 ahead of #2 and Dave finished #12/26, and 2nd in his AG in about 68 1/2 minutes. We loaded up on fruit, candy, etc...lost the raffles...and headed back to shower up at our hotel before going to Beer Revolution in Oakland. A semi hitting a passenger car on the Bay Bridge changed that plan though. We actually timed an 0.6 mile stretch on Hwy 101 (a few miles before the bridge even starts) in over 21 minutes, and getting slower. So...we got off, passed time in the city at 21st Amendment and City Beer, then started the long trek home. Totally worth it. Had a blast, and we hope to do more CTRs when they shift back to Sundays in the summer.
I wish I would have brought the camera on-course for my warm-up like last time...the finish pics really don't give you any sense of how cool the course was. The eucalyptus grove was especially cool...and trecherous!
I'll add some snow pics when I get another chance. Gots to go get the rugrats!!