Up until a few weeks ago, I'd planned on running the 10k here. I like that course a little better, and 3 extra miles is 3 extra miles, right?
Starting in late March, though, the more regular training was starting to pay off. I had a couple mini-breakthroughs in Elk Grove and Rocklin, and was thinking I might have a shot at the Daffodil 5k record (16:34), which has been around since 2003. I've run the 5k twice before (2006, 2007) and the 10k twice before (2001, 2008) but whenever I've been in shape to run a speedy 5k...I've done the 10. So...new plan...try to run within 10 seconds of my Rocklin time on a slightly harder course. Not much harder, but when the difference between success and failure is measured in seconds, you can bet you feel every little rise of the pavement, and there were a few.
The forecast called for a cooler-than-usual morning, and sure enough, you could see your breath when we got there. I had driven the course on the way in, to see if I had a realistic shot, and it measured just under 3.2, BUT...that's in a car. You could get a false reading from tires that are over or under inflated, etc...so no big deal. I ran the course for my warm-up, and it seemed pretty dang accurate. All I could do was go out hard and hope that was enough.
That's pretty much how it went. I took the inside line on the street and got into the lead almost right away. The first mile ticked away in 5:15, but felt harder than the 5:14 last week. Maybe the cold, maybe because allergy season is just starting to rear it's ugly head, maybe the mini-hill thingee two minutes in? Something made breathing a little harder than I was hoping for. I've heard somewhere that breathing is fairly important for aerobic exercise, so I just tried to keep doing that, and keep my arms and legs moving at the same time. C'mon now, it's harder than it sounds. I was cautiously agressive to the turn, which I hit in 8:18. A couple seconds slower than I'd hoped, but I'd told myself anything 8:20 or under would give me a shot. The next few minutes were easier course-wise, though I was pushing now. There was another little hill on the bike path, followed by a brief downgrade before turning back into the park. Slight uphill finish, but unless you're dyin', one should be able to muster a kick. It was gonna be close. But as I approached the clock, it was still in the 16:20's, and my watch said the same. I ended up crossing the line in 16:30, getting out a there with the course record by 4 seconds.
No young-uns leading the field this time. Number two was Jeff Boutte, followed by 64 year old running maniac and all around stud Herve Pastre. It looked like a couple of the NU guys were pacing a female teammate to a runaway victory in the 5k. Love to see that teamwork!! Dave flirted with 25 minutes a couple weeks ago, but hit the mark this time - on a harder course to boot, in 24:48/50. I got a nice long cooldown in, and am loving the consistency from week to week. Though I feel a little more beat up than the past couple weeks (the usual suspects...right knee, Achilles, blah blah blah), my mileage has been 67, 67.8, and 67.9 the last three weeks. This week got off to a slow start, as I cut yesterday's run short, but I made up ground today with an 80 minute trail run. I've only got a couple days to figure out whether to attempt a double 5k/stairclimb on Sunday morning, so I'm hoping I recover a little more in the next day or so.
It wouldn't be a small town race without a little drama. This time around, it was glancing at the posted results and seeing 16:35.5 (remember, the only goal was 16:33) where a 16:30 should have been. What the cake?! I sent my delegate, Abby, to find the RD and figure out where those extra seconds came from, but I just couldn't sit still, so I made my way over to the finish line as well. Talk about taking the wind out of your sails. Luckily Abby had a photo of me a stride (or a fraction of a second) from the line, with the giant digital clock showing 16:30. We still got a little resistance before the timer agreed with Abby and changed it to the previously announced-at-the-line 16:29. The only explanation that makes sense is that people aren't clicking right when runners cross the line. When it's inconsistent, it becomes a bigger problem. #2, who I watched finish, was within a second. Dave's time was actually 2 seconds faster than his watch, so it wasn't that the big clock was off. Anyway, I'm grateful it got fixed, but really wish I didn't have to go plead my case to get the time right. The same thing actually happened in a previous 5k here, and when I set the 10k mark in 2008 (my watch, which I never look at til after I cross the line, and the time on the clock...34:45-34:46. My official time...34:50). I never brought it up because those seconds were not the difference of hitting or missing my goal those years, so it just wasn't worth it, but I gotta say, I'm starting to prefer the larger chip timed races. I've yet to have any issue with a CRRM race. It's worth noting, though, that I've never had a timing issue in any other Grand Prix race.
So, rant out of the way, it was a good weekend. We had a good breakfast at the cafe at mile 0.8 and headed back over the hill for Emily's very pink third birthday party. You'll all be releived to know that everything was as it should be the following day. No pink. Well I was worried. That's all I have to say about that. It was really nice seeing a LOT of familiar faces, which is my favorite part of these races. The running community in Nevada County is just great. Reno is finally moving back in the right direction after a few dark years, but I wish some of the enthusiasm of the Sierra Trailblazers would rub off on the Striders.
This weekend's plan's is still up in the air, but will most likely involve at least another 5k, here in Reno. After that, we'll see how the ol' body responds. Til then...
(i'll post some pics when we load the camera-card)