Friday, May 27, 2011

These are a few of my favorite things

While spinning this morning, I started thinking (stop it! I do that every so often). The Buzz Oates No Excuses 5k is coming up on Monday, and for the life of me, I can't think of any 5k I've ever done that I enjoy more. This will be my third straight year, which is rare for me, after first running this bad boy in 2009. It also got me thinking about my favorites at other distances, and why that is. Is it the speedy courses? Hills? The scenery? PRs? Is there, say, a world class brewery next door (see below)? In the end, it ends up being a bit of all of those things. Obviously, with limited exposure, especially at the longer distances, there are races I'm missing. If you've got a favorite or favorites, put em in the comment section (yes, you can do that without having a blogger profile)...who knows, you may turn someone on to what will become their favorite race.

*less than 5k: for this catergory, most races are run on the track, and it may be hard to seperate one from another. I don't have a clear favorite here. I never got to run anywhere like, say, Hayward Field in Eugene. I think Chico St, Humboldt, Stanford, and American River JC had nice tracks/stadiums, and we got to travel to Citrus College for state in SoCal and run on the track where the Montreal scenes were filmed for Prefontaine, so that was cool. There's a few short road races I've done that were cool too...the Firecracker Mile, Truckee, CA, July 4th. This is a unique race in that it's downhill for the first 2/3rds, but at about 6300 feet, so beware. Go out too fast and the lack of oxygen will get you. I learned this the hard way in 2000. After getting out dueled at the end, it was so bad my TEETH hurt. But it hurt so good. Honorable mention: New Year's Eve Run (2 miles) Sacramento. Ran at Cal Expo the last time I ran it in 2000/2001. Beat Regina Jacobs (in her off-season I'm sure) before she was outed as a steroid cheat. Running in the dark is cool. Fitch Mountain Footrace (3k) Healdsburg, CA. Will be going back to this race, and neighboring Bear Republic & Russian River Brewing Companies in 3 weeks for the third year running. There's a 10k too.

5k: The most often run distance, but No Excuses was the clear favorite. William Land Park is seemingly custom made for this kind of thing. The course is flat and fast, always well marked and timed, and there's a decent size & competitive field (but not too big). The age and gender grading in the final results give another level of uniqueness to this already awesome race. Can't wait for Monday.
Honorable Mention: Chevy's 5k (Chico &/or Sacramento). This was once an awesome race series, before they got cheap, and I was sad to see it's demise. Ran Sac in 1999 & 2000, and Chico in 1999. Bidwell Classic (Chico, CA) while Chevy's ran from Chevy's and part of the way into lower Bidwell, this one is all in the park, and is just the right size without being too much for the paths, is competitive, and it's just a nice place to run. Davis Turkey Trot.

7k/8k: easy...Bridge to Bridge (also a 12k). Although dimished in size by about 60-70% since I first ran it in the late nineties (record size of about 13,000 in 2000) it's still a large, awesome race. You get to run by many SF landmarks on a course with just one hill and a slight uphill finish, and surprise a few early morning tourists on the way.
Honorable Mention: Shamrock Run (Portland)

10K: another easy pick for me. The Lake Tahoe 10k, run in conjunction with the Marathon events, is just plain awesome. From the view to the course to the people, a great race all around. I still remember flipping the channels a few days after the race - we were watching Rocky IV - and nearly choking on my food when I saw Fox Sports Bay area cut from the marathon leaders to yours truly, leading the 10k pack. I never did get a copy of that footage though. I also haven't been back since running a double 5k/10k in 2000 (it's expensive, but worth it), but I'm planning on it this fall.
Honorable Mention (loaded field): Salmon Run, Nevada City (one of my favorite trail races of all time, RIP. Run Through the Colors, Nevada City (the name says it all). Mare Island to Medusa, Vallejo, CA (for roughly the price of a ticket, we got into the race, were paced by a Corvette, and got entry into the park, in the off-season with ridiculously short lines. A great day made better by our manliest of friends Tom Davidson, known locally as SANDALMAN, after he barfed on the Tazmanian Devil). Run For the Community, Nevada City - sensing a pattern with awesome 10ks in Nevada City. LOVE the course.

12k+: Houlihan's/Across the Bay 12k, San Francisco. Always a fan of the Bay area runs. This one is elite, starts in Sausalito, and after a climb, takes you over the Golden Gate...finishing in the other direction along part of the Bridge to bridge course by Aquatic Park.

Half Marathon: Road? Gotta be Rock N Roll Arizona. Geb set a world record that day, and for about what a concert ticket cost, I got into the race AND got to see one of my favorite bands, Collective Soul, outdoors that night! Trail? Haulin Aspen, Bend, OR. Anytime you get me near Deschutes Brewing, I'm a happy guy, but even though I had a rough time in the race, it was an awesome course, and an even better shirt :) Honorable mention: Bizz Jhonson, a return to my JC alma matter & old stomping grounds, manages to be scenic and kinda sorta fastish. XTerra Hawaii World Championships was pretty cool too - just cause I was out of shape doesn't mean the race wasn't a great one!

Marathon: Again, limited exposure, but Napa has got to take the crown, although Redding is the only one I've returned to (twice after the 1st marathon for the relay). CIM (paced a buddy for half in 1998) is pretty cool too, and I'll have to do that one of these days along with BIZZ. If I'm ever healthy enough, I still plan on doing Boston in Yankees gear!

Ultra: again, limited, but I've done many a short course at an ultra. For me, though, TRT is king. The stretch of the Rim Trail and the Flume Trail between Spooner & Mt Rose is one of my favorite places to run anywhere. Add fully stocked aid stations to that & you've got a winning recipe.

Cross-Country: Stanford. Nationals, 1996. Running with (ie-getting my a** kicked by) the big boys was fun, and though I never ran particularly well on Stanford's golf course, it was custom made for cross country. When I see golf courses, I don't think golf, I want to put on my spikes.

Random distance trail runs: gotta love em! The standouts...the Squaw Valley Mountain Run, 3.6 miles stright up from Olympic Village to High Camp. Unfortunately, this race is a casualty of my torn tendons, so I haven't run it since 2000, but it's AAAAAWWWWEEEESSSSOOOMMMEEE! This year, we ran the Steep Ravine Trail runs, put on by Coastal Trail Runs. On part of the Dipsea course, this was simply one of the most scenic and fun trails I've EVER run on.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Star 6 Memorial 10k (& 5k)

Another last minute decision to race. What can I say, i've got the sickness. I think my saving grace will be the ability to get up on the Tahoe Rim Trail for longer weekend runs. Then I won't feel the need to race every weekend. But at the rate the snow is melting (and that snow is still falling) that won't be til around July...2012. Hopefully not. I can't wait to get up there, but we just got some fresh snow overnight, so it won't be anytime soon. I have a pair of snowshoes that I love, but the last time I went to the Meadows and an ungroomed trail, it jacked up my knee, so I've been avoiding that, unfortunately.
Anyway, back to the race. Dave and I both signed up the day before for the 10k. It was a race I was unfamiliar with, but they seemed to have there stuff together...nice website, results posted from last year. In addition, last minute sign-up was only $26, which included a tech shirt. Beat that! I was familiar with the start area (Nimbus Flats off Lake Natomas) but I'd only ever run on the trails out there. So...when they advertised flat and fast, I beleived blindly. This was definitely not a course I'd call slow or hilly, but if you're in the Sacramento area and calling your course flat and fast, the elevation gain better be, oh, about 6 feet :) This was a winding, slightly rolling (with only one decent hill) course on the AR bike path. Out & back. I did the 5k as a warm-up, and was about 40-50 feet above water level at some point after starting by the beach.
The 10k started about 10 minutes before the 5k, and pretty soon I was dueling it out with Anthony Fagundes. He was part of the lead pack in Rocklin that I was chasing in the 5k a few weeks ago. I'd like to say I've improved since then, but so far my 5k's have generally gone better than my 10's, and that would continue to be the case here. I can't make sense of it as my training is geared slightly more for a 10 than a 5. Oh well. I'll get a 33 one of these days. Even with the course being what it was, it was still my goal to try and break 34. A quarter of the way in, Anthony and I were right on pace at 8:25, but we both slowed between the 5k & 10k turns. I'd fallen behind by a max of 3-4 seconds and was a second or two behind at the turn in 17:09. No way I'm running negative splits with all the people (10k runners and 5k walk/joggers) we'd have to weave through on the way back. I wanted to minimize the damage, though, and at least beat my Elk Grove time of 34:24 on a really flat course. But...about 6k in, Anthony started to pull away. I estimated his max lead at close to 20 seconds, but it was probably more like 12-13. We'd both add a little time on the way back & ended up 1st (him) and 2nd (me) in 34:30 & 34:41 (our official times are 34:33 and 34:44, but they were a few seconds slow for everybody).
So, a tiny step backwards being squarely behind someone I'd outkicked several weeks ago when I'd hoped to be faster than then, but at the end of a really good week of training. 75 miles, and four high quality runs - intervals, 2 tempo runs, & the race. Dave got in a decent 10k as well, but broke on the hill. I've still got several different annoying ailments going, including being bloodied and bruised after my most spectacular fall ever on Saturday morning. Seriously...if there were judges scoring my trail induced bellyflop, I would have got perfect tens!! Didn't feel so good when I met the ground, though. That, and my feet are still angry with me for going too far in the Minimusesesesssesees 3 weeks ago. I figured I'd be past that by now, but they were still a little extra sensitive on the trail (and after) this morning. But, we've got an extra day of recovery running this week before NO EXCUSES on Monday. After that, I'm 93% sure I'll actually take a weekend off (by off I mean LSD instead of a race). And silver lining, the 5-race win streak is over, so there's less worry about the fact that I'll get my a** handed to me in Monday's 5k. I just hope I can stay close enough that they'll pull me along to a faster time. Til then...
Something to leave you with since us "sprinters" can't take pictures during a race...

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Avenue of the Vines 5k 2011

Turi had the day to remember with this one. He ran (another) big PR in the half, and summed it up well over at Running Round Reno, so I'll keep my report short.
Would I be respectably close to the standard I set last May in running even splits all the way to a 5k PR? Depends what you mean by respectable, but I ran about where I thought I would. Short of my dream goal of breaking 16, but still my fastest 5k since last Memorial Day.
Another runner took it out and I just tucked in behind him. I was hoping we were moving fast, cuz it sure felt like it. The first mile went by in 5:03...faster than last year. I'd have been more worried, but it felt hard, not suicidal. We slowed after the mile split to a pace we felt we could maintain, and around 7 minutes in, I passed for the lead. We hit the turnaround of this out-and-back course in 7:59 & 8:00. I had little faith I could repeat that as I'd already slowed, but I'd just taken the lead and felt good. Maybe a 16:0-something was doable. I had ten seconds to play with afterall. Well...I wasn't counting on the headwind all the way back. Thaaaat's why I got under 8 minutes on the way out. The return trip was harder, and I was struggling to hold pace running alone. I didn't know how much of I lead I had and never looked to find out until I was through the chute. I came across the line 1st for the second time in 16:14. Positive splits & 28 seconds slower than last year (5:14 per mile compared to 5:05), but lots of silver lining. The only crappy thing is the 5k gets the lower class treatment at this race. While the overall winners of the half get their weight in wine, the 5k overall winners get a 1.5L bottle of Woddbridge's cheap stuff, with no indication it's from a race. The age groupers in the half even get an engraved 3L bottle...of the good stuff. Where's the love, people?!
Anyway...Capital Road Race Management was timing this race again. There was a brief problem, with the original time coming in at 16:34, but by the time I got back from my cooldown/pacing Turi for his last 2.2 miles, it was already fixed. THAT's how it's done! THE best timing company on the west coast.
The half was stacked this year. Rich Hanna just about repeated his winning 2010 effort, even after purposefully starting slow, but there was another runner, Jose Morales (from CSU stanislaus - go Warriors!) who ran even the whole way to a 1:09:17 (5:18 per mile for those who want to know). Yeah...that was fast. Fred Z also made the trek from Reno and while just missing his 1:14 goal, ran a PR of 1:15:15 and won his AG. As I said last year, it's a cool place to stage a race, and the wine tasting is open early, which made Abby quite happy. Next year we'll make her run for it, right Turi?? Anywho - I'll be back...maybe in the half, and I recommend this race to anyone who likes flat, fast courses and/or vino.
Til next's a couple pix
I'll add more when/if my home computer works.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

10 years later...

Mother's day 2011 was an anniversary of sorts for me, but not the good kind. On this weekend ten years ago, my left Achilles started hurting. I'd had a torn miniscus, broken big toe (runner error) and some minor arthritis (non running-related) but other than that, nothing more serious over the years than the ocassional muscle pull to dampen my then 8-year-old running career. The day after Moms On The Run 2001, I woke up to an angry heel. By June, I'd be done running after an attempt at physical therapy, and by July, I was on the cutting board, so to speak. Really, it was a tiny hammer and chisel (after the scalpel of course) to remove the sharp new addition to my calcanius that was causing my tendon to tear. Although it took a little longer than planned to be able to bear weight and walk, recovery & post-surgery PT seemed to be going as planned, if a little slow, until it wasn't. Sudden unexplained drops in strength & range of motion were accompanied by more pain. Anyway, my 6-month recovery would last nearly 4 years, during which I developed insomnia and food allergies(!) and I wasn't exactly my old self when I finally did come back.
It seemed like I'd lived a whole 'nother life during those years. I met and married Abby, my lovely wife of 5 years (just kidding dear - keeping you on your toes). Eight years in July. But I had little contact with my running buddies of old. For me, it was a moderate form of torture to be around the running set when I couldn't do it myself. And really, I didn't know if I ever would again. I took up softball and really enjoyed it. I even got back some decent speed on the bases and in the outfield, but I could never jump off the left leg without pain and weakening of the tendon. Eventually though, that led to warming up before games, which led to really short runs, and eventually, longer ones. By 2005 I could push off my left foot reasonably hard without pain, though it was, and probably always will be, weaker. I ran the YGBC 5k run in Verdi in 2005 in 19 & change, then promptly blew out my knee playing centerfield the very next day.
6+ months later, I was back at it again, and by Spring 2006, I was in decent enough shape to run the first of the Gold Country Grand Prix races. I was able to keep it together, if a bit slower, til June, when the imbalances in my left side caused too much compensating on my right, and I had to stop running for most of the rest of the year. In 2007, I was back at it, though, to my surprise. I thought once again I was done for good. The comebacks are mentally, emotionally, & physically draining, especially after several of them. I ran through the summer in 2007 (the only year since 2000 I've been able to do so), in part because I was still getting into shape in the spring. At the end of 2007, I got the marathon bug, running four (only two of them really hard) between October 2007 & March of 2008. By spring, the training was paying off at the shorter distances too. 17 & 18 minute 5ks were now mid 16's, and I was able to hold close to 6-minute pace in a marathon before blowing up a little at the end. Once again, though, my body could only hold up for so long. Just as my long runs were starting to resemble my marathons pace-wise, I had to take another summer off. This one was tough. I'd signed up for the Tahoe Rim Trail 50k (I'd fallen in love with it the previous year though I was ridiculously undertrained for it) in the hopes of contending. That race had become my focal point, but I never made it to the start. In the fall of that year, muscle memory helped this latest comeback go rather well at first. I ran my best time to date at the Run Through the Colors in October and was cruising along, but another side-injury due to the Achilles (this one in the form of a pinched nerve in my lower back/hip area) caused me to end the year on the mend yet again. The latest break, though, was measured in weeks, not months. Each time I started up again, I'd tweek some manner of my training to try & compensate for of structural integrity. The problem with the experts is (experts being doctors, specialists, rolfers, physical therapists, massage therapists - you name it, I've probably tried it) is that none of them agree on anything. You want to trust them all, but end up trusting none of them completely.
The first half of 09 went ok, but I was out again come June, just like clockwork. My first hint that something was getting better was at the Davis Turkey Trot. I'd still been getting back into shape in October, but come November, things were looking up. I got an early lead in that race and ran scared, constantly waiting to be passed while trying to hold it off for as long as possible. Well, I ran a then post-surgery PR of 16:10. I never quite matched that the rest of the year, & in Winter/Spring 2010, my knee was acting up enough to keep me from re-peaking, but not enough to put me out of comission. Running through that would pay off in April and May. I was able to run my 3rd fastest ever 10k in Reno (33:01), my 3rd fastest 5k ever at No Excuses (15:51) and a 5k PR at Avenue of the Vines (15:46). In the 4 1/2 years since I'd started running again, never did I realistically think a PR (at a previously ran distance) was possible. I'd forgotten what running without pain was like, though I enjoyed it nonetheless. I just reset what 100% meant to me. It was not to last, however. On the very next morning, the familiar Achilles pain had returned, this time in the form of partial tear #2 on the right (non-surgicaly repaired) tendon. So, no summer for me.
This one was a blow. I's say the hardest, mentally and physically, but I think it's just an accumulation. Each time I have to do this will get harder til I finally crack and say to hell with this...but that's a long ways off, I promise you that. Summer in a boot, but I was counting down the days.
At first it seemed like this comeback was going to go just splendidly. A stronger than expected showing at the Kokanee 10k in October just two days after the old snip snip, and I thought I was back on track, but I pretty much struggled to find my speed, endurance, and any semblance of consistency until a couple months ago. In March my miles became more steady, and by the end of the moth, my times took a somewhat unexpected drop back to respectable (34's and 16's). I've since added some time back on (my last 5k notwithstanding) and am still trying to figure that one out, but will do so...eventually. I recently got a new collagen building presecription for the Achilles/knee but I've got to be really careful with the dosing due to some "adventurous" possible side effects. Hopefully you'll all see me running this summer, and I'll revisit this again in...oh...another ten years.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The $50 Training Run, or, There and Back Again: The Race that Almost Was

Abby, the kids, Dave & myself had a plan to go to Six Flags in Vallejo on Mother's Day. No racing, but Dave & I were planning on driving up to Bothe Napa State Park early Sunday morning for a nice long run. Our hotel plans changed a little, though, and we ended up staying in Concord, which just happens to be closer to Oakland than Bothe-Napa, and PCTR just happened to be putting on what looked like a very scenic trail race there that day. So, after approval from the mother-unit, it being Mom's Day and all, we planned on driving 25 minutes from our hotel (it was PHAT: more on that later). We got there and signed up, with the prerequisite high race day fees, but these were a little steep...$40 or $45 for Dave's 10k, and $50 for my 21k. What I call "double-dipping" is not only charging more for late and/or race day sign-ups, but also not giving said runner any shirt/swag, etc... I get adding, say, $5 on race-day. But adding $10 AND not giving a shirt just seems kinda cheap. One or the other guys. The no shirt makes more sense, so they can get the sizes in ahead of time, but $10 extra as well, for the 5 seconds it took to jot my # down on a sheet of paper. C'mon guys...
If it seems I'm a little more peeved about than usual, I'll get to that too, but double-dipping is always something that gets on my nerves.
Anywho, Joaquin Miller park was the site of the race. The extra K actually had me a little worried. 20k (and a gnarly 20k at that) was already going to be the longest race I'd done in some time (2-3 years?), but the sign-up sheet, maps, etc, all had 21k on them. I'd also forgone my usual easy & short pre-race run on Saturday morning, not having planned on racing at all. I wouldn't have thought much about this either, except for the fact that I had found and then passed the maximum threshold for my Minimus trail shoes. I'd done 4.5 in them, no problem at all, and they were comfy enough that I figured on the right trail I could do 6-8. All I can say is, I figured wrong. At some point around mile 6, I went from noticing-but-not-really-being-bothered-by the small rocks to having a stabbing pain in the balls of my feet with almost every step. Both feet!! I had to back off and change my form (in the bad way, not the good way) just to be able to jog it back to the car. So I guess I'll be keeping the miles short in those bad boys for a while longer. I've been feelin it for three days now. Luckily, this is a taper week, so I'm not missing much training-wise, and hopefully, the pain & soreness will be long gone by the weekend. Anyway, I toyed with wearing my Saucony Exodus trail shoes in the race the next day. They're pretty heavily cushioned and softened every footfall noticeably. But they're also relatively heavy, and I ended up going with the 8 oz MT 101's. They preformed admirably til pretty late in the race, on some downhills, where my feet would alternate being pissed off and going numb. If it sounds like fun, it was!!
Oh yeah, the almost race. My plan was to strategize the first half and not hammer til the second half, but a minute in, nobody was going with me, so I pushed on ahead. Lots of ups and downs (over 2000 feet complete with rocks, some really steep parts, and a few mellow spots). Pretty much the training run we'd planned. By 9 minutes in, I couldn't see anyone close on a switchback, so I figured to be at least a minute ahead at that early point. I ran "comfortably" hard for the next ten miles, though at times the terrain made it feel like more of a fartlek run than a race. The "fun" part came with about 1.5 to go, bombing downhill to the last aid station. After arguing amongt each other for a few seconds, they sent me right. Hmmm...this trail looks vaguely familiar, but I've never been here, what do I know. 1k later...hey, look, the 21k/10k split, that doesn't seem right. I think I uttered a few choice words and turned around. I saw another guy coming on the way back. He said he was doing the 21k but had started early, and wasn't convinced this way was back to the split/10k turn again, more choice words (I was 95% sure now that we'd been pointed the wrong way). Eventually another runner (with a map on her phone) pulled it up and we saw that, indeed, they'd sent us pretty much the exact opposite direction from the finish. So, back again. As I ran past the aid station again, I told them they were sending people the wrong way. No, the 21k is straight, not right, they said. Well...THAT would have been good to know about, oh, 14 MINUTES AGO! *I know these people are volunteers. I've done course marshalling and aid stations myself. NEVER would I volunteer at an intersection if I didn't know where to send people! The smirk the one guy had on his face was almost enough for me to stop and beat him with a slice of watermelon. Glad you think it was sure to tell that to the three behind me that you also sent the wrong way. Anyway, I finished the race, and calmy (I was more dejected than angry at this point) told those at the finish that the last aid station had sent people the wrong way. Their only response was "did you tell them"? That was it.
To add insult to injury, they officially have 6 other runners in front of me in times that don't make any sense even if I hadn't been sent the wrong way. There were times where a steep downhill would prevent me from expanding my lead by a minute every mile like the first, but I ran pretty steady, and I was definitely adding to it the whole way. So, it's incredibly unlikely that anyone ran a 1:35 on the 21k course (about where I'd have finished and I'd been running alone from the first hill) & the people that ran those times are a male whose other results have been 11-14 minutes per mile (and closer to midpack) for similar distances, and a 58 year-old female who ran a recent road half in 2 faster than the winner, but she ain't gonna go 16 minutes faster on a super hilly trail!
Just an idea, PCTR...have different color bibs for different distances so people don't start early with a race they don't belong in!!! Man, I was starting to get over the bad directions, almost, but they managed to totally mess up what was left of the results too!!
Pretty easy things to fix, but they just didn't seem to care, and I'm done with them (not that they'll notice or care). I could've saved $50 and not been whooped by people with a half hour head start if I just wanted to do a training run.
We did make it to Six Flags after going back to our hotel (the aforementioned phat Crowne Plaza in Concord). Hannah and I took a quick dip and soak in the indoor pool that was in the giant fancy courtyard, next to the Koi river. Nice rooms too. I wish this place was on our racing circuit...$88 on Hotwire, and well worth that and more.
After a 79 mile week (2011 high) I'm doing a taper this week to 40 in hopes I get some of the lost leg speed back. I still feel like I ran a marathon the other day (15 mile race plus warm-up) but today is almost kinda sorta a tiny bit better than yesterday.
Up next...Avenue of the Vines, where I have no freakin clue how fast I'll be able to go. Til then...
(remember, this is all inside)
Just seeing who was paying attention!!!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Nevada City Spring Run & TLD PRs at RnR

What came first, the win streak or the egg?
I'm still not sure what to make of the last couple weeks. I've suddenly added about 10 seconds per mile to my average run (and last two races) but am also enjoying a 4-race win streak. Any of you who know me (yes, all 3.7 of you who read this drivel) know I'd trade the wins in a heartbeat to see my times start to drop, but as it is, the streak makes it a little easier to take. A little. I am a realist. I know when, say, No Excuses comes around in 4 weeks that a high 16 just ain't gonna cut it. I was in the thick of it last year, holding on for 3rd in 15:51...or 66 seconds faster than last week!
In 2008, I was in mid-16 shape (but a decent climber) and ran a 35:50 at the Spring Run 10k. I'd only paid attention to the mile split, turn, and final time. So, as I passed mile one (big downhill, and a little off road with more to come) in 5:09, I was relatively happy. Only 3 seconds or so slower than 2008. Miles 2 & 3 were not so kind, though. By the turn, I was exactly 30 seconds off the pace, and to be fair, my A goal had been to actually run 20 seconds faster than 2008. I'd just added 27 seconds in just two miles. I didn't have too big of a lead, either. Bjorn and Larry passed in the opposite direction 22 seconds later, meaning I had a 45 second buffer, which can shrink quick on the climb back up. Peter GPSd the course at 1821 feet of change, with the finish being a little higher than the start, thanks to a cruel little 15% grade at the end.
I was able to run decent back up, though. Still adding time, but not at a 13 second per mile clip, like miles 2 & 3. My uphill 5k+ (3.1 down, 3.15 up) was 8 seconds per mile slower than 2008, but I was able to add to my lead and win by a couple minutes in 36:44. Larry made a late move into 2nd and held on by a couple seconds at the end, with Bjorn (the 2011 Daffodil 10k champ) in 3rd. Consequently, we're all in the same AG, so GP points were slim. I'll be missing from the next couple races, though, so those guys are going to blow right by me. Jeff Boute (2nd at the Daffodil 5k) took home the 5k crown, and can be seen running up said cruel little hill.
It was great to see you guys again (yes, even Gary) after not running in NC last year.
Sunday rolls around and the major muscle groups are not sore at all. Of course, the Achilles and knee are pissed, but that's nothing new. So, I decided to run a little more of the Rock N River half than originally planned. I parked under the Keystone Bridge at Riverside (mile 0.9) in time to see the marathoners go by around 6:35, and got out to stretch at 7. Turi would come up the river about a minute after Jeff, who ran away with the half in 1:13, and we were on our way. Fred Z, still doing long runs fresh off Boston, joined us a half mile later. Turi had completed, rather religiously, two 12-week training programs and it was paying off. We'd ran together to a 1:32 in Davis, and were hoping to get under 1:30 here. I knew, barring catastrophe, that the 1:32 pr would fall. His training has just been too good for that not to happen. The only question was by how much. He'd gone out pretty fast, and our pace barely ever crept above 6:50. The course was ever so slightly uphill and into a weak headwind on the way out, so when we got to mile 7 at 6:50 pace, 90 minutes wasn't looking so tough. But we'd faded late at Davis. Not to worry this time, though. With Fred keeping the pace honest, and me farting on both Fred and Turi without their apparent knowledge, most of the return miles were in the 6:40's, including the last three. Turi hit the last 100 and I peeled off. He ended up SMASHING his old PR by close to 4 minutes and came in with an official 1:28:14 (6:44 per mile!). If I'm not going to be running any PRs this year, this is the next best thing. What a blast being able to be part of a little personal history being made. For the record, Turi's 10k pr also fell during this race. TWICE. And by default, new standards were set at any number of distances...12k, 15k, 10 mile, etc...
Thanks Fred and Turi for the great Sunday run!
Dave and Amber (the rest of Team Library Dork) ran the 10k and 5k, respectively, and we got to spend the morning together.
For me, my lack of quality over the past two weeks hasn't effected my mileage. 140 miles over 2 weeks, including my first 70 mile week of the year. I'd been responding very well to high miles, running my best two races during what had been my highest mileage weeks, but something needs to be tweaked...I just don't know what. So...the plan is to run high miles this week (71-72), cut my weight lifting by 30-50%, and no race. Next week, I'll cut the mileage by 30-50%, but I'd like it to be of the high quality variety, add back the weights, and hopefully run a decent 5k at Avenue of the Vines. I set the bar high for myself last year...this is one race where I'd be happy to "only" add 8-10 seconds per mile.
Til then...