Thursday, August 8, 2013
Run to Squaw, Redline Longmont Half & Kaleo 5k
I was holding out for some pictures from these races before I bothered with a blog, but one event took a while,and they're not free anymore, and the other event's photographer was supposedly MIA. So no pics. Sorry. I'll keep it short. Kinda. Boring without all the pics. A few weeks ago, Dave and I drove to Tahoe City for the start of the Run To Squaw, a 7.9 mile run on the rolling (but flat for Tahoe) bike path that runs most of the way from the lake to Olympic Village in Squaw. Unknown to us, there were a few course changes since the last time we ran it, but still the beautiful start at Commons Beach, the run along the river, then a slight uphill into Squaw & the heart of the village. Last time I ran this I was in better shape. I'd led from the gun, but blew up badly 3/4 of the way through and ended up 2nd. This time it was my goal to be within 3 minutes of my previous time (course changes not withstanding). I think I was just over, but it was a good race, tactically. I started out letting a couple other set the pace, but took the lead fairly early on. There was one kid who stuck with me after the initial wave went away, and we'd trade the lead a couple times. Within a couple miles, though, I was struggling to keep up, and he seemed incredibly relaxed...playing with the pace (and seemingly with me) as he'd open up gaps on me repeatedly. But - he'd always come back. I couldn't figure it out. Was he scared to lead alone. One thing was for sure. If it came down to a sprint, it was obvious he had another gear that I didn't, but honestly - in my head, I was starting to think about 2nd place and just racing the clock. To do so, though...it would be to my benefit to keep him in sight. So I did. And he kept coming back. One of the changes in the course added a mean short-but-steep dirt hill to jump from the path to the road (to avoid having to cross the FWY). This took out my favorite part of the course, but also was were I unknowingly made my move. It was still fairly early in the race...maaaaybe 2/3 of the way in, but when I went up and over that hill, the challenger (who'd been setting the pace) dropped back for the first time. I still thought the was messing with me. But, eventually, I made the turn to Squaw, still in the lead. And went up and over the main little hill (that broke me last time). The finish had a couple different turns, and a slightly different location (which was unnerving when you're holding on for dear life) but I ended up keeping the lead and winning my first race in nearly a year(!) in just over 6 minute pace. The kid must have been struggling late, because he didn't come in for a couple minutes more. Dave & I went straight to Donner for Rocco's 3rd BDay party (which Abby had put together) for a stress free (bwahahahahaha) afternoon. The Redline Running Co's Longmont 13.1 (really 13.3 :)) was to be the main attraction for the first leg of Abby & I's 10th Anniversary trip. We left the evening of the 4th, and it was early in the morning on the 6th. Here's the problem, though, in 2 parts. 1-I haven't raced anything longer than 12k or so in more than 2 years. 2-there's a LOT of good beer in the Denver area, and to fully appreciate that, we'd do a decent amount of drinking in the days leading up to the race (and of course immediately after). I found out I was in pretty good shape. For an 11 miler. So the race starts right next to some posh houses on a little lake somewhere in NE Longmont. We circled the lake, running either on packed dirt or concrete. That was my only complaint about the race. Concrete is hard, and there was a ton of it. There was also a headwind. As this was a point to point course, I was worried it would stick around for most of the race, but the skies cleared and the winds calmed, and my splits dropped from 6:17 the first two miles to within a second or two from 6:05 per through mile 11. There was one guy that took off in the lead, and I made it my goal to just keep him in sight for as long as possible. He built a pretty good lead, and I seemed to have a pretty good lead on the chase pack behind me. I didn't want to be running solo, but I didn't want to slow down either. Eventually, to my surprise, the gap started to close. By the halfway mark, I was closing fast, and I caught and passed for the lead somewhere after mile 7. Immediately, though, I was running solo again. He didn't stick around, and the bike(s) were juuuust far enough ahead of me to not count as company. Anyway, I ran comfortable and built a big lead through mile 10 before (6:09 pace) before starting to tire. I figured I better drink a sip or two at mile 11, but it was already too late, and I almost barfed it right back up. The last couple miles (where I was supposed to kick when I saw Abby, Ben, and Jamie on their out-and-back 5 miler) were a bit of a death march...but I didn't get caught. I ended up winning my first ever race in Colorado in 1:23.