Monday, December 21, 2009

Winter Misery One Miler (with lots of parentheses)

I made myself get out this morning for Runninglaur's Winter Misery One Miler virtual race. Here's a short recap by the facts:

Date - December 21, 2009 (first day of winter)

Time: 4:20 am (at least that's when I left home, I didn't start the ACTUAL mile until about 20 minutes later...)

Location: One of my standard loops through Rancho San Rafael, which just happened to include a nice mile downhill on Keystone Avenue.)

Temperature: 31 F (when I left, 33 upon return)

Running surface: Pavement (with some icy patches and packed snow)

Footwear: Adidas Supernovas (an old pair, with sheet metal screws in the bottom for traction)

Best mile split: 6:48 (which felt pretty flat out this morning, except for the few seconds of panic when I had to jump in a snowbank because a car was coming around a blind corner toward me)

Fun: Had. Thanks for putting on these virtual races!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Moonlight Madness 5K

Got the band back together (well, Team Library Dork) for the Moonlight Madness 5K over in Ranch San Rafael. I did this race last year, and the start line is only just over a mile from my front door, so most of the group (slowrunner and snowleopard) met at my house and did a warmup jog over, while HiAltDawg actually had to work until 6 so drove right to the race. Start was at 7 pm, we all made it in plenty of time. Here's us hanging out before the race:

And Amber (snowleopard) picking up her packet. Couldn't resist the QT pic:

Obviously, headlamps and reflective stuff were the order of the night. The moon never really showed from behind the clouds; only a tiny bit way after we were done running.

The race seemed to draw more of a crowd in this, it's second year. They didn't do the 1 mile walk portion this year (which was a relief, because we had to weave through them last year - I think they did a Kids Run after the race instead.)We all checked out the course map beforehand:

And gathered for the mass start of the 5K and the 10K (two laps):

For the next three miles, this is about all I saw:

That's a pretty good representation of the visibility out there. Here's the same pictures, with the light dialed up:

In the second one, you can see that there's someone else ahead of the guy in front of me - two people maybe. Maybe 30-40 feet ahead? But out there, I sure wouldn't have seen them - unless they had a headlamp, which many didn't. Pretty strange experience, but fun.

I ended up finishing in 25:45 - back a little from my 24:10 last year, but I was pushing a lot harder then. Plus, I had a little bobble at the end of the course - I could see the finish line, but wasn't sure where the course was supposed to go - following the path around a building, or cunning across the grass. I slowed to a walk and tried to call to some spectators to ask, but they ignored me. You can see the spike in speed right near the end of the graph - that's my indecision.

So, overall results - Chris (slowrunner) won the 5K, Amber got 3rd in her AG, and I ended up with the 2nd for my AG (only because 1st, 2nd and 4th overall were all in my group.) After the awards (and some strangely burned cocoa) we headed back to my house for the second event of the night - a tasting of American (and one Canadian) winter beers. Now, this wasn't quite as exotic as most of Chris's tasting events, as it was limited to North America (Sam Adams and New Belgium were well represented, and I'd already tried those) but it was cool to taste them alongside each other and against other stuff. Here's part of the lineup:

We didn't finish until almost midnight. I think I'm the only one of the crew that didn't have to work today - sorry guys. Wish I could've bought you all coffee this morning... :")

Monday, November 30, 2009

Sparks Turkey Trot

Today being the last day of November, I can officially say that I only ran twice this month. Both of those runs were Turkey Trots - Donner Lake a couple weeks ago and Sparks on Thanksgiving Day. Nice to have some time off, but it's time to get back on the horse.

So I've done the Sparks race for the last three years now - and have the super-soft sweatshirts to prove it. The course has been the same - past the marina, out onto city streets, then back onto the bike path near the water. Playing with Garmin mapping in Google Earth:

Apparently they had a bigger turnout than past year - here's a look back from the start:

And forward. I guess this balloon launch is supposed to look like a turkey? Kinda? Anyone?

Even boom-box-towing-guy showed up. I have no idea why he's wearing an Egyptian headdress, though...

I didn't get many pics from the course, just had a nice time running. Didn't force it too hard, and ended up finishing in 48:something. Managed to get through the chute, grab a water, and make my way back to the line in time to catch our friend Alex finishing. He's running the Santa Barbara marathon this weekend, so wasn't going too hard either.

So, that was November. Tomorrow starts a new month...

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Donner Lake Turkey Trot

Despite not having run for TWO WEEKS (low motivation) and having had a dinner party at our house last night (high interesting-beer quotient), I made it with most of Team Library Dork to the Donner Lake Turkey Trot this morning. Met Slowrunner and HiAltDawg (to use their nicknames for once) in Verdi, and trooped up to Truckee.

Despite living in Reno, the only time I've ever been to Donner Lake was earlier this year, for the Frog Creek Trail Run - and then, I only drove by it. This was to be my real intro to Donner, and fortunately, it was a really nice day.

Cold, though. Had to find sunny spots to stand in waiting for the start, and during the Mashed Potato Mile, the kids' race that preceded the main run:

Those kids took off even faster than I would for a mile run...

Managed to find Gretchen at the start, so another TLD honorary member present. Unfortunately Snowleopard was unable to make it...

We got all lined up - here's Chris angling for position. and Dave coming back...

And off. The first half of the race was on the north side of the lake, heading east. This made for some nice pictures:

At this point, long-term readers of this space are saying "Damn, Turi really needs a camera with image stabilization." Yeah, yeah, accepting donations...

We turned at the state park:

And ran through the parking lots until we came to some sketchy shady uphills:

Got a little slipperier just around the corner from this, actually. Then it mellowed out, though, and was rolling until the finish. I scored the last cocoa Clif Shot and snapped a pic of HiAltDawg finishing:

I ended up finishing in 56:something. Chris got edged and finished second (not that he was stewing about it :) ) and Gretchen was first first female. Fifth year straight, did I hear? Dear god.

Hung out for awards and raffle (in which everyone bt me won something AGAIN, for frick's sake.)

We adjourned to the 50/50 brewery, where we celebrated with a sampler:

I followed Gretchen's lead in having a porter, but brought a growler of Collective Evil home. Which is my excuse for any the typos in this post...

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Fall Colors Trail Half Marathon

To wrap up a double race weekend, this morning was the Fall Colors Trail half marathon. I did this race last year with Amber, and we took it really slow - tried to go a little harder this year, since it's the last race in the High Sierra Trail Half Marathon Series. I was the lone member of Team Library Dork here as well, too - Dave and Chris were up at the Run Through the Colors in Nevada City, and Amber was off somewhere checking out new trails with Gretchen.

I think the Daylight Savings change happened at a different time last year - we started in the dark then, but it was nicely light when I got there to register. Still dang cold, though - had a hard time deciding what to wear. Settled on long sleeved shirt over short-sleeve, and gloves. My fingers were still cold for the first couple miles, but the gloves and the long sleeve both came off after awhile.

We started out with a race briefing - lotta information there, as the course had changed slightly from last year. It was well-marked, though, and I don't think anyone had a problem...

Lined up at the start, which already gave us a good view of some colors:

And took off. The course basically goes up the road in the Thomas Creek drainage, does a little out-and back, crosses over to the White's Creek drainage, does another little out-and-back there, then continues back to Timberline Road and finishes with .7 back to the trailhead. Here's the course:

And an elevation profile. I'll spare y'all my pace data on this chart - it's really spiky from all the hill walking...

Here's a shot from the slog up the first big hill - about 3 miles on this road, then another 1.2 on the trail. Heavy legs after that.

After some downhill, we had to cross Thomas Creek to head over the hill to the next drainage. (That meant more climbing.) There was this nice bridge:

I tucked in behind these two (one of whom was named Erica?) and kept pace with them for awhile. They were slightly faster than me on the uphills, but perfect on the downhills. Pretty quickly, we hit an awesome grove of aspen trees, and I couldn't stop snapping pictures. Again, I wish I'd bought a camera with image stabilization, but some usually come out OK. Those that didn't I do a little watercolor filter thing on - see what you think:

Then we popped out into a meadow, and I got this shot. I really like the sun white-out effect:

(Of course, you can click to enlarge any of these, or see them even bigger on my Flickr page...)

The next one got blurry, so I played with it a little again:

Back into the trees for awhile:

A little more climbing and - I love this part - there's Slide Mountain. You can tell what a beautiful day it was...

There was a little downhill, and I had a mountain biker I had to let past, but I did get this shot of a few runners ahead:

There was an aid station, the second out-and-back, and some fun downhill trail back to Timberline road. Nice swoopy trail here, but starting to be more traffic...

Back to the road and just over half a mile to the finish. There were two sneaky little hills in that half mile, though, that were TOUGH. Made it in, though, and my watch said 2:12:38. Didn't get me an age group award like last year - oh, well. I hung around and tried to talk myself into having a hot dog, but couldn't do it.

I eventually asked the RD if he knew anything about the Series standing. He said that the Tahoe Mountain Milers were running the series, so he would just get the results to them and they'd take care of it. I've had a hard time finding out anything about the point system, standings, or anything - it sure would have been nice to have that all spelled out somewhere. I'll wait and see, though. I't a great collection of races, and I still think the trail half marathon is my favorite race to run.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Nike Human Race 10K

Well, it was a free race. Don't see those too often, so, despite having a half marathon to run tomorrow, I headed out to Scheels in Sparks for the Nike Human Race 10K. Since I don't run with any of the Nike+ gear, this wouldn't really count for anything, but it was a free t-shirt, and I was hoping there'd be some nice swag. When Adidas sponsored a run here last year, they had a big demo truck and were handing stuff out left and right. Not so today - I'm sure all the Nike staff were in bigger market areas than Reno.

Less of a turnout than I thought, as well - maybe 100 people at the start? Maybe.

And a really loopy course - Starting at Scheels, we went around the parking lot, halfway around the Marina, out onto city streets, back to the Marina and all the way around it this time, then a shortened loop around the parking lot. My watch measured just under 6 miles, I think the second parking lot loop was shortened because of traffic.

Here's some photos from the race, all available at Flickr:

I didn't realize that the t-shirt actually had the "bib" number on it - I though the number was the date of the race. So that's why everyone was wearing their race shirts. Felt awash in a sea of red sometimes there...

I was trying to keep it slow - and succeeded, for a mile or two. My speed slowly crept up, and I ended averaging 8:00 miles. Here are the splits:
1 - 8:31
2 - 8:29
3 - 8:02
4 - 7:56
5 - 7:44
6 - 7:16

And the graph:

Fun little race - hope it doesn't tire me out too much for tomorrow. Got my recovery socks on...