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...

Friday, October 23, 2009

Toenail TMI

Lotta talk around the running blogs about toenails. Apparently there was a New York Times article about some ultrarunners who have taken the step of having their toenails surgically removed. Scott Dunlap has some good links to that and some other articles at his blog.

I can see why someone would want to do that - my own toenails have been suffering lately. After some serious stubbings at the Lake of The Sky trail marathon, I've had about three black ones developing, as well as one that didn't turn black, but was seriously not right. Well - tonight was apparently their night...

Disclaimer - photos below are not for the squeamish. Not as bad as the Lisa Bliss article that Scott linked to, but extreme feet close-ups. You've been warned.

So, while doing some routine nail maintenance tonight, I noticed that I could slide the file part of the nail clippers right under the nail on the black ones. A little bend back, a tug with some needlenose pliers, and they were off. Tried the same on the other weird one, and it gave it up, too. A fifth nail was headed the same way, but just wouldn't come off, so it got trimmed back to pretty much nothing. Soooo, yeah - basically down to 5 toenails now.

OK, ready? Here's what the aftermath looks like:

Right foot - the second (longest) and forth nail came completely off, and the fifth got cut back.

Left foot - second toenail was the one that didn't turn black, and the third toe went as well.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Catching up

After last weekend's trail run and 10K, I was surprisingly sore for a few days. That and some other factors led to me not being able to drag my butt out of bed to run in the morning yet this week. I celebrated finishing part of a big project at work by taking the afternoon off as a "mental health" day and going for a rare non-morning run.

When I go to races around town, I always think "there are all these runners in Reno? When do they run?" Well, it finally occurs to me - they probably run when it's light out, unlike me and my eeeearly morning training. There sure were a lot of people out jogging around on a Thursday afternoon today. And what a beautiful afternoon it was - high 60's, maybe into the 70's. Pouring sweat by the time I got home from my 6 miles.

This weekend is setting up to be crazy. There's a beer festival on Friday night I'm pretty interested in. Saturday morning is the Nike Human Race, which is a FREE entry 10k. (Hard to pass up, even if just for schwag and deals...) Pumpkin carving party at my brother-in-law's Saturday night. And the Fall Colors Trail Half Marathon on Sunday morning.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Weekend running

Had a pretty full weekend, running-wise, for me. Got out for a 14 mile blind date trail run on Saturday, and a pacer-duty 10K on Sunday.

Saturday I met Adam (introduced through a mutual friend) at his house and drove out to Galena Park. He runs down there a bit, but I've never really been. We did a loop around the outside of the park that totaled 14 miles, but there were so many trail options, you could've done whatever you wanted. I was wearing a long sleeve shirt, and it was too much - super nice morning. Here's a few pics:

Athtough Adam was outpacing me on the initial climb, he was kind enough to slow ans walk the uphills with me. It was really cool to hear about his PCT experiences, thoughts on ultralight gear and stuff. Really fun run. Here's the data from Lumpy:

On Sunday morning I managed to wake up and make it to the Meridian Run for Education, a benefit for the Washoe County School District. I had hoped to interest my 8 year-old into doing the kids 1/2 mile run, but he didn't seem into it, so I just ran the 10K with Team Library Dork member Amber. Dave was also supposed to show up, but was under the weather. Hope he's better for next weekend's Canfest. ;)

Amber pushed it pretty hard and almost got a PR - less than a minute off. It was a perfect run for me, good pace and fairly flat. Although the elevation profile looks strikingly like Saturday's run, pay attention to the scale - less than half of the elevation gain.

Although I didn't bring my camera, Amber took an "after" shot on her phone:

Does my face look like that? A little iPhone distortion, I think...

Anyway, quite a weekend. Thanks for all the friends to run with!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Site address change?

I was thinking about changing the address of this blog from to - and I think while I was looking to see if it was possible, I went ahead and did it. Can anyone confirm this? Did I disappear from your readers? I guess if I did, you won't be seeing this...

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Back on a plan

After quite a while on a really relaxed training regimen, I've finally put myself back on a structured training schedule. I'm aiming at the California International Marathon in early December, just to run a marathon that isn't Tahoe and put down a decent time.

For the plan, I used Runner's World's Smart Coach, and fiddled with the settings until I got something that seemed like it would be challenging enough to push myself, put not so tough that I burn out. Today's run was 5 miles, with 3 at tempo pace.

Feels strangely good to have a piece of paper to tell me what workout to do.

In other news, I checked out some new music while running this morning. Peter had mentioned DJ Tiesto's podcast of club remixes, and it sounded interesting enough to give a listen to. The nonstop beat makde for good "keep-going" music, but it wasn't quite what I needed for a tempo or speedwork session. It would be great for a long run, though.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Kokanee Salmon Festival Trail Runs

Last Sunday was the Kokanee Salmon Festival at Camp Richardson, (as well as the Oktoberfest) and the trail half marathon was one of the races in the High Sierra Trail Half Marathon Series that I've been trying to run. Everything came together nicely for Team Library Dork, too, and we got everyone together, plus a few extra honorary dorks. We had Abbey (a coworker of Amber's from the Carson City Library,) Gretchen and another friend from Berkeley, Sarah.

The day started pretty early - Amber and I drove up from Reno to Truckee to pick up Gretchen and Sarah, then we drove down the west side of Lake Tahoe into an increasing storm. By the time we got to Emerald Bay (and the steep, windy part of the road, we had some serious snow happening. A couple inches on the road already, and very slick surfaces. I crept down some of the tuns at less than 5 miles an hour. Good thing we were running a little early.

(Sarah had to scrape the ice off her bike...)

Once we got organized, bibs picked up and registered, we had just a few minutes to hang out and shiver. Here's the whole group, including Chris and Abby's daughter Hannah.

Once we started running, the snowy trail turned out to be a blast! Here's a couple of shots of what it looked like:

(These two pictures were actually taken about an hour apart - I followed this same guy for the majority of the race.)

For most of the race, the sun came out and it was beautiful. There was some snow blowing off the trees, and it was really a joy to run on the soft snow and sometimes dirt of the trail. Here's what the route looked like:

And the elevation profile (and my speed):

At one point, the trail took us in the trees above the South Lake Tahoe Hight School track. It was deserted, of course, but looked pretty cool...

I pushed through the second half, eventually passed the guy I'd been following on an uphill, and enjoyed the rest of the trail. With about two miles left, the half marathon course rejoined the 10K and 5K courses, and it got a little more crowded. Passed a few more people in the woods, then the last mile was on the road, and I couldn't catch anyone else. After the finish (under 2 hours, not bad) I found Chris and Dave, who already had a Ten Fidy cracked. Chris had won the half, and Dave did the 5K, coming back from an injury.

We hung out and watched a few of the others finish, although the only person I managed to get a finish picture of was Amber:

After that we had a bunch of hanging around while they tabulated the results. We stood and shivered:

Or sat on the warm pavement:

After a while, the race organizers broke out a couple of bottles of wine and passed them around to the people who were still waiting for results. Two Buck Chuck out of paper cups never tasted so good:

Of course, some of us didn't need the cup:

After the awards, which were specially labeled bottles of wine and painted salmon, we all trucked into South Lake Tahoe for pizza. Then back home - a nice long day with friends, and a really fun race.