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... :")