Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Virtual Race Report: Global Warming, My Ass 6.66 x 6.66

So. Last week, flipping through Google Reader, I noticed an announcement for a Virtual Race. Surprisingly, it was being put on by Razz, whose running motivation has sounded even worse than mine recently. But, I looked at the weekend weather report, saw that it was supposed to rain, and went ahead and signed up - thinking that I'd need the extra push of a virtual race to get myself out there in the wet.

Well, turned out to be a beautiful weekend, and I got out twice - one 6.66 miler on Saturday, on my own, and another on Sunday with a friend who was doing her virtual race. So I started to get an idea...

See, virtual races tend to give you a little leeway in when you do them, so as to not exclude people who can't run a certain day. This one was no different - in fact, the rules stated that the run had to be done between March 5th and March 14th. I'd already knocked it out twice by the 7th, so I thought "maybe I should try to do the 6.66 miles 6.66 times." So here goes:

First 6.66 miler - Saturday, March 6th, 2010
Time: 1:00:50

Saturday runs usually happen pretty early for me, to try to get home before my family wakes up. I started this one around 6:30 AM, while it was still dark, but by the time I got back, my kids were up and entertaining themselves (my wife insists on weekend sleep-in time.) Fortunately no knives were involved. It didn't rain after all, and I felt pretty good about the run - wasn't super fast, but I'm still trying to get back on the horse this year. I did have to do a little loop past my street on the way in to get the Garmin to show exactly 6.66 miles, but I thought it was planned out pretty well.

Second 6.66 miler - Sunday, March 7th, 2010
Time: 1:30:00ish

My friend Amber was planning on meeting a co-worker of hers and her running group in Carson City (about 25 minutes south of Reno) to see some of the trails they run on. She wanted to get her 6.66 miler done that day, and I wanted to see some new trails, so I tagged along. We met the group, a bunch of nice folks, and headed out. Here's a few pictures that pretty much sum up the run:

Man, it was a glorious day. Lots more pictures at Amber's blog post of it. Anyway, I was a little tired, and Amber wasn't feeling awesome, so I hung with her while the rest of the group strung out along the trail. I was stopping my watch when the group took little rest/catch up breaks, though, which I'm not used to, and at one point didn't start in again when we resumed running:

So I only had 5.85 miles on my watch. One of the other runners had his Garmin going too, though, and told us he read 6.68 miles back to the car. So that works. Nice elevation profile, at any rate...

Third 6.66 miler - Tuesday, March 9th, 2010
Time: 57:28

I rested on Monday, but Tuesdays are supposed to be interval days for me. I usually do those at the gym on the treadmill - just a habit I got into. Now, I make full use of 24 Hour Fitness - when I go, it's usually about 2 in the morning. Get the pick of the treadmills that way. This time, it was 2:30 before I started running (had a little lifting circuit to get through.) These weren't super quick intervals, but I got through 8 of them...

The extra .66 of 6.66 - Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Time: 41:16

Simple calculation - 6.66 x .66 = 4.3956, so I rounded up to 4.4 and tried to find a route. That's not a distance I usually go, for some reason, so I had to doodle around on for awhile, but I found a loop that was pretty close. Didn't go quite as early as my gym runs, but I was out the door just after 5:00. Still totally dark. Thermometer read 28 degrees, so I was bundled - long sleeve tech tee under a windbreaker, tights, knit cap and gloves (although not my heaviest running gloves. Wasn't overdressed. Global Warming, My Ass is right. Here's what the roads looked like:

And a view downtown to the lights of Circus Circus:

Not 20 minutes after I got back, it started snowing pretty hard. Here's what our cul-de-sac (aka neighbor SUV parking lot) looked like in the light:

SLIPPERY drive to work that morning. Saw one idiot in a pickup spin a complete 360 right in front of me...

Fourth 6.66 miler - Thursday, March 11th, 2010
Time: 56:56

On Thursdays I try do do some other kind of interesting run - Progression, or a Ladder or something. This time I tried to do a ladder where I do a mile at one pace, speed up slightly for the next mile, then come back down, then back up, etc. I was getting tired, so this run was more slowing down on the ladder than speeding up, but I got it done. Boring graph here -

On my Tuesday treadmill run, my Garmin measured almost exactly what the treadmill display said - I think it was about 3 hundredths of a mile off. Thursday, though, I chose a different machine so I could watch SportsCenter instead of some infomercial crap. Note the discrepancy:

When my watch said 6.66, the treadmill only had 6.44! Almost a quarter mile difference. Guess I'll be using that other machine from now on...

Fifth 6.66 miler - Saturday, March 13, 2010
Time: 1:12:15

For the fifth run, I had planned to do one of my favorite local trail runs - up Keystone Canyon Across near Hogue Road and back down Evans Creek Canyon. The trailhead is about a mile from my house, and sometimes I run it from right out my front door. That would make it too long, though, so I decided I'd get up just before first light and drive to the start. My normal loop would make about 6 miles, so I'd have to tack on a little bit more to hit 6.66. When I woke up, though, there was a dusting of snow that promised an interesting trail run.

I ran up McCarran, turned onto the trail, and had the whole world to myself. The light snow made for great tracking of rabbits - saw a few of those, too, and followed some coyote footprints for awhile too. Here are a few pictures from the morning, there are a few more here if you're interested:

Not very fast, but fun, peaceful, and a successful 6.66 miles.

Sixth 6.66 miler - Sunday, March 14, 2010
Time: 56:10

Beautiful morning here in Reno. Granted, it was 26 degrees when we woke up, but the sun came out and it warmed up quick. By 10:00 (minus the time change, which made half of my family sleep in WAY TOO LONG) it was all of 40 degrees, and my parents (visiting from Vancouver, WA), wife and kids all headed out to Virginia Lake. They played around at the park there while I ran around the mile trail 6.66 times for my last run.

My goal was to run this last 6.66 miles faster than any of my previous ones. Since the fastest treadmill run I did was 56:56, I wanted to keep my pace under 8:30 miles. Started out a little fast, then slowed and tired quickly. (Big week for me - more mile in the last 9 days than in January OR February.) And a couple of times, I had to stop and take pictures of the lake:

I watched my average speed slip up toward 8:30 miles on my Garmin, but kept it below. Ended up with 56:10, beating my treadmill run by 46 seconds. Good enough. Went back to the park and collected everyone:

And am now enjoying a Nøgne Ø Imperial Stout and enjoying being done. Hope everyone else has had a great Virtual Race!


SnowLeopard said...

Niiiice! You never do anything half-assed, do ya? ;) Great photos, and what an awesome way to get back in the game. Good for you. And thanks for running your second with me!

RunningLaur said...

That's some virtual race running! The views on your runs outside were fantastic too!

Gretchen said...

Beautiful pictures! The running was good around here last week, what with the little bit of snow but none of it really pounding, followed by lots of sunshine.

Running Diva Mom said...

just found your blog -- what awesome photos!!!!