Monday, August 30, 2010

Hood to Coast - The Run

Wow, that was a crazy and fun race weekend. Hood to Coast 2010 found me joined up with Monkey Butter Express, a team consisting of a few old friends and a whole bunch of (now) new friends. For the sake of simplicity, I'm going to break my report of it into two section - The Run and the Fun. This one will be mostly about the running.

I was in Van one (Van-tastic!) and my legs were 5, 17 and 29. After our runners 1-4 got the pounding downhill from Timberline out of the way, I took over on leg 5 and had about 3 miles of flat before three miles of a pretty good uphill.

Since the elevation was so much lower than Reno, I wasn't sure how I was going to feel out there - sometimes I don't notice much of a difference, like at Northern California races, but I sure felt the extra oxygen in Oregon. My speed surprised me - I had thought I'd be in the 8-8:30 mile range for the flats, and 9:00+ on the uphill, but the miles kept coming in lower than I thought. Turned out the first half all came in under 8:00/mile, and even on the hill it was more like 8:40. And I was smiling, even while going up -

After a crazy van exchange handoff, we had some dinner, a little rest, then headed out to our next set of legs. Nighttime now, and wearing all sorts of reflective and flashing gear. My leg, 17, was pancake-flat on the race packet course description elevation profile, but turned out to have some annoying hills. But I do like running at night - feels like you're floating - and the miles kind of just slipped away.

This leg took me past a whole bunch of churches, and some weird religious chalk graffiti on the road - "Sandie, come back to Jesus" and stuff like that. Also, some of the faster teams were starting to pass us at this point, so every once in awhile a speedster or two would blow by and give me something to follow for awhile. I kept my mile splits all right around 8:00 here, for an average of 7:56.

More crazy van hand-offs, some getting lost in the middle of the night, and finally a little rest, we were up early for our last set of legs. By the time I ran leg 29, it was getting pretty warm.

The elevation profile of this one was almost a perfect pyramid. Up 3 miles, down 3 miles. The first couple miles of the climb were nicely shaded, but the last mile (where it got the steepest) were in direct, beating sun. Had to take my glasses off and wipe sweat out of my eyes a couple times during that section. My wonderful teammates stretched toilet paper for me to break though at the top of the climb (apparently a tradition) and the downhill was deliciously in shade.

All that was left was a ride to the beach and a seat in the beer garden!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Busy weekends

Wow, look at that race schedule coming up, people. Seems like there's at least one race a weekend, sometimes two, up to five (!?) every weekend from now until early October. Let's see, we've got:

8/28 - Big Blue 5/10K Trail run up at lake Tahoe, along with the XTERRA events

9/4 - Reno 5000 "Run from the Recession" 5K - I think registration ends early for this, and it's a $40 5K - ouch...
and a cool-looking trail run up at Kirkwood

9/12 - Fight For Air 5/10K and half marathon

9/18 - Tahoe Big Blue adventure race, and
Recovery Month 5K and half marathon in Fallon
9/19 - RGJ Journal Jog, one of Reno's biggest community events
Emerald Bay trail run from Big Blue Adventures. This one looks beautiful...
AFLAC Iron Girl Triathlon, at South Lake Tahoe

9/27 - Battle of the Rattle 5K, up Rattlesnake Mountain
9/28 - Lake Tahoe Marathon
9/29 - Safe and Healthy Homes 5K River Run/Walk

10/2 - a Kids Goblin Run in Carson
10/3 - Race For the Cure events, out at Boomtown this year
Sparks Half Marathon, a new event
Kokanee Salmon Festival runs, at Camp Richardson, South Lake Tahoe

10/9 - Cancer Firkin Sucks 5K
Tough Mudder Norcal
10/10 - Run Ed Run 5K/10K in Minden

10/17 - Run for Education 5K/10K

10/23 - One Day on the Street 5K
10/24 - Fall Colors Half Marathon/10K

10/30 - Reno 5000 Trick-or Treak 5K

PACKED schedule. So get out there and sign up for some stuff before the prices start going up, eh? Can't wait to see you all out there!

As for me, I'm headed up to Portland this weekend to do the Hood to Coast Relay with some friends. Expect a photo heavy post coming from that next week.

Friday, August 20, 2010


Another running tidbit from the pages of Runner's World - apparently there are people making a push to change the name of the half marathon race distance to a "pikermi." Here's the website for their group, who think that calling the half a "half" denigrates what is a good, challenging race distance.

They chose the term pikermi as a tip of the hat to the original marathon - which, of course, was named after the Greek city of Marathon, from which a Greek soldier ran the 26 miles to Athens in 490 BC. Halfway along this route is the town of Pikermi (pronounced pee-CARE-mee.)

I've got to say, I'm not sure about this word. It makes me think "piker mile" - piker meaning "a person who does anything in a contemptibly small or cheap way." That almost seems worse to me than just calling it a half. What do you guys think?

And cheers to Mike at, who beat me to this post. Hope you're having a nice vacation -

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Photo credits

I've had a couple of photos published recently, and just want to brag a little here. One of them is running related, at least...

I took a bunch of pictures, as I always do at races, at the Silver State 50/50 half marathon. After the race, I was contacted by the RD, who wanted to see if I would share any of them with Ultrarunning Magazine, who were doing a short article on the race. He put me in contact with their Editor, I sent them some photos, and I kind of forgot about it. Just the other day, I was in a running store and picked up their August issue. Sure enough, next to the story on Silver State 50/50 was a crop of my picture, and I had a little photo credit in the masthead...

There's a great blog I read titled The "blog" of "unnecessary" quotation marks. I've submitted a couple things to them, but the last thing I sent in didn't get posted to the site. After a few weeks, though, I got an email asking for permission to use the photo in their upcoming book. I said sure, and again, kind of forgot about it. In a bookstore the other day, I remembered to take a look for the book, and there was my picture:

So, two photo credits (that I found out about) in the same week. New career path? Probably not...

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Wild West Half Marathon and 10K

On somewhat short notice, a slightly changed lineup of Team Library Dorks headed up to the Donner Summit this Sunday morning for the Wild West Half Marathon and 10K. We made it through the road construction just fine, and made it to The Summit restaurant with about half an hour to spare. Registration was pretty low-key, there being a total of about 30 people there for the two races. Amber and Dave were attacking the 10K, and Abbey and I wanted to put some miles down on the half.

After getting all set up, we lined up for a photo - Since Chris is on the IR list, we were lucky to have Abbey along - a Library Dork from Carson City. (Thanks to Beau for taking the photo - it was nice to meet him, his son and and his wife, who has commented here before, and whose name I'm having trouble remembering because I'm a terrible person.)

We all lined up and got a race briefing from "Big Al" - despite his pretty detailed instructions, we weren't familiar with the area and were not terribly confident of the route.

We headed out, and were able to follow people for quite awhile. Along the pavement, up a dirt road heading toward, apparently, Kidd Lake and a campground. A bunch of cars passed us on this road, kicking up some dust. We got to the campground, and couldn't make sense of the chalk markings - were they telling the half marathoners to turn around? We hadn't seen a mark telling the 10K runners to head back. So Abbey, I and another runner took a lap through the campground before realizing that we were in fact supposed to have turned around. Oh, well. Here's what the map looked like -

On the way back down the dirt road, we saw the chalk markings that told the 10K runners to turn back, which we probably missed because of the cars. But we made it back to the pavement, and made the right turn at an aid station to head along the railroad tracks. Some decent shade for awhile here, and in the shade were - Frogs!

This was just a single one, but not too much farther on, we found a whole flock (herd?) of them. We did a kind of crazy tiptoe dance as we made our way through this:

That was just silly enough to get us up to the turnaround, where we got to turn around for some refreshing downhill.

Some interesting math told us we weren't going to be near finishing in two hours, so we took it a little easy back in. At any rate, our time ended up being a PR for Abbey, so I let her fly in and tried to get a picture. Came out a little blurry, but oh well.

After a quick water and cool down (and a battery jump) we headed off to one of our classic Truckee post-race lunch spots, Fifty Fifty Brewing. Their beer list seemed a little short at the moment, but we loaded up on sandwiches, salads and pizza, and had some of the best service we've had there.

Thanks to Abbey for driving - I was sure nodding off on the way home. Thanks for everyone for putting on a fun little race, and thanks to everyone for reading...

Oh, and check out Jean Pommier's blog post about running this (and winning the half) with his son. And a few pictures of our team, too...

Thursday, August 12, 2010

A couple of contests

I'm a sucker for online contests. But, since I enter a few now and then, I've actually won a couple as well. A pair of shoes from Wilderness Running Company, a Popener from Xenia's blog, a mixing bowl and set of measuring spoons from the CIA. No, not that CIA...

At any rate, there are a couple of good running contests going on right now. One is over at Brooks, called the Run Happy Cavalcade of Curiosities. You can to enter daily, and each entry also enters you for a grand prize drawing.

The other is Golite's Golite Up Your Day Giveway. It's a one-time signup, and apparently you can check on their Facebook page for results as well.

Hope someone wins something! Let us know if you do -

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The eternal disappointment of race photos

Do race photos EVER look good for anyone else? I always feel like they make me look like I have an absolutely huge belly, or am running knock-kneed, or something. Or all of the above.

Not faulting the photographers at all - in fact, it seems to me that they do a great job of getting everyone framed up well. I guess I'm just not race-photogenic.

These thumbnails came in an email today, from the Tahoe Rim Trail run. I'm not even going to bother stealing a thumbnail to post here. Follow the link if you want to see a clumsy looking fat guy on the TRT...

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Wild West Half Marathon/10K this Sunday

This race just barely popped up on my radar - I wouldn't have seen it at all if I hadn't been looking around at other running blogs, and noticed that ultrarunner Jean Pommier mentioned he would be doing a half at Donner this weekend. Had to google a bit to figure out which one it was. The Wild West Half Marathon and 10K looks like my kind of race - smallish, local and in a beautiful place. (I love that for more info, you call Big Al or Maria.) Pretty inexpensive, too - $25 pre-race or $30 race day, for either distance. I hope I can make it up there - my parents will be in town this weekend, and I'm not sure of the schedule. Hope some of you out there can, at least!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Busy week and a quick trip

So, after promising last week to get more post up here in a timely manner, I go all silent for a week. Sorry - it was a crazy week, capped with my birthday on Friday, and a weekend blitz trip up to Bend, OR to drop off the kids with my parents. They'll be camping for a few days, and will come back next weekend.

I did manage to get a run in while in Bend - I snuck out of the motel room before my family was awake and did 5 or so miles, running past a few places I lived when I was up there and some of my other haunts. Didn't see anyone else out - but later, as we were having some Big O Bagels down by the river, I saw plenty. Apparently Bendites aren't as early risers as I am these days...

Other weekend highlights included stops at Deschutes Brewery and Bend Brewing Company, for excellent sets of tasters and wonderful but eerily similar salads - grilled pear at BBC and grilled peach at Deschutes, both with hazelnuts. Oh, and a classic car show, despite having left Reno with the intention of getting AWAY from Hot August nights...

More posts during the week next week, I promise...

Friday, August 6, 2010

Allergies and meds

The latest issue of Runner's World (September 2010) has an article in their Mind+Body section titled "Drug Bust: Are your medications harming your running?" I noted with interest that the first category of drug they talk about is antihistamines, and that they recommend Claritin and Zyrtec over Benadryl and Tavist, which apparently can cause "sluggishness and slow reaction times."

I'd never had allergies before this year. What I thought was a lingering cold this spring was eventually identified as allergies, and now I take Loratadine (generic Claritin) and Fluticasone (generic Flonase) daily. It seems to help, and I haven't noticed any drowsiness. I've had a couple nosebleeds lately, though, and wonder if it's related. If I stope for even a day, though, I feel horrible by the evening.

Anyone else have any input abut running and allergy medications?

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Changing things a bit

Hi everyone -

At one of the last races I did, I was picking up my packet when someone said "Hey, this guy has the best running blog in Reno!" (And, um, if that was you, please let me know who you are - I'm terrible with names and really need to make a better effort there...) Anyway, that felt really good, but got me thinking - what do I really do for my blog, other than posting a few race photos and whining about injuries once in a while? So - I've decided to switch things up a bit, and try do give back to the Reno running community in some way that I can.

So, I'm going to try to make this blog a bit more of a resource for running in Reno. As you can see, I've retooled the sidebar a bit, adding a calendar of races and a list of resource pages. I'll try to post about running news, local and interesting, more often, and see what other info I can come up with. If anyone has anything they'd like me to add, or other suggestions for the blog, I'd be more than happy to hear. Email me at runningroundreno (at) - which I'll put somewhere in the sidebar as well.

And please leave comments - keep me motivated to continue, both with the blog and with running regularly. Hope to see you all out there, on the streets, trails, and at races!