Sunday, February 27, 2011

Fresh Tracks Snowshoe 5K

All of Team Library Dork together again for a race! Hasn't happened since the middle of last summer. And today, we did it right...

Amber, Dave, Chris and I all met in south Reno to carpool up to Camp Richardson for the Fresh Tracks Snowshoe 5K.  A pretty uneventful drive got us to the race area over an hour early, so we got registered and tried to figure out what to wear. The temps were barely in the teens when we got there, but would be all the way into the twenties by the time we ran.

Chris elected to run in shorts, as he did two years ago at this same race. This time he was the only one, and he had fun with it -

We did some more silly photo-taking -

And then got lined up for the start:

I didn't get any pictures on the course - I was too busy trying to survive. Wasn't feeling it, and even the smallest hills made the snowshoes on my feet feel like lead weights. had to take a few little walk breaks on the hills - here's the map and data from my Garmin:

Next photo I have is of Dave, coming through the finish line with some nice form. He had some issues with the rental snowshoes he had, and didn't have a much nicer time out there than I did...

Chris came through with an appropriate brew for us to sip while waiting for awards - a New Glarus "Snowshoe Ale" - which was an Amber ale, so doubly appropriate.

After enjoying that, and some brats and snacks courtesy of grillmaster Dave Cotter, it was time for the awards. Chris got edged out for the overall win, but he and I were 1st and 2nd in our age group. Amber and Dave both wound up with 3rds in their respective AGs, so it was a medal sweep for Team Library Dork!  And cool medals, too - little replica snowshoes with the age group info and even our times written on them. Chris is excited.

We headed back to Stateline for lunch, having heard of a microbrewery there we hadn't tried. Stateline Brewery turned out to be a pretty major disappointment - despite good service and decent food, they only brew four beers there - and were out of two of them! The ones they did have were summery beers - a wit and a pislner, if I remember correctly. Not that impressed.

Back in Reno, I appear to have caught a cold from all the standing around in the snow. Back to the couch and a cold medicine induced stupor for me as soon as I'm done typing this. It was worth it, though - awesome day on the snowy trails with TLD!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Loop courses

It occurred to me the other morning, while on a run, that I've never run a "loop" race.  That is, I've run 5Ks that also had 10Ks that were two loops of the 5K, and 10Ks that were one loop (plus a little) of a two-loop half marathon course.  Even the Tahoe Rim Trail 50 mile race, which is a 100 miler if you want to do it again.

Anyone have any thoughts on loop courses?  Do they help pacing? Is it annoying that you then have to go out for another lap?

Looking at some races coming up this year, I wonder if I should make a point of doing a loop race. The Sacramento Zoo Zoom is the next one I see coming up; an April 10th 5/10K with a bunch of kids races and free entry to the zoo after.  They had some pretty cool t-shirts last year too.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

You've Gotta Be Crazy Run 5K

Well, you didn't have to be too crazy to venture out to Verdi this morning for the You've Gotta Be Crazy 5/10K runs. Compared to the few inches of snow last year, and flurries the year before, this morning was downright tropical.

Most of Team Library Dork is either injured or at San Francisco Beer Week, so I had to represent alone. Fortunately, I ran in to honorary Dork Gretchen while registering. She would give me some motivation to run hard, if I wanted to even keep her in sight.

Here are a few milling around photos, and lining up at the start:

My photo skills failed me right after the start - I ended up with a couple pictures of blurry legs which I'll spare you. Serves me right for trying to take pictures on the first, fast downhill. Instead, here's the elevation profile of the course:

After the first downhill and across the bridge, we got to bang out the major uphill. Sorry Gretchen, I've got to include this one - you were powering up that hill.

That was also the closest I got to Gretchen - after the hill and a little bit of flats, she had shot out in front a bit and looked like this:

I couldn't make up any ground, and as the downhill section started, she passed a couple of young runners. Here they are up ahead of me:

Thanks to their short legs, I was able to pass them, although it took all the way to the last turn to the finish. I had to make a final push to end up, according to my watch and the timing board, right at 21:00. Awaiting official results...

Here's the finish line, and Ryan of ActiveReno coming through.

Thanks to the Silver State Striders for putting this race on - always a fun one, whether it snows or not!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Love Can Be Cold 5-6 Miler

Today was the fourth race in the Carson City Winter Trail Series, put on by Ascent Physical Therapy. Seemed like there was a bigger crowd than usual gathered this morning, at the boat ramp off of Carson River Road. Here's what the registration area looked like -

It was all of thirty degrees, and the sun was just starting to peek over the hills, when 8:00 came and we lined up to start. Fortunately, things warmed up and the sun shone on us as we did an out-and-back along the Carson River. Here's a course map; click through to the Garmin site for more details.

And some photos from that section:

This took care of the flat part of the course; then we started to climb. Here's the elevation profile, one of the more interesting ones I've run for this distance.

Here's some of the up:

Nice views from up there -

Of course, then we had to go down. Bit dangerous getting this picture; glad I didn't tumble. I probably would have rolled all the way to the bottom and taken out the guy in front of me as well.

Another flat section was all it took to get back to the finish. Fun course!

I thought I'd hit "stop" on my watch, but apparently it didn't register, so I'm waiting for my official time. I think it was somewhere in the 48:00 range.

Thanks again to Ascent Physical Therapy for putting on the series, and to all the volunteers that were out today - sure were a good amount of people stations giving directions at the trail junctions.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Davis Stampede Half Marathon

This is the third year that Team Library Dork has sent a contingent to Davis for the Stampede events, and we represented well. Although a couple of us are out with general gimpiness issues, the other two of us PR'd in the half!

Dave, Chris and I met MUCH too early in the morning here in Reno, and carpooled our way over the hill to Davis. We got there with plenty of time to spare, got all registered up and ready to run. Bibs, shirts, porta-potty breaks, and meeting up wit Kirk and Charlie, a couple of other Reno runners, we were ready to go.

After a short delay while the 5K runners headed out, the 10K and Half took the line. Here's a couple shots from either way, one of the 5K going, the other of our group.

Big race like this was, of course chip-timed, but we lined up near enough to the start that we only had about a 10 second difference (We'll see what the official time is when the results come out.) At any rate, the first mile was spent jockeying and weaving through everyone to find a good pace group. Here's a photo from the first mile, which parallels the railroad tracks for awhile. The overpass in the distance is the only hill on the course, sometime during mile 5.

I was fortunate to have Chris pacing me - his gimpiness isn't letting him race at the moment, and I'm the lucky benefactor of having a pacer on my last two half marathons. The goals I had in mind today were A) to break 1:30:00, B) to hold to 7:00 mile pace (1:31:46) or C) to break my half marathon PR, which was 1:33:33.  While I was pretty certain the A goal wasn't going to happen, I had hopes for B and C.

As you can see, I couldn't quite hold on to the 7:00 mile pace, so I didn't make my B goal either. I think the problem was that we ran miles 4, 5 and 7 a little fast, having latched on to a guy whose pace seemed good for us, and I ended up paying for it later. But a good learning experience and a PR, so I can't complain.

It ended up being a beautiful day, if a little windy, and I wish I had more pictures - but the delay on my camera was acting weird and I ended up with a few shots of people's heels. Here's one that did come out, on a bike path coming up to the 5 mile mark:

Like I said, we had two PRs - Dave shaved a minute or so off his as well. Here he is on the final stretch, a two block shot to the finish:

After a wander to Fleet Feet, lunch at Noah's Bagels in Sacramento, and the obligatory stops at BevMo and Total Wine, we bombed back to Reno in time for the sports fans to get ready for the game. I, um, did laundry.

Thanks to Dave, I'm now enjoying a "PR Beer" - a Bourbon County Stout from Goose Island. Less than halfway through, and I'm about to fall asleep.

Good times, and a great race, guys. Thanks -

Thursday, February 3, 2011


As I've mentioned recently, I'm a podcast listener. Most of my listening is done while I'm at work, but if I'm doing a treadmill workout, I listen to them there too. (I tend not to use headphones outside, to hear more of what's going on around me.)

Most weeks, I end up downloading more podcasts then I can listen to during work hours, so I have some "leftover" ones to listen to on the treadmill. For some reason, Science Friday from NPR usually ends up being what I'm listening to there - Ira Flado quizzing scientists about various topics.

Last week, though, I somehow burned through all my podcasts while at work and knew I wasn't going to have anything to listen to the next morning. Casting around for something to download, I found the Podrunner running mixes.

I downloaded the latest mix (The Fire Inside) and gave it a listen during my progression run. It was a good dance mix at 147 beats per minute. In retrospect, that was pretty good for a warm-up but probably could have been faster for the speed sections of that run. The music isn't 100% my style, but might make a nice change once in a while. I'll have to be more careful picking the BPM that's right for what workout I'm doing...

One cool feature of Podrunner is another set of mixes they have up, the Podrunner Intervals - designed to work specifically with the Couch to 5K program ( as well as an 8K and 10K program.) If you're getting started on one of those training schedules, those are worth a look.