Monday, March 28, 2011

Scheels FANatic 5K

The weather was iffy again last weekend, but it ended up being just a bit windy (and not rainy and snowy) for the Scheels FANatic 5K.

I got to the Scheels parking lot with just enough time to pick up my bib, get dressed for the weather, take a lap around the mall and do a few strides in the parking lot before people started lining up. After the countdown, we all took off for a little loop around the parking lot before heading out around Sparks Marina. It was a little tight on the corners for the first quarter mile or so, but spread out by the time we got onto the bike path.

As we wound around the lake, I kept a pretty good eye on the pace on my Garmin - I'd gone out a little fast, and was trying to keep it from creeping up above the 6:20s. The first two miles averaged about 6:22, and as I came around the back side of the mall to loop back to the start area, I checked to see that I was holding there. The last bit was into the wind, but I made it through the finish line in 19:30 - which I'm going to call a PR.

The slight change to this 5K course made it a lot closer to 5K than I've seen it here in the past - my watch registered 3.06 miles, which is about as close as it gets for that short a race. Glad they found an accurate route.

One of the best things about the races at Scheels is the swag they giveaway. Age group places get medals and gift cards ($25 for my first place 30-39 male) and they always have a big pile of stuff to raffle off. When they run out of names to call, they just start tossing stuff out to the crowd. My name wasn't called, though, and I positioned myself badly to catch anything. Can't complain, though - I did end up with a gift card...

Since this was a PR, I rewarded myself with a PR beer. My first visit to Craft's amazing beer cooler sent me home with a Nøgne Ø Highland Edition Imperial Stout. It was enjoyed. And opened with a popener, courtesy of Xenia.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Spring Into Action 5K

Well, it's officially spring in Reno. Apparently, this means sleet and slushy snow down here on the valley floor, and snow in the upper elevations - enough that I-80 was actually closed for awhile today.

This didn't dampen the enthusiasm of the runners who made it out to Cottonwood Park in Sparks this morning for the Spring Into Action 5K. At the start, it was barely drizzling, and it increased a little while we were running along the Truckee River. By the time the last people came in, there was actually some slush falling from the sky.

Fortunately, there were some big trees neat the start/finish that provided nice cover. The race organizers (Ryan from were thoughtful enough to have a big charcoal fire going in one of the grills, and people gathered around that to warm up a bit. In fact, this was a very well-organized race - got started right on time, great (and accurate) course, good timing system. Kudos to all involved.

Personally, I managed to finish in 20:03, according to my watch. Right in between two fast 14 year-olds, and in fourth overall. Now, I'm not sure if this counts as a PR or not - it's the fastest 5K time I've ever had the timers report, but I did have one race a couple years ago where my watch read faster than that, but the timing system had me way off. And that was a short course, too. I have yet to see "official" timing on today's race, but I'm going to count it as an official PR for now. Not going to treat myself to me traditional PR beer until I break 20:00 for real, though.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Washoe(s) After Run

The Carson City Winter Trail Series finished up this morning with its last race, the Washoe(s) After Run. This was a 5 (ish) mile run heading off the east side of Washoe Valley, leaving from the Washoe State Park headquarters and heading up and down some pretty steep hills.

Again, I didn't leave quite enough time to get down there from Reno and had to hurry to make it to the start. Fortunately, they were lenient with the start time (I wasn't the only person rolling in lateish) and started about ten minutes late.

Here's Kevin from Ascent Physical Therapy giving us the race briefing:

Here's the course as well:

We got started, and basically dragged ourselves up a series of hills.

There were enough flat spots for short breaks that it wasn't terrible, though - at least until one last, killer section. It was second-half-of-Prison-Hill steep, and I took one look at it and decided to walk it. Pretty quickly, though, April here trotted right past me:

And she stayed in front of me for the rest of the race. Which was perfect, actually - she was wearing nice bright colors, which were perfect for some photos looking over Washoe Valley:

Right after the summit, though, there was a steep downhill on some snow. It took some figuring out of technique - I initially tried to tread lightly and stay on top of it, but then found that taking big steps and post-holing through the crust with my weight seemed fastest and most stable. Glad I was wearing calf compression sleeves, or my shins would have taken a beating on the icy crust. Couldn't get a picture of that; I was concentrating too much.

I did get a picture of some of the snow on the trail a little later, though:

That was about half a mile from the finish, a nice flat end to a crazy hilly race. Sure were some great looking trails back up in there - another area near Carson to come explore sometime.

It looks like there are some race photos available through the CCRunners website - take a look and buy one to support the Capitol Soccer Club!

Thanks again to Ascent Physical Therapy for putting on this series - I had a blast, met some great people and ran on some cool trails I'd never seen before. Looking forward to next winter already!