Blood Sweat and Beers – Auburn Trail 10.5mi

Div Place Place Time Pace
36/57 143/427 01:49:29 10:26 min/mi

When a race is radically different than anything you’ve ran before, how do you tell if you did well? That’s what’s been running through my mind since seeing my results of the Fleet Feet Blood Sweat and Beers trail run. I mean, I’ve done trail runs before, but nothing with this kind of elevation profile. Thankfully, data analysis is what I do.

The Results

10:26 pace. Ten… twenty… six. For me, that’s awful. I felt good on the run, felt like I accomplished a decent run and decent pace. But mid 10s? I’ve only done that bad when I bonked hard. So why the bad pace, or was this normal? Fortunately, as a local run by Fleet Feet, there’s plenty of opportunity to compare myself to others.

Of the 112 runners I could find that ran both, I was 25th in my Shamrock’n time. For BSB, I was 28th — pretty consistent. 46 ran faster on Shamrock’n than BSB, 66 slower, so I’m in the majority there. And the average difference was ~10 minutes, so my 1 minute delta is also pretty in-line, in fact, a bit better than expected. So if I use comparative analysis as a measure of success, than I did pretty well. That makes me feel better.

Race Summary

Hills, hills, and more hills. Every racer seemed to complain about the big hill at the end, but take a look at the elevation profile. The end is no different than the entire rest of the race… it’s just at mile 10. There are certainly worse runs, but 10-12% grades through a large portion of the course meant that there was a lot of climbing. In fact, at one point, I was jogging behind someone walking up the hill, and realized that I wasn’t closing any distance on him. And I’m jogging, why? Yeah, at that point, I started walking some of the worst hills.

The people along the course were very friendly. I ran along side two runners through most of the race, sometimes ahead, sometimes behind, but generally nearby, and got to talk to them quite a bit about the run. I also ran alongside a few other people, and each time, it was great. There was a lot of encouragement to be had, a lot of people enjoying the tough course, and generally a sense, not of race competitiveness, but of social encouragement and engagement. I loved it!

Diane and Tripp, and Robert and Terri came out to see the race, though they missed the start by a few minutes. It was great, though, afterwards having family to see. As well, Micki (former TBF), Paul (from Carmichael Running Club), and a lot of other runners were there at the end to chat with, talk to, and commiserate with over the free beers provided by Hoppy Brewing Company. I mean, the race was named Blood Sweat and Beers, right?

Shamrock’n Half Marathon – Year Seven

Div PlacePlaceTimePace
63/274 560/537301:48:10 8:15 min/mi
People I Passed: 3,210
People Who Passed Me: 16

The Race

Let me start with the differences between this year and last. Last year, I started training about a week ahead of time, with just a couple of small runs. This year, I’d run a half marathon the week before! Last year, I ran alone. This year, I ran the first 12 miles with Harry. Last year, I expected to do horribly. This year…. I still expected that, though hopefully better than last year. Last year, I ran my third-to-worst time for a half. This year, I was right in the middle of my results.

I’ve blogged before about the route, so I don’t need to cover that, other than confirming that I do like it. The one thing I can talk about in this blog is the difference in jogging with Harry through the first twelve miles. Harry had definitely out-trained me… as usual for the last few years. However, since we had been running together for the prior month, we were in a good position to run together for the first part of the race. It’s not unusual for us to run the first several miles together, or one of my best races had us running 11 miles together, then splitting for a final push. This time, we ran our longest distance together in any race; twelve miles.

We had a very solid start, and kept it up well. We were almost late to the start, so were some of the last ones to cross the start line, and thus we made good time, and passed a lot of people as we kept a steady pace. The advantage to running together is that, when one of you starts to flag in energy, the other can keep you going, and Harry definitely did this in the first half of the race. By the second half of the race, our roles were reversed. I don’t think Harry has really pushed himself at the end of the race with the mentality of “I only need to push for this much further…” So at the half way point, I’m talking about us being half way there. At mile 10, it’s about having only 3 miles to go, and visualizing the quick warm-up runs we do to see how little there is left to go. At mile twelve, Harry didn’t have anything left to continue winning the mental game, and I took off. Little did he know that, if he had stayed with me (and probably could have!), he’d have gotten a PR. But he stayed strong, and so did I, and we both came in with good times for us.

It was a great run and race, and my most social half marathon ever. I really look forward to doing one like this again!

Clarksburg 20

Place: 183/358
Pace: 9:30

The Goal

The triathlete training bible talks a lot about different type of races. “A” races being the big one or two you train for in the year, “B” races being ones you put effort into, but don’t push and train to the edge, and “C” races being those that you do, just as part of training, and just to do. No pushing, no risk, you’re just there because you love to race. That’s what Clarksburg was to me; a chance to do a 20 mile, pre-marathon, typical Sunday training run. In that light, I got exactly what I wanted out of the run, I finished, I had good times with a friend, I accomplished some speed work I never thought myself capable of, and I loved it. As a bellwether to my CIM success, all signs point to positive. Yay me!

The Course

Let me just say, this is what was meant by “Avenue of the Vines,” not the “Bovines” event. The course was beautiful, the day was perfect, I couldn’t have asked for better run conditions. The course meandered through the streets of Clarksburg, a small town just along the river, south of Sacramento. Parts of the run went through wineries, parts through country roads, parts along the levy above the river tributary. It was amazing, quaint, and perfect. In a heartbeat, I’d do this run again.

The Run

I usually title this part, “The Race,” but since I wasn’t really racing, I’m just going to call it the run. As a training run, I didn’t push myself at all. I told Harry when I was trying to get him to do this (which he had a good excuse for missing, being in Oregon),

that I wouldn’t race it, but would rather run alongside him the whole time. Well, Harry didn’t show, but Amanda did! So, I extended the same idea over to running with Amanda, and we did the first 15 miles of Clarksburg together, chatting, keeping our minds off of injuries, and just enjoying the beautiful course. Thanks, Amanda! I would rather run with friends any day, and it’s friends who’ve helped me get to where I am today.

So anyway, the first fifteen miles were pretty mild. We paced in the low 9s to start, but as injuries and a week of sickness began to catch up with Amanda (I still can’t believe she ran twenty miles after being sick all week long), our pace slowed down to the mid 10s. Around mile ten, I forewarned Amanda that I might take off around mile fifteen, depending on how we were doing. Well, right at fifteen, Amanda’s injuries really started to get to her, our pace was down to about 11s, and I felt the need to push myself a little more. So I took off for the last five miles… and it was awesome.

For the last five miles, I was running (depending on headwinds) between 6:50s and 8:20s. I would have never thought that, after fifteen miles (my longest run ever at that point), I could kick it up to run sub 8s. Frank, at mile 18 or so, told my that I could catch up with Hiroshi, and try I did. Just thirty seconds, he said, and at the 400 meter mark, I saw Hiroshi ahead. His pace was slower than mine, and I thought I had him, but that 400m mark put a fire under his feet and he sped up, leaving me to come in just a few seconds behind him. It was a nice push to bump up my speed just a little more, and I had a great time doing it.