Piedmont Turkey Trot 5K – 2016

November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving!

This year, I’m back in my hometown of Piedmont.  (Last year we were in Hong Kong.)

I seem to remember from years past that we would park in the lot by the park, but we end up parking about 5 blocks away near the terminus of Highland Avenue.

Riva is hurting a little so she says that there is a possibility that I will finish ahead of her.  (Yeah, like that will happen.)

My goal at this race is to try not to walk the hills (though it is a big temptation because there are so many).

I did situate myself at the front so that I wouldn’t get caught up in the slow crowd, and maybe the surge will take me along to the downhill at the far end of Highland and give me the impetus to climb up Wildwood (where I always tend to walk).  Mile 1 – 7:36.  (I am running UP Wildwood.)

From Mile 1 to Mile 2, there are a number of hills and I couldn’t quite not walk all of them.  I gave myself permission to walk up St. James to Hampton, and to walk a portion of the Seaview incline, but I still managed 9:22 (which is really good for walking hills).

Mile 3 to the end is mostly downhill (with a little dipsy-doodle towards the end) so I pushed the best I could, managing a 7:22 final mile, with a 47 second last tenth (about 7:50/mile).

My 24:59 was almost a minute ahead of Riva’s time.  (She still did well considering that she wasn’t anywhere near 100%.)

Dad was 2nd in his age group (out of 5 80 year-olds) but the rest of us didn’t factor into the results at all.  I was 238th overall and 29th in my age group, but consider that there were over 2,600 runners, so I’m good with the top 10%.

Boeing 5K (11) – 2016

November 14, 2016

Had a couple of long trail runs over the weekend, so I didn’t know how I would feel at Boeing today.

It was really windy and Nina was behind me for the first half (drafting off me, tricky).  But strangely enough, I felt pretty good, running 11:51.

On the way back, it felt hot (because there was no breeze in the face, but a tailwind instead), but I still managed to come in 11:56 on the return (pretty close to even splits).

With 23:47, and coming in 4th overall, I think I had a good run!

Hoka One One Postal 2M – 2016

November 10, 2016

A special event at Chittick Field was posted for tonight, so I met Laura at the field so we could participate in the rare 2 mile event.  It looks like most of the participants are high school students and they are breaking the race apart into heats based upon likely finishing time.

We aren’t put in the first race since that race is for students that are attending a dance and need to get going.  Our race is the second race and it is Laura, me, a 9 year-old girl, and three high school freshman (probably the “slow” ones).

Two miles is an odd distance and given that I have a hard time pacing in a 5K, I will now have one fewer mile to figure out pacing here.

On the first lap, the three boys went out fast through the first turn, and my immediate thought was that I need to stay with them, but by the end of the first lap, I had not only stayed with them, but pulled ahead and put some distance between us (too fast!).

My goal now was to hold on (not accelerate) for as long as I could.  Even if the boys caught up to me, I had still done well (as long as I didn’t have to stop and walk or fall over).

I came through my first mile in 6:55, but knew I could not maintain that pace for the final 4 laps.  I had also noticed that 2 of the 3 boys had made up some of the initial gap I established in the first two laps. Must… hold… on.

Laura was just a bit behind me (well, behind the boys, but in no danger of being lapped).  All of us had lapped the girl, but unless she was a star, it would be embarrassing if we didn’t lap her at least once.

My energy was flagging on that last lap.  The nearest of the boys was coming on strong and blew by me in the final 100 yards, but it was close, as I came in 14:12.  Laura was only 30 seconds back.  (The little girl came in under 18 minutes.)

The timer/LB Poly coach said to me that he couldn’t believe I had a sub-7 mile in me (my PR is 5:56 and all of my half marathon on down PRs are at sub-7 pace).  I smiled and hoped that he meant, “at age 45,” rather than he couldn’t believe I could break 7 minutes.

Laura got a trucker cap for her time or something about winning her age group (but honestly, we were the only Masters there).

We stayed and watched the other heats.  The best was the final one where they had a ringer (I think the only other one over 21.) who came through (by a bunch) under 10 minutes.  Fast!  (I wonder how he would do in a trail 50K…)

LA Cancer Challenge 5K/10K – 2016

October 30, 2016

Different location (again!) for the Cancer Challenge.  Ironically, we are back to the location we started at in the mid-00s, UCLA.  For several years, the run had been on the property of the LA VA and last year, last minute, they decided that we could not run there and so did a random street location in Woodland Hills.

Despite being back to their roots, the parking situation is kind of a mess.  Decided to pay for parking (or my carpool pal did), but we kept getting directed to lots that weren’t open and then once we were parked, it was not particularly close to the check in or the start.

The conditions are very overcast and very muggy.  It looks like it’s going to rain.  Yuck.  10K is first and it starts on the intramural (artificial turf) field.  During the warm-up session (the ridiculous jumping jacks and other work-out stuff that some of these races provide), it does start to rain and there is some concern that the AstroTurf will be difficult to run on (i.e. slippery).  There is also some concern (for me) about the hilliness, speed bumps, etc.

The race starts and it’s a mad dash across the slippery turf, and then immediately uphill out of the field area and onto the street, a little bit of downhill and speed bumps galore.  The speed of the initial dash takes me through Mile 1 in 8:18 and 7:45, respectively.

Next is a steady climb up a hill, and then a dash back down the hill back into the general area that we started in, an out-and-back along the quad and then up a rather steep hill, some flat, and then down to the finish line (except we do the loop twice).  My 5K split is 25:05, and now I have to go through the circuit again.

The second go-round of the first mile is 150 seconds slower, mostly because I am walking the uphill sections.  But my second time on Mile 2 is 20 seconds faster because I ran a little harder on the downhill.

The last time (or 1.1) is about 45 seconds slower for a net time of 54:16… but I need to circle back around (since the start and finish are in different areas) and get ready for the 5K run.

It’s already raining on the field and several people are debating whether they will run or not.  (Might as well… you already paid for parking, the race, etc.  At the very least, you should walk it!)  Maybe everyone in my age group will opt out (usually not in a 5K though).

My goal is to do better than I have in the past, which is sort of a don’t walk/speed-walk goal.  I used to be able to do a back-to-back 7:00/mile 5K/10K, but I don’t have that speed anymore.

The ground is a bit wetter than before and there are loads more people.  First mile, 9:38, is in between what I ran for the first and fourth miles of the 10K.

Second mile is in the mid-8s and the last mile in 9:38 which is pretty similar to the first and second times, but not bad for a steep hill AND being at Mile 9 of two “sprint” races.

Alas, the drop-out rate was not even strong enough for me to place in the Top 10 of my division (much less top 3).  A good run for a worthy cause and an extra mile or so trying to find where the car was parked.

Spooky Dash 5K (ABW) – 2016

October 29, 2016

Decided to walk down to visit with Mark and Michelle (A Better World Running) who were putting on a 5K/10K on the beach bike path.  I tried to time it so that I arrived after the start of the races, but ended up arriving probably 10 minutes before the start of the races.  Michelle asked if I wanted to run, and since it’s been 2 weeks since Twin Peaks, I feel like I can test to see where I am at in recovery/restart.

The race is just a straight out-and-back on the Long Beach bike path, and with many of their races (especially the bigger ones), you need to go out hard, otherwise you get stuck in the pack and not able to run the pace you want.

I tried not to go out too hard, however, and managed a respectable 13:00 outbound.  Hard to tell if I am in the top group because there are people turning around who could be in the 5K or the 10K or 100 miler.

Coming back, I tried to do equally as well, though it did feel a lot harder coming back, for some reason.  Maybe because it’s the first “sprint” race since my ultra.  12:50 on the return trip for a net time of 25:50.  Not too bad.

Twin Peaks 50K – 2016

October 15, 2016

Prior to committing to running the North Face Challenge Race in Utah, I committed to volunteering for the Twin Peaks race, as there is no race director I respect more than Jessica DeLine.  She always does her best to put on a great event, tries to get anyone who wants to get to the finish to the finish, and charges a reasonable amount for her events.

However, once I was unable to finish North Face, I still wanted to do an ultra for this time period.  I told Jessica I would like to run the 50K (and I had already volunteered earlier in the year for Harding Hustle and obtained a 50% discount), but that I would also like to volunteer before and after the event.

So, instead of just rolling up a little bit before my start at 7am, I arrived at the start at 4:30am.  I helped to set up EZ-Ups, tables, and then began checking everyone in.  I think I handed out almost every number for the 50M and 50K.

I also helped getting together supplies for the aid stations and loading them, and then I got myself ready to go.  Also joining me at the start line was Tsehay (who I helped convince drop down to the 50K), Jeffrey McKinney and Yen Darcy.  Angela Holder and Laura started earlier (for more time and to beat the heat).  I would prefer to start earlier, too, because I like to avoid the heat, too.

If we flash back to a few years ago, when the race was cancelled and then reinstated, I did a post-dawn start and only made 19 miles before I got severely overheated.

The very first hill is 6.5 miles and 2000’+ climbing.  I know I have to take it really easy.  In the beginning, I am with Yen and Tsehay, but they are actually running up the hill.  I know this course too well to be running up the hill.  If I can get to the top between 1:45 and 2:15, I will be very happy.  (1:54, awesome.)

The next section is the flattest section, with about 1000′ of climbing and 900′ of descent.  This is also the section last year where I severely twisted my ankle, so I just want to move at a respectable pace (anything under an hour for four miles).  (58 minutes, good).  I am still behind Tsehay and have not caught up to Angela (go, Angela!).

Now, the “fun” part.  This is the West Horsethief section.  I am super-familiar with this and can tell you each of the twists and turns.  Although it is significantly downhill, I know that much of it is not that run-able (more so for me because of low-hanging branches), but at least it is downhill.  My 1:16 on this section is considerably slower than the last hillier section but I make it through safely.

If you compare  my times on these first three sections to how I ran the first three sections last year, I have picked up a bit of time and am about one hour net gain at this point.

On the beginning part of Holy Jim, which is “relatively” flat, I do finally catch up with Tsehay.  She is so surprised about the difficulty of the downhill section of W. Horsethief.  She thought she would pick up all sorts of time running down the hill, but it was quite the opposite.

I told her she would have a very special celebration when she finishes the race (which is really 32.5 miles and not 31.0), because 2016 marks 32 years in the USA.  She really liked that idea.

So, now to the tough part of Holy Jim.  Three years ago, it took me 3:07 to do the 4.5 miles.  Stand alone, I have completed this section in under 2 hours.  Today, I do 1:53, but on the last scramble up to the road, I am pretty tired, and not at all ready for the next 3 miles.

I hear a familiar voice.  “C’mon, Emmett, I’m waiting for you.”  I don’t think Angela was very pleased with the expletives that ensued from my mouth, but I was in a bad mood and didn’t need encouragement.  I just wanted to get through it.  I sat down on the water bottles, drank a bunch of water, refilled my bottles and endured flies dive bombing me.  I was in the shade and they don’t venture as much into the sun, but I wasn’t about to sit in the sun.

Now, up the endless 3 miles to the summit of Santiago Peak, almost all in the sun, and almost all steep and steeper on difficult terrain.  One hour, 37 minutes.  A loss of about 10 minutes over my time last year.  (Net gain, though.)  We did get to see Laura briefly, but she is way ahead of us (because she is faster and started early).

Angela and I are still sticking together and encouraging one another.  She is going faster than I am down Upper Holy Jim, but the downhill single-track is not my greatest skill.  Still, I do better on the 3 mile section downhill than uphill (54 minutes versus 97).

On the last 6.5 miles, Angela and I mostly stay together.  I do wait with her while she takes a potty break (can’t believe they didn’t cart a port-a-potty right up to where she needed it mid-course), but after a while, her pace is a bit too slow for me, and I take off on my own.  (I do have a chance to improve upon my best course time from 4 years ago, if I press my pace a bit.)

My final time ends up being a bit slower than my up pace (surprisingly) – 1:59 – to finish in 10:34, only 10 minutes slower than my best.  (I know 10 minutes sounds like a lot, but it’s 20 seconds/mile.)

Once I am a bit more recovered, I head back a bit to meet Angela and “shepherd” her in.  I grab her hand and run in with her.  It’s a really nice moment.

For the next couple hours, I assist finishers with food and drinks, and I perform some gopher duties.  One of the most exciting moments was the finish of Randall Tolosa, who gets his first finish after 5 tries (and he didn’t start early).

Once the last finisher comes through and the drop bags come down, now I start helping with the packing up of everything – dismantling EZ-ups, tables, packing up food, etc.  As a treat, I get one of the In-N-Out Burgers they bought for the volunteers.  Even though it’s cold, it’s really good.

I get home at about midnight, so I had almost a 24-hour day.

Looking forward to next year’s event, whether I run it, volunteer at it, or both.

Boeing 5K (10) – 2016

October 10, 2016

Today, I tied the 2nd best record for most consecutive Boeing 5Ks with 101.  Not sure if I can go after the overall record, as that is another year and a half of not missing any runs (or more if the event gets cancelled due to weather).

I felt pretty well, since it has been a couple of weeks since my 40 mile run at North Face.  Outbound I ran 12:30 and inbound I ran 11:30 and finished in 5th overall, with Dave Parsel nipping at my heels (he has hip problems, but it’s still an accomplishment to beat him).