Sunday, January 13, 2013

Hitting Stride in the Re-Set Week

Hill Repeats Anyone?

Week Summary (1/13/2013)

This was a re-set week at the start of the build-up to the American Canyon 50K. Resting the engines for the week, it probably couldn't have been better timing. After a cold start, temperature spiked near 60° at mid-week and then plunged to sub-zero by the weekend. This meant the previous snows melted, creating pooled and water-lined trails. These were then flash-frozen on Wednesday night and frosted with a few inches of new snow. Wait, this isn't a weather-blog! In summary, it was a difficult week to navigate the trails. In fact, on Wednesday, the warmest day of 2013, I had to bail (almost literally) and just go home early.

But what to expect? It's a western Nevada winter, it is what it is. Regardless, the weekend brought a little competition in the form of the Centennial Slug It Out 10K. This little event is part of the Winter Trail Series put on by Ascent Physical Therapy. Because Kevin didn't have a Zamboni available to groom the ice-covered trails, he adapted the course to the conditions and the event went ahead under a bright Saturday morning and a starting temperature of a biting 7°. Twenty-nine hearty runners lined up for the 10K, with a slightly smaller group sampling the 5K course. 

Centennial Freeze Out:  7° and ready to go...
My training and the rested engines of the re-set week served me very well. Although the 5.7-mile (modified "10K") course had little climbing I used the small hills to good advantage and concentrated on simply getting good turnover.  Brett Long was uncatchable as usual. We started one-two but I quickly watched him pull away on his quality strides. It was a brand new experience to cruise for a while in second place, knowing there's a group right behind me though it appears I've the trail all to myself. Then the 15-year old Ethan caught me as he dashed up to the race's highpoint turnaround. 

On the descent I was passed by two others. Patrick, running to his tunes, would kindly remove the appropriate ear-bud so that we could mutter "good job" or "damn it's cold" each time we yo-yo-ed our places. The out-and-backs were kind of fun, as the gave me the opportunity to encourage and say "hey" to Peter, Abbey, Sarah, and  all the others out there for a little run.

At about Mile 5, I moved past Patrick and Ryan knowing the turnaround hill was coming and that would be followed by a couple good rollers to the finish. If I could pace the hills, maybe I could even get close to the speedy Ethan; Brett was undoubtedly sipping hot-chocolate at the finish. What great motivation, again seeing the little trail of people as I cruised the descent and then hit the rollers pretty hard. At this point, I was sure Patrick or Ryan were in my shadow and would certainly catch me on the relatively flat finish. And yet, making the final little turn I glanced back and, wow, I was alone. 

Third Place in 44:57. First Place Masters, for a motivational and well-earned prize. The Winter Trail Series is a low-key event, and the turn-out was a little low due to the cold temperatures and sketchy trail conditions, but you win if you show up.  And this was good affirmation that the training regime pays dividends. 

Full results at Ascent Physical Therapy.

Congrats to everyone who showed up in the cold. Sarah got a nice age-category win; always good to carry a little prize for your effort (just a personal "prize", there aren't ribbons or medals for this fun run series). Thanks to Kevin and his crew for setting up and working through the difficulties. Keep going...

Carson River Flats: 5.5 mi (+79 ft); 11:00 pace
Carson River Flats: 2.0 mi (+30 ft); 10:44 pace
Whites Creek Trail: 5.4 mi (+647 ft); 11:08 pace
Centennial 10K: 5.7 mi (+448 ft); 7:54 pace
VC Circuits: 5.9 mi (+386 ft); 10:41 pace

Weekly Totals: 24.4 mi (+1,590 ft); 4:09:14 on trail

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