Monday, March 16, 2009

Free Shoes!

The Sage to Summit Winter Race Series wrapped up this past Saturday. I was unable to beat Dan Yarborough for the second straight race. My race strategy was to hang on his shoulder as long as possible and then make a move some point late in the race. That was wishful thinking! I hung on for a mile or so and knew I had no chance. He took off at a very quick pace right from the gun and that left me hanging on for life for the entire rest of race. The courses for these 10k's were so difficult as I've said many times. The soft sand and hills made me long for road racing. I looked at my Garmin and saw I still had almost 4 miles to go, so it was best not to be longing for the road just yet.

The good news is that I was lucky enough to win the points series. I did so by getting one win and two second place finishes. The 2nd place finisher is a really neat guy, who probably would have smoked me had he made that his mission. Fortunately for me, part of his mission this year is to cover more miles on his feet running than any miles in a car, boat, train, etc. You guessed it, he's an "ultra guy" and goes by the name of Phil Kiddoo. This meant he ran to and from each race. Perhaps I'd have a chance to win Boston if Ryan Hall had to run from Mammoth to the race start. I mention Phil, because the best part of this series was meeting him and a lot of the eastside (of the Sierra) runners who live in the Bishop area. I particularly enjoyed talking with Phil and Jeff (pictured) who both have nice bios here.

I also won free shoes with my victory. For this reason, I'm now considering myself a professional runner. I'll do whatever it takes to hide the fact that I answer phones for a living. I did score some sweet Sanuks which I've been sporting around quite a bit. And yes, technically they are not shoes, but the owner of the store graciously let me apply my win to sandals.

The March Madness Half Marathon in Cary, IL was this past Sunday. This was a special race for me last year, as it was the first race where I really felt part of a team (in terms of running events). I wrote about it ages ago. Its a difficult course, and a great tune-up for Boston. Several friends put in good performances, but none better than Robert (pictured left) who finished 8th with a 1:16 on a very gnarly (whoa, the west coast is influencing me) course. Be sure to check out the excellent recap he wrote about the race on Coursing.

Speaking of Robert... when reading his entries about his faster miles something interesting has come to my mind. I find myself really missing those type of runs. Training at altitude rarely gives me a chance to run fast. I do get a bit faster on intervals and shorter tempo runs, but on any of my 10 -25 mile runs I'm pretty much hanging around 7:10-7:45. The view I have are beautiful, but there is a simple joy in moving at 6:30 or faster for long portions of runs with friends. I'm not doing a very good job of putting this simply enough. But, essentially, it feels good to run fast, and I don't get that as often up here. My hope is that the feeling I'll have at sea level will be so great it will justify my time up high.

Wish you could join me for my workout tomorrow. 2 miles at 6:00. 6x800 at 2:45. Sounds pretty easy. But, its always a bit tougher at 7,000 ft. Also, I'll be skiing for the first time tomorrow. I hope I break a leg.

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