Okay, here's the full details. I am so breaking Greg's rule of posting about one thing in every way...SORRY GREG!
4th of July Part I: Kenwood 10K
My 4th of July began with the alarm clock going off at 5:30 a.m. Carmen would be at my house at 6:20 a.m. so we could head down to Kenwood (about 12 miles down Hwy 12, between Santa Rosa and Sonoma) for the annual Kenwood Footrace 3K & 10K (we were both doing the 10K).
An abnormally early start to 4th of July, I know. Still, the race sounded fun and I figured I wanted some redemption from two weeks ago when I had raced sick and had a horrible race time (not to mention had a horrible time in general). I was eager to see how my track workouts, treadmill time and long runs had paid off (or IF they'd paid off!) and what kind of time I might have.
Everybody had said "oooohhh...Kenwood 10K...that's a tough one. Got some good hills." Well...after two weeks ago, I couldn't see how anything could really be worse. I was ready for it.
The race began and I knew within the first minute I had put myself too far back into the pack. I really do underestimate my running speed sometimes. It took me a good two minutes just to get out toward the front. I had been given some advice that the hills were mostly in the first two miles, so be somewhat conservative starting out and let it fly the rest of the way.
I did just that. I kept my HR in the 160s for the first mile, upper 160s-low 170s for the second mile, and just didn't pay attention after that. Then a bonus happened: as we made the turn onto Lawndale Road, I realized "oh! I KNOW THIS HILL!" It was a route we'd taken many times on the bike. Bingo! I knew exactly where the hill would end and when it would go up again, so now I had a great sense of how to pace myself in regard to climbing the hills. How awesome!
The minutes rolled on and I kept passing more and more people, making my way up to the front. From about miles 3-4 I found a guy who was exactly my speed and I paced off him. Then I looked down at my HR monitor and saw I was at 180...not something I thought I could hold for the next 20 minutes, so I realized I'd better back off a little.
Minutes later, however, as I flew down a massive downhill, I caught and passed him up. I made it my goal to see how long it would be before he caught me. I just had to keep it steady!
Keep it steady I did. That was my rule the whole way through...steady and kept my HR between 170-175. We rounded a corner and the woman I had been keeping an eye on was slowly getting closer to me. I couldn't really see any other women ahead of her, so I knew that she would probably be the last one I would catch before the finish. I picked it up just a tad; we had about 1 mile to go and I knew this was my chance. Right about here the guy I had paced with finally caught me. Not bad!
One last hill - yes! I knew that not only would I gain some ground on the uphill, but surely the downhill would definitely be what I needed to bridge the gap between her and I. There were two other women that were nipping right at my heels - every time I would look back, they were RIGHT THERE, so I knew I couldn't let up at this point. I was sort of annoyed because I had taken some inspiration from Courtenay and cheered them on as I passed them and said "great job, ladies! Let's do this!" Neither said a thing or even smiled. Anyway, it felt good FOR ME to be wishing them well, regardless of their response. It made me smile. :)
Once we hit the downhill, they were no longer on my heels - I think I picked up a good 5-10 seconds right there. This was it - the woman I'd been aiming for was right in front of me, so I made each step count and passed her. We had about another 1/2 mile to go.
Pretty soon we made a right turn then a left turn - and there was the finish line! I estimated it to be about 200 meters - surely I could sprint this! I looked behind me and heard a spectator say "you're good - nobody behind you!" Hm...I sort of doubted this. I knew the woman I passed couldn't be too far behind. I picked it up and imagined myself running down the straightaway of the track.
Pumping my legs, pushing the ground beneath me...it was beginning to hurt...and suddenly I realized...this was more like 400 meters. Oh, bad mistake!! With about 100 meters to go, the woman I'd passed sprinted past me. And I couldn't do a damn thing about it! Damn damn damn! I smiled and shouted "great job!!" after her. Lesson learned!
<-- Carmen and I post-race
Final time was 46:35 - a 7:30 pace with about 700-800 feet of climbing. Not bad at ALL!
The bonus: I won my age group! How awesome is that?!
I was really happy for Carmen, too - she bettered her time from last year by TEN MINUTES! Way to go, Carmen!
4th of July Part II: Post-race
The rest of the weekend was pretty awesome. We met up with our friends Kendall and Cindy in SF for a Giants game and some tailgating. Then we went out to the Richmond District of SF for some AWESOME Korean BBQ (just FYI for any City dwellers - Brother's Restaurant #2 is on Geary Blvd and 4th ave...though...curiously, they have another one - Brother's Restaurant #1 at Geary and 6th...which some people say isn't quite as good...I don't really get it.). There was SO MUCH FOOD. Crazy!!! SO DELICIOUS (assuming you're a carnivore)!
Kendall & Cindy - THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!
4th of July Weekend: Long ride/run
I don't have much to say about this part but it's still worth writing about. So I was slated for a long ride/short run Sunday morning. Holy CANNOLI my legs were still sore from Friday. David and Lee met me at my house and I had chosen a route that was more of the southwest county - get Lee off of the Terrible Two roads and David & I would be nowhere near the Vineman course.
We headed out and in the first 15 minutes I knew this was going to be a very painful, very long ride. It felt like I had gotten an intramuscular shot...like there was just nasty stuff floating throughout my quads and they were on fire. I thought 'well...if you have to go slow...you have to go slow. Let's just see what happens.'
About 25 minutes into it, though, I was doing alright. They were still sore, but overall I felt good. So by this point we had picked up another rider (Dino was his name) and he and Lee were further back behind David and I who were doing our pre-Vineman just-under-race-pace speed. Dino and Lee actually took a shortcut to catch up with us and announced that they were going to be heading back to get coffee and that we should have fun. Thanks a lot, Lee! (Originally this ride was just going to be Lee and I...so the question I'm left with is...would Lee have ditched me for his new friend Dino if David had not been there? Hmmm...)
David and I headed out toward the coast to Valley Ford. The air became thicker with fog and a hint of salt, and the wind picked up quite a bit; yet since it had been some time since I'd ridden those roads, it reminded me of how GORGEOUS it is out there.
We took a quick stretch break at Valley Ford and on we went. My legs were heavy and this ride was nowhere near the glorious feeling I'd had on last week's solo effort. It concerned me slightly and then I had to remind myself that I'm SUPPOSED to be a little more fatigued and that I have a great taper coming up!
We hit Hwy 1 and stayed there for just a bit; turned right and headed into Occidental. After another 5 miles, we were making a left turn at Bohemian Hwy - the other half of my most favorite road in the entire world. This half was almost as sweet - had some uphills so not like the half that goes from Occidental down to Monte Rio, but just as beautiful. Words fail me to describe the thrill and joy of riding this road that seems to be so aptly named.
Making a left onto Bohemian Hwy in Freestone, my nose immediately picked up the most wonderful smell. David yelled over to me "have you been to that bakery?" "No!" I said! "Oh, YOU HAVE TO go there sometime," he said. "It's the BEST!" On any other ride...I would've pulled the bike over and relished an apricot scone while taking in the hills and thoughts from the last 40 miles.
But today...I rode on. Thankfully the sights, sounds and smells from this road were inspiring enough to keep me happily pedaling forward. We journeyed into a redwood grove and suddenly the sunlight became filtered, the air cool and the smell of damp redwood and green plants surrounded me. It was just like you read about in books. It was so quiet and peaceful, I wanted to slow down and ride through slowly so I could enjoy it even more.
But today...I had a mission. I had to get through this ride strong and keep my pace as consistent as possible. The hill began and I kept on moving. The rest of the ride was pretty uneventful, but I have decided that the Freestone/Occcidental/Graton area is one of the most awesome places I have ever ridden. 5 stars!
Once we hit Occidental we had about 17 more miles to go. We hurried back to my house at a good clip and finished with an 18 minute run, where I managed to keep my pace at about a 7:50 mile with a nice mellow 160 HR!!!!! I was stunned that I was running that fast, but very happy.
The weekend ended on such a high note, save for the soreness. That finally went away this morning after a great morning swim. I am SO excited about Vineman. I'm just hoping that this heat wave ends next week and we have some moderate temps - my wave doesn't start until 8:15 a.m. Ouch.
Finally - I'll finish by excitedly saying that my friend Lee (the one who was training for the Terrible Two; the same one who ditched me on Sunday) finally started a blog! He's a great writer and I'm so excited that he's joining the blogger world. Go visit him at Lee's Life Adventure and enjoy his adventures!!