Monday, April 16, 2007

Speed Work at the Penn Valley Daffodil Run 10K

On Sunday, I joined about 400 people in Penn Valley for the 7th annual Daffodil Run 5K Run/10K run/5K Walk. This event was the first race in the 2007 Gold Country Grand Prix put on by the Sierra Trailblazers running club. Last year, I participated in all the races of this Grand Prix series with my two sons, Sean and Rocky, and my dad. We all had a blast. My dad and Rocky placed first place in their age division and Sean came in second. I placed fourth in the 30-39 age group.
Due to a hectic work schedule last year, I had to spend most of the early GP races getting back into running shape. For example, I finished last year's Daffodil run in 55:17, which was nothing to write home about (so I didn't). This year, I had been training and running races all winter and going into this race I had my eye on a top three spot in the 10K based on a recent 42:30 10K training run in similar terrain and looking at last year's top times (a 40:30 first place).
I have yet to break 40 minutes in a 10K, but it was unlikely to happen on this course. Although it is probably the flattest course of the Gold Country Grand Prix series, it does have one major hill in it around mile two as well as a few other small rolling hills.

The day before the race it was raining like crazy and some of my ultrarunning friends ran the American River 50 in the pouring rain. The weather changed overnight and by the time the race started at 8:45 it was sunny and windy. I warmed up by running about one mile and stripped down to my racing gear just before the start. There were many familiar faces in the crowd.

Joan Bumpus, the race director (previously a serious ultrarunner), sounded the siren and we were off. Some young runners started out like it was a 100 yard dash, which is always fun to see. I tried to immediately find a 6:40 pace to avoid going out too fast. I was pretty sure I was in the lead of the 10K, but since both the 5K and 10K started at the same time I would not be able to tell until after the 5K turnaround at approximately 1.5 miles.
With the turnaround in sight, the first two 5K runners were already on their way back. Chris Bodelato, last year's Grand Prix winner from Reno, NV, was leading followed by the fast Nevada City runner, Larry Defeyeter, who won my age group in the GP last year. Both of them were running around 5:40/mile.
At the 5K turning point, three runners caught up to me and a runner in the black T-shirt (Doug Reed, I believe) took the lead. I alternated fourth, third, and second place with the other two for the next 3 miles, drafting a bit here and there to avoid the strong headwind on the way back from the 10K turnaround point. On the way back from the 10K turnaround point, I met Sid Heaton, who was going way faster than his predicted pace as well as my oldest son Sean who was still going strong (a fellow runner told him that he should join the track team).
I slowly moved back up and moved into second place on the downhill after mile 4. I was followed very closely by another runner from the original group of 4. We started passing the 5K walkers. The last mile of the course was run on a bike path on which we had to dodge a lot of 5K walkers. I passed my wife on the bike path and soon after that, I passed the front runner, still followed by the man behind me. It was a fight for first and second place now. I prepared myself for the uphill finish and tried speeding up a few times on the bike path, but was unable to drop my opponent who was literally just a few feet behind me and seemed to be glued onto me.
It is funny how you go through a lot of the same mental issues that you go through in a long race and it is easy to get sucked into negative imagination. To avoid that I tried to visualize positive images and drew strength from knowing that some of my friends, like the unstoppable Chihping Fu, had just completed a 50 mile race in the pouring rain in a PR of 8:31. Here I was almost finished in 40 minutes. I could not let it slip away now!
It was a real fight to the finish until the last turn from the bike path into the park with about a tenth of a mile to go. At that point I really put the hammer down, giving it my all to hold on to the first place. I looked over my shoulder to make sure I was not going to be passed and fortunately my finishing kick was good enough to hang on for the overall 10K win.
Overall it proved to be a good strategy, not going out to hard and running the following (negative) splits: 6:28, 7:00, 6:39, 6:46, 6:25, 6:11. I guess all the long runs are paying off :)
In the meantime, Rocky had run a 29:00 5K and my sons' friend Hayes, who came along for his first 5K came in around 27 minutes. We all waited for Sean to finish his 10K. He ran non-stop and finished strong. He came in first in his age group in another PR of 1:05, picking up 10 Grand Prix points!
Next up, the Tehama Wildflowers 50K in Red Bluff on Saturday!
Rocky, Sean, and Hayes -- Enough energy left to go skateboarding after the awards ceremony!


Chihping Fu 傅治平 (超馬阿爸) said...

WOW! Even an ultrarunner can be top at 10K. Congrats on the first place. Awesome!

Nice report. I feel like I was running with you to fight for the 1st place.

I've been scared at the breathtaking 10K/5K pace, but, encouraged by your report and effort, I should try it once in a while. Right? Perhaps I can run a 10K in the Pumpkin Patch family fun run in my town :-)

Thanks for thinking of me and glad it helped you a bit mentally.

Looking forward to your another blast in the coming Tehama Wildflowers 50K!



Peter Lubbers said...

Yes, I think you should give the 10K a try. Warm up a bit beforehand though.

By the way, Steve Bond wrote a nice article in the Union newspaper about the race:

Scott Dunlap said...

Nice work with the speed by all three of you! Who knew ultrarunners could go so fast.

Best of luck at Wildflower. I expect pics! ;-)


Rajeev said...

First place???? Wow!! Pete - you are amazing. Congratulations.

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