Monday, April 30, 2007

Positive Splits at the Nevada City Spring Run 10K

With "V" Neelakantan at the awards ceremony

Last Saturday, we participated in the 21st annual Spring Run 5K and 10K in Nevada City. It was the second race of the Gold Country Grand Prix series. Sean and I had signed up to run the 10K, while Vicky, Rocky, and our kids' friend Hayes had preregistered to run the 5K race.

We picked up the race packets and I went for my usual one-mile warmup on Broad Street. It was a gorgeous morning. It was already warm, but not uncomfortable. Quite a change from two weeks ago. "V" Neelakantan was back and running the 10K. We missed him in the last race and at the Bidwell Classic half marathon in Chico. Since he finished in second place last year and pretty much in the top 5 of all of last year's races, he was going to be a tough competitor in this race. Greg Ngo, who took second in the Daffodil Run 10K two weeks ago, was running the 10K as well, while some other runners that ran the Daffodil Run 5K were now trying their luck in the 10K.
The 5K run, 5K walk, and 10K run all started at 8:30, with the ringing of the church bells. The start was down a steep hill, followed by more downhill running (a total of 1821 ft elevation gain and loss on the 10K course). Since it was out and back on both distances, you knew you would have to pay for the blistering speed later.

After a quick sprint to avoid some cars in the narrow street that we were racing down, I settled into a comfortable pace. After about a mile (5:54, due to the downhill) the 5K and 10K went their own different ways and I found myself in second position, trailing Troy Vahidi, with V right behind me. V passed me and I decided to stay right behind him after we exchanged a few words. He really pushed the pace and the two of us passed Troy around the two-mile mark. The course was still going downhill, but we were now running on a quiet gravel road with rolling hills.
V pulled away and was running about forty yards ahead of me when we approached the turnaround/aid station. V stopped a few seconds for a cup of water at the aid station, which allowed me to catch up. I decided not to drink anything and was now running just a few steps behind V again towards the other runners that were heading to the turnaround point. Troy Vahidi and Greg Ngo looked pretty close. The race had really just started, since it was pretty much all uphill to the end.

At mile 4, V slowed down just a little bit and I found myself in the lead (though a little earlier than I had hoped for, but you can't always plan these things out). I looked at my Garmin Forerunner 205 and the pace was definitely slowing down. However, with the hills, it was really hard to tell what the target pace should be, so I decided to just run and not look at the watch anymore.
Between mile five and five and a half I started passing some of the walkers and some of the 5K runners that were cooling down. One of them told me that he could not see anyone behind me, which saved me some looking over my shoulder. With a half mile left, I decided to push it in order not to let my small lead slip away. Soon after that I arrived at the base of the steep street that we had bombed down earlier. I looked over my shoulder one more time and ran up the hill as fast as I could. Rocky and Hayes were cheering at the top of the street and Rocky ran next to me for the last 50 yards.
I came in first place overall in an unofficial 42:26 (there was a small computer glitch at the finish line, so the official results are still to be posted) The (positive) splits were 5:54, 6:33, 6:23, 6:46, 6:49, and 7:16. Considering the layout of the course, negative splits were not an option.
V finished shortly after, followed by Greg Ngo and Troy Vahidi. My son Sean ran a great 10K as well (time still to be posted), coming in first in his age group and finishing with a strong sprint up the hill. We both received ten Grand Prix points for an age group win, which means I am now tied with Larry Defeyter, who won the 5K.

A well-deserved drink at the finish

Rocky and Hayes did not make it into the very tough top three this time, but ran great races anyway. We stayed for the awards ceremony, hosted by race director Pearce Boyer and then had a nice coffee at the Wisdom Cafe across the street.

Larry Defeyter won the 5K overall.

You can check out the Garmin details of the race at

Next up, the Salmon Run 10K trail race in two weeks.


Chihping Fu 傅治平 (超馬阿爸) said...

Congratulations on another win! Thanks for the nice and live report.

I ran with V and met him a few times on Stevens Creek trail when he came to his company in Sunnyvale. See Running with V. Neelakantan. Glad to see him there.

We ultraholics really need some speedwork you did. And you've done it so well. Very impressive!

Great job!


Rajeev said...

Fantastic!! 42 and change for a tough 10K. You inspire me.


Faithful Soles said...

Great job on winning the race. I can't imagine maintaining a pace like that for 10K.

If you get a chance, please visit my running web site, Faithful Soles. I have a categorized and searchable running Blog Database on there and would appreciate it if you would link your blog to it. Thanks and good luck in your training. I look forward to reading about more of your race victories.

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