Saturday, June 2, 2007

Running for the Community

The 10K Altitude Profile

On Saturday, I joined a crowd of runners (it seemed like more than 200, but I am not sure) in Grass Valley for the first annual Run for the Community 5K/10K. The event was hosted by the Twin Cities Church and was the fifth run in the Gold Country Grand Prix series.

I had scouted out the course with Sid Heaton last week and it was a good thing we did. The course (especially the last half of the 10K) was a lot harder that I had expected for a Grass Valley run. It almost reminded me of the Salmon Run and some parts were actually steeper.
Arriving on race day, you could not tell that this was the first time the event was ever hosted. The race was extremely well organized. There were nice technical shirts, prizes (including actual trophies), and lots of volunteers and water stations on the course.
The race started at 8:30 and at that time it was already hot. During my warmup, I had stashed a bottle of water around the three-mile mark, which would come in handy. A high school runner from Reno, NV who ended up winning the race, Reno's Chris Bodelato, and Sid Heaton led the 5K, and I followed closely, followed by V Neelakantan and Dixon's Greg Ngo, who recently finished an unbelievable bike ride across the US in 28 days. I knew the last two miles of the race were going to be a tough uphill, so I decided to go out hard, taking advantage of the downhills. The first mile, which led us into a beautiful cherry orchard, flew by in 5:38.
After about three miles, we crossed the Rough and Ready Highway, which marked the start of the long downhill to the Kubich's Lumber Mill (as seen in the Hallmark movie The Christmas Card). Some sections were extremely steep and at one point I felt like I was actually flying, reaching a maximum speed of 15.7 miles an hour (per my Garmin Forerunner)!

Of course the fun was short-lived, because, after turning around at the lumber mill, everybody had to climb back up the hill. The Bannister-like speed was instantly replaced with a slow shuffle. Greg and V were not that far behind me, so I kept moving forward as fast as I could.
Half-way up the hill there was a flat, 1-mile irrigation ditch trail section that allowed us to catch a breath. It was another out and back section, and at the turnaround point I was in roughly the same position compared to Greg and V as before.
The last 3/4-mile section was back up the hill, with a somewhat flat finish into the parking lot. A lot of the 5K runners that had already finished were cooling down and offered encouragement. I was able to hang on to my first place, finishing in 44:25. Greg came in second, followed by V.
Rocky had already finished the 5K in about 33 minutes and our friend Marie who ran the 5K finished second in her age group. Vicky walked the 5K with another friend and shortly after they arrived, Sean and his friend Hayes finished the 10K in about 1:09, a great time considering the tough course. Sean increased his lead in the Grand Prix with his first place in the 12 and under AG, while Hayes came in second in the 13-15 AG behind Austin Violette, who will be part of the crew that is going to film the Western States 100 mile race this year.
We all had a great time. There was lots of hardware to take home; I received a nice trophy (see below) and the boys received nice medals. After the awards ceremony, we were off to the Wisdom Cafe in Nevada City for a nice coffee.
Next up, a big running day on June 23rd. First, the Habitat Trail Run Half Marathon in the morning, and later that day I'll be pacing my friend Dave Yeakel Jr. from the East Coast from Forest Hill to Auburn (38 miles) at Western States 100 . Good preparation for the TRT100!

Note: I left my camera's memory card in the computer, so no pictures this time.


Chihping Fu 傅治平 (超馬阿爸) said...

Congrats on winning this tough 10K. Clicking on the profile, I can't imagine how you managed this hilly course so well for 44 min.

I also checked Gold Country Grand Prix points. Glad to see you and Sean each at the top place in age group. Perhaps Scott Dunlap can have an interview about you (and Sean) when you win both Gold Country Grand Prix and Fueltbelt later this year :-)

Looking forward to seeing you soon (Oracle 5K, WS100).


Scott Dunlap said...

You are officially a short course star now! ;-) Congrats to all on a great race.


Gretchen said...

Sounds like a fun tough race! I'll have to start checking your blog for local races, although I can't remember the last time I ran anything shorter than a half marathon. Probably because I'm not fast like you! ;)

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