Sean and Hayes at the Start
I almost wasn't going to run this race, because I had signed up as a driver for a field trip for Rocky's (4th and 5th grade) class. The race started at 8:45. It would take about 45 minutes to run, and 45 minutes to drive back to Rocky's school. Since the caravan of cars was supposed to leave the school between 10 and 10:30, I figured I'd just barely make it, banking in part on the fact that these trips never leave precisely on time.
Rocky had to be at the school earlier, so he was sitting this one out, and with Sid Heaton out for this race, it looks like Sean and I are now the only two runners who have run every single race in the history of the Gold Country Grand Prix Series (This is the third year). This year, however, I will probably not be running all the races in the series, due to some schedule conflicts and my focus on the Tahoe Rim Trail thru-run. I feel that racing the short 5 and 10K runs ultimately came back to bite me last year at Tahoe Rim Trail 100 -- high speeds are not really required, instead it is time on the feet that is important.
My aim for April is to run at least 10 miles a day with approximately 2500' elevation gain and loss, so I did not taper for this race. Chris Bodelato, who is in phenomenal shape, was also running the 10K with an eye on breaking the course record, so I knew that a repeat of last year's performance would, at best, be good enough for second place. It would be interesting to see how I did compared to last year, when I went all out to win this race.
With Larry Defeyter and Chris Bodelato (The Eventual 5 and 10K winners)
Arriving at the race was like attending a small family reunion. It was great to see Joan Bumpus (RD) and all my running friends again after a long winter without any local races. I warmed up with Chris and Larry and I met Catherine who had just finished American River 50 Miler the day before, qualifying for Western States.
The race started off fast with lots of small kids blasting off up front. I settled into an easy pace right away and made it to the 5K turnaround point in about 5th place, running together with Kevin Baker. Before I hit the 5K turnaround, I cheered on Larry Defeyter, who was heading back already in third or fourth place. He cleverly paced himself and ended up outpacing all of the other runners in front of him to clinch the overall 5K win (his first overall win at Daffodil).
Ahead of me were Chris Bodelato (already out of sight), Austin Violette, who ran down the road as effortlessly as Anton Krupicka (the winner of AR50). V Neelankantan, and Greg Ngo. I reached the turnaround in 21:30 and had a lot of energy left. I kicked up the tempo a little bit and after I crested the last hill, I started running even faster down the long downhill (See race details and elevation profile here). I started closing the gap between Greg, V, and myself, but they were still moving fast and I would have needed another mile or so to catch them.
Chris Bodelato Blows Away the Course Record
I finished four seconds behind Greg in 41:41; a full second slower than last year, but with about 85% of the perceived effort (although I think it was a bit windier last year). That was good for 5th overall and 3rd in my age group. Chris Bodelato smashed the course record, winning the race almost a mile ahead of the rest of the pack in first in 34:50, and Austin ran a great race, coming in second place. Sean and Hayes ran the 5K. Hayes finished in 25:34 and Sean met his sub-30 goal for this first race in the season by running 29:42. I said goodbye to some of the other runners (see you at the Spring Run in three weeks) and jumped in my car to race to Rocky's school for the field trip.
For the field trip we went to Point Reyes and Fort Ross. We stayed at a hostel the first night and had a great time there. Just before we got to the hostel, there was a traffic sign that read 17% grade, so of course I went out there to run that the next morning before the kids woke up. There are some great trails all around the Point Reyes area.
Fort Ross was a blast (literally -- we got to fire an old canon). This is a living history field trip in which the kids dress up as characters from the Russian America Company that lived at Fort Ross from 1812 to 1841. They came to hunt the sea otters and unfortunately they almost made these beautiful animals extinct. We were divided into groups of artisans, hunters (Rocky), militia (me), and cooks.
Historic Fort Ross
The militia got to do lots of marching practice, which brought back some memories from my army days, and we stayed overnight in the fort with the different groups taking turns for the night watch. We also made a campfire and cooked in old cast iron pots. After the camp closed for the public, we had the fort to ourselves and we stayed overnight in the blockhouses and other buildings.
Rocky Guards the Fort with an Original (Unloaded) "1812 Charleville Smoothbore Flintlock Muzzleloading" Musket
At the very end of our stay at Fort Ross, we were allowed the fire one of the 13 original canons, which was the highlight of the trip, at least for the militia. Rocky made a movie of it:
Fire in the Hole! (Movie by Rocky)