Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Enviro 5k

Race report: Enviro 5k @ PIR by Chad Sayban.

To start with, I didn't have much in the way of expectations for this race. My training has been good, but it has been all base building to this point with really no speed work. I knew I could comfortably run the distance, but I also knew I wasn't going to come anywhere near my PR.

One thing about running a race at Phoenix International Raceway, you have to park outside of the track, and then walk all the way into the center of the track. That's about a 3/4 of a mile walk. Since I didn't preregister for the race, I had to make the walk three times. Not a big deal. I had plenty of time before the race. Once I got everything squared away, Eric and I decided to walk a lap of the track as a warmup and to get to see the course. I was really surprised that the track looks a lot smaller when you are on it. The track seems pretty narrow and since everything is surrounded by walls, it has a pretty enclosed feel to it.

It took forever for them to get the race started. The 5k was supposed to go off at 8am. Instead, we didn't get started until almost 8:30. The start was right at the start/finish line for the track. Someone yelled "Go," and we were off. I went out conservatively and quickly made my way down to the very bottom of the track. The banking is pretty tough to run on, but down at the bottom, it's quite a bit flatter. The first mile is one lap of the actual oval, but as you come around turn 4, they have you go down pit road. There were no mile markers, but I had the first mile at around 7:30. A bit faster than I figured I could go, but I felt pretty good. One big thing I found out about the track...it's not flat! The entire backstretch is a gradual uphill, and it was into the breeze. Once you catch turn 3, it flattens out and then it a slight downhill down the front stetch and into turn 2. I bet even the diehard NASCAR fans didn't know that!

So as we go into turn 1 of the second lap, they take you off of the oval and into the road course. This is how they pick up the extra .1 mile to make 5k. Eric's Garmin read exactly 3.1 miles at the end, so I guess they got it just right. I was pretty steady through the second lap, but I knew I had slowed down a little. I passed a bunch of people on the second lap. Only one guy got past me though. To bad the guy was pushing a running stroller. I hate that! It's bad enough to know that I'm not as fast as I want to be, but to have a guy pushing 25 pounds go right by me...guurrrrr!!!

Anyway, the second lap passed and the third lap was once again around the main track itself. I felt pretty good, but didn't have a higher gear to go to. At the start of the race, I had hoped to keep the pace under 8 minute miles, and come in below 24:00. Well, I must have kept it right at 8:00 pace, because I hit the line at 24:24 for the 3.1 miles. Not bad. I'll take it considering where I'm at with my training plan. The weather was really good, about 75 at the start with a bit of a breeze. It wasn't the best organized race ever...it was a first year event. Even so, it was pretty low key. I'm guessing there were about 150 runners in the 5k. We will see what it says in the final standings.

Eric did awesome! He finished in around 27 minutes, which had to be a PR for him. But I will let you check out his blog to find out.

All in all, I had a lot of fun and am really happy to be back racing again.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Dam Good Run

Lake Pleasant ‘Dam Good Run Hike’ by Mike Miller

This last weekend Kimberly and I traded in the weekend Hike for a local event at Lake Pleasant called the 3rd Annual “Dam Good Run Hike”. It turned out to be a really fun day, and we enjoyed the Lake Life vibe all morning and afternoon.

The ‘Good Dam Run Hike’ offered two tracks - one 4 mile and one 7 mile. Wanting to get a good workout in we opted for the 7 miler, and glad we did. The event is in it’s third year and while still smaller (maybe 100 people total for both runs), the group was a perfect mix of young and old and all nice people. The fees you paid went to support Lake Pleasant and they had a good group of sponsors, so entry included a T-Shirt, hat, snacks, and some other miscellaneous stuff. All in all a very well run event.

The seven mile track was about half trail and half road. This was good news for me, because I am still much more comfortable running on trails. Seeing the first 2.5 miles are so where all trails, I knew I could get a little head start on Kimberly and maybe hold on for the Road portion and beat my little gym rat - runner wife (not that we were being competitive or anything ). You start from a parking lot and quickly descend down into a wash riparian area. The trail follows the wash/creek for a couple miles before you head up and out. There were 4 creek crossings and several spots where you had to duck under the trees. Heading out of the creek, you climb up a service road that gains a thousand feet or so elevation in about a mile - a nice painful stretch for this old man. After the climb you head toward the New Wadell Dam (hence the name of the race). The Dam is an earthen Dam and what holds the Aguia Fria to make the lake. As far as I know this is the only day of the year us regular folks can be on the Damn. So pretty cool you get to cross it and then head back. After coming back on the Dam you have another mile or so of trail run.

Just for the purposes of documenting the day for future years… I have to say I did end up crossing in 1:09 which was enough to get there ahead of Mrs. Miller . Considering we had 7 miles and 1800 ft. net elevation gain, had some creek crossings, and had a wine and tequila night the night before with good buddy Shane - I think us old folks did pretty good.

After the race we found a nice little Ramada with a view of the lake, setup my trusty grill and had a great lunch. then we headed over to the Marina and partook of a glass of Vino and a cold one. Once again…. life is good!