Sunday, April 10, 2011

2011: A DNS and a Win

Before I do a write up about yesterday's American River 50, I thought I'd get caught up a little with my winter/spring. This has been quite a winter. I guess it's good for the water supply but it has proved very challenging for me. The crux was the weekend of February 25-27. I was signed up to do the 30K at Robert Mathis' Pony Express in Cameron Park, CA just east of Sacramento. I talked my husband into signing up for his very first 10K and we were both excited. I'd never done a multiple loop course and was curious how I would like it.

My girls were off school that week and were with their grandparents on the central coast. The plan was to do the race Saturday morning then meet my folks at the halfway point (Santa Nella) and get the girls from them. Mother nature has a way of changing plans. I knew there was a big storm coming in but figured we were ok since the race course is at a low elevation. The closer it got, the worse the storm reports were.

I worked Thursday and had to commute home Friday morning over Donner Summit. 10 hours later I finally made it home. I also had a tire that was slowly going flat from picking up a piece of metal, the door handle on my jeep decided to stop working, and I was greeted with the news that a giant oak tree had fallen on my nephew's house, barely missing his daughters' rooms. And despite Pat shoveling snow all day, I could only drive the jeep about 20 feet into my driveway (which is about 100 yards long). It was a storm (and a day) to be remembered.

Needless to say, the race the next day wasn't going to happen because we couldn't get our truck out and instead, spent most of the day shoveling the driveway. I'm happy Robert was able to put on his race despite the weather and low snow and I'm impressed with everyone who showed up. I wish we could have been there. It also gave my girls an extra day with Nana and Papa which they didn't seem to mind. So my 2011 started out the same way my 2010 ended: a DNS. (I never did write about my Firetrails race that didn't happen, maybe some day I'll get a story up).

Fast forward to March 27 and the first annual Batwa 5K Challenge, a new local race. Didn't happen. Another storm moved in with low snow and the race was postponed a week because the course was under a foot of snow. Luckily, my schedule was open the next Sunday and I found myself on the start line of my first race since Lake of the Sky last Sept. It was a nice turn-out, about 65 people for a very hilly race. To break it down, I'd say it was a mile up, a mile down, and a mile up. Nothing flat. So not exactly a PR course.

The gun went off and we surged down the road. I found myself first woman but then 2 teen age girls passed me. I thought, okay, I'm in 3rd. We have a ton of very fast young runners in our county so I really had no idea how good these girls would be. Turns out I was able to pass them within the first mile and was surprised to find myself leading the women. I can usually place in my age group in these local races but not win out right. We ran through the woods and across a beautiful creek and I thought what a great way to spend a Sunday morning. I stayed strong and consistant on the first big hill then let it open up on the downhill to the park. Made my way through my favorite park and started the last mile uphill climb. Just stay strong and no one will pass you. That proved to be the case and I crossed the line, first woman, in 26:30. Way off my PR, but a tough course.

The mens winner was local Austin Violette who was wearing a finishers jacket from 2009 AR50. I asked if he was going to be at AR next week and he said he'd be working the Last Gasp AS, one of the guys sprinting up and down the hill filling water bottles as runners begin the last big climb to Auburn. I told him I'd see him there. And I did. But that's the next post. The 2011 racing season has begun!