Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Bikes, Beaches and a 5k

Despite not having any set plans, this past weekend sure was a busy one that included, no surprise,  biking and running!

Bikes: Amgen Tour of California

The Amgen Tour of California made its way up the state and passed through our neck of the woods Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  The Amgen Tour is an eight stage/day, 750 mile bike race that started in Southern California last weekend and ended in Santa Rosa this weekend.  I was lucky enough to sneak away from work on Friday to watch the individual time trial stage in San Jose on Friday, the start in Livermore and out on Patterson Pass for one of the King of the Mountain climbs on Saturday, and across the Golden Gate Bridge on Sunday.  On top of that there is an awesome app that allows you to stream the tour live so I enjoyed catching up with the tour every afternoon at work around 2 when it went live.

I LOVE the guy on the far right in teal - definitely no race nerves for him!
The break coming up Patterson Pass.

Top of the KOM climb at Patterson Pass.
Here comes the Peloton!

Bikers on the Bridge on their way to Santa Rosa.

Streaming live at work.
Seriously in awe of these athletes.  Can't wait til they come through again next year.

5k: Kops for Kids 5k

One of my goals for last year was to set a new 5k PR and well, that never happened.  I haven't ran an official 5k since 2009 so when Layla said she was doing a local race Saturday morning and I calculated I could still make it to the start of Amgen in Livermore at 11 I jumped at the chance to race.

The race was very small and benefited athletic, educational and social programs in Contra Costa County aimed at keeping youth out of trouble.  There was a large law enforcement and military presence so we joked we were probably in the safest place in Contra Costa County Saturday morning.  There were no timing chips - only old school bib tears.  Despite being small, there was a pretty nice post race spread, a band and a half dozen vendors set up at the finish.

Since I really wanted to race this and everything has been kinda stiff and cranky lately, Layla and I planned to do a warm up run to loosen up before the race.  The race started in a shopping center so we did a few warm up laps before the start.  I had to hunt down a bathroom so I barely made it a mile before we had to line but luckily that seemed to be enough.  My last PR was was 29:23 (9:27 min/mile) and was run a week after my first marathon so I knew I could easily beat my time.  My "A" goal was anything under 25:00 but I thought that was a stretch.  My "B" goal was anything under 25:59 and my "C" goal was just a new PR.  I planned to try and start the race in the mid 8s and slowly speed up from there.

There was a 5k and 10k with the 5k course being a simple out and back along a trail.  Since there was no chip timing so we tried to line up as close to the front.  A simple bull horn sounded and we were off.

Within the first half mile I managed to secure the second place women spot.  I was running with everything I had and clocked a 7:59 at mile 1.  Yeah, so much for starting in the mid 8s.  As I approached the turn around there was only a handful of people in front of me and I saw Layla on the other side kicking ass holding the first women spot!  I checked my Garmin and it read 1.35 which had me a little worried the course was going to be short but thought maybe there was a round about way we would take to the finish.

On my way back I saw the third place women maybe a tenth or so mile back.  Having gone out as fast as I did I didn't know how long I could hold my pace but my competitive side kicked in (and the sheer fact that I never am in a position to place) and I was going to do everything I could to hold on.

Right around mile 2 I saw the "1k to go" sign and knew at that point the course was going to be short.  Darn - I wouldn't be able to count this PR.  On the flip side though I knew that instead of 1.1 miles to go I only had about .6 and pushed with everything I had.  Soon I was off the trail and crossing back through the parking lot and crossing the finish line.

Final Stats:
Distance: 2.66 miles
Time: 21:59 (8:17 min/mile avg)
2nd Place Woman Overall

The good news is had the course been a full 3.1 miles an 8:17 pace would have helped me hit my B goal!  Now that I know a little bit more about my ability I am eying another 5k in a few weeks to get an official PR.

Beach: Tennessee Valley Trail Running

On Sunday Layla and I set out on another running adventure.  After watching the Amgen Tour on the Golden Gate we headed over to Marin to run some trails.  No pressure, no distance in mind, just out to explore.  I had seen Tennessee Valley as an aid station for a lot of races but never been over there myself.  My Garmin ended up being dead so literally I just ended up running on feel checking in with Layla from time to time to see our total mileage.

Our route took us straight out to the beach, up to a look out, back down to the Coastal trail almost to Muir Beach and then back on the Fox trail for a total of 7 miles.  We spend a lot of time stopping and taking pictures as well as debating which way to go.   I think I must have said, "next time we will explore this or next time we can go that way" a million times.  It was simply a gorgeous day with absolutely spectacular 360 degree views.   Like I needed yet another reminder of what a beautiful state we live in. 

Post run we headed over to the San Francisco Running Company where I got my first Osielle tank.  I had been eying their Mio Mesh tank as it looked like the perfect light weight tank to take me through the summer and I loved it.  I got it in navy but pretty sure I will need the pink one too.  A coffee stop and a stop at Lulu for some more sports bras on sale rounded out the shopping.  Amgen, running, coffee and running clothes shopping = the perfect Sunday in my book!  Now just two more days of work until the three day weekend!

(P.S. My Big Sur marathon recap is almost done!  Spoiler - it was a great race!)
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  1. I'm sad I missed out on the Amgen tour last weekend. Looks like you had a blast! The Marin trails look gorgeous! My running has been sucking lately. Hoping to get it back together and start June off on a good note. It will be almost time for training to start for Nike (fingers crossed) and Big Sur soon. I actually want to have a good training season. Let's meet up soon! :)

  2. Sounds like a perfect weekend to me. Awesome pictures!

  3. Sounds like a fabulous weekend! Congrats on the 2nd place finish. I love watching the pro cyclinsts too -- so impressive!

  4. Awesome post...I hardly know where to begin commenting. LOVE the photos of the Tour, I am so sad I missed it this year. Amazing trail run photos as well.

    I am most narked for you though with the short 5k course. That's ridiculous. Short courses make me really pay, you get up early, can they seriously not measure anything close to 5k??


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