Sunday, November 12, 2006

Sutter Creek 10K -- 38:28, 1st Place

Well, I guess lightning struck for a third time, because this is the third time that I ran a small race (50 people, I estimate) and no one faster happened to show up. This event yesterday commemorated the opening of a bypass road in Sutter Creek and so a local charity organized a 20K, 10K, and 5K race. The 20K started at around 8am and the 10K and 5K started shortly after 9am. The course consisted of running down a big hill, across a bridge, down another big hill, across another bridge if I remember correctly. Then we turned around and ran back. The nice thing about an out-and-back course is that you get to congratulate and encourage those who are far ahead and far behind you.

When the gun went off, I got out in the front, next to a high school kid who was running the 5K. (I could tell by his bib # which race he was in). I slowly pulled ahead as we raced down the hill. I kept on telling myself to not run too fast and to imagine coming back up this huge hill and that I still had a long ways to go. At the 2.5 km mark (about 1.55 miles), I reached the 5K race turn-around point, still in first place in both the 10K and 5K races. I kept going straight and the guys behind me who were running the 5K yelled at me to turn around. I yelled back, "I'm doing the 10K! Good job!" At the 2 mile mark, my watch showed 11:35 or 11:17 -- I don't recall now, but I think it must've been closer to 11:17 because I remember thinking, "oh, that's 5 minutes 30 seconds a mile and change." Anyway, I probably was slowing down a bit but I kept on running hard. I eventually reached my turn-around point and dreaded heading back up the huge hill. The next guy behind me seemed to be about 45 seconds behind, but I started worrying that he would catch me on the uphill because it was quite steep and I had to slow down a lot and I was breathing very hard. I kept running as fast and as evenly paced as I thought I could maintain, speeding up on the occasional flat portions and slowing down on the steeper portions. I saw a lot of slow runners and walkers coming towards me and we often congratulated each other. Finally, I thought I might be approaching the top of the last big hill, but I wasn't quite certain until I saw the tents and then I let loose and picked up the pace with my heart pounding and I put in a good sprint towards the finish. Final time? 38 minutes 28 seconds as I recall. That's about 6 minutes 12 seconds a mile which is very good for me considering the steepness of those hills. And first place! I think I was about 3 minutes ahead of the next runner. They handed out a beautiful glass trophy with the race and date engraved and mounted on a nice wooden pedestal. Very nice! Was a good day.
And our friend, Cathy Snyder, had her two children run the 5K and they both came in first place in their age groups. Very cool! Thank you, as usual, to Jennifer for watching Claire while I ran and they actually saw me finish, too, which was nice.


Anonymous said...

Hi Ron--congrats on your win. The 20K winner was my very own Doc Bob Hartman. I did the 10K walk with a friend and had a grand time. I'm glad the bypass is finally getting done after much talk and controversy, but my heart breaks for the beautiful little country road it wiped out (still visable from the bypass). My dogs and I have walked many miles through that quiet heavenly landscape to the noise of birdsong and cattle lowing. Sigh. Well the bypass does cut about 10-15 minutes off my drive to Sac. Hope you enjoyed our little rural paridise and will come back and visit some time. Cheers, B.

Ron Little said...

Hi, B., thanks so much for posting. I had a nice chat with the 20K winner and I was very impressed with his running accomplishments. Is Bob Hartman your son? Coincidentally, we're both running the California International Marathon in Sacramento this year. It was fun visiting Sutter Creek and we'll be back again soon since we have friends there. I'm sorry the quiet peaceful country road is gone although I trust there are plenty of trails nearby that are on protected lands. Take care.