Sunday, September 25, 2005

Bean Creek Run

This was a little race starting at Skypark in Scotts Valley, convenient to my place in the hills. There was a kids run at 8am, a 5K at 8:30 and a 10k at 9am. I planned to do the 5K and thought I could win, given that last year's race was won in 19:40 and I've been doing lots of 5Ks with that time or better.

I lined up just outside the park with the 5Kers at 8:30am, feeling a little tired from yesterday's race up Diablo. A bunch of high school kids headed out quickly along with another runner who looked to be a contender. We headed out up the hill and turned left onto Bean Creek Road. I forgot how hilly Bean Creek is, even though I've biked it many times. I tried to keep the leader in sight, and passed all but two of the high schoolers before the turnaround just before the one mile mark. I hit the one mile mark at 6:30. I then passed another high schooler and had the leader and the second place high schooler in sight. We hit the two mile back at the starting line with a cheering group of spectators. I was running at 13 minutes and feeling good. We went back through the park and back into the neighborhood behind the park. At that point I was 100 meters back from the second place guy. I started to flag, but was still reeling in the second place runner. The leader was visible but several hundred meters up and out of range for me. I was within thirty yards at the turn back into the park at the 3 mile mark. I cut the distance even further and finished within ten yards, but didnt have the energy to kick past him. my finish was 20:43, good for third.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Mount Diablo Trail Run

I really enjoy the Pacific Coast Trail Runs series and try to do them whenever possible. The Mount Diablo run has several distances: 8km, 25km, and 50km. I chose the 8k given my lack of recent long distance training. I love hill running and have been feeling good lately, so I was hoping to win this one outright. That plan in mind, I tried to hang on the leaders going out. Brian McKinney was a bit ahead of all of us though. I ended up running alongside the woman who was the eventual winner. I was feeling great on the hills and we both ended up passing Brian going up, and we seemed to drop him aways back. I pulled away close to the summit hoping to drop her. I reached the apex first and took the turn to go downhill at 26 minutes. The intense effort caused me to get nauseous a little bit ahead on the descent and the woman raced ahead. I have to figure out how to avoid the nausea that happens when I kick in an intense effort. Maybe no coffee anymore before the race?

I started running again slowly and Brian came up on my tail. I let him pass and tried to hang with his pace. I wasn't paying attention to my steps on the steep downhill and wiped out into some bushes (which saved me from falling down the mountain). I was a bit shaken and did a slow descent from then. As I got down the flats I picked up speed again and hoped to catch at least one of the leaders. I went a bit off course towards the finish, turning to the right too early. I ended up going a quarter mile extra, perhaps adding an extra minute. I don't think staying on course would have been enough to catch Brian though. I finished in 45:30, 1 minute 40 seconds off of Brian's finish in 43:50, good for third.

Overall it was definitely a fun race. Apparently they do this course twice a year. Now that I know where to run, I will definitely do it next time in the spring. My goal is to do it in 43 minutes. Maybe even a practice run some time during the week before my Cal class will be called for.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Run Forrest Run 5K

How can I resist a race in Great America? Its right next door to my office at Good. Plus there's free park admission and more free tickets to Bonfante Gardens given out. Also, as the name implies, its also sponsored by Bubba Gump Shrimp Company. So there was the promise of a good postrace feed (albeit hardly earned for just a three mile jog).

I showed up just before racetime, which wasn't a problem as it started late. Forrest himself (or a Tom Hanks lookalike with about thirty extra pounds on him) sent us out. We started out running through the park walkways. I turned the first mile in 5:45 before heading back into the parking lot for the second mile. Too fast. Should have stayed at 6 minute pace. I slowed down to hit the second mile in 12 minutes. Back into the park for the third mile. I was playing cat and mouse with another guy (James Leale, luckily for me not over 40) . I tried a kick to the finish a little too early. In the maze of park paths I couldn't judge how much remained. I flagged a little allowing the guy to pull along even. A bunch of spectators crossed our paths and I had to slow down to avoid them. James and the first woman, Ute Jamrozy, pulled ahead. I finished a few seconds behind them at 19:06. A little bit better initial pacing and I would have probably finished under 19 minutes. I ended up being second of the over 40s and ninth overall. There was indeed some good barbecue and shrimp pasta and caesar salad from Bubba Gump at the finish. Yum...

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Back to School Scholarship 5K

This race ( is held in Shadow Cliffs Regional Park in Pleasanton. Its the venue for the On Your Mark Tri for Fun and Tri for Real series as well. I like running on these slightly hilly trails.

Unfortunately there were no mile markers so I couldn't really pace myself well. I felt good the whole race though, and loved the hills. About halfway through, my shoelace holding my key came loose and I had to retie it. Maybe 15 seconds lost?

At the point where the 5K and 10K runners diverged, I lost the pack of runners I was reeling back in from where I had lost them tying my shoes, since they turned right to do another loop for the 10K. So, failing another runner to kick against I slowed and finished up in 20:15, fourth overall, without really pushing myself too hard. Although there were several hills to serve as an excuse, I was disappointed to be over 20 minutes in a 5K for the first time in several races

They were giving out bags of random foodstuffs (pasta noodles, pickles, canned jalapenos) after the race, due to its sponsorship by a local food distributor. I got the bag and delicious yogurt smoothie that was also being given away and took off. I only found out later that I had won the 40 to 49 age group.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Pacific Grove Sprint Triathlon

I really enjoy this sprint triathlon crawling over the kelp beds in Monterey Bay (it cant be called swimming), riding down the Pacific coast, and then running through cheering crowds of "America's Last Hometown".

I haven't done this tri in a couple of years. When I raced it in 2003, I was fourth in the 35-39 bracket and would have taken third if had known in transition that I was seconds behind the third place guy. In keeping with my "fifty races a year" goal, I had raced on Saturday, so perhaps I wasn't prioritizing this race. But I still thought I had a reasonable chance to show if I could come close to an hour.

I got down to Monterey at 7am to see the sun shining over Monterey Bay. Amazing. In the transition area, I ran into my old Commerce One colleague, Scott Walecka and we chatted for a while. I walked down to the water, bought a coffee at the food vendor right by the bitch and waited for my "old man" wave to take off. The water was fine - the kelp didn't bother. I ran off course a couple times but not as bad as I normally do. I remember getting pounded a couple times by another swimmer and looking over and seeing it was Scott.

I got out of the water in a typically mediocre 9:46 (had done 8:33 a couple years ago). After a leisurely strip of my wetsuit, I followed a biker running the wrong way out of transition and a whole procession had to run back out the other entrance.

I love this oceanside windy bike course. Just enough of rolling hills to be interesting. I'm not crazy about the double loops (at least they are chipverified versus Treasure Island which has six loops on the honor system). I finished the bike course in 35:30, a minute faster than a couple years ago (when I was the fastest rider over 30). I'm guessing the course is actually shorter now?

I finished off with a 10:54 run (better than 5:30 mile pace). I think the run isn't quite two miles. I didn't feel like I was doing that pace (6 minute maybe). I got passed by a guy running barefoot (and it was a street not a beach run!). That is too cool. I am going to try that at least at the next beach tri I do. My finish was 1:01.42 (I was in the +20 minute wave).

Could I take a minute and 42 off and do one hour? I think I could do an 8:33 swim again next year leaving me with thirty seconds more to shave. A faster T1 could probably do that or just the motivation of approaching an hour at the end of the run.

I had to get some work done so I headed up route 1 back to the valley and didn't hang for the awards ceremony. I found out later that day on the website (TriCalifornia is pretty amazing about timely updates in that regard) that I had taken third. My daughter Elizabeth is looking forward to getting the plaque next week. It was a fun race and I look forward to shooting for one hour next year.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Golden Gate Park Open - Cross Country

This was a four mile race through Golden Gate Park sponsored by USA Track and Field. It is a very serious race with top competitors from all over the Bay area. Pretty much all members of seriou teams.Whew. Talk about entering races over your head. This was one of them.

I was pumped for Pac Grove Sprint Tri the next day so I wasn't treating it as an A race. I wanted to run a respectable 26 minutes for the four miles (6:30 pace). Maybe 27 to account for the hills and offroad aspect. This should have been achievable. I didn't quite make that.

The started in the field around 30th and JFK. The race started at 10:15 a bit later than planned. There was a mass field start along a wide line with a front line and another line 4 feet back. Somehow I got stuck in the front line and it caused me to go out too fast. We turned off of JFK after half a mile and headed down into the woods to hit the first mile. I hit it at 6:10 which was too fast given the offroad nature. Then up a real hill and past a field and some bleachers back to the start for the second mile. I hit that at around 12:45, again too fast. I did the third mile at the 20 minute mark. The last mile I was done and finished in 27:40. I think if I had gone out at 6:30 and no faster I could have done 26 and change.

But this was a fun race. I think I would only do it again with a track club though, which was the orientation of the event.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Mustang Fun-d Raiser 5K

This was the only race in the Bay area on this Labor Day Monday. Feeling good from yesterday's race in San Francisco I drove up to Novato for this little race. We started at the high school and ran north on Novato Boulevard on the bike trail. I hit the first mile at 6:11. I realized that was too fast and slowed down to do the second mile in 12:45. The third mile I hit at 19:15. I couldn't quite catch the fifth place guy towards the end. I finished five seconds after him at 19:40, good for second place in the 40-44. I felt good about the race, especially after running a similar time at the Gift of Life 5K the day before.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Gift of Life 5K

This race ( by People Events was run in Golden Gate Park near the Garden of Flowers. I was familiar with the course from having done the same one last Thanksgiving and took third in my age group.

We ran out Kennedy and made a left to go up the hill to Stowe Lake. I finished in around 19:45 which seemed to be good for eighth and second among the over 40s. I checked to see that I was on the results list before I left, but they got lost in being posted. Supposedly they will be posted soon.