Sunday, May 04, 2008

Pat's Run 4.2M and Race for Literacy 5K - San Jose and Mountain View, CA

I hadn't gotten into the Miwok 100K that was being held on Saturday due to a bad Wifi connection on the ski mountain on registration morning (Miwok sells out immediately). In so doing I missed my chance to the "Bay Area Triple" of Miwok 100K, Quicksilver 50M and Ohlone 50K on successive weekends. I'm instead only doing the latter two.

So this weekend I signed up for a pair of short road races instead. I decided to keep mileage low and intensity high just before Quicksilver 50M next week. This almost resembles a real taper, something I haven't really tried before.

So on Saturday morning I joined thousands of other local runners to do Pat's Run - a 4.2 miler in honor of Pat Tillman. As most of you know Pat was a defensive back for the Arizona Cardinals who volunteered to serve in the military and was killed by "friendly fire". The run started at Leland High School where Pat went to school.

Like many roadraces, it was an uninspiring course. It runs through the surrounding suburban cul de sacs, before finishing up on the football field. There's another 10K run from Leland high school that at least takes you out on the bike trail.

I planned to run 6:15 miles and try to finish in 26:30 or so. I hit mile 1 (with some downhill) at 6:10. Mile 2 had some climbing and I hit it at 12:40. Mile 3 was right at 19 even. Mile 4 should have been right around 25:15 or so, right on track for 26:30. Instead I hit it below 25 minutes. And I finished up at 25:53. This was definitely faster than planned: about 6:10 milers. I think the course may have been a little short.

On Sunday I drove with my friends Charlie and Marco (doing his first organized road race) to Shoreline Park for the Race for Literary 5K. Several hundred people were there at the start in the chilly mist.


We ran out on a bumpy path from the kite-flying area. I had heard Vanessa Lordi say that she wanted to run 6:10 miles. "OK, I'll draft off of her", I thought. We did indeed hit the first mile at 6:06. Going into the second mile I realized she was slowing down (probably to 6:30 pace) and passed her, losing maybe 15 seconds on that. Elyseo Hernandez was running about 50 yards ahead. as we approached the two mile mark at around 12:30. I suspected that he was in the over 35 age group (I turned out to be right), so I guess it was worth making the effort to catch him (I had bet Charlie and Marco breakfast on winning my age group). I started reeling him in slowly. I caught him right around the 3 mile mark and the turn into the kite flying field at 18:45. I sped up and put out a little kick to not get passed, finishing in 19:20. This was good for third overall and winning the 36 and older age group.

I waited for Charlie and Marco to finish. They both came in sub-30 minutes well in the top half. Great job guys! We hung around in the emerging sunshine eating delicious vegetarian Indian breakfast: ukhma (which was sort of like spicy grits), pongol (which was like a creamy lentil dish) and sambar (a lentil-based red sauce). We followed that up with more breakfast (the bet proceeds that is) at Los Gatos Cafe.


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