Sunday, October 26, 2008

Silicon Valley Half Marathon AND Marathon Pacing - San Jose, CA

In all honesty, this is not one of my favorite races. It runs mostly on the Los Gatos Creek Trail WHICH THEY DON'T CLOSE. Yes, that's right. For your $100 marathon fee, you get to dodge strollers and rollerbladers and even some bicycles for hours on end. I did the half marathon a couple years ago and the full marathon last year. And I thought I wouldn't do the course again. Especially as I don't do road marathons anymore, and I don't really take road races in general too seriously. Plus I am in serious back pain, going to my chiropractor almost daily. So I couldn't have too high an expectation for today.

But its convenient and I've been running well lately despite back pain. So I wanted to see what time I could run for the half and was hoping to have a good race today. My friend Charlie dropped me off at the start at 6:30am and I waited in the not too cold morning among a surprisingly small crowd (I wonder why, besides the fact that the course is not very impressive).

I planned to try to run 6:30 miles and finish in around 1:25. But after the first couple miles it was clear that I was only feeling comfortable with 6:40 miles (due to poker until midnight the night before perhaps?). So I resolved to just run under 1:30 and enjoy the day, taking pictures en route.

I got to see Ultraholic Rajeev Patel near the halfway point, cheering the Ultraholics doing the full and half marathon (Baldwyn Chieh, Ron Duncan and myself). The Los Gatos Creek Trail is absolutely overfamiliar to me of course. So it was easy to time it to finish right below 1:30 at 1:29:57 chip time (1:30:03 gun time).

After finishing I ran out to the marathon turnaround point to wait for Baldwyn Chieh. Baldwyn and I left around 1:40 on the race clock. He was on pace to qualify for Boston which was his goal today. I was hoping running him back a couple miles might help a little.

Baldwyn and I running out from Los Gatos

He seemed to be running well and held onto qualifying pace for those two miles that I was with him. As we got back onto the trail and he turned to head north I headed back to Los Gatos to meet Charlie for breakfast at Los Gatos Cafe.

After a quick delicious omelette at LG Cafe (they really do make the best omelettes in the Bay area) we headed out to meet up with Tom Kaisersatt to walk him in the last few miles. Tom is undergoing chemotherapy for fairly serious cancer right now. He is the veteran of many marathons and ultramarathons. He has done every year of the Silicon Valley Marathon. Many of the people whose lives he has touched over the past decades decided to walk him in. The Mercury News wrote an article about it yesterday.

Tom and I first met when I ran offcourse for ten miles at Woodside 50K on a day when I already had a calf injury. This was probably my toughest ultra experience. I was bonking because I had run away from aid stations and did not have enough fuel to handle going so far offcourse. I met up with Tom and he shared some potstickers with me (who else carries potstickers in an ultra?!) which made me feel much better. And he wouldn't let me quit the race (which I was pretty determined to do that day). Then he came to my Overgrown Fatass race the next week. Finally we both went to Kettle Moraine 100K this year. When I met up with the "Tom's caravan" at mile 22 I talked to Tom about our impressions of Kettle Moraine.

Walking Tom in, photo courtesy of Jean Pommier

After this I got to meet Flyin' Brian Robinson, the record holder at the world's toughest ultra: the Barkley Marathons. I talked at length with Brian and his wife Sophie about their experiences at the Barkleys and other races.

Chatting with Flyin' Brian Robinson and his wife Sophie

Eventually around mile 24 my friend Tracy came alongside. I got to run her in to her personal record in the marathon.

Running Tracy in to her PR

This was quite a funfilled and eventful morning in paradise. And I must say all the pacing (Baldwyn, Tom and Tracy) was far more fulfilling than my actual race.


Anonymous Julianne said...

Adam - Came across your blog looking for a group of ultra runners to train with in the Morgan Hill area. Wondering if you know of any. Hoping to find some partners as I gear up for Spring training. I just did SV Marathon too. Wondered what Team Tom was all about. Nice blog. This is me:

9:26 PM  
Blogger Adam Blum said...

Come out for the Tunnel Run from Los Gatos to Santa Cruz this weekend! It should be an epic experience. And on other weekends there's Quicksilver Running Club meeting at the LG High School on Saturday morning.

9:43 PM  

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