Race #9: Jenny’s Light 5k

Some races are just races. Others give you insight into someone else’s life and important causes. This is a race that matters.

Jenny’s Light is a charity formed after the untimely death of Jenny from postpartum depression. It aims to improve and save lives through increasing awareness of postpartum mood disorders. Since its inception a few years ago, they’ve raised over $400,000, and it was our pleasure this morning to contribute by running their annual race. If you’d like to contribute too, head over here. (We sent over a few extra dollars too.)

Speaking of things that matter, my fundraiser to fight GBS matters! We’ve raised nearly $11,000 in less than a month for the GBS/CIDP Foundation. I suffered from GBS — which wasn’t fun — and I’m working to help others who have the misfortune. Please head over here and donate to support the cause.

The Race

This race was at Vasona Lake in Los Gatos in California. It’s a beautiful park, built along the Los Gatos creek trail, with the Billy Jones Wildcat Railroad as the center piece. Very flat and all pavement.

It was a cooler morning in Northern California. It took a while to warm up, and we wished we’d brought along running gloves. If you live on the east coast of the US, you probably hate me now. Sorry.

It was a fun race. A family, mothers, strollers friendly vibe. There was a kids run, a 10k, and the 5k that we ran. The 10k and 5k had regular runner and people-pushing-a-stroller divisions. The 10k took off at 10am — a daylight-savings-started-today friendly time — and 5k at 10:05am. What made it extra special was two families from our girls’ school, and other friends being there — it’s great to see families out together, and you can’t beat exercising as a family.

The start wasn’t a ton of fun, but that’s Vasona Lake for you; I’ll come back to Vasona Lake later. Lots of kids running like crazy, then stopping, tying shoelaces, waiting for Dad, and generally trying to get themselves hurt by fast moving “running back”-like guys like me. Anyway, survived that, and had a fun race on a meandering course.

The Jenny's Light 5k race at Vasona Lake in Los Gatos, CA
The Jenny’s Light 5k race at Vasona Lake in Los Gatos, CA

Super well organized race. It started on time, no problems with the timing and awards, and the friendly vibe flowed through. I’ll run this one next year, and hopefully for many years to come.

As to a time, well, I came seventh overall in 21:46. I wasn’t feeling the best with a slight cold, and just never quite got in the groove. Still, I was happy with the result, and I’m looking forward to Buenos Aires next week — a 10k through the streets of Argentina’s capital!

Selina and I are ready to run the Jenny's Light 5k
Selina and I are ready to run the Jenny’s Light 5k

Running Races at Vasona Lake

Races at Vasona Lake in Los Gatos tend to meander. It’s a beautiful place to be, but its designers clearly weren’t thinking about 5k racers when they laid the trails. I reckon I’ve run around ten races at Vasona, and everyone’s been different — and they all involve lots of corners, doubling back, and generally running a snaking trail.

Which reminds me of the worst race I’ve run. It was at Vasona Lake, and maybe in 2012, and was a “first annual *something* race”. (Pro tip: don’t sign up to run in the first annual anything.)  There were no course markers, and no marshals on the course. I’m moderately confident that the leader of each pack of runners ran a different course, leading to maybe ten different races being run. I crossed the line in a suspiciously slow 25 minutes. Several slower looking people had been over the line for 10 minutes, and several faster looking people crossed the line at the 30 minute mark. I’m mellow about that king of thing. Several people weren’t. Chaos ensued.  Anyway, got a nice t-shirt.

Well, that’s race #9 in the books. I hope you’ll join in supporting my fundraiser for the GBS/CIDP Foundation, and follow my journey to 52 races in 52 weeks.


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