Category Archives: races

Race #42: Stanford Race against PH 5k

Today was race 42 on our way to 52 races in 2015! I’m sure you’ve been following along, and I’m sure you know we’re raising awareness and funds for the GBS/CIDP Foundation.  If you’re new to our fundraiser, it’s easy to get onboard: just head on over here.

Getting started!
Getting started!

Today we ran in support of the Stanford Race against Pulmonary Hypertension (PH). I learnt about PH today, and it’s one of those conditions (similarly to GBS) that’s hard to diagnose, not well understood, and needs medical research and raised awareness. I felt good running for a cause, and also raising the awareness for our cause too. It’s also fun to run around the magnificent Stanford campus!

We also ran yesterday, and the body was a little bit tired from that and Halloween celebrations last night. So, no records were smashed today, though we did pick up the pace toward the end. Out of the 750 finishers, we placed 96th and 97th. Not too competitive, but faster than a jog for sure.

Well, that’s 42 races in the history books. That means there’s only 10 races to go — join me in counting them down, and counting down every dollar toward our goal of $52,000!

Race #41: ZombieRunner Halloween 5 miler

I’d never run in a costume. Now I have. We got in the spirit of Halloween on Halloween morning, and cranked out a 5 mile race as race 41 on our way to 52 races this year. As you know, we’re raising awareness for the GBS/CIDP Foundation and trying very hard to raise funds for folks in need. You can be part of our team by heading over here.

Yes, we were egg and bacon. And our friend Kelly was a beer. A perfect breakfast for some...
Yes, we were egg and bacon. And our friend Kelly was a beer. A perfect breakfast for some…

Race 41 was the ZombieRunner 5 mile race in Campbell to Vasona Lake and back. I’ve run these trails hundreds of times, it’s one of the places I always go for a quiet training run and to listen to a few tunes while I run. I’ve also raced these trails more than a few times, from every different direction and from a variety of starting and finishing places.

The race was well organized, well attended, and had a fun Halloween vibe. Power to the people who wore costumes — and a gentle boo to those who took it too seriously on a festive day. I’m saying that since I think we were the first finishers dressed in costume. At least, we were definitely the first food over the finish line. And there was a lot of food — people dressed as beer, tacos, and much more.

Just one more race until we’re at 42 races for the year, and then we can count down from 10 to our goal of 52!

Race #40: Cougar Mountain Trail Run Series 7.6 miler

Best race of the year. Hands down. And Selina agrees! What a way to celebrate hitting the milestone of 40 races on our way to 52 races to raise awareness for the GBS/CIDP Foundation. If you’d like to help someone deal with GBS, it’s pretty easy: just head on over here.

Hey, that's Ross Comer! We were pleasantly surprised to see Ross out on the trails taking photos. He was one of the first folks to get on board and sponsor our fundraiser.
Hey, that’s Ross Comer! We were pleasantly surprised to see Ross out on the trails taking photos. He was one of the first folks to get on board and sponsor our fundraiser.

I’m not so old that I can’t be ever-so-slightly spontaneous. We decided just a couple of days before this magnificent race in Seattle that we’d jump on a plane, head up to where we used to live, and experience the race for ourselves. And, of course, we took the chance of catching up with friends and supporters of our fundraising and running adventures: thanks again to Sean and Rebecca for their hospitality in Seattle, and Ross for the photos!

Catching up with Sean after the race.
Catching up with Sean after the race.

This 7.6 mile run through Cougar Mountain is reasonably tough. Lots of up and down, and a pretty technical single track trail with plenty of roots, rocks, branches, and leaves. But it’s so beautiful that you’ll barely notice — it’s just such a wonderful place to spend a Sunday morning, and the running crowd had an incredible vibe. I’ll remember this one for a long time — or just come back soon and run it again! Awesome.

Race #39: Run to Send a Girl to School 5k

When you’ve run a tough race yesterday, you’re looking for the local 5k the next day. That’s the way we play it when we’re 39 races into our 52 race challenge to raise fund and awareness for the GBS/CIDP Foundation. If you’d like to be part of helping solve the puzzle of GBS and help people in need, head on over here.

Lining up at the start of the small, first annual Race to Send a Girl to School 5k
Lining up at the start of the small, first annual Race to Send a Girl to School 5k

We decided to head over and support Dir Biyabir and their first annual run to send a girl to school in Ethiopia.  The race was small, pretty well organized, and exactly the same course as the Moonlight 5k.

We started off slow, warmed it up slightly, and came home with a reasonable last mile. I’m pretty sure Selina was the 2nd female over the line.

If there’s a second annual race, I’d recommend coming on down and enjoying the nice, small, friendly atmosphere of this one.

Race #38: Brazen Racing Tarantula Run 10k

Just 14 races to go to reach our goal of 52 races in 2015! So far, we’ve raised nearly $43,000 and I know we’ve raised awareness of both Guillane-Barre Syndrome and the GBS/CIDP Foundation. If you’d like to be part of helping beat GBS and help folks in need, head over here.

Sam from Brazen Racing got in the spirit with the costume
Sam from Brazen Racing got in the spirit with the costume

Race 38 was a tough one. At least for me. My trust running buddy didn’t find it quite as hard, and beat me by a minute or so. The pictures tell the complete story.

Selina's just cruising.
Selina’s just cruising.

The race was a trail run at the Los Vaqueros Reservoir, though we didn’t see any water on our run. Indeed, it’s pretty dry up there, similarly to the rest of California right now. Picture dry dirt trails, undulation, and views out over rolling hills in every direction. A nice place for a run.

And I'm struggling. And soaked.
And I’m struggling. And soaked.

I’m not quite sure what was up with me, but I found the race tough from the start. I willed my way through it, and it sure felt like I’d run a lot further than the 6.4 miles or so (the “10k races” trail races are often a little over 6.2 miles).

Anyway, as always, I highly recommend trail running and the Brazen Racing series. Always good vibes, good medals, good shirts, and most importantly some of the nicest places in California for a race.

 

Race #37: Rescue Run 5k

We took a vacation to the southwest of Colorado this week, and hiked for several days around the mountains.  But the week wouldn’t be complete without another race in our journey to 52 races to raise funds and awareness for the GBS-CIDP Foundation.

We found a small race near Castle Rock, Colorado, and decided it fit the bill perfectly for race 37. The Rescue Run 5k was a fundraiser to rescue orphans, and made for a good cause and an interesting Saturday morning.

A quick selfie before the Rescue Run 5k. You can see the hill in the background
A quick selfie before the Rescue Run 5k. You can see the hill in the background

The race started innocently enough in a park. Then, it wound its way uphill over a 350ft climb onto the top of the hill in the center of the Rhyolite Regional park.  From there, it was a run around the top for a mile and a half, and then we retraced our steps down the hill to the finish.

Selina finishing the Rescue Run 5k in Castle Rock, CO

I’m not sure whether it was the elevation of 6200 feet, the 250 foot climb, the 80F / 27C weather, or all three, but it was sure a tough race. Selina and I were both wiped out at the end, and spent the rest of the day rehydrating, eating, and sitting around. In any case, I’m sure glad it wasn’t a 10k race!

That’s 37 races in the history books, and only 15 to go to reach our goal! Yes! See you next time.

Race #35: Brazen Racing Rocky Ridge 10k

We heard down the grapevine that the Rocky Ridge 10k was a tough grind. And the rumors were true — while it’s always magnificent to run Brazen’s races, this was one of the tougher ones. (I can only imagine how hard the half marathon is — maybe that’s a project for next year.)

Getting started on the Rocky Ridge 10k
Getting started on the Rocky Ridge 10k

The race started with a single track, undulating cruise through woods, and short return back down a fire road. And then the fun began — a 1,000 foot climb over 1 mile up onto the aforementioned Rocky Ridge.

I always say to Selina that “Williams’s don’t stop”. The reality is I’ve probably walked maybe six times since 1992, and usually for pretty good reasons; there was the time I’d given blood and that other time when I was dizzy and the world span. Well, make that seven times — there’s no way I could run that 1,000 ft climb.

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Walking up the hill. I wasn’t the only one…

Once we were up on top of the Rocky Ridge, the views were magnificent. The fog filled the valleys, and a gorgeous day spread out in front of us. If I wasn’t so darn keen to get the race finished, I’d have taken a photo or three. You’ll just have to use your imagination.

The end result was (as usual) Selina won her age group, and I didn’t. I’m pretty sure I was 4th in mine, and power to the guys who beat me! We’ll be back running this one next year — in fact, I think I’ll retire from running road races and stick with the trails in 2016.

Race #36: Montclaire 5k

Q. What do you do when you’re a few races behind your goal, and you’ve run a brutal 10k trail race the day before? A. Run a fundraiser 5k race at the local elementary school!

Family shot at the end of the Montclaire 5k
Family shot at the end of the Montclaire 5k
And they're off! The start of the Montclaire 5k in Los Altos
And they’re off! The start of the Montclaire 5k in Los Altos

And so we ran the Montclaire 5k in Los Altos as race 36 on our journey to running 52 races in the year to raise money for the GBS-CIDP Foundation. It’s a great little race: a run around the streets of Los Altos, and a short sojourn into the magnificent Rancho San Antonio preserve.

Settling into the first mile of the Montclaire 5k
Settling into the first mile of the Montclaire 5k

We took along Selina’s parents and our daughter Rosie, and all three were definitely (and defiantly in Rosie’s case) in the walking category. Selina and I intended to just cruise along, but you know how that sometimes goes — a slow first mile, and then the accelerator goes down.

Crossing the finish line
Crossing the finish line

Selina was the first female. Really, can the girl stop winning? And I guess I was in the top ten guys. This wasn’t a competitive race, and we probably should have just been enjoying the day like everyone else. But, hey, we’re competitive with ourselves, and that’s what happens.

See you next time.

Race #34: Trailblazer 5k

Our third race of the weekend was the 21st annual Trailblazer 5k in Mountain View, CA. Similarly to the Moonlight 5k on Friday, it was a race along the edge of the San Francisco bay, but this time in bright sunshine on a Sunday morning.

About half a mile into the Trailblazer 5k
About half a mile into the Trailblazer 5k

This was a really nice mid-sized race. Super well organized, plenty of parking, great crowd, nice course, and a beautiful day to be racing. If you’re looking for a fun race, this is one to pencil into your calendar for next year — and there’s both a 5k and a 10k, and runs and walks too.

We started off slow, promising ourselves we’d aim for 25+ minutes for the 5k race after two races in the two previous days. As usual — and Selina claims it’s my fault — we sped up as the race ran along, and wound up traveling at just over a 7-minute mile for the final mile. Sigh.

Anyway, the result of our labors was that I came 27th out of 300+ folks, and Selina came 28th. As is common in our racing adventures, she was the 5th woman and won her age group, and I didn’t; in fact, I was 10th in mine. Sigh again.

Well, that’s 34 races done, and 3 in one weekend. Only 18 more to go this year, and around 13 weeks to do it! Wish me luck!

Race #33: 5k9

The Hoofin’ and Woofin’ 5k9. Get it? A 5k race with your canine, right? And for a good cause too,  benefiting the City of San Jose’s Animal Care Center.

In my case, the canine is question is our faithful dog Buddy. He’s never been a fan of running, but I figured I’d take him out, he could sniff a few other dogs, we’d give running a shot, and worst case we’d walk. (And the rule is: if there’s a timer, it’s a race, and it counts on the way to 52 races in 2015.)

Buddy doing his best smile for the camera at the 5k9
Buddy doing his best smile for the camera at the 5k9

Buddy helped me set an all-time slowest 5k time of just over 39 minutes.  The first mile was great, and then he put the brakes on. We walk-ran the 2nd mile, and then walked the rest — with a little bit of a jog at the very end. But he got some treats, met a few other dogs, and took a nap afterwards — so I think he had a fine time!

Starting the 5k9. Buddy's already dragging, and we're only 50 feet into the race
Starting the 5k9. Buddy’s already dragging, and we’re only 50 feet into the race

The bizarre thing is I came 2nd in my age group, so I’m guessing I wasn’t the only one with some dog running issues. In fact, if you think about it, if you’ve got dog running or people running issues, you’re not going to set a great time.

A reasonable first mile with Buddy, and then he put the brakes on... but we made it!
A reasonable first mile with Buddy, and then he put the brakes on… but we made it!

Anyway, we made it, and that’s race #33 done on our way to 52 races. And it’s race #2 of 3 in a single weekend!