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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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 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!
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.
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!
We ran the Moonlight 5k on Friday night. It’s the 31st running of this unique event that weaves its way through trails surrounded by marshland on the edge of the San Francisco bay. The race is at the Baylands Athletic Center in Palo Alto, and our 5k race began at 8:45pm in darkness under the Harvest Moon.
We were told to bring headlamps, but we noticed at the start that only a few people had them. I put mine in my pocket, and headed out without it. About half a mile in, it was pretty much dark, and we’re on an unpaved trail traveling along at a sub 8-minute mile. So, I quickly put mine back on and lit up the trail. Power to the folks who didn’t have one, but I’d recommend it if you’re running the race next year.
Anyway, this was the first of three races we planned to run on the weekend. So, we didn’t exactly crank up the pace to maximum (and you couldn’t anyway — there was over 2,500 people out there and plenty of traffic jams, and it was very dark). So, with those excuses declared, I’ll tell you that Selina came 124th and I came 126th. She was 2nd in her age group (how does she do that every week?), and I was 11th.
Race #32 is officially done, and that’s 20 more to go in this 52 race adventure in 2015.
For those who’d like a little more, here’s a write up from the Palo Alto Weekly.
We ran the Awesome 80s race in San Francisco on Sunday morning at 7:30am. Getting out of bed on a Sunday at 6am isn’t that awesome. I’m renaming it the 80s race.
One thing I’ve learnt over 30 races is to be wary of novelty races. They’re either lame, badly organized, or run at some of the least pleasant places you can run. (I’m looking at you The Super Run.)
This race was actually a nice surprise: there were more than 500 people and they took the costumes seriously. We saw everything from a transformer to Slash from GnR, from Tetris pieces to a Star Wars stormtrooper, from bad aerobics costumes to Richard Simmons.
We got a bit lost in the middle of the race. So, the badly organized piece was a little true. Put some chalk down, guys. But, other than that, this was a pretty nice way to spend a Sunday morning: running along a marina near the San Francisco bay, lots of people having a fun time, and a very amusing DJ and announcer guy.
Anyway, Selina and I ran the 5k, and I guess the few serious runners that were there must have run the 10k. Selina came 2nd overall, and I came 3rd. And it wasn’t like I let her win — she just blew me away at the end.
Today’s race was the 12th Annual 10k on the Bay. Perhaps surprisingly, you can choose between a 5k or a 10k, and both meander through the foreshore of the San Francisco bay next to the San Mateo bridge in Hayward.
It doesn’t matter where you live, you know your main topic of weekend conversation is the weather. We spent most of the past two weeks complaining about heat and humidity. Especially the humidity, which we never get. Oh, and especially the heat because it was, well, hot. Today, we complained it was cold and breezy. It really wasn’t. But it smelt seaweedy.
We ran the 5k. We thought about the 10k, and thought again, and decided the plan right now should be to run lots of races (and get us closer to 52 races this year). I’m sure there’s a few 10ks and maybe a half-marathon in our future this year.
We took it a little easy for the first mile, and then got somehow caught up in the racing. The end result was Selina was the 2nd female (about 30 seconds behind an 11-year-old speedster), and I was about the 10th guy. We were both the first in the 40-49 age groups, so that made us feel good.
Onward and upward… we’re hoping to run two races next weekend too!
I’d been lurking for while on Troy’s website, checking out his race calendar. Today we dived in and tried his Annual Almaden Hills Run, and put Race #27 for the year in the history books. And what a great experience it was!
If you love well-organized races, trail running, hills, small crowds, and a friendly vibe, this race checks all five. It starts and finishes just inside the beautiful Almaden Quicksilver park, and climbs the peaks to offer amazing views of the Silicon Valley. You’ve got the choice of the vaguely sensible (5k, 10k, 8 mile) or the slightly crazy (half marathon) or the completely bonkers (21 miles, 50k). Even the 5k offers 600ft of elevation gain in the first mile.
Troy told us at the start that the cutoff time for completing the race was eight hours, but he’d hang around for nine hours just in case. I’m not sure that I’d want to be out in the late August summer heat (it was mid-80s Fahrenheit today) for eight or nine hours and running 50k. But, hey, you’ve got to admire those who can do that.
Anyway, getting back to reality, we wanted to run today and tomorrow, and I’m even contemplating a mid-week race in San Francisco to get this 52 race challenge back on track. So, 5k it was today for us. And that was plenty to be honest.
I came third overall, and was the first man. I am not entirely sure there was a second man in the 5k race. Talk about girl power! Selina came fourth overall. We didn’t entirely cruise the race, but we certainly held something back given we want to race again tomorrow. I got a nice certificate, and headed on my way.
Love Troy’s races after a sample of one. We’ll be back for more. See you for tomorrow’s report!