Tag Archives: 5k

Race #32: Moonlight 5k

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.

Headlamps set for the Moonlight 5k
Headlamps set for the Moonlight 5k

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.

Race #31: Awesome 80s 5k race

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.

Crossing the line. That must have hurt...
Crossing the line. That must have hurt…

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.

Plenty of costumes at the start
Plenty of costumes at the start

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.

Selina crossing the line in 2nd place overall
Selina crossing the line in 2nd place overall

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.

Good costumes. See what I mean?
Good costumes. See what I mean?

Have a great week…

Race #28: 12th Annual 10k on the Bay

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.

Shoreline 8_201405071147043259

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.

Looking slightly cold before the start of the race
Looking slightly cold before the start of the race

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!

Race #27: Troy’s Annual Almaden Hills Run 5k

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!

We're going up those hills in the background
We’re going up those hills in the background

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.

600 feet of elevation gain in the first mile. And that’s just the 5k!

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!

Race #25: Emerge 5k

My fastest 5k time in living memory was a 20:50 at the 2012 Emerge 5k at Lake Almaden. That day hurt a lot — I raced after a couple of speedsters for 2/3rds of the race, and then couldn’t keep up the pace I’d set — that last third is still etched in my memory as a painful experience. For a while there I was on pace to break 20 minutes, but I was still happy going under 21.

Getting ready to run the 2015 Emerge 5k at Lake Almaden
Getting ready to run the 2015 Emerge 5k at Lake Almaden

Fast forward three years, and the 2015 Emerge 5k was yesterday’s Race number 25 of my journey to 52 races in 2015 to raise awareness for the GBS/CIDP Foundation.

One of the great things about running 52 races for charity is that we get the chance to see others raising money too. The Emerge 5k is a fundraiser that tugs at the heart strings. Six years ago, Jessica was driving her car, was hit by a speeding car, and suffered a traumatic brain injury. This race is a fundraiser for not only her, but also for others who’ve suffered serious brain injury. Her parents are amazing folks — they’ve cared for Jessica at home since her injury, and done so without a ton of help from government funding.

Back to the race. Selina and I promised each other “we’d just cruise” and a good measure of that is whether or not we can chat while we’re running. I’d say we chatted 2/3rds of the way, and didn’t chat so much for the last 1/3rd — there’s something in us that just makes us go faster when folks around us are racing. Anyway, while it was mostly a cruise, Selina (yet again) placed as the 2nd woman overall, and I came 10th (and 7th in the 40 to 99 age group!).

Lake Almaden is a nice place to run. The trails are mostly flat and shaded, and there’s plenty going on with bikers, walkers, runners, and dogs. It’s got a nice community feel, while not being too busy to race. If you live in the South Bay, it’s worth a visit.

In reality, it was a pretty cruisy race relative to 2012 and a few other races we’ve run this year. I’ve decided that it’s more important to get on track to run 52 races than it is to run fast in every race. So, while I’d love to get close to my 21:06 for February, I’ll settle for a 24 minute cruise and the near-certainty of being able to run next week!

Have a great week.

Race #24: Firefly Run 5k

We dragged ourselves off a plane from LA on Saturday morning after a few long days. The idea of waking up Sunday and racing a 10k trail race with elevation wasn’t too appealing. So, I set about looking for something a little easier for this weekend. And, as luck would have it, I found the Firefly 5k starting Saturday night at 7:30pm.

Relaxing in the bleachers before the race
Relaxing in the bleachers before the race

Novelty races are supposed to be fun for the kids. In this case, the gimmick is flashing lights and neon glow sticks, and a start and finish in the mighty San Jose State Spartans football stadium. The video looks good from the website:

In reality, it was a pretty lame experience. We started at 7:45pm: still bright daylight and sunglasses weather. We ran on pavement (what Australians call asphault) for 3.1 miles or 5ks, and finished in the sunshine in the stadium. So much for the lights and neon glow.

The race itself was 1.6 miles out and 1.6 miles back with a little “dogleg” to make it a little more depressing. Hot, hard, flat, and roads. Maybe I just needed to lighten up a bit (pun intended) — and walk or something. Anyway, I thought it was lame. Net result, Selina was I think the 3rd woman over the line and I was top 10, but it wasn’t designed to be a competitive race. The time was somewhere in the low 23s.

Anyway, that’s race #24 in the books, and another weekend to plan. I’m still about 5 races behind plan, but that just means 5 weekends with two races any time in the next 5 months. That feels ok. The trick is to stay healthy and not to miss any more weekends.

Race #23: Lighting the Way 5k

Hi! Hello! Yes, I am still running. Yes, I know it’s been a slow couple of months. But, hey, I have run 23 races this year, and that’s more than most people — though I do know a couple of people from around here who are on track to 80+ races. Crazy.

Getting ready to start. Nice new shirt from 2XU!
Getting ready to start. Nice new shirt from 2XU!

Anyway, today we ran the Lighting the Way 5k.  My time wasn’t great, about 23:08 (they didn’t have a timing chip), but it sure felt great to be out there racing and to pull up without pain and swelling in my left foot. I’ve got a bit of an ankle and Achilles niggle, and I’ve been managing it carefully — so carefully that I dropped out of the 10k trail run I’d planned last week.

This was the 5th annual Lighting the Way 5k. It’s a great little race with a fairly small field (though it was sold out!), and it’s the most sensible race I’ve run at Vasona Lake. This time, we just started near the railroad, and ran out 1.6 miles to Lark Ave, and turned around and ran back. Sensible. Much better than all the ducking, weaving, and getting lost that other races do in Vasona Lake (scroll down in this story and you can read about it).

It was a well-organized race, and not too competitive. I suspect most of the folks weren’t serious, and maybe there was more competition in the 10k. I came 4th. Selina was the 2nd woman. If you can do that in 23+ minutes, you know it ain’t too serious.

Anyway, great to be back. If I wake up feeling great, who knows I might run another race tomorrow. Might see you then, or next week at the latest!

Race #22: Morgan Hill Freedom Fest 5k

Some days, you realize just how much of a Regular Joe you are. I ran the Morgan Hill Freedom Fest 5k this morning, and got absolutely crushed by some of the Bay Area’s elite 5k runners. The male winner won in 14:42, and the female winner in 16:40.

The current men’s world record is 12:37. That’s two minutes faster than today’s winner, though he would have been the world record holder if he’d run 14:42 in around the year 1910. But whatever: 14:42 is seriously fast — 4:44 per mile, and that’s the average over 3.1 miles. I can only dream.

I’ve had a goal in my head for years of running under 20:00. I’d be happy to just run 19:59 once in my life. I know that when I was about 28 years old, I ran 3.1 kilometers in about 12:35 once or twice. If you do the math, that’s about 19:30 for a 5km if I could have kept the pace up over a 5km race. I just never quite got around to trying that pace in a race. And now I’m 45 years old.

The site of my fastest times ever. Princes Park in Melbourne, Australia, circa 2007. I've run this counter-clockwise maybe 1,500 times, and clockwise exactly 0.
The site of my fastest times ever. Princes Park in Melbourne, Australia, circa 2007. I’ve run this counter-clockwise maybe 1,500 times, and clockwise exactly 0.

My best time this year is 21:06, if you don’t count the Double 5k that I ran in 20:15. The Double 5k is broken down into a 3km race, a one hour rest, and a 2k race, so it doesn’t really count. A time of 21:06 is a long way off 20:00. If I want to get there, it’s probably time to drop a few pounds, train three or four times a week, and get serious. What do you think?

Anyway, I digress. The race this morning was flat, fast for everyone else, and a great temperature. I’ve been having ankle troubles, and I think I was just a little “off” physically this morning too. The bottom line was a pretty average time of 22:56. I was annoyed at myself, but I guess I should be happy to have run race #22 this year and got out and run on a beautiful July 4 day! Happy 4th to all of you here in the USA.

See you next time — I’ll be running a 10k trail race next week that looks *gorgeous*.

Race #21: Zoom Quarry Lakes 5k

I’m 40% of the way to my goal of 52 races this year to raise awareness of Guillain–Barré syndrome.

Today’s race was the Zoom Quarry Lakes 5k. Quarry Lakes is nestled in the suburb of Fremont, on the south-east corner of the San Francisco Bay. It’s a beautiful location — if you’re looking for a leisurely run, it’s definitely worth a visit. The race itself was along a pretty mix of gravel trails and meandered around the lakes. It was well-organized, started on time, and had a pretty sweet enameled medal. Definitely penciling the race in for next year! (and, as I always say, maybe I’ll run the 10k or the half marathon next time.)

Our race today wasn’t fast, Selina and I crossed the line together in 24:10. I hurt my foot or ankle or Achilles or something a couple of weeks ago, and it’s been swollen and sore. With some rest and ice, it’s pretty much back to normal. I’m going to stick to a steady cruising pace for a couple of weeks, and probably run only one race per weekend for now — it’s a long way to go to get to 52 races!

Getting ready for the start of the Quarry Lakes 5k
Getting ready for the start of the Quarry Lakes 5k

Ciao for now.



Race #20: Lupus 5k

This is the fourth year we’ve run the Lupus 5k in Saratoga, CA. It’s a meandering course through our local West Valley College, and it certainly isn’t a fast track — there’s a lot of little ups and downs that take your breath away, and on the second lap you have to navigate your way through an army of folks who are walking the 5k.


Anyway, Selina and I ran together, and crossed the line together. I forget our time, but it wasn’t blistering and it was steady. Something like 22:30 — I’ll update the post when I figure out what it was. I have a feeling Selina came 3rd in the women’s division, but we didn’t have time to hang around and find out!

Have a great week, and I’ll see you next time.