Thursday, November 26, 2009

Turkey Trots: 2 in 2 days

I feel younger as I ran two races with "youngsters" this week. I was not expecting to post an article between last weekend's and Quad Dipsea this Saturday but I happened to run two Turkey Trots so it is worth a few lines. Per definition, two short runs, 2 miles on Tuesday and 3.1 miles this Thursday. But fast ones.

Kenya Dream Turkey Trot

Max is a Senior in the Class of 2010 at Cupertino High School and they have been working for 4 years on a project to raise $100,000 for a high school in Kenya. They are not quite there yet but must be approaching half-way and they will leave this project as a legacy to the next classes. It was the inaugural Turkey Trot of this association and the President of Kenya Dream, Justin Lee, hopes the tradition will stand over the next years. Check the Kenya Dream web site out, it is quite professional!

About 100 students participated in the run/walk event this Tuesday afternoon and about 20 teachers joined them which was very nice. I believe I was the only parent to run but there were quite a few of the parents we saw at the cross-country competitions this past season who came to watch. Overall, $1,700 were raised for the occasion which is great.

We ran the 2-mile course designed and setup by Coach Armstrong, which is quite a convoluted tour of the school property. As expected, the top cross-country runner Peter Antony took the lead, closely followed by Max. By the end of the first mile I was in third, closing on them. I passed Max in the second mile and caught up with Peter for the last lap on the track and a close finish right on 11':00" (with the GPS indicating 2:05 miles).

Applied Materials San Jose Turkey Trot

This one was not with teenagers but I decided to join the super competitive elite invitational and USA T&F open championship and registered at the very last minute, just over an hour before the event. Open Division means that there is only one age group and, at this distance, the fastest runners are in their 20s. It felt a bit awkward to toe the line with this group and my main goal was not to finish last... There were a handful of other races before this very selective one, with over 9,000 runners enjoying the wonderful weather before returning to their homes to celebrate Thanksgiving.
Among the 50 or so competitors in the elite field, there were runners from out of state (e.g. New York, New Mexico) and quite a few African-borns. At the start I stayed behind and was indeed the last one on the first stretch of the course despite a below-5-minute/mile pace... We had four loops to complete. I passed the mile 1 mark in 5:07 and was wondering when I was going to die, but passed a couple of runners. I caught-up with Masters Jeff Ongo from the super competitive Aggies (the UC Davis team) and we passed the second mile mark in 10:36. I was definitely in the red zone but was really motivated to break 16 minutes and kept pushing. I was disappointed to hear that I was over 16 at the mile 3 mark, yet sprinted to cross the finish line in 16:36. 3 minutes behind the top runner who missed the course record by a mere second (13:38 versus 13:37)! [From what I heard at the finish line as the results are not yet published on the event web site as I write these lines.]
I definitely have too short legs for this distance and to compete with guys 20 year younger than I. But I still enjoy my own speed and it was quite motivating trying to keep these guys in sight for more than one lap! Fortunately, I have the mountain ultra marathon running to compensate. Speaking of ultra, Chikara Omine, who dominated our ultra Grand Prix this year ran a 5K just over 16 minutes. He was going to run CIM (the California International Marathon) in December but the event had filled out before he could register. So he will run the North Face Challenge 50-miler in Marin Headlands instead (next weekend).

I also chatted with John Weru, a local Kenyan runner. With two young and adorable kids, he cannot train as well as before and was here as a spectator. Similarly, Jose Pinta also told me he will plan on running this event next year. I met with a few other acquaintances and it was time to drive back home to enjoy the turkey that Greg had worked on all morning. Delicious and many more calories than I had burnt with the handful of miles racing and warming up this morning. But Quad Dipsea should take care of these extra calories.

A big thanks to the many and generous sponsors including Applied Materials, PG&E, Kaiser Permanent, WMware, Runner's Factory. Perfect organization, friendly and family-style event, easy access and great technical shirt (with a very unique and fancy design).

Overall, these two races and long weekend were a great way to celebrate and be thankful for the running, the family, the friends, a busy job, the community, the place and the World we live in.

OK, with that, this is definitely the last post before Quad Dipsea this coming Saturday. A very different type of event... (28 hilly miles, single track trail, 4 times 700 stairs, look at the course elevation profile in my 2008 report) And, after my high bib number of this morning (9826, a very late registration indeed...), it will be my turn to wear an "elite" bib: #3! ;-) All in Brooks, to Run Happy!


Sarah Lavender Smith said...

Hi Jean and Happy Thanksgiving. Thanks for your comment yesterday on Morgan's race report on our blog! I'm impressed by the speed workout you gave yourself two days before the QD. Looks like your legs haven't lost any of their zip. Have a good one on Mt Tam this weekend! I look forward to reading that report.
- Sarah

Anonymous said...

Sympathique narration
Suis retournée sur les sites de Quad Dipsea; Penserons bien à toi...