Sunday, April 4, 2010

Big Bunny Fun Run 5K: still under 17

No, not 17 years old, 17 minutes! That was my 7th Big Bunny Fun Run since 2002 (missed 2003 because of a conflict with the Boston Marathon, and 2009 because I was running American River 50-mile, a race which is conveniently happening next week end, this year, so I can do both).

2002: 16'54", 2004: 16'50", 2005: 16'06", 2006: 16'33", 2007: 16'09", 2008: 15'54", 2010... 16'36". That's consistency. I believe that either 2007 or 2008 was the year where we missed the detour by Eaton Elementary, significantly shortening the course  which is already on the short side for a 5K (between 3 and 3.05 miles instead 3.1 miles).

For the ones who don't have time to read the full report, you can skip to my photo album on Picasa.

The weather was great although on the chilly side. Living 1 block from the start, this is the easiest race to go to. I made a habit to go and pick all the bib number and t-shirts for the whole family so everybody can sleep in. Despite a reasonable start time (9 am), it's hard for our teens to wake up that early on a Saturday morning, and for such an opportunity. Yet, this year again, we were able to make it a whole family event with the five of us toeing the start line. Surely, this is going to become more difficult as Max got accepted to his dream school, Yale! Even this year we were lucky with no other race conflict and Alex back for 10 days from his Congressional Page program in DC.

Adam, my teammate of our Rhoquick/Quicksilver ultra running team joined us this Saturday morning. Adam, CEO of Rhomobile, a start-up company headquartered at the end of Blaney in Cupertino, sponsors our team which won the Pacific Association USA Track and Field ultra Grand Prix series last year. Anyone is welcome to join, if you are up to run a few trail ultra marathons this year!
Unlike an ultra, there isn't much to recount from a fast 3-mile race. As usual, despite a fast start (around 5:05 min/mile pace) kids were ahead for the first hundred yards. Although it is fun to watch year after year, it's also a bit dangerous and an occasion to trip down. A tall and young guy kept the lead for the next couple of hundreds yards, and eventually won his 13-15 age group, quite a promising start! I quickly took 4th behind 3 guys whom I didn't know and, despite a 5:20-5:25 min/mile pace, could not catch them up. A guy in blue led all the way and was passed in the final stretch by the winner who completed the loop right on 16 minutes. I finished in 4th, in 16'36", about 10 seconds behind someone who, I was going to find out in the finish chute, had the same age as I which didn't give me a good excuse for losing the age group for the first time in my history with this race... Anyway, I will try again next year, race calendar permitting.
Just after the finish, I got my camera back from Claire's father (thank you to him for taking pictures of the start and finish while watching after Claire and Patrick's boys), and went back on the course to take a few pictures of the runners I knew, and jogging the course back toward Agnès who was Nordic walking (she cannot run due to hip arthritis). I first saw Alex and Max who were running together. Max was still in bed 15' before the start, so I was pleased to see that he joined us this morning.
Greg was enjoying the run, albeit not pushing the pace.
Then Agnès who was passing some runners with her active and fast pace walking. Plus some running in the last 200 yards of the race like she did for her first triathlon (see A mermaid for Father's Day).
There was not as much food as previous years, just some oranges and cereal bars offered by Whole Foods. Met with a few known Cupertino residents and also visitors like Jason, whom I usually meet at ultra races. Jason is a "race aholic" who aimed at running 100 races last year, including 50 milers! Jason was to race another 5K this Sunday and I will see him at American River 50-mile next Saturday.
After some time we were invited to go to the podium for the award ceremony. Then a long drawing with probably 30 great prizes. With 5 bibs in hands, I increased the odds and, indeed, won a nice magnum of wine from Ridge, a winery which I often pass on my climb (run) to Black Mountain near the top of Montebello Road, like again this Sunday morning.
 Thank you to all the Cupertino Parks & Rec staff for organizing such a yearly event, and in particular for the joyful and funny Big Bunny! Happy Easter to all and see you next year!

The head in the clouds

No, not the movie, not figuratively, but literally!

A 3-mile race, even with speed, is not the best preparation for a 50-mile. So, this Sunday, I had to do another long run before some tapering this week. Agnès was not so pleased with the idea, preferring a quiet and family reunion and Easter celebration. The only option was to squeeze the run before mass and lunch and skip the opportunity to sleep in, once again... Alarm set at 5:45 am, I left home at 6:40 when it was still dark. I knew I would not see the sun for another hour and decided to put on long sleeves and gloves. Well, that was a good idea because, the higher I was going on Montebello Road, the chilliest it became. At the top of Black Mountain, after running the Waterwheel loop, it was really cold as I entered into the clouds with gusty winds between 10 and 20 mph and temperatures in low 40Fs. I was freezing up there yet remained determined to run an ultra today, and decided to go down the other way on Bella Vista trail. However, being cold, I had to walk more than usual and my pace dropped down to 9'30"/mile average by the second time I reached the summit before returning on Montebello Road. I completed the 28-mile loop in 4:06 then rushed to the shower to make the 11 am mass in San Jose with the rest of the family.
Despite the cold, I took a few pictures of something which intrigued me on my last run. I don't know who she is, nor who the groom is, but here is how Tamara Lieveling was proposed at the top of Montebello Road, with inscriptions on the road in the last turns of this steep and long climb, quite an original and sportive way to propose!
I was looking for information on this and found this recent post. The intrigue is on!

Overall, another reasonable running week with 55 miles despite a lot of early and late meetings at work. Hope asthma will not kick in next Saturday, I need to put more miles for the big races in May and June...

1 comment:

Alia said...

Hey! We should totally form a research coalition of curious Montebello climbers and get to the bottom of this Tamara thing. Incidentally, I cannot imagine running that hill ... bad enough on a bike. Happy trails,