Sunday, November 14, 2010

Give Light 10K: happy return to Shoreline

Last time I ran at Shoreline was in September for the Trailblazer 10K race which I won, partly thanks to first no Kenyan participating this year and also thanks to Jose Pina not toeing the line in preparation for the San Jose Rock'n'Roll half-marathon where he did beat me by mere 35 seconds the following week.

Looking for some motivation to keep training before the December break, I was excited when one of my neighbors, Fari, told me about this event (the Give Light Walkathon 2010) and I registered right away as we had no other big plans for that Saturday. With my busy ultra running, I like taking any opportunity to come back to Shoreline, a park in which I ran literally thousands of miles when I was working for ILOG in Mountain View and Sunnyvale between 1998 and 2008.
What a change a week can make here... Last Sunday in the rain, chilly speed workout at the track on Tuesday morning (43F) and a summer weather this weekend: bright sun and temperatures above 75F!

Without claiming any credit for my advertising of the race last week, I was thrilled when race organizers announced that they got about 400 participants instead of the expected 220 or so! Of course, such success and late registration came with a downside: the start was delayed by 20 minutes for the 10K, followed by the 5K 10 minutes later and another 10 minutes for the start of the 1K.

No lead bike this time so the other runners joked and said that they will just have to follow me, as long as I was not going too fast. I know all the trails of this park of course but each race has a different layout and I had just briefly looked at the map before leaving. With a start at a 5:32 min/mile pace, I quickly got in the lead and started discovering the course at every turn. There were numerous cones but, unfortunately, with arrows drawn on paper with a pen, not a marker so I had to literally stop at most of the cones to figure out the direction. I did not stop at the water/aid stations and ran most of the race at a 5:45 min/mile pace. One tall and younger runner was quite close behind me at the turn around so I kept pushing all the way back, slaloming through the back of the pack of the 10K and 5K racers, including kids and strollers on each side of the bike path. On my way back I started passing the 5K lead runners and, by mistake, indicated to one of them that we should be back to the starting line the same way we went out. Which was true for the 10K but not the 5K apparently. The guy was in second position and the rest of the 5K runners ended up running at least 4 miles instead of 3, oops...

I crossed the finish line in 36:53 with my GPS indicating 6.37 miles. Knowing that it has been a bit optimistic these past weeks, the 10K course was probably of the right distance and I was just slower than usual, not chasing anyone and getting to the end of the season.
After my finish, I rushed to my car to grab my camera and took a picture of the next 8 10K finishers (see my Picasa album) as well as a few pictures of the abundant food stand and the Give Light Foundation booth. I gave some encouragement and relief to the volunteers as some of the 5K finishers complained about the course issue. Reminding them that it was just a fund raising event and fun run, and that they should run PA USA Track & Field events if they want certified courses and much serious competition... It took slightly more than 2 hours to get the final results and a simple ceremony awarding a medal to the top 2 runners of each race. During that time, we hung out in the warm sun, sharing our various experiences with the course and many other running stories, tips and plans.

Here is Dian, the President of the Give Light Foundation, thanking the generous sponsors, the volunteers and all the participants for this successful event:
This Sunday, the highlight of the day was to see Alex participating in his first rowing competition with the Los Gatos Rowing Club. The event was held in Foster City at the Leo Ryan Memorial Park, just across the street from our IBM office there. Alex had just landed on Saturday night at San Jose from a 4-day trip on the East Coast during which he combined a visit to Max at Yale and 2-day boot camp with as part of his tenure on the Youth Advisory Council.
Agnès drove up with Alex and they left by 6:30 AM to be there at 7 AM. Long wait until the race at noon, when Greg and I joined. I'm not sure this sport is for me, although I did row for one season in College in France and I like the athletic aspect making your whole body work hard. But that's a lot of idle time for a 5K race...

Anyway, after the race, we drove back to the South of the Bay and I asked Agnès to drop me at the Baylands Athletic Center near the Palo Alto Baylands so I could run back home. Another opportunity to run through Shoreline that weekend! 2 hours and 12 minutes for 19 miles, it was a good long tempo run right on a 7 minutes/mile pace. The afternoon was gorgeous again and many people were on the trail, hiking, running, biking or bird watching. A nice tour through Palo Alto, Mountain View, Los Altos, Sunnyvale and Cupertino.
Have a good week, even if it is not as sunny as here on your end...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Avec du retard, je te remercie pour ce récit d'une course "plaisante" par ce temps merveilleux.
Et bravo aussi à Alexis