Saturday, July 16, 2011

WMA 2011 part 1: first night shift

After the marathon tomorrow (Sunday), I need to shower, get some rest, check out, drive back to Bay Area and pack again for a business trip starting with a flight to the East Coast at 6AM from San Francisco. With that, I'm not sure when I will be able to finish up the recount of my short participation to the 2011 World Masters Athletics Championships which occured in Sacramento, California, from July 5th to 17th. So let me start with my first two days there...
Back in April, I registered for two events: the 10,000 meters and the marathon scheduled two days apart (Friday 15 and Sunday 17). Certainly an aggressive goal to excel in both, but I didn't want to miss the chance of participating to such a worldwide competition happening in our Californian background. Besides, I figured out that since July is usually extremely hot in Sacramento and I do better in the heat, that would play to my advantage. Well, read on, this has been a strange year so far, weather wise.

I picked-up my nephew, Aymar, at Vmware where he is doing an internship this year and we left Palo Alto at 2 PM. The race was late but the constraint was to pick up the bib number before the check-in booth closed at 6 PM. GoogleMaps was giving 2h21 minutes for the route to Sacramento State University so I felt that was provided enough of a margin even on a Friday afternoon. The traffic on Dumbarton Bridge (84) and 880 North was ok but we started getting bumpers to bumpers right on 80, with more than 70 miles to go. I was seeing the clock moving faster than the car and we finally made it in 3.5 hours, with 30 minute left to check-in. A first source of stress.

Then, a few issues at the check-in of the hotel on the campus, which I'm not going to detail but which provided some additional stress and we head up to the Hornet Stadium around 7 PM which was the deadline to "report." This is when I found out that I was part of the second heat/final scheduled to start at... 9:20 PM... I had a light lunch before leaving the house and it was too late to have dinner so I ate a few chips and cookies. As soon as the sun disappeared from the benches of the stadium, it became quite chilly actually, in the mid to low 60s (Farenheit) and Aymar and I went back to the car to keep warm, before I decided to drive back to the room to put a pair of pants and 3 layers on top of my USA jersey.

Finally, it was time to go into the area to change, by 9PM. The first final was still going on and the wind blowing even on the track, at the bottom of the stadium. Our start got delayed by 10 minutes as the first final was quite slow (finish times from 35 to 51 minutes). I thought that they must have been slowed down by this strong wind and that I will have to take that into account in my pacing.

With the strange timing (I'm not used to start that late in the day) and the lack of pre-race fueling plan and strategy, I was not feeling over confident, yet quite excited to be part of this field and competition.

I was assigned number 17 as a starting position which set me completely on the outside of the start line. Yet, before the end of the first turn, I was in 6th position. My first lap was 1:17.79 and it felt quite fast for me while the leaders had already a few seconds lead. I clocked my second lap at 1:19.16 which felt more reasonable (yes, every second counts and makes a big difference at this pace...). In the event booklet, I saw that 12 competitors had better personal records than me, not counting 3 which had no personal best displayed, so I knew I had no chance to keep up with the leaders and it was more about running my own race. My overall goal was to improve my own record (33:57 at Trailblazer 4 years ago), yet without killing myself before the marathon. It was great to get encouragements from Aymar at each lap and also from another person who I think mentioned Ohlone, but I couldn't turn my head to see who that was (please leave a comment if you read this, you really helped me keeping the pace up!). Yes, speaking of pace, I'm pretty happy with the consistency of my 25 laps: 01:17.79 - 01:19.16 - 1:19.25 - 1:18.75 - 1:20.15 - 1:20.27 - 1:20.33 - 1:21.50 - 1:21.33 - 1:22.37 - 1:22.08 - 1:21.72 - 1:22.67 - 1:22.83 - 1:22.05 - 1:22.72 - 1:23.13* - 1:23.13* - 1:23.13* - 1:25.00 - 1:23.10 - 1:24.75 - 1:22.12* - 1:22.12* - 1:22.12* (sorry, a long series of numbers, boring to read; also, the * denote times where I missed my split and divided a 3-lap split by 3). Here, between Russia and Germany (lap 2):
I got lapped once by the four leaders who all finished under 32 minutes, quite an impressive performance for our age and the windy conditions. And I lapped a few other competitors several times, while trading place with others, ending up in 8th place of my heat and 8th of the finals (3rd in Team USA) since our heat was much faster than the first one.
Happy with the ranking (although I know they are hundreds of faster guys my age around the world who could be here to compete), slightly disappointed with my finish time, 5 seconds off my PR (32:02.65). See the overall results at the bottom of this post. Here we are with our new World Champion, Francisco Fontaneda, from Spain:
I hung up at the finish line, taking a few pictures, in particular with the Mongolian delegation with a special thought for one of my other nephews, Thibaud, who is in Mongolia for a few weeks to look for business opportunities for French companies in this remote country.
You can find a few more pictures of our Friday evening (credit to Aymar for the 10,000 meter amidst the nighty conditions), in my Picasa album for that first day.

I was in bed by midnight and, still battling the jet lag of me return from 3.5 weeks in Europe, 3 days before, I woke up around 5 AM. I had registered to volunteer on Sunday and checked-in at the volunteer booth shortly after 8 but was assigned to my first duty around 10 (placing the hurdles for the 100 meters races). In the meantime, I could take a few pictures which I uploaded on Picasa (Saturday album).

A special thank you to Stephanie Valdes, Volunteer Coordinator, who has done an outstanding and amazing job recruiting, scheduling and dispatching in real-time more than 700 volunteers during these two weeks. I called her the Volunteer Queen, here she is, all smile:
Back to the title of this post, my next "shift" will be by night again as the marathon starts at 5 AM and we need to check-in by 4 AM... I believe these two schedules (late or early in the day) were meant to avoid the extreme heat in this region of California usually in July, but that wasn't definitely not necessary this year. At the time I write this post, 12 hours before the marathon start, I feel small spasms in my calves after a deep tissue massage from Results Therapy. Hope it's ok, and that the night will be good enough for my mind and muscles to recover and get enough rest. While I'm thinking of my Quick Silver Ultra Racing teammates running Tahoe Rim Trail 50-mile and 100-mile this Saturday and Sunday, getting "A Glimpse of Heaven, a Taste of Hell" (TRT race motto).
More after the marathon then, with part 2, some time later, business permitting...

    Name                     Age Team            10,000m Finals
  1 Fontaneda, Francisco Jav M47 Spain                 31:32.85
  2 Paredes, Benjamin        M49 Mexico                31:40.88
  3 Perminov, Sergey         M45 Russia                31:50.74
  4 Burdett, Francis         M46 United States         31:53.09
  5 Miller, Kevin            M49 United States         33:23.11
  6 Riefer, Markus           M45 Germany               33:29.00
  7 Pingpank, Markus         M47 Germany               33:51.28
  8 Pommier, Jean            M47 United States         34:02.65
  9 Duperrain, Philippe      M45 France                35:00.84
 10 Deminter, Tyrus          M48 United States         35:27.87
 11 Azimbayer, Serikkazy     M45 Russia                35:31.73
 12 Alvarez, Ramon           M46 Venezuela             35:34.81
 13 Poulos, Ted              M49 United States         36:53.09
 14 Vargas, Jose Manuel      M48 Costa Rica            37:05.12
 15 Sawchuk, Kevin           M45 United States         37:26.47
 16 Tserendorj, Purevjav     M46 Mongolia              37:32.61
 17 Barrett, Thomas          M49 United States         37:39.77
 18 Gallego, Oliver          M49 United States         38:26.79
 19 Nichols, John            M46 United States         38:45.09
 20 Rowden, Robert           M46 United States         40:54.92
 21 Pinzon Gomez, Luis Ferna M48 Colombia              41:06.86
 22 Castillo, Victor         M46 Panama                41:50.70
 23 Roberts, Alan            M46 Great Britain         41:54.46
 24 Guevara Martinez, Edgar  M47 Colombia              43:22.61
 25 Madappa, Yogendra        M49 India                 44:50.36
 26 Hahn, Richard            M49 United States         45:32.19
 27 Grierson, Bruce          M48 Canada                45:40.43
 28 Ramirez, Gerardo         M49 Dominican Republic    51:09.80
 -- Sheringham, Paul         M48 Australia                  DNS
 -- Black, Michael           M46 United States              DNS
 -- Young, Don               M47 United States              DNS
 -- Bickham, Scott           M45 United States              DNS
 -- Ram, Kishan              M47 India                      DNS
 -- Kumar, Pramod            M49 India                      DNS
 -- Kremer, Dov              M46 Israel                     DNS
 -- Godfredsen, Kim          M45 Denmark                    DNS
 -- Mohammednejad, Hamidreza M47 Turkey                     DNS


Anonymous said...

Bravo, bravo ! Nous pensons très fort à toi. Bon marathon tout à l'heure !
Agnès et les garçons (depuis Annecy où il pleut des cordes...)

Unknown said...

always struck by how much you get out of an event (two in this case) and how you make time for family, friends, pictures, volunteering, reporting, etc. Congratulations on your performance and thank you.

BTW: love the detailed splits. Long live data!

Greg said...

Way to go Pommier. Loved the name in lights on score board. You always amaze us with your greatness! We were with you in spirit too.

Edgar Guevara said...

Hi Jean
Its a good note I lived the same but not with that good times, It was so hard to recovery to Marathon. finaly I get my best time in 10000 and I finished the marathon without injures.
Edgar Guevara form Colombia

Anonymous said...

Bravo pour ces belles performances Jean! Et merci pour le clin d'oeil avec la delegation Mongole.

Bises de Mongolie.


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