Sunday, September 25, 2011

Trailblazer 2011: moving forward!

This is post #250 on my running blog and I wish I had more time to celebrate with some specific and original writing about the journey of getting there. But, on Friday, I received a call to fly to Alaska so I'm jumping on a plane again tomorrow and I need to get ready with this new mission. I'm also supposed to go to Saudi Arabia and Singapore, maybe Dubai and Thailand too, in October, then I'm speaking at a conference in Florida the first week of November, so there will be quite a few busy weeks ahead...

In the meantime, I was able and delighted to run Trailblazer 10K again this year. This is my 7th edition (2002, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2011). Two years ago, I even participated the day after taking 2nd at a 52-miler/double marathon (Sierra Nevada Run) which explained my "slower" time (37:44). This year, the race was ideally placed 2 weeks after Rio Del Lago 100-mile (where I dropped at mile 71 unfortunately) and 2 weeks before the Dick Collins Firetrails 50-mile. I can't say that I was going to run on fresh legs as I ran 105 miles over the past two weeks, but I was excited to get back to the 10K distance after running circles at the World Masters in July.

Yesterday, I helped Adam, Toshi and John marking the course for the annual Quicksilver 10K and half-marathon that Adam has been directing for several years now. The race was held this morning too.
Back to Trailblazer, this has always been a perfectly organized race thanks to Aaron's professionalism and the passion and contributions of all the Friends of the Stevens Creek Trail. Let's also salute the numerous sponsors who support not only this race but also the extension of the trail through Mountain View, Sunnyvale, Cupertino and Los Altos (see the trail update website for up to date information). You can see some of this progress right now with the overpass bridge being built over 85 this year, but there is still a lot of work to do to connect the section of the trail along the Bay to the one in Stevens Creek County Park, in the Cupertino hills. Here is a rendering of the ongoing construction over 85:
With a 10K road race, there isn't as much to say as a 100 miler, so I'll be short, for once... Jose (Pina) took the control of the race from the start followed by Mikko Valimaki from Los Altos. I had done some speed work with Bob on Thursday morning, a session during which we ran 4 800s after which I clocked a 5:22 mile. I felt good but told Bob I shouldn't start the race that fast. With that, I settled a few seconds behind Jose and Mikko. By the first mile, they had a 10-second lead increasing to 20 seconds by the second mile. It seemed to me that Mikko was just waiting behind Jose to pass him later but, around the 3rd mile, a gap started to form between him and Jose, while I was 30 seconds behind Jose. I ran the first 5K (3.1 mile) right on 17 minutes and kept pushing, eventually closing on Mikko and passing him after the convoluted chicane in the 5th mile. We then got into the 5K 2-way traffic and Mikko stayed right behind while we were slaloming between runners. I lost sight of Jose but saw the lead bike again and decided to push the pace to secure a second place. Jose must have slowed down in the last mile because I finished just 10 seconds behind him, crossing the finish line in 34:24, a 5:32 min/mile pace, not too far from my 34:02 at the World Masters 2 months ago.
Jose won the 10K race again in 34:14 a few minutes after his son, Jose Pina Jr., won the 5K in 17:07 at 14! All the results got posted already on the BuzzWord website (10K overall, 5K overall). By the way, there was no XBox to win this year but they both took home a gift card which will cover a pair of running shoes, which is surely more healthy and useful anyway! ;-) Jose being 41 and me 47, he got both the overall winner trophy and the first M40-49 one. As for me, I came back with the satisfaction of my time as well as knowing that the fun we had this morning will raise money to extend the trail I ran thousands of miles on, all that thanks to the dedication of so many kind volunteers. Before leaving, I ran the 10K course a second time, albeit much slower (44:56), a nice way to cool down and finish a 50-mile week.
I also took pictures of many other 10K finishers and posted them as a Picasa album. Here is Stevens Creek Strider Bill Dodson, 76, winning his M70-79 age group in the 5K, running the 3.1 miles at a 8:12 min/mile pace, bare foot!
Thank you again to Aaron and all the Friends of the Stevens Creek Trail for putting up such a great event! And looking forward to my 8th participation!


Toshi Moshi said...

Congrats on the 250th post and the age group win! That was a close race. Always excited to hear about your shorter races. Looking at the results, it looks like the 40s is the new 30s! And what a fast recovery after Rio. I'll be running Bridge to Bridge 12K in SF this weekend.

Anonymous said...

contents que tu aies complètement récupéré et dans l'attente de récits venant du monde entier(!), nous t'embrassons fort