Sunday, September 30, 2012

Trailblazer 2012: back to speed, almost

(For the 10K finishers only interested in their picture, here is my Picasa album.)

Some will say it was hot (it reached 99F in Cupertino this afternoon!), but the conditions this morning were perfect for celebrating the Stevens Creek Trail at this yearly event organized by the Friends of the Stevens Creek Trail whom I mentioned in my previous post last weekend. Blue sky, no wind and a start at 8:30 am before the heat built up. Not to forgot the perfect organization of Race Director Aaron and his crew of dozen of volunteers. A big thank to all of you for giving your time on a Sunday morning for such a good cause: raising money for the maintenance and extension of this great trail, and allowing us to have fun running or walking 10 or 5K!
I'm not going to be as prolific as for my ultra race reports. Sprinting for 6 miles on a flat course isn't the source of much inspiration or suspense... ;-) Defending champion, Jose Pina Sr. took the lead right off the starting line and would not let anyone challenge him this year. I was in 5th by the end of the first mile despite a 5:20 min/mile pace, phew! I'm still recovering from my shoulder fracture of mid-June and returned to the track only 3 weeks ago for some speed work with Bob and Jeremy. My fastest mile was 5:27 in our repeats last week, so I was really not sure what to expect today. I passed the 2-mile mark in 11:04, I was indeed not able to maintain a 5:20 or even a 5:30 pace. But I kept pushing, so much that, by mile 4, I was just 18 seconds behind the 2nd runner who had a stride almost twice as long as mine. I lost 4 seconds at a trail intersection around the golf maintenance area, not seeing where we should go and wasn't able to close the gap in the last mile. It wasn't the breathing or the legs which prevented me to go faster, more a lack of motivation to really push harder, like in 2007 when both Jose and I broke 34 minutes. I finished in 35:21, my slowest time on this course if we exclude 2009 when I ran 37:42 after I had placed 2nd at Sierra Nevada double marathon (52 hilly miles) the day before... Not such an excuse today!
With almost 1 minute of margin, and an amazing regularity, Jose won the 10K, a few minutes after his son, Jose Pina Jr won the 5K in a remarkable 16:01! (And his second boy won the under 12 age group in the 5K!) They certainly deserved taking home the two Microsoft Kinects, they will make some friends happy! Jose Sr. has won this race 4 times now (2007, 2008, 2011, 2012) and placed 2nd twice (2005, 2009), he dominates this event! I won 3 editions (2004, 2006, 2011) and getting too old for hoping for more... ;-)

So, that was participation number 8 in 11 years for me, and I look forward to coming back to this nice speed test as I now focus on ultra trail. After a long (!) award ceremony and drawing with many prizes thanks to the generous and numerous sponsors, I thanked Aaron for putting up such a great event and then went on a 17-mile run through the Palo Alto Baylands, at a much slower 7:15 pace this time.

Right after my 10K finish, I grabbed my camera and took more than 200 pictures of the 10K finishers (sorry, 5K finishers, that was already a lot of pictures...). See my Picasa album, I hope I didn't miss you (I think I missed less than 10...). By the way, Mark, I did catch you, see IMG_4820.JPG!

Here are a few picks (sorry for the Brooks bias, that's my sponsor... ;-).

We have another winner!

Not in the race, but would not miss this opportunity for some advertising! ;-)

French touch (t-shirt)... with Brooks shoes ;-)

Brooks PureConnect and great POSE posture (note the landing on the ball of the foot); minimalist running 101:

Carpooling... "Dad, we eat and you push harder, please, ok?"

Pure joy (Running Happy in Brooks PureCadence):

Another Pure... purple and pink!

The Brooks sisters:

Pure Laugh in Brooks PureGrit

Another "Brooks Run Happy" camper and lucky bib 1 number!

"Hey, Mom and Dad, I can run 10K too!"

What was that??!! ;-)

"Oops, honey, did you lose one of the kids??!!"

Yes, Run Happy in Brooks, you rock! ;-)

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