Thursday, November 28, 2019

Silicon Valley Turkey Trot 2019: still in pain for v15.0

It was at that race that I injured the attach of my left quad, a year ago. One year passed and the pain is still there. Granted, it's getting better, meaning less pain, but what a long process. Of course, I might have not helped that I tried to race like nothing had happened, until May: 11 races with only one shorter than the marathon distance... 2 new Age Group American Records... and, with the 50-mile at Ruth Anderson, a 13th consecutive Age Group win in our North California MUT (Mountain, Ultra, Trail) Grand Prix; insane... Yet, I'm blown away that 6 months of rest have still not been enough. Wow, that's by far the biggest running injury I've experienced in my 21-year career. And, still, I have to appreciate that there are many more serious, some irreversible, injuries out there. After all, it's Thanksgiving, so better be super grateful for even being able to run, once in a while, short of training.

I registered a few weeks ago, for the 10K, hoping that I'd be completely healed. Without any training, my goal was to run with Greg. Agn├Ęs signed-up for the 5K. I flew back on Tuesday, after the most insane trip ever, 29,636 miles (50,801 km) in 2 weeks! Connecticut, Virginia, Florida, back in California for 10 hours, then France, Turkey, South Africa, Turkey, France, California, phew! As a reference, the Earth circumference is only 24,901 miles... Needless to say #FlightShame on me... ;-/ At some point, I was even not sure if I'd be back on time, so I'm really glad I was able to at least toe the line of this 15th edition, 11th consecutive one for me.
After a major rain and snow storm (yes, some snow on nearby Mt Hamilton!), the weather was gorgeous, albeit on the chilly side, with 38F at the start (2 degrees Celsius). At least, the asphalt had dried up this year, as opposed to last year (I injured my quad by slipping on a cross walk by less than one inch...).

I love the abundance of porta-potties at this event. 10 minutes before the start, no line/wait!
Greg and I started at the back of Corral A.
Greg said he could shoot for a 7:30 min/mile pace, maybe 7:00. Well, we were on for some slalom right off the bat, as there were young kids ahead, strollers, walkers, and many, many runners obviously in the wrong corral. Fortunately, Santa Clara Street is really wide and we got into some good rhythm, on the right of the street, before the first left turn. As a matter of fact, we were now cruising at 6:30 min/mile, and Greg seemed at ease, while I was really enjoying that pace and speed I love so much. We hold on to that pace for the first 3 miles, where the 5K runners turn left to the finish and we turn right. To my surprise, very few runners were on the 5K. Around mile 2, we passer Karl Schnaitter and Simone Winkler from Excelsior, MUT buddies.

My hamstring started hurting in the second mile and, in the fourth mile, I fell a few seconds behind Greg. We saw the front runners on their way back, something I usually manage to avoid, but not this year. I kept pushing, without giving it all, the stride being the limit today. After running with Greg, my second goal was not to pull too much on the injury. I crossed the finish in 41:34. This is my 54th 10K race in 20 years, out of 323 races, and my slowest 10K ever, by 3 minutes, OUCH! I know, I still need to be so grateful to even running that fast...

Here is Relive's 3D fly-over for an aerial view over downtown San Jose:
With 17,000 finishers, RunRaceResults does quite a phenomenal to publish results 6 hours or so after the race, see on their website. There will likely be quite a few updates and corrections but, at the time I write this, I'm quite surprised to see that this slow time still put me in 2nd in my age group. Although really far behind first M55-59, Raymond Rodriguez from Los Banos, in 36:36.

Speaking of first place, Adam Bodnar won the 10K in a blazing 31:42.
We had a chat in which I invited him and his fellow Googler, Zachary Medeiros (38:15), to compete in our 2020 MUT Grand Prix. Poor Zachary: I told him that our Quicksilver 100K wasn't full yet so he got excited and said he'll sign-up right away. I now see there were already 44 people on the waitlist... He is 45th, hope he makes it!
Despite the bright sun, it felt chilly in the Festival area, between the sweat of a good effort and low temperature, so we didn't stay for too long, but still managed to see a few friends.

Before our race, I was able to see the Elite Women and Men 5K races (women at 7:30, men at 8), impressive splits. Three women broke 16 minutes: Shannon Rowbury (15:41), Kim Conley (15:44), Emily Infeld (15:47). Three men broke 14 minutes: Aaron Templeton (13:54), David Bett (13:57), Brian Barraza (13:57), while 13 more men ran under 15 minutes! Our local MUT elite, Chikara Omine, ran 15:36, a 5:02 min/mile pace!

With that, see you all in one year, rain or shine! And hopefully on roads and trails in the meantime, in better shape for me, and good shape for you! Happy 2019 Thanksgiving!

PS: a few more pics of the Elite 5K race

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