The start is usually chaotic in these type of races because of the kids that like to sprint off of the line. You sort of have to just play the dodging game as they quickly fall off of the pace 50 yards down the street. They also had chip timing in this race, which is great for accurate times and keeping track of everyone, but it also means that everyone is crammed to force them to go over the timing mats. This makes the start even more crazy. I took the conservative approach to line up behind the more aggressive looking youngsters and just wait for them to fizzle out. I saw Jean up at the front, which is smart considering I probably gave up a few seconds with my strategy, but I was doubtful that I could have hung with those guys anyways.
The start went pretty much like I thought, and then I ended up having to pass on the outside down the first street, but was already making it out into the open by the first turn. I could see the front runners not too far out ahead and decided to just put it in cruise mode because I know what effort level is right for me at this distance with all of the 5k fun runs that we do each month at work. I notice that I very rarely feel the need to "race" other runners. What I mean by that is that I never single someone out that I feel like I need to stick with or try to pass. I usually always run my own race. This might not be the best strategy for a race result, but it is the way I do it.
I kept passing a few other people who probably started out a little aggressive and then settled in behind this high schooler that was cranking pretty good. We kept this positioning for the rest of the race. I believe I got within 30 ft of him at one point maybe around mile 2, but then he pulled away towards the end of the race, finishing in an impressive 16:40ish I think. I ran 17:20, so he beat me by a significant margin. I felt pretty good about my race time since it was only a couple of weeks ago that I just barely ran sub 18 at work (though I was still recovering from Coe...), so this means that I am still going in the right direction with getting my speed back. I got 5th place. Jean was 3rd with a 16:20, which is amazing. He is going to be entering his 50s next year, and I am sure he will be dominating that age group at whatever race he chooses (as if he isn't already dominating the 40 year olds...).
|The "Big Bunny" 5k is framed appropriately among easter egg homes...|
I was trying to be smooth in the homestretch here as I was pointing to my adoring fans.
|My football throwing buddy Luke Johnson from church had a great race, running 23:32. That is sub eight minute miles for 3.1 miles for a 14 year old! I ran the mile in track when I was 14, but couldn't even think about 3.1.|
At some point during Ada's lap around the field they had went ahead and started the 6 years and older group that was supposed to do two laps. So I am looking around for Hayley and realize that she is already coming through lap one with a bunch of the little kids still trying to finish their lap! Great race directing... In all of the chaos and confusion that was ensuing, the race director was trying to figure out which kids were finishing (the younger ones) and the ones that needed to do another lap. Anyways, Hayley went flying through, knowing exactly what she needed to do and finished her second lap strong with her long flowing strides.
|Here is Ada in action with pink dress shoes and all.|
|Look at that hip-extension! Other running form geeks will know what I am talking about...|
|The proud finishers.|
|I get handsomer with age.|
Sunday morning I got in my long run for the week. Since I was short on time I decided to piece together some of the steepest trails I could think of and try and run every step. I chose to go up PG&E>connector>black mountain>down indian creek>canyon>up grizzly flat>skyline back (decidedly not steep)> then back through montebello>up indian creek> and back down the way I came. The forecast warned of possible showers, so I was fearing the worst as I was nearing in on the Black summit (actually I was looking forward to finally running in the rain this spring!) But it was not to be, the moisture must have gotten sucked off by the time they got to the mountain :-(
|Top of PG&E.|
|Nearing in on Black Mountain Summit, wondering what awaits me. Those are the clouds getting skimmed off at black as they enter the bay from the ocean.|
|Last stretch before the summit.|
|On the other side of Black. This is a picture of the clouds hanging out in the valley.|
|Off of the Canyon trail in Monte Bello.|
|Going back up to Black, things are clearing out.|
|Other hikers enjoying the summit on this beautiful day.|