May 24, 2015
My visit with my sister is coming to an end. I didn’t get in a lot of runs this week, but we did do a fair amount of hiking:
**Last Saturday (before my semi-competitive 15K on Sunday), we did the 10-mile loop around Lake Chabot.
**On Monday, we walked around the neighborhood. Normally (at least in MY neighborhood), this would be junk walking, but Hiller Highlands is lots of STEEP hills everywhere. Even 2.7 miles gets your blood pumping!
**On Tuesday, we drove out to the Aid Station #1 location (where Golf Links Road ends) and did part of Big Bear and Golden Spike Trails. Seemingly, I am showing Marisa most of the Skyline 50K (which I am planning on running as my 100th marathon or longer race).
**On Wednesday, we met some of Marisa’s Texan friends (who now live in Alaska) and did the Mission Peak route near Ohlone College.
**On Thursday, we did the Sibley Loop, which is 1.5 miles of steep technical wooded downhill trail, a mile of paved uphill, and another half-mile up downhill back to the car. It was pleasantly overcast.
**On Saturday, Shauna joined us for a Marin County trip. We drove out to Stinson Beach and did the Matt Davis Trail, part of the Coastal Trail (Matt Davis was tough for Shauna, so I did 25 minutes out-and-back so they could rest), down Steep Ravine (which includes the ‘infamous’ backwards log-ladder), and finally, the countless stairs on the Dipsea Trail. Four-and-a-half hours!
So… for Sunday, I am doing the 15K, after around 35 miles of hiking over the past week!
The route is the same as always: 3 5K loops around Lake Merritt. There are two other races – a 5K and 10K, so it is often difficult to tell if you are competitive… until you get to the final lap. Years ago, I ran 67:36 (14 years ago), which works out to around 22:20 per lap. I am hoping to be at around 24:48 per lap (translating to 8:00/mile), but I am not all that confident after all that hiking.
My first lap is semi-crowded (both because of the multiple races and also because there are a number of civilians on the course to avoid) and I go out a bit fast to get around some of the slower 5Kers. I hit my goal pace for the first loop – 24:05, giving me about 43 seconds towards a slower lap, because I am not sure that I can maintain this pace today.
The second lap is less crowded (most people run the 5K) and I am within sight of a couple of people that I feel are in the 15K, but I am not sure that I can catch up. There is a little extra running on this loop, because by the Kaiser Convention Center, they are dismantling a temporary stage right in the middle of the course; the best course is “cross country” on the small swath of grass alongside the paved path. My time is 25:07 on this lap, and my margin of error for hitting 8:00 pace is down to 24 seconds.
I am trying to maintain my pace for my third loop, but I can feel I am losing some of my pace, especially on the minor uphills (course is essentially flat). I am losing contact with the two guys who had been just ahead of me, and just past the 10K point, I get passed by an older gent.
Although I push on the downhills, I come up a bit short on my goal and finish my final loop in 25:23, just 11 seconds slower than my goal (So, I did 8:01/mile.) I am the 5th finisher (of 6), the slowest male finisher, and last in my age group (the only one with more than 1 finisher), but am still happy with my time. I ran the 15K back in 2010, and today’s time is a minute faster.
A few hours after the race, I drive back to Los Angeles and air out my fumigated condo. It was a nice week, hiking and visiting with my little sister.