Monday, December 1, 2014

Silicon Valley Turkey Trot - My return to racing

After the Tahoe situation this year, I was kind of a mess.  The weeks following the race were tough in all sorts of ways - physically, personally, emotionally, etc.  I mentally disconnected from racing and decided to get back to my roots: Running.  After riding my bike for nearly 6000 miles in nine months (~340 hours) and swimming more than I can remember, the last thing I wanted to do was look at my bike or a black line.  Running felt good, so I was going to just roll with it as long as I could.  I didn't have any races in mind, but running 50-60 miles a week was what my body wanted to do.  I wasn't about to argue!

Around the same time, I started working with a coach.  At first I was very reluctant to being coached, but David seemed insistent that I could be a much better runner than what my numbers were showing.  Having not being coached for over ten years, it took a bit of convincing before I let anyone control my time.  But as it turns out, David is a pretty cool dude who is even more excited about my running than I am!  THAT is the type of person I want coaching me!  Link to his website:

So after working together for four weeks, it was time to benchmark our progress.  I had a huge confidence-boosting 10 mile run in 59:50, but racing is different than training.  We decided a casual turkey trot would be a good place to start, so I decided on the Silicon Valley Turkey Trot in San Jose.

Normally I wouldn't write a blog post about a 5k, but this one is special.  After everything that's happened, I was finally EXCITED to race again!

Race morning was pretty relaxed.  Sam and I headed to the race around 6:50am.  My race didn't start until 8:30, but hers went off at 7:50.  We found parking at the SAP Center (where the Sharks play) very easily.  From there it was just a few blocks to the start down Market Street.  With so many people at this race, I was absolutely amazed at how chill everything was.  Bathroom lines were short.  Crowds were small.  So awesome.

After Sam went off, I had a few minutes to myself.  This was very important.  David and I talked about a proper warmup, and I executed that.  As soon as I took my warm clothes off and changed into my race shoes, I felt like I was floating on air.  This brought a huge smile to my face, and I knew it was going to be a good day!  I pushed to the front and started the race with my toes on the starting line - a rare occurrence with ~12000 people racing the 5k.
Striking an epic pose at the starting line.

The gun went off, and there was a mad dash for position.  I got caught up in that for a brief moment, but I remembered that David said to let the high school kids blow out the first mile.  I backed off slightly to avoid the same fate.  And as expected, as soon as we hit the first mile marker, I immediately passed three to four people.

David cautioned that mile two would be the toughest of the race, but it was only the beginning.  Soon after the 1mi mark, we hit the last wave of the 10k: The Walkers.  It was like weaving through a mine field.  There was a small  group of us weaving together, and thankfully I wasn't at the front.  I just had to follow along.  Occasionally we would split up, but we'd always converge back to the best line or the widest openings in the crowd.
Doing a good job of hiding the pain.

For me, mile three was the most brutal.  The deep hurt didn't settle in until mile 2.5.  I was honestly surprised it took that long, but struggling to breath AND weaving around people pushing baby walkers was hard.  Towards the last quarter mile, the 5k'ers and 10k'ers split.  We'd make a left towards the finish, and they'd make a right towards the second half of their race.  This was a godsend.  The weaving ended, but the hurt was still there.  Thankfully 5k's are pretty darn short.  I didn't have much of a kick, but I was able to hold off two of the dudes I was with for most of the race.

For my official time, I managed a 16:45 (5:24/mi.)  2nd in M25-29 and 12th overall out of ~12k.  Those are results I'm happy with.  This was such a massive PR.  In high school, I never even broke 18min for three miles, so to come this far is huge for me.  David deserves quite a bit of credit here.  He's the one who molded this lump of clay into something that could run a reasonable 5k.

Sam kicked some major ass too.  She PR'd both her 5k (19:46) AND 10k (42:04) times.  Mega kudos for that!
Barely broke a sweat!

Next up is the North Face Endurance half marathon on Dec 7th.

1 comment:

  1. Great race! And hella time!!! I think your 1/2 is gonna bring good things :)