I ran two races this weekend.
The first was the Chesebro Half Marathon, part of the Great Race of Agoura which includes a 5K, 10K, the double -15K, and a kids 1 miler on Saturday March 31. I did this race last year and really enjoyed it so I signed up for another go at it. The half is really two races in one, about 3 miles at both ends on pavements with about 6 miles in the middle on trails.
This year the race seemed to be easier, the trail wider, the hills smaller and the whole thing went by a lot faster than last. One thing I missed, kind of, was the mud at the beginning of the trail. I wore my road shoes, so save my trail shoes from the 6 miles of road.
My primary goal for this race was to better last year's time of 2:01. My absolute rock my world goal was 1:39 predicted by the McMillan calculator. I knew that with the trail (hill) portion of the race this would be difficult.
Last year I started this race off slowly. This year I decided to kick it in early and pass as many people as I could before reaching the trail section. About 1/2 mile into the race I ran into Denis from the Cruisers. He and his training partner run the river trail in Yorba Linda but get started about an hour before the rest of us. I ran and chatted with him for about a mile until he took his first walk break. He uses the Galloway method at 6:1, finishing the LA marathon in 4:37. I had also decided to travel lighter this year. I braved the cool temps at the start and did not carry an extra sweatshirt like last year, nor did I carry my fuel belt, but relied on two water stops on trail. I did take a gel at mile 8. I was at 24:33 at the 3 mile mark, all on roads.
On the trail I kept trucking along and picked off one person at a time. I hit mile 5 in 16:26 meaning I was keeping up an 8:13 pace on the trail. For some reason at one minor down hill section, just before the biggest up hill about 3 of the people I had just passed surged ahead. I caught a couple of them again on the uphill. The mile 6 marker was obviously off since I reached it in about 5:30 after hitting mile 5. I kept an eye on the markers the rest of the trail but didn't record a time until I hit the road again. I hit mile 11 in 52:49/6 miles or 8:48 pace for the big uphill and of course the nice long downhill afterward.
Unlike last year when I ran out of gas when we hit the pavement, this year I still felt good. I began to set my sights on the runners ahead of me and picked off at least four before mile 12. We had been on the road for about a mile and a half and had a lane to ourselves. Around mile 12 we were joined by a mass of humanity. The 10K race started an hour and half after the half marathon. Chugging along with other like minded half marathoners was a good thing. Running into a wall of back of the pack 10K'ers was not. The runners were in a totally different place race wise. Their pace was slower and they ran or walked in groups which made keeping any kind of momentum nearly impossible. It was quite disturbing. We shared the road for nearly a mile until the last 100 yards or so to the finish line where we parted ways. Even with this distraction I was able to crank out 7:27 pace for the last 2.1 miles, thanks to a downhill finish once we left the trail.
My overall time was 1:49:31, a 12 minute improvement over last year and about half way to my outlandish goal. The 1:49 is nearly as good as my half marathon PR (1:45:39) set at Fontana on a nearly completely downhill road course. My time put me at 163/1001 (16th percentile) overall and 11/61 (18 percentile) for M4549. I'm pretty happy with that. 1:49 predicts a 3:40 marathon, so who knows...
I was nearly ready to head out when Denis crossed the finish line in 2:10:36. I hung out and talked for awhile. I found out he and his running partner are heading up to Eugene as well. His running partners daughter lives near Eugene.
The second race was the Victim's Rights 5K in San Pedro on Sunday, April 1. Some of you may remember that 9 to 10 weeks ago my oldest son started the coolrunning.com Couch to 5K program. This is something he started all on his own without any prodding from me. He even started a blog which he ended up not keeping up. But he did the important part, he finished all of the C25K workouts. A few weeks ago he asked me to find him a race. I originally started looking in the San Diego area, then he realized he would be home on spring break the week he was ready to race. I had considered the Spirit Run, but running around the mall lacked appeal to me. I found this 5K which ran along Paseo Del Mar at the edge of the Pacific Ocean. Tyler trusted my judgement. He even agreed to allow me to come with him and to run the race. After we checked in he asked me "So, you're just going to take off right?". "No way, I'm planning on running right along side you" I said. He was OK with that.
The race got under way and off we went. Tyler crossed the first mile marker in 9:43. This course wasn't really flat. Tyler complained about the "hills". I tried to convince him they were just little inclines. They really were pretty tame, but I did remember how I felt the first time I came across anything that even remotely resembled a hill.
During the second mile and the longest continuous climb Tyler took a walk break. I wasn't timing them because he hadn't asked me too. We started running again when he was ready. He asked for another walk break during this mile and finished mile 2 in 11:26, mostly due to the walk breaks.
During mile 3 he took a couple of more walks and hit that mark in 11:56. At that point I told him he couldn't walk anymore. It was against the rules to walk the last 0.1 mile of a 5K.
He kicked it in gear and finished the last 0.1 in 0:55, even passing 3 people on the way to the finish line. I was two steps behind him. My watch read 33:59:26. The official times listed now are 34:00 for Tyler and 34:05 for me. I know I wasn't 5 seconds behind him, but this wasn't my race. I was thrilled just to share this one with him. We even got medals, something I have never gotten before at a 5K. He ended up 11th in his age group and me 10th in mine and 209 and 210 out of 570. That put's him in the top 40%. The overall pace was 10:58. Now I've shared a 5K with both of my boys and although each one as among my slowest times, they will be the most memorable races I've run.
I asked Tyler if this was something that he wanted to continue and he said yes. He's looking for a program that is the next step beyond the C25K program. I will have to do some digging. Does anybody have any ideas?