Thursday, November 25, 2010

Walnut Creek 10K -- 36:08

I didn't take this Walnut Creek Turkey Trot 10K race very seriously and signed up at the suggestion of my sister-in-law. So my wife and two of her sisters ran or walked it and it was fun that they cheered me in a couple of spots where the course double-backed on itself. The race went surprisingly well and I essentially tied my personal record from October but on a slightly more difficult course.

After about the half-way point, after the 5K runners split off, I ran with this one other guy. (Tim Keenan is his name according to the results.) I stayed close to him and just off of his shoulder. Around mile 4, I felt stronger or he was slowing down slightly, so I passed him. The thought crossed my mind that maybe I should just stick behind him for a while longer since we were already on a fast pace and that I was likely to tie my P.R. But I passed him and then he stuck with me. There was some mud and slippery dirt paths around this point which slowed us down. Near the finish he passed me and I didn't feel like I could respond. Going over a pedestrian overpass, my legs felt weak and I couldn't help slowing down further and he pulled away.

Then, suddenly, within a tenth of a mile of the finish, the 10K finishers merged with the 5K finishers in a bit of a log-jam which added many seconds. I ran on the dirt, weaved in-and-out of the joggers, put my hands on a couple of people's shoulders so that we wouldn't collide, jumped over orange cones in the dirt and sprinted towards the finish. I heard a guy say, "whoah, there goes one of the elites." I had to laugh to myself at that!

Finally I crossed the finish line and chatted with the guy who I had been running with. He turned out to be 10 years older than me! Inspiring!

I came in 4th overall out of 829 finishers. (Update: the results changed since first being posted and I'm now listed as 5th of 833.) I think that's my best placement in a largish race. 1st place in my age group, too, although I was beaten by 5 seconds by a guy who was 10 years older.
My 1st place age group medal

I thought the race was well-organized and provided a good well-marked route with plenty of volunteers. Except for the congestion at the end, it's a good fun fast course, at least for the front runners. The organizers mailed the above medal to me.

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