06/22/10 – Records Shattered at Chabot

The 1600m – With nearly 150 years of experience in their legs, the Three Masterteers took the Chabot All comers #1 by storm – Tim Keenan, Thom Trimble and Ian MacLeod. The short club senior records were looking somewhat pathetic and we were here to make things right. Thom Trimble and Tim Keenan screamed into the Chabot JC parking lot and sprinted into the track stadium like they were late for a bus. Actually, they were late, or close to it, for the first event of the meet – the 1600m. With a 5:30 start it was nearly impossible to hold down a real job and make it to the initial race with anything resembling warmup. We covered the 400m from car to track in just under 60 seconds, but it was uncertified, so no record.
Trimble was able to get in 200m of extra warm up while simultenously slipping on his racing flats. Keenan was a bit more pedestrian as he sat on the bench pulling off sweats. The field was a variety of talent and ages. Most were pre-teens on the local track club, a couple “normal aged” guys and then a few old farts like ourselves. With meet protocol resembling a rave party, we got to pick our own hip numbers (Accutrak….seriously!). Since 1 through 9 was already taken, I had the extra burden of lugging TWO hip digits around the oval. Damn! The meet guy peeled off a couple of 5’s for me. Cool, 55, Tim Lincecum’s number, and he was pitching at that very moment against Houston. What could go wrong? Tim was given number 22. I think that was Mercury Morris’ number. Fast guy.
The gun went off and a flurry of short people put us to shame over the first 200. Miniature Seb Coe’s and Alan Webbs kicking our ancient butts. But, as it usually is with naive youth, these little munchkins thought Pace was something in a salsa jar. Timmy (Keenan, not Lincecum) and I picked off the little buggers like fleas off a dog. I set my prerace goals high – no one under 4-feet, or named Gramma beats me. With zippo warmup our legs responded like week-old flounder packed in ice. What is usually a very fluid analog physiological event (running) became very digital – left….right….left…right…repeat. Lap one in 78. Argh, felt like 68.
On lap two we reeled in a couple more preschoolers and a lady in a walker – 2:39 – we’re slowing Tim, more coal! I hung on for life to Tim’s back. Actually it was more for a wind break on the back stretch, as we navigated a pass-less lonely lap 3. 4:02….gads, we’re losing oil. Hang tough. No DNF. We were able to put down a semi-respectacle gun lap of 75-76. I decided to share the burden of leading with 100m to go to ensure my pathetic time was slightly less pathetic than Tim’s – 5:17 to 5:18. Third and Fourth. No ribbons for YOU!
The 100m – Yes you read it right. The fricking uno cero cero. Just like the 10,000m, but with 50 less turns. Tim was licking his wounds and speed boy Ian had yet to arrive. The club record for the 100m was….non existant. I was sure to own it. Just had to finish. My right hammy twinged at that moment.
I pulled off my sweats and lined up for Heat 1 – the old guys. Old guys being anyone over 15. Six lanes of raw fast-twitch…and me…in lane 1. The other five guys were doing this bouncy leg-shaky thing, so I did too. Anything to blend in. They all had fancy spikes, and me with my distance flats. Oh, and my thighs were half their size too.
As I lined up at the start I stumbled over some metal contraption. Wussat? Oh yeah, blocks! I knew blocks could do nothing but embarrass me, but not wanting to look like a distance weenie, I did the “get in the blocks” posturing – kneel down, shake out right leg and place in block, shake out left leg place in block, dust of hands and tuck in my necklace. I almost laughed. Really.
Take your marks……seeeehhhhhhhtttttttt………..click! No ammo apparently. That was good, cuz the other 5 guys were 30m down the track and me still stuck to those block things. Destiny delayed. I could see the fear in their eyes. Finally, the gun fired and they were off, then I was off, literally stumbling out of the blocks like I just saw a snake. I swear it took me 3 seconds just to get up and running – not a good strategy in this race. I knew I was a second-half type racer, but I guess that don’t work much when one is 5 seconds down. I spent the last 30m flailing and thinking “do NOT fall down…do NOT fall down”. I leaned. Tim cheered. The fans for all the others were already gone. It was probably not a good sign that I had stopped and was resting a mere 10 meters beyond the finish.
Wadja git me in? Whats my time? Tim had 14.80 on his watch. The finish line guy showed me a hand-scrawled time of 13.37 (Accutrak only has sooo much film ya know). Wow…not bad. Wait….is that a 3 or a 5? DOH! 15.37 seconds. Oh well. Age graded thats like what, 14.50? Club record, nonetheless.
The 800m – My game plan was to take down the pedestriam senior 800m club record of 2:26 point whatever. However, before I could even catch my breath from the 100m, my plans were rudely interrupted, by the third Masterteer – Ian MacLeod. Ian, who turned 50 like eight minutes before arriving, was there for his feature event. “Was that YOU I saw sprinting?” Ian asked me. I could feel the sarcasm, but he hid it well. Trash talk ME will ya? We sprinters don’t like trash talk. I knew Ian could lay down a 2:15 800m with no problem, given the right conditions. He too however fell victim to the micro-warmup. They were calling the 800m runners to the line before Ian could even get his spikes out of the bag. I figured if we could start before Ian got on his second spike I might claim the club record for my very own.
No luck. Ian toed the line with me, a couple other older guys and some 20-something guy. Before the gun stopped echoing in my left ear, Ian was gone. Perhaps he thought this was the 400m. I hung with 20-something as the other two tailed behind. Ian flew through lap one in 65 seconds. I could barely hear the split from so far back. Me and 20 came through in 73ish. I felt good. 1600m pace can do that.
With the club record essentially in Ian’s pocket I focused on earning the #2 spot and getting under 2:26. 20-guy pressed the backstretch as I used him to break the wind. We hit 600m in 1:51. Must….kick….soon. With 80m to go I turned on the “afterburners” and eased by into second place. With 20m to go the afterburners ran out of fuel and 20-something nipped me at the line – 2:25:28 to 2:25:32. Curse you Accutrak! Still good enough for #2 in the record books. Ian scorched the two-lapper in an amazing 2:16.88, almost 10 full seconds under the old record. What could he have done with a little competition and some warm up? Scary.
The 3200m – The final event of the meet. You can tell, cuz everyone has left but the real skinny guys with the watches on their wrist. With speed deamons MacLeod and Trimble left with very few slow-twitch fibers to use, the 3200m was Tim’s to lose. Of course the fact that Tim was the ONLY one running it played into that saying well. The Portugese soccer team had a better chance of losing to the North Koreans. I digress.
To help Tim with his quest of a 10:40-something, Ian and I decided to do some pacing for him. Low-80 second laps would be good, Tim told us. He then proceeded to nearly drop both of us with a first lap 78. Maybe he thought it was the mile again. Tim eased back a bit on lap two with an 81 but my legs were burning and Ian called it a day – dang 800m guys! We hit 1200m in 4:01 – ahead of our 1600m split – and I had yet to take the pace. I guess I was unclear on the concept of pacing; me back here trying to survive the effort. I finally gathered enough manliness and literally pushed by Tim on the inside to take the lead for lap 4. “Get out of my way; I’m here to help!” My goal was not so much to take the burden of pacing from Tim, but rather to record a slightly better mile time than we ran earlier. Who wouldn’t?!
As we approached the mile mark, where I had planned to dnfaoi (did not finish ALL of it), I decided to forge ahead and, um, follow Tim for another lap. We hit the halfway mark in 5:22, only four seconds slower than the 1600m race! We clipped off another 82 lap for a 6:44. I stepped into the infield a few meters later. I would later figuratively kick myself for not gutting out the last 3 laps in pursuit of the senior record of 11:06. I only needed 87s!! DOH and DOH!
At that point 800m specialist Ian took the reigns and dragged Tim through another couple of low 80s laps. He hit the gun lap in about 9:28. A sub-82 would give him his 10:4x time. Little did I know he had planned to do one of those “kick” things. I broke the wind on the back stretch only to see him press by on the inside, in full “grunt” mode that he does when the end is near. My legs reminded me why I had chosen to drop out earlier. With 100m remaining I just yelled “GO” for no apparent reason (one of those coachy things), but it made pulling out seem appropriate. Tim hammered the last lap in around 74 to record a very impressive 10:42. Both of the remaining spectators cheered. That is the second fastest 45-49 time for the club, behind his 2009 effort at the same meet.
We plan to repeat this adventure again next week. Maybe skip the 1600m this time. (Trimble)

06/17/10 – Mann Wins PAUSATF Masters Short GP

The 2010 PAUSATF Grand Prix was both short and sweet for the Strawberry’s Jeff Mann. With just four races in this year’s schedule, there was little room for error. One bad race, one cramp, side ache, back strain or allergy attack and you could drop from the standings like a wet sheep through lasagna noodles.

Jeff placed third in both of the 5Ks and 5th at the Marin 10K. With a solid lead going into the Downtown Mile, Jeff just needed to run a decent race to win the crown. Nothing comes easy. Midway through the mile Jeff’s lower back began to complain about the camber of the road. Rather than go with his early plans to hang with the leaders Jeff was force to play it safe and drop back to a less stressful pace. That stategy proved successful and his back hung in there and allowed him to swoop 2 or 3 places over the last 200m, assuring him the season title.

Dwight Smith, the 2009 Short GP Champ for the Seniors, almost pulled off a repeat. Tied for the lead with Uber-Senior Tim O’Rourke half way through the season Dwight saw his chances of reliving the glory stumble when his knees gave out late in the Marin 10K. Not only did O’Rourke pull away in the race, over the last mile, but his teammates took no mercy on him, with Teeters and Trimble also passing him late in the race. While this made both Jeff and Thom uber-stoked, it all but ended Dwights chances of gold for 2010. O’Rourke put an exclamation mark on the title by winning the last race of the season for good measure. Dwight ended up a solid second in the year-end Short GP.

Self-proclaimed masters/senior team Pubah, Thom Trimble, summed up the triumphs of his teammates this way – “It’s those bloody leg warmers I tell ya. Training is overrated. Dressing up like sub-14 minute 5Ker Alan Dehlinger is the secret. Some of us are just slower on the uptake!” See photos on right –>

The Open Short GP is still one race from calling it a season, with the Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot sill perched on the schedule. The Berry’s David Yu is looking good in fourth place, while teammate Sean McFarland is back in 17th place despite on running two of the four races so far. With the top 15 year-end placers earning comp entries to the 2011 races, Sean could easily find himself in the money.

Other club members who placed well in the Short GP standings included:
OPEN MEN: 26. Jeff Mann, 40. JackWallace, 51. Joseph Binder
MASTERS MEN: 9. Dwight Smith, 10. Darrin Banks, 18. Thom Trimble
SENIOR MEN: 5. Thom Trimble, 13. Jeff Teeters, 17. Ian McLeod

A complete listing of the PAUSATF Standings can be found at http://www.pausatf.org/data/2010/rrstandings.html
(Trimble da Pubah)

06/06/10 – Berries Go Anaerobic at Downtown Mile

The PAUSATF Mile returned to the Grand Prix after a two-year hiatus. After stops in Sonora, Sacramento, Davis and Stockton, the mile found its way out of the valley and into more hospitable North Bay climes.

The Downtown San Rafael Mile featured a fast slight-downhill out-and-back route which produced some impressive times. Heats were broken into 10-year age groups and went off every 15 minutes which kept the atmosphere hopping with action.

The first to test the asphalt for the club were the senior men. Dwight Smith hung with the leaders to the wire finishing 4th overall in 5:03. Teamates Ian MacLeod (5:10) and Thom Trimble (5:13) were not far behind. Bill Brusher, still undergoing chemotherapy treatment for cancer ran courageously, finishing in 6:44. While well over a minute off his potential, Bill was all smiles at the finish and provided support for the later heats.

In the Masters heat, sub-4 miler Jim Sorenson toyed with the field, kicking in a sub-60 final quarter to win easily in 4:27. The Berry’s Jeff Mann, hoping to grab second, had back problems early due to the sharp camber of the road. Jeff hung back in about 8th spot before blasting the last 200 to nab 4th in 4:49. Darrin Banks ran up near the lead and hung on with a very impressive showing in 4:51. Completing the masters squad saw the return of Tim “Ab Strain” Keenan, who was quite happy with his 5:06 effort, with almost no speed training.

The Men’s Open Heat was the showcase of the event, with over 40 guys going under 5 minutes. It also provided a showcase for the club’s “short distance” guys – those half milers, unaccustomed to asphalt. Leading the club once again was Sean McFarland who ran a very strong 4:23 to take 9th overall. Sean was followed 7 seconds later by David Yu who recorded a PR with his 4:30. Half Miler Niko Connor did fine at twice his distance, coming in with a 4:39 PR, while fellow 2-lapper Joshua Seeherman was less-exhurberant about his 4:54 as the clubs 5th man. Holding down the #4 spot for the Berries, saw the return of another injured soul – Nathan Leefer. Nathan was running just to get under 5 minutes (or was it 5:10?). He seemed not to want to wait that long to finish and ran a surprising 4:48 to claim 33rd place in the big boys race. (by Thom Trimble)


06/06/10 – Teeters Breaks Record at Chabot Half

The Lake Chabot half marathon is the second race in the East Bay triple crown series. (The other two are the Tilden Tough Ten and the Woodminster XC race). I’ve run the triple crown series many years and won it a few time. Since I turned 50 this year, I decided to try and get the 50+ course record for Tilden and Lake Chabot. I failed to do it at Tilden. In that race I was initially running with Chris Wendt, a tall 19 year old, but I couldn’t keep up with him. He ran 62:54 which was close to the time I needed to run to get the record (which is 62:39). I finished about 1:30 behind him in 64:21. While not a record, my time was the third best all-time in the 50-59 division.

After my failure to get the record at Tilden, I set my sights on the Lake Chabot 50+ half marathon record. The Lake Chabot Half marathon is a very hilly and difficult trail race. The course is so difficult that the record is only 1:16:48, set by Peter Gilmore (a national class runner). Usually the winning time is over 1:20. When I was in my 30’s I won the race a few times. In 2006, I set the 45 to 49 course record (1:26:44). Given that, I thought it would be easy for me to break the 50-54 division course record of 1:30:01 when I reached 50. However, last year, (when I was 49) I ran my slowest time, 1:30:40, about forty seconds slower than the record. I realized that it would not necessarily be easy to break the record when I was 50. However, this year, I trained very thoroughly. I ran almost every day for three months or so, mostly 10+ mile runs, with lots of hills. Often with Lawrence McKendell, who was training for the Dipsea. Because of this dedicated training and recent race results, (35:30 10K at Marin) I felt very confident at the start that I would break the record.

During my warm up, I jogged over the last mile of the course, and noted some landmarks (particular trees) indicating the start of the final uphill. I felt pressed almost all the way in the race, trying to keep up with Chris Wendt (same person who finished ahead of me at Tilden). Much of the time we were running side by side, racing each other. Quite a few times he would get 30 meters or so ahead of me and I thought I was going to be dropped. Somehow I always managed to work my way back to him. We were together and both took the wrong turn towards the end which looped back onto the course, causing us to run part of the course twice, about 300 meters extra distance. After that, I was kind of aggravated, thinking that all of my hard work in this run could be wasted, so I started running harder. I was afraid the wrong turn might keep me from getting the record. When I got to the tree’s I had picked out, I started pushing even more, charging the last up-hill, and tried to pick up the speed after the hill in a near all-out near sprint to the finish. I didn’t know it at the time, but this maximal effort was needed because I didn’t have much time to spare. I broke the record by only 10 seconds. It was a great run for me, because even with the wrong turn, my time was 50 seconds faster than last year. I must have really accelerated that last bit, because Chris, who I had been struggling to keep up with the whole way, finished almost 30 seconds behind me.

I wore a heart rate monitor in this race (June 6) and also in the Memorial Day 10K on May 31. My heart rate in the 10k was at about 160 average, 165 in the final sprint. In this half marathon about 150 average, 155 in the final sprint. A slower heart rate, but not by much for more than twice the distance. I was definitely pushing myself in both races. (by Jeff Teeters)