05/15 – Tilden Tough Ten

Hey gang-

I know, I know, I always manage to come up with a random stray race result!!

Three Strawberries avoided the confusion of the Bay to Breakers and ran the decidedly Un-Bay to Breakers, the Tilden Tough Ten 10-mile race which is limited to 300 entrants, along some paved and very steep and rutted dirt trails in Tilden Park.

The Berries went 1-2 in the 50-59 age group with Barry Smith (1:05.07) and Jeff Teeters (1:06.52). Barry was 8th overall while Jeff was 13th overall.

Masters runner Mike Singleton was also in this race, making the trip up from Modesto and completing the rugged course in 1:09.06. This netted him a strong 4th in the masters (40-49) category and 21st-place overall.

Nice job, lads!


Zazzle Dazzle! Four Strawberries Get Chick’d At Bay To Breakers

Aiming to catch the partiers with their pants down and coverlets up, Zazzle fired the commencement cannon at a cheery 6:55AM to start the 100th Annual Bay to Breakers 12K. Four of us, David “Fell for it” Yu, Jack “Plague” Wallace, Dan “Harroufi” Sivolella and Rob “Shoryuken” Elia, hauled ourselves onto the BART before 6:00AM for the occasion.

What happened after the gun went off? Well, I really can’t say. Merga, Harroufi, Meb and company took off like they were being chased by a tiger (a.k.a. me). I tried to hang with the Asics “VarneredUp” centipede, but bit the dust hard on the Hayes Street Hill. The combination of woke-up-at-5:00AM and hit-the-wall-four-miles-before-the-finish pretty much erased my memory of the morning, so here’s what Zazzle has to say:
43 13 40 Yu, David 39:39
226 62 203 Wallace, Jack 47:18
96 ?? 85 Elia, Rob 42:54
199 30 179 Sivolella, Dan 46:34

In other words, David got girled by 3 women, Rob by 11, Dan by 20, and Jack by 23. Better luck next time, fellas!

05/01 – Big Sur, Prize at 5K

Just when you are sure it’s safe to throw in the proverbial towel, the fist of life gives you a high five!

After the Master Berries put together a spiffy team of over 40s at the Zippy 5K, only to be out-zipped by the Ags, we come into the following weekend hoping simply to put some points, any points, on the board. We essentially took our Zippy team, removed our 1, 2, 4 and 6th best runners, and hoped for the best. The primary goal was to find five royal blue singlets in the chute by the end of the race. The “just show up” strategy of scoring. Outkick a sloth or something.

Meanwhile, the open team brought 3 of the 4 from Zippys. No expectations of a team, just enjoy the scenery and wave to the finish camera before entering the chute. Unlike Zippys, the wind was of the tail variety on the outbound trek, and in your face coming back. The fact that the road-impaired marathon was to start at the same location, made the start logistics a bit more cumbersome (not to be confused with a bit more cumber buns). Many 5Kers found themselves up to 2 miles from the start, rather than the usual spitting distance to the chalk line.

Nuff whining. Okay, maybe a bit more. Big Sur is typically about 30 ticks slower than the zippy Zippy, especially if one is not accustomed to steep plummets down drainage ditches, and awe-inspiring yet ankle-twisting sea-side dirt roads. The one-eighty just before the 2 mile mark is bad enough, let alone you then had to negotiate the steep hill back into the wind heading home. I will leave the part about the snow out at this point; (i.e. dis no track meet baby).

With that said, it comes as no surprise that a few of the Strawberries finished the race looking as though they ate cranberries. No be happy. Times measured with a calendar, if you asked them. But not all was a loss. A select few berries (like those $2 single strawberries you buy around Valentines Day!) had a nice effort despite all the rubbish mentioned before. Tom Haxton again smacked down the coast’s best punishment to record a 15:42. Not only good enough for 6th place, but more notably one place better than his Zippy finish and EXACTLY 30 seconds slower. Wud I tell ya? Huh? On the nearly-Senior side of things, Tim “I think I Keen” Keenan threw down a near-3rd-place finish in the masters div! He was actually 4th, but nearly 3rd sound so much more…..medally. Tim threw down a gnarly 17:19, which was a mere 24 seconds off his Zip time. Dude’s got sand legs!

Running is a team sport. The fall back chant of those individuals who had, how you say…”poopy”…races. You know who you are! Team players! Oy oy oy! David Yu said he stunk the place up, despite the high wind, running only 16:24. It wasn’t all that bad, at just 11 seconds over that 30 second “pride” limit. Keith Gilmore actually had the second best over-under time of the group, when compared to Zippys. His 18:04 was only 26 off his 17:38. Sweet! Oh, and don’t be around this guy with 200m to go. Won’t be pretty for you.

The masters team, after Tim, included Jeff Teeters, whose 18:45 was the biggest pant load of the team. A full minute plus off his stellar 17:36 effort the week before. Bad Jeff, no biscuit for you! Following Jeff were the amazing Tres Miguels, who, as I will get to later, saved the frickin day….Plus One! Mike #1 – Singleton dove for the line to beat 19 minutes. His 18:58 being 50 clicks off last week. Mike Maguire, who shows up more for the food and wine, ran on two bad knees and a so-so bottle of Cab the night before, ran a 19:41, while the third Michael – Mr. Plummer – posted a time resulting in a 7:11 pace. When queried about his race, Plummer retorted “Where the F was everybody!?” (I added the “F” part for drama).

Deeeeespite all this terrible news. The masters were able to rise to the occasion and grab victory from the gums of defeat. They won! Won as in One! Numero uno. Ten points. Gold medal, Mucho dinero. Shorter ride home. You get the point. The “just show up baby” tradition of victory by being less worse than the other teams. High …three baby! The well earned victory moves the mature berries into first place in the GP. Awesome. Who needs the stinkin $2 fancy Valentines berries?

To make things even less worse, the open amigos also scored a full team. With the three guys mentioned way up there in paragraph five (yes, it seems so long ago!) Bill Brusher, at almost 60, coming off chemo and running with a bad Achilles, along with Ross Franco – 72 and going strong – provided the open boys with a 5th place title, along with the accompanying prize money (TBD).

For our next act, we are going to win the Open Women’s division at the Marin 10K with two women, a couple of androgynous guys and a squirrel. Go Berries!