5/5 – Car(l) Trouble

Hi everyone,

I have a few messages to pass on from adventurer-Carl, who took his Mini on the road this weekend and ended up stranded in this terrible-sounding place called “Los Angeles.”

1. Congratulations to Jon McKinley for setting (another) club record in the 1500m! His 3:58.45 was good for eighth in his heat, and 38/80 overall at the ridiculously stacked Oxy Invite

I think this is the third occasion in a Bubka/Isinbayenva-esque season that the 1500m record has been broken, so way to milk it for all it’s worth, Will and Jon 🙂


2. Results from the Portola 5K are already up at http://www.sml1.com/norcalstat/Other/5k4play13_res.htm. Representing The Canyon in the valley were the usual army of masters, the stalwart Julia, and yours truly:

Name Overall Age Gun time Chip time Pace

Julia Gullikson 19 1 19:30 19:26 6:16


David Yu 12 8 15:52 15:51 5:07

Kevin Downie 28 3 17:05 17:04 5:30

Tim Keenan 38 1 17:29 — —

Dan Sivolella 58 8 18:13 — —

Bill Salacuse 68 9 18:39 — — (were none of you guys wearing chips??)

Thom Trimble 75 7 18:51 — —

Jeff Teeters 78 8 18:56 18:53 6:05

At first glance, it looks like the masters team finished 3rd behind the Aggies and Excelsior, edging out Pamakids.

3. Workouts for the week will be posted here by tomorrow. Carl probably won’t be back in Berkeley by tomorrow evening, so it’s up to your personal discretion how much suffering to inflict on yourself.

Nice work, everyone!


3/23 – Johnny Mathis ’13: Strawberries Spread PRs On Crackers Like Some Sort Of Hors D’Oeuvre And Bite Down


The Strawberry Canyon Track Club knew this San Francisco State Cox Stadium venue was capable of delivering top flight competition and fast times so it’s been circled on our calendar for months. It did not disappoint.

Today was one of those mail-ordered, perfect weather and perfect track days that don’t come around too often and the Canyon Crusaders took full advantage. First up was the Mixed Master’s Mile, and Chris Dodge laced ’em up and gave it a go. He chased a very fast WVTC runner for four laps and was pulled to an excellent mark of 4:45.21, his best mile time as a masters and well up on the SCTC all-time masters list. This was just a prelude as the men’s 1500 was next. William Chen and Jonathan McKinley waged a see-saw duel in section two of the 1500 which pushed both of them to personal bests AND both went under the existing club record by two seconds. William Chen narrowly prevailed in 4:00.12 and Jonathan McKinley surprised the bejesus out of the Cal coaches on hand by scorching a 4:00.39. In heat five, Gene Burinsky showed he is returning nicely to form after missing nearly six months of training during the second half of last year with a solid 4:11.75 mark. Irtaza Haider barely missed his PR by a few tenths with a strong run of 4:16.93. Masters blaster Kevin Downie shot way up on the club’s all-time list with a smoking time of 4:17.98. Matt Bogdanowicz uncharacteristically had to pull off the track with some breathing problems related to allergies, and Jack Wallace had an off day after letting a gap form early, finishing up in 4:31.13 .

Next up was the women’s 400-meter dash and Mariel Gray netted a respectable 1:10.36, a time she is likely to improve in the upcoming weeks.

The 800-meter dash was after the 400 and in the first heat William Chen lined up with some very fast runners expected to go under 1:52. Madness ensued as on a picture-perfect day for lightning fast times, as apparently no one wanted to take the race out at an honest pace. The fastest runners went through at a pedestrian (for them) 58.7 with William pretty much tied for the lead, looking around and shrugging, almost confused. William ended up ratcheting up the pace and running a monstrous negative split (unheard of in the 800 unless someone is capable of going a lot faster). He closed with a 57.69 for a 1:56.39 second-place performance. This was an outrageously strong finish off of a 58.7 opening lap, and after William had pulled off a 4:00-flat in the 1500 as well. These efforts took a lot out of the guys as one by one their initial enthusiasm started wane with respect to running a 4 x 400 at the end of the day and they prudently scratched from the event.

But the fireworks were not over, no sir. Ariel Farrar-Wellman, sprint kayaker extraordinaire, ran a strong 800-meter race, powering down the final stretch and pulling away from the field in her heat with a really nice PR of 2:35.06.

The Canyon continued its impressive performances as three women lined up in the 5000-meter event. Lauren Schmidt ended up establishing herself as somewhat of an instant legend as she ran in clunky training shoes and about three laps in her shoe came untied. She kept popping 84s,85s and 86s and motored away from the rest of the field. She ended up dominating the whole race from wire to wire and shattered the existing club record by 15 seconds with a magnificent time of 17:43.77. Now if we get some FLATs on her with laces that stay tied, along with some super speedy women to run with, that time is coming down…WAY down. Julia Gullikson also ran an impressive race today, averaging 90-second per lap pace and notching a great mid-season time of 18:47.77. Following Julia was Mei-Tung Chen, who has been a PR machine all spring. She sliced another 13 seconds off of her PR despite enduring a stomach bug earlier in the week, hitting the tape in 19:39.52, only nine seconds off of the qualifying standard for the Taiwanese National Meet. Keep your fingers crossed for Mei as she has been making huge improvements all season.

The men’s 5000 was divided into two heats, and the Dans lined up in a loaded first section. Dan Chebot and Dan Duett, both teammates at the University of Rochester, ran smart races and hung tough throughout the event. Dan Duett prevailed over his teammate with a good performance of 15:46.22 and Dan Chebot pulled through in 15:50.70. In the next heat, George Torgun was in an exciting duel with Nick Scalfone of New Balance, and almost pulled out the win, running his fastest 5000 in years with a really nice time of 15:45.74. David Yu swiped Dayu Tao’s number (who opted not to race), and ran a really good comeback effort time of 16:15.00. So David has some work to do but he is obviously coming back.

What a great day to be a Canyonero!

– Carl

3/18 – Weekend Update

Across the Bay 12K
Hornet Invitational


Hey Canyoneros-

At the Across the Bay 12K it looks like the masters team took 5th overall with a few of the hitters missing. We’ll be facing an uphill battle for the rest of the year to defend our title as we are being outgunned by the other clubs who seem to be out for blood this year.

For the Canyon, we had the following masters results.

  • Rob Elia 43:13 (1st 45-59)
  • Tim Keenan 43:56 (2nd 50-54)
  • Bill Salacuse 44:55 (great first sub 45 for him and he is in 45-49 AG too)
  • Daniel Sivolella 47:32
  • Thom Trimble 50:00+
  • Eric Gullikson, Jeff Teeters and Rick Massey also ran in the masters race, nursing various aches and pains.

In the women’s race, three Canyoneras competed very well for us.

  • Katy Hollbacher overcame a week with Norovirus and pulled a 47:32 (3rd 35-39)
  • Margot Hutchins debuted for the Canyon with a really nice time of 48:54 (5th 30-34)
  • Julia Gullikson snuck under the 51:00 barrier with a 50:58 (1st 16-19 AG)

The men’s open race had two competitors.

  • Karl Walczak ran 41:13 (5th 30-34), which was on two days / week of actual run training and a year of being injured. Oh, and he didn’t push the effort too hard either. Watch out for this cat.
  • Jack Wallace ran 43:18 for us too.

On Saturday at the Hornet Invitational at Sacramento State, William Chen ran the 800. The race was supposed to be a strong field, but everyone went out slowly and tapered off (relatively speaking). The leader went out in 57.3, William was about 57.8, and finished in second in 1:55.79. Though this time is second on our all-time list, it was a second off of William’s PR so he’ll be looking to drop that next time. It is very hard to run even splits in an 800-meter race, which has a unique physiological component and requires a runner to go out hard and hang on. If William had been pulled through in high 54, he would have PR’d by 1-2 seconds. Onward and upward, next time!

I’ll hope to see many of you giving it a go at next Saturday’s Johnny Mathis meet in San Francisco. Let Niko Conner nwconner91@gmail.com know of your interest! I’ll assist him with registration as best I can.

PS: Off-topic but if you should happen to peruse to this month’s Men’s Journal magazine at most bookstores and turn to pages 88-89, you will see a familiar name associated with the running gear review.


9/1/12 – SCTC Time Trial Of Glory

(Official results forthcoming)

There are time trials and then there are TIME trials. The Cal Cross Country/Strawberry Canyon TC time 2012 version was a rip-roaring TIME trial thanks in part to a steady drum-beat of promotional interest on its facebook page (fear of failure-induced, I might add). The turnout of nearly 60 athletes for a three-event hand-timed impromptu track meet was quite impressive. In fact, it kicked…tail.

There were some highs and lows on the newly resurfaced Edwards Track, but the majority of the response was overwhelmingly positive. In addition to the athletes, at least 150 people attended the meet to watch the fleet participants in the late-summer mini-meet, many repping the Cal cross country and track teams as well as the Cal Triathlon Club. There were also the hapless fitness and conditioning class participants, who probably came away a bit buffaloed by Coach Carl trying to clear the track for the next scheduled event.

By far the biggest contribution to the meet’s success was the hard work of the Strawberry Canyon finish chute volunteers (Sean McFarland, Eva Stuart, Bruce Thrupp, Cameron Bronstein, Erik Gullikson (primary timer), Joseph Doetsch, Carola Conces and Art Martin. Some excellent pictures were captured by the talented Ian MacLeod, along with some handy finish-line camera/timing work by Nathan Leefer.

The first race of the day was the first heat of the 400 meter event, made intriguing by the addition of three Oakland Tech high school runners. Newly minted (or is it berried?) Strawberry Canyon TC club member Justin Lee won the 400 pressing home in a strong time of 65.8 seconds at age 47. He was followed closely by Jessica T. from Oakland Tech in 66.8. The tenacious Carola Conces of Strawberry Canyon TC came in 3rd in her first 400 since middle school in 67.4. Maya Hinkston of Oakland Tech was 4th in 69.0-flat, while her teammate Kanukai Chigamba was 5th in 72.2.

The second heat of the 400 was for faster-seeded runners and former Brown University standout Matt Duffy ran 53.8 to claim the 400-meter event. He pulled Strawberry Canyon Track Club master’s ace Chris Dodge to a superb new master’s 400-meter record of 54.3, breaking his own record of 55.09 set last February on the same track. Chris was followed by a hard-charging Brian Gillis of Transports in 54.8, and Torrey Olson, also with Transports, who coasted in the last few meters in 60.7.

Next up was the first heat of the 5000-meter/3200-meter time-trial. It was a see-saw affair which turned into a spirited duel between Strawberry Canyon Track Club runner Jeff Teeters and former Cal runner (now masters runner) Steve Zirklebach (oh how they grow up so soon!). Zirklebach prevailed over Jeff with a very strong kick in 17:47.0 to 17:53.0, but Teeters was very happy to break 18:00. Following the two fast oldsters was a great run from Erika Erickson of the Cal Triathlon Club, who threw down a college-worthy time of 18:14.1. She pulled Alberto Bonda, an exchange student from Italy, to his time of 18:16.0. Kevin Jude was next at 6:00-flat pace in 18:37.2, and he was followed by Dan Riffe in 19:23.0.

New Strawberry Canyon TC member Mei Tung-Chen finished in a strong PR of 20:18.0. She was followed by SCTC masters runner and core guru Steve “Sandal Man” Trutane in 20:31.5, who edged out Jason Lowe (20:33). Kelsie Clausen, who runs for Tamalpa Racing, came in next in 21:24.2. New Strawberry Canyon TC member Katrin Cox came in after that in a 53-second 5K PR in a solid finishing time of 22:22.

In the 3200, Oakland Tech had two girls entered: Fiona Gregg (15:20.0), and Tiffany Huang (15:22.8). Chico TC masters runner Art Martin, who came to help out with the finish-line work, got through seven laps at about 6:10 / mile pace in his first hard run in many years.

The second heat of the 3200/5000 featured nothing but 5000-meter runners. It was still a little warm for a distance race but the bouncy, fresh gold track seemed to be agreeing with people. The first five runners were all Strawberry Canyon Track Club runners who tempo’d the race as a workout.  Kyle Braam (16:27.4), Dayo Tao (16:29.0), Jack Wallace (16:42.0), Irtaza Haider (16:48.8) and Chris Goioa (16:51.9) all enjoyed the experience, helping to pull the next three runners under their goal time of sub-17:00. Tim Comay (16:55.9), Jonathan Nolasco (16:59.4) and Strawberry Canyon TC runner and Swiss rock climber extraordinaire Thibault Hottelier (16:59.8) all dipped under 17:00.

Chris Everett (apparently not a famous tennis player) was next in 17:21.0, followed by Strawberry Canyon TC senior’s stud Tim Keenan, who missed some time with a stress fracturebut celebrated his 51st birthday with a strong time of 17:33.4. Strawberry Canyon TC master’s runner Bill Salacuse ran a 5000-meter PR in 17:44.3. Mr. Reliable Barry Smith, fresh off his Pike’s Peak double marathon and the 18:00-flat pacer, finished in 18:00.2.

Two women hoping to walk-on to the Cal track team faded a bit toward the last mile and fell just short. Both were understandably a little saddened, Kelly Garton (18:23.7) and Elizabeth Scott, a Cal senior who runs for the Impala Racing Team and held high 17:00s pace for nine laps (18:44.2).

A nervous energy swept over the crowd as the sun dipped behind the west stands for the third heat of the 3200/5000-meter event, which seemed to have a little bit of a magical quality to it. Its race field was impressively loaded as some very serious runners toed the line, including Cal volunteer assistant track coach Bolota Asmerom, a 2000 Olympian in the 5000-meters. The pace was quick from its outset as several runners blew through the 400 in 67 seconds and another pack trailed them in 71-72 seconds.

Six runners opted to run the 3200 in this particular race, allowing for a fast start for a bigger group of guys than normal. Matt Duffy gapped Bolota at 1.5 miles and added the 3200 title to his 400-meter title as he blazed across the line in 9:04.3, nearly breaking the 9:00-barrier. Following Matt was Brian Gillis of Transports who in his finishing kick, keyed off of former Harvard University standout Chas Gillespie who loomed just ahead of him, to finish in a very impressive 9:26.6. Chas was continuing the race and completing over four more laps. Nate Beach was close behind in the 3200 in a strong time of 932.9.

Torrey Olson (9:44.8) and Sam Robinson (9:47.9), both of Transports, rolled in next, and they were trailed by an unidentified New Balance Excelsior runner in 10:20.0.

Those finishing the 5000-meter event found the track clearing out in front of them as the 3200 runners stepped off. Bolota Asmeron cruised to an unchallenged 5K time of 14:25.6, while Chas Gillespie surprised himself with a very impressive 14:44.4 mark after a long lay-off from hard training or racing. Following Chas were three aspiring Cal walk-ons who had to attain the 15:00-flat standard. Seamus Land made good and battled across the line in 15:00.7, garnering himself a walk-on spot to the Cal track team. Andres Diaz (15:09.7), and William Chen (15:17.8) narrowly missed on the team, but posted impressive marks which put them on Cal’s radar in the future.

Francis Corrigan, a New York Athletic Club runner who recently moved back to the Bay Area, notched a time of 15:36.9. He was followed by Chikara (Chow Hound) Omine of New Balance Excelsior, who placed in 15:50.4. Cal Triathlon Club member Lauri Takasi (15:55.9) cracked the 16:00 barrier thanks to some fine pacing by Strawberry Canyon TC members Rory Runser (16:00.1) and Christoph Wanner (16:05.8). Shinji Nakadai, a Strawberry Canyon TC member who is also an ultra-runner from Japan, closed out the meet with his time of 16:12.3.


07/10 – World Masters Day 2, USATF Club Nationals

We had some competitors competing in very high-level meets this weekend.

Paul Coover ran at the USATF Club National Championships in New York City. He placed 16th overall in the 800 with a time of 1:58.63.

Not to be outdone, the old ‘uns competed at the IAAF WORLD Championships in Sacramento.

For these 5000-meter races held at Sac City College’s track the conditions were hot and windy for our guys’ heats.

Thom Trimble was in the second 50-54 heat of the 5000 and came in 9th overall with a time of 18:40.02 (24th overall).

Tim Keenan ran his 45-49 heat, also the second heat, and finished in 17:21.98 (third overall in his heat). He was 18th overall in his age group.

Nick Bingham had a very strong race in the 40-44 age group category and was 7th overall in 16:17.42.

Later that evening the action moved over to Sacramento State University’s track. Jeff Mann looked superb and rocked the semi-final of the 800 45-49 age group, popping a strong 2:04.86 mark, taking third overall in his heat and qualifying for the final round of the 800.

Matt Bogdanowicz ran in a loaded 40-44 heat and came in at 9th place with a 2:05.1 or a few hundredths less. He went out a little hard and had to fight his way home.

That’s about all I have for everyone for tonight. Just got in and my pillow is looking like a highly viable option at this point.


07/09 – World Masters Day 1

Hi All,

Results from today in Sacramento, 800 qualifiers. In each heat, the top 3 go through plus the 6 best times.  Sorry if I missed anybody but these are the times I know of today:


17 Bogdanowicz, Matthew     M42 United States          2:06.12q


12 Mann, Jeff               M48 United States          2:12.06Q


41 MacLeod, Ian             M51 United States          2:40.82


39 Brusher, Bill            M59 United States          2:52.60

Matt went through to the second round comfortably on time, coming in 5th in his heat in a strong group with the top 3 in his heat at 2:02.+ with Heilpern #1 overall at 2:02.64.  Matt had a strong second lap to make up a gap between him and the leaders.  He should be in a good position to go through to the final with a strong race in the semifinal.

Jeff qualified comfortably as well, even though coming off a reduced training month due to a hammie strain at the San Rafael mile.  The first lap was slow, Jeff and the leaders at about 70 s. but he picked it up considerably in the second lap running a very fast 62 s. to slot in easily at third.

Perhaps unwisely, but I couldn’t resist, I decided to race after not training for the last month and a half due to a sore hamstring.  I had a great warm up, doing several all out sprints to test the legs, which felt fine, so I decided to go for it.  I had the bad luck of being in heat 6 of my age group, so I had to spend about 40 minutes in the call area waiting for my heat to start, during which everything stiffened up a bit.  I ran the first lap fairly slowly, about 70 s. and was thinking about making a move on the backstretch to at least make things respectable when I got another twinge in my left hammie as I was passing the guy in front of me, so instantly backed off and basically jogged into the finish and walked across the finish line.  Damn!  I wasn’t even winded!  After looking over the final results in my age group, with some guys qualifying at 2:18+ and another heat with the top 3 guys coming in at 2:28+, I figured that on a normal day with healthy legs, it wouldn’t  have been too hard to qualify for round two.

Bill had a tough race too, fighting a sore achilles, but is still eager to come back for the 1500 in the coming week.  Like he said, a year ago he was battling cancer, and is just happy to be here, so we are all proud of him for hanging in there!

Overall, despite my anemic result, this is the best meet I have ever participated in.  The atmosphere is great, the events run like clockwork, it is fun rubbing shoulders with terrific, passionate athletes from around the world who are the world’s best, I got to practice my rudimentary Spanish with a runners from Spain and Chile, and had lots of other convivial interactions with English-speaking athletes from around the world.  I also had the privilege of meeting the legendary Nolan Shaheed, who, judging from my short conversation with him, is one of the nicest guys you could ever meet.

Who is up for Brazil in 2013?!




07/25/10 – Mann Wins National 45-49 Title in 1500m

Mann Kicks Home to Win 1500m

Mann Kicks Home to Win 1500m

It was hot, hotter and hottest in Sacramento, and the Strawberry Canyon Track Club netted some nice hardware in the form of two bronze medals and one gold medal! Yes, Jeff Mann is the Strawberry Canyon Track Club’s first-ever USA national champion as he won the men’s 45-49 1500-meter race in a stellar performance. Teammate Matt Bogdaniwicz wrote the following effusive email:
Strawberry Canyon TC Masters performance of the year- my vote Jeff Mann 92.46% Men’s 800. No open Strawberry Canyon athlete, or Pacific striders open, master, senior etc has ever reached that milestone. There may have been a 90% somewhere, but doubtful that is like a 4:07 Mile, 14:00 5k, or 29:00 10K at the open level. The 2:02.51=1:49.35 open. I just think it should be recognized somehow. I know Pete Magill use to list performance by % on his site.”
Yes indeed!
Backtracking a bit, the first day of competition was Thursday morning, in which Strawberry Canyon TC stalwarts Thom Trimble and Tim Keenan competed in the 5000-meter event. Divided into age group sections, Thom Trimble ran first and posted a mark of 17:41.52 (11th-place) on a day when the temperature was in the upper 80s and muggy at the start of the race.
Keenan - 17:14 5,000m

Keenan - 17:14 5,000m

Tim Keenan lined up in the men’s 45-49 division of the 5000 and ran a solid time of 17:14.27, not under the 17:00-barrier he’d hoped to crack but then again the conditions did anything but favor a distance runner’s physiological requirement for cool air.

The next round of events for the Strawberries was the 10,000-meter event and the weather did indeed disappoint as temperatures crept up all morning. There was a cruel irony in that the 60-89 men’s race went off at 7 a.m. when it was in the 50s and they actually put up some impressive times, lending false hope to the 10K runners competing in their later morning heats.
The men’s 50-59 heat was combined and Thom Trimble and Jeff Teeters were entered. Jeff had been nursing a sore hamstring and made a race day decision to jump in, realizing he could always step off the track if he felt that dreaded twinge. At one point he openly wanted the conditions to be “120 degrees and with high humidity” so he would be able to grind out a race and not be forced to rely solely on his gimpy hamstring with a faster pace a cooler day would predictably allow for.
The temperatures were already pushing the low 80s and the humidity remained, which slowed things down considerably. Thom and Jeff both went out conservatively, perhaps Jeff’s sore hamstring was a blessing in disguise as he really set himself up for a pretty good run. however (in his own words), he “got greedy” and started charging after some attainable guys in the middle of the race. Thom bided his time a bit and caught back up to Jeff. Thom’s 37:06.05 (4th place) barely missed the medal podium, while Jeff managed to fight his way to 37:23.95, likely not what he had been hoping for timewise but considering his significant tweak he was happy to survive the race intact.

Trimble - 4th in 50-54 10,000m

Trimble - 4th in 50-54 10,000m

Next up was the men’s 30-49 age group 10000 and the weather wasn’t doing the competitors any favors. At one point it started to feel like Jeff Teeter’s weather forecast would be uncannily accurate as the 90-degree weather took it’s toll on everybody. Tim Keenan was able to maintain a strong pace in significantly hotter conditions than the earlier morning races and finished with a time of 37:06.61, good for 6th place in that age group. Coach Carl Rose did not enjoy that morning’s jaunt and finished in 10th in 40:12.82.
Sunday was the final day of competition and the Berries heated things up in the middle distances. First off was the men’s 45-49 age group 800-meter run and Jeff Mann was raring to go despite having various niggles and tweaks (hamstring, back, calves) during the course of the season which were reflected by some up-and-down performances. However he ended tangling in an inspired three-man war and came through fighting tooth and nail all the way until the end. His third-place bronze medal was arguably the club’s best all-time performance (see Matt’s endorsement above) as Jeff cranked out a phenomenal time of 2:02.51. He was just edged by Ireland’s Kevin Forde (2:02.40) and Oregon’s Mike Blackmore (2:01.12). This was one of the best races of the meet, going all the way down to the wire. Jeff was very pleased with his season-best breakthrough and bronze medal.
Bogdanowicz Runs 2:01.99 800m

Bogdanowicz Runs 2:01.99 800m

The wounded warrior brigade continued, as Matt Bogdanowicz lined up in the men’s 40-44 800-meter race with an injured achilles. He managed to run an exciting race, running as evenly as possible with his sore achilles. His 2:01.99 was a season-best performance and he finished 6th overall. He should be able to break 2:00 fairly easily next year if he stays healthy and can train with our stable of sub-2:00 middle-distance runners.

After missing the USATF Club nationals meet with a strained soleus and possible inguinal hernia, Joshua Seeherman could not resist the temptation to race in the USATF meet either come away with a season-ending performance or exacerbating a potentially bad injury. He courageously and perhaps ill-advisedly ran the in the 800-meter men’s 30-34 race, and though his 2:04.09 reflected three weeks of lost fitness, Seeherman was still able to secure a prestigious bronze medal in this event. Those do not grow on trees so regardless of his time, getting a medal for the club, while injured, was huge in my humble opinion.

While some runners can only handle a little over 2 minutes at 800m pace, club member Bill Brusher was able to endure this semi-sprint race for over 3 minutes! It’s not that Bill is a bit slower or out of shape, it’s that he is running with about a third of his red blood cells tied behind his back. As many of you know, Bill is in the middle of chemotherapy to treat his cancer. Chemo is good for treating cancer, but not good for helping runners transport oxygen. Bill’s hemoglobin count of around 10 mg/dl is well under the normal 14-18 mg/dl – almost like running with just one lung. If his blood count drops a bit more, Bill could be the only athlete at the meet who was LEGALLY using EPO (a red blood cell producing drug).

Prior to being diagnosed with cancer Bill had his sights set on running in the high 2:20s and making the finals of the 55-59 division. Rather than pull out of the meet, or even worry about finishing last, Bill pushed forward with his plans. He expected to run about 3 flat and finish last in the prelims. He did – 3:01.68 to be exact. It turned out it would have taken a 2:21 to make the finals anyway.

Bill has only four more chemo treatments and hopes to be cancer free and back to serious training and more hemoglobin soon. Bill turns 60 next summer and will be raring to go for the World Championships to be held in Sacramento in 2011.

Last but not least…on Sunday Jeff Mann had more work to take care of and take care of it he did…in the men’s 45-49 year-old 1500-meter event. He was lined up against some great competition, including all-world 45-49 age grouper Pete Magill, coming back from an injury-riddled season himself, as well as Jeff’s nemesis in the 800-meter race, Kevin Forde. Mann went out in 70 holding on to a solid third and fourth place, with Magill shadowing his every move. The runners cranked, as the race thinned out into a five-man race by the 1K mark, with Forde, Francis Burdett, Andi Di Conti and Magill. Things really got hopping after the bell lap as Mann took the lead with about 300 meters to go. Forde and Magill were a half step behind, dangerously riding Jeff’s coat-tails for a punishing finishing kick. Not to be denied, Mann dug down deeper and fought his way down the home-stretch. He was not about to lose to Kevin Forde a second time, and he crossed the line in a spectacular time of 4:13.90, just clear of Forde’s 4:14, and Magill’s 4:15.
Congratulations to all of the Strawberry Canyon Track Club masters and seniors runners for putting together such inspired efforts and represent us so well at USATF nationals. Great job everyone! (Carl Rose)

07/10/10 – USATF Club Nationals

Cool, foggy weather greeted the Berries as five hardy athletes participated in the USATF Club National Championships. This was the most significant track meet of the year for the Strawberry Canyon TC, which took place on July 9-10 at San Francisco State University. In terms of classic periodization, it was an oddly timed duck in what is ideally the base-building portion of the training schedule. Hence a few other Berries whom had qualified for the national championships prudently opted to sit this event out and train for fall cross country.

Niko, 800m

Niko, 800m

The first day brought plenty of action for the Berries. First up was Niko Connor, who had to go it alone in the men’s 800-meter dash as a disappointed Joshua Seeherman scratched on race day, citing a lingering groin or psoas strain incurred while racing in Santa Rosa late last month. Josh came out to encourage his training partner Niko, who noted the pace went out a little too slowly, and was unable to come back to the leaders during the second lap of his heat. Niko fought down the home stretch and finished about a second off of his PR set earlier this season with a time of 1:59.77. Though a bit disappointed to end his season this on this note, Niko recognized his season was extremely long, and he had been fatigued for the past several weeks prior to this particular meet. His mark was still good for a respectable top ten 10th-place overall finish.

The final event of the evening was the men’s 10000-meter event which featured three Berries. Newcomer Patrick Reaves took out the early pace for us, coming through his first lap in 74.5 to David Yu’s 77.8. Joseph Binder, who said after the Marin 10K in May he would be shutting things down and rebuilding for fall cross country, was doing these races primarily as glorified workouts. Binder was about a second behind Yu at the 400-meter mark, and after a few laps, cruised through the rest of the race at a steady 5:30 per mile pace.

David and Patrick

David and Patrick

Yu ran an extraordinary race, pacing the first three miles in a steady stream of 76-77-second laps, teaming up with West Valley TC runner Todd Rose. They soon caught up to Patrick after the 2800-meter mark and passed 31:27 10K Central Park TC runner John Roberts. We could see the light start to turn on for Yu, who smoothly rolled through the 5000-meter mark in 15:55, about 11 seconds under his 10K PR pace of 32:11. At that point Yu looked very fresh and gave us a knowing little smile as he crossed the finish line of lap 14, fully aware of what could now be possible. He started to ease away from a tiring Rose, continuing to stalk the other runners lingering ahead of him. Next he caught and passed a surprised Sam Robinson of adidas Transports, who went out a little too hard with the early leaders.

Sam tried to hang with Yu for the next 1000 but David was not to be denied and Sam eventually fell off of Yu’s sizzling pace. David continued to close the gap on the tiring runners in front of him, all with PRs in the sub-31:30 range. At roughly 7.5K, Yu passed Rikki Hacker of the Kansas City Smoke, who ended up dropping out shortly thereafter. David smelled blood as he pursued other runners in front of him, passing the 8K mark in a monster PR of 25:15. His blistering pace started to wear him out in the last mile, as Yu managed to hold on for a 5:16 1600 between 8000 and 9600 meters of the long race. David literally had nothing left at the end as he closed with a 74-second last lap, but he crushed the 32:00-minute barrier and almost collapsed after the finish as the contingent of Berries fans erupted in raucous cheers.

Yu’s stellar 7th-place overall finish in the phenomenal time of 31:45.84 was one of the club’s best efforts of the season, and a textbook negative split in which his second 5000 was timed in 15:50. David netted the team two valuable points and he drilled an on-so-sweet 26-second 10K lifetime PR, climbing over five runners to 6th place on the Berries vaunted all-time 10K list. In terms of going to the well, David was completely bonked on the ride home as he shivered uncontrollably in the car, possibly on the verge of hypothermia, but was quickly revived by his teammates, a well-earned warm dinner, and the enticing prospect of a week off followed up by easier stretch of summer mileage base training.New Berry Patrick Reaves hung in there for a very solid 11th-place finish and 32:52.08 10K effort as he regains his fitness for a fall marathon, while Joseph Binder relaxed after falling off his PR pace early and finished in 34:11.49 in 12th place.

The second day of the competition proved every bit as exciting as the first, as the Berries entered two runners into the very competitive men’s 5000-meter event and Emily Bartlett, our newest woman who joined us in June for her first workout. Emily represented the Berries in the women’s 3000-meter steeplechase, and went out at a reasonably conservative first lap of 86.5 seconds. She was comfortably in fifth-place while shadowing Bevin Peters of the Central Park Track Club.

The former University of Cornell runner was regrouping after an off-year of training subsequent to her entry into the University of California’s demanding graduate program, and tempered her expectations accordingly. Still, Bartlett passed Peters at the 1600-meter mark and started her assault on the third-place runner from the Greater Boston Track Club. Eventually Emily’s sporadic training caught up to her and Bartlett fell back, eventually getting passed by the hard-charging Peters and settling for a very respectable 5th-place finish in a time of 11:55.59. Though Emily was mildly disappointed in her time, she still managed to outscore the men’s team and her four points netted the Strawberries a 15th-place team finish. Emily shook it off gracefully and will regroup to focus on this autumn’s competitive cross country racing scene.

The men’s 5000-meter event was a barn-burner as Joe Binder and Sean McFarland limbered up at the starting line. Binder again utilized this as more of a solid training effort and went out at 77 seconds for the first lap and was content to maintain that pace throughout the race, coming home in a workmanlike time of 16:04.35, chugging home in 16th place.

McFarland, though, was ready for prime time and may have tied Elizabeth Scott for the open runner’s race of the year honors for the Berries. With his parents in town he came ready to put on a big show and take a bite out of his then-current 15:22 PR. Sean did not disappoint. He survived some significant jostling, erratic pacing and getting shoved into lanes two and three for the first mile. Sean’s first lap was in 72 but he was getting bounced around. Trying to avoid trouble, Sean’s second lap was in 77, and his third lap was a bit panicky as he jetted to a 68-second split as he tried in vain to free himself from the rippling welter of elbows and spikes. Sean came through the 1600 in 4:53, a bit slower than the race plan. Concerned for the outcome of his race as well as trying to minimize the potential risk of an injury, Coach Carl yelled at Sean (and saved a few choice words for the other runners, some of whom appeared to be on the verge of getting disqualified for their ruthless tactics) to take the lead at the 1600-meter mark, in which he settled into a better rhythm of 72.5-second laps

While the field was toying with each-other to determine placing and points, McFarland’s bold move to the front rendered a more honest race. Although some of the faster runners accelerated away later (including the first two runners who closed in a crazy 2:05 for the final 800 meters), Sean continued to hammer, cranking his pace up a notch after crossing the 3200-meter mark in 9:44, which indicated a 4:51 second mile. He started clipping off 71-second laps in the final mile, building up an even bigger head of steam. McFarland lumbered through the third mile in an outstanding negative split of 4:46, and with the gas he had remaining in his tank, Sean finished in 34 seconds for the last 200 meters. He staggered off after finishing the harrowing race in a spectacular performance. Sean’s final time of 15:04.43 was an amazing 18-second PR, good for 8th overall and 4th of the Berries all-time 5K PR list, also scoring the team one valuable point in the competition. (A vicious rumor has it that Sean celebrated his remarkable PR by downing an entire Zachary’s large deep dish pizza later that evening).

Given that we were a first-year club, the Berries ran extremely well and served notice that we are on the road to becoming a force to be reckoned with in the future. Next up is the USATF Masters National Championships held July 22-25 in Sacramento. (by Carl Rose)

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)