Tuesday, May 17, 2011


Literally that’s the word – barely. With only a few seconds left, I barely made it under 4 hours last Sunday at the Pasadena Marathon, my official time 3:59:01s. I could not tell you how happy I was as I crossed the finish line. The thing is, I have given up on the attempt to break 4 hours long time ago. Instead of doing time, I now focus my energy in enjoying the experience of each race. So, it feels good to know when you bagged a better race time along the way.

Carlos Larios leading the pack
I haven't blog for quite a while so let me update first on some affairs that have transpired the past weeks. I have fully recovered from the foot injury and I’m now back to my normal running routine. I’ve been logging miles in the trails as usual and since there’s more daylight this time of the year, I’m now able to do more trails after work. In fact last week, we worked the trails until past 8 PM, there was still daylight but towards the end of our run we were like chasing the last trail of the sun as it slowly disappear behind the mountain. Oh, the beauty of spring!

I also did the Verdugo Mountains 10K in Glendale last week of April. This inaugural trail race not only drew a big crowd of about 500 runners and hikers alike but it also attracted local star athletes that made the event pretty exciting with the winner pulling only a 4 second lead, amazing! It was Daniel Geiman of LA, who won the first place at 00:43:27s, followed by last year’s winner of Pasadena Marathon, Mike Davies at 00:43:31s. I saw the two of them as they descend the trail (I was still struggling to go up the turn around), their downward momentum was so fast that everybody either stopped or slowed down to give them enough elbow room to battle it out downhill to the finish. 

It may be too early to say but it can’t be deny that trail running is now slowly gaining popularity. Especially with the introduction of shorter race distances, and not necessarily ultra races which for years have dominated trail running, we could be seeing a lot more trail races and an influx of runners doing trails in the future. Even Runners World magazine recently released a special issue exclusively on trail running. Whatever impact this will do to the trail running community and to our beloved parks, only time will tell. 

Now going back to the Pasadena Marathon. I like that the race starts at 6:30 AM but like last year, although it was held in different month, it rained at the beginning of the course. I ran with three other Wild Mountain Runner (WMR), Betty, Abel and Harry, but many other gatos were there providing different kind of support along the course. 

I wanted to give a shout out to Jose and Yani for organizing our transportation. Although we had a hard time getting through the street closure we managed to get there with a few minutes left. The runners were already lined up and the divider closed when we got there so we jumped to the first opening we saw which was the start line, yikes! I know I don't belong in this elite group but before I could move back to my pace group, the race ceremony started, so I just stood there and pretended I was a 7:30 runner (ha,ha). 

Wild Mountain Runner - SF Valley
The rain wasn't as bad as last year and it only lasted for 30 minutes so we were all dry halfway through the race. Approximately at mile 18, I saw one member of our running group, Felipe, who wasn't supposed to be in the race, running side-by-side with Abel and I thought was he trying to bandit the race. Then I realized that he was pacing Abel in the most difficult portion of the course. Seeing this made me regret turning down Yani's offer to pace me. I really have no experience on this type of support and when Yani mentioned it I thought he's just going to position himself somewhere along the course and take pictures of me so I told him don't bother. Silly me. 

In the end it was a very good race for all of us. Betty, Abel and Harry were able to make their Boston qualifying time (BQ) with Betty placing 1st and Abel 2nd on their respective age division. We capped the day with a post race celebration at my place with a little barbeque and some well deserved drinks. Below are the top finishers of the race, click on the link for the complete list: Pasadena Marathon Race Results. Congrats to Richard for placing 2nd overall!

  Men's Marathon                               Women's Marathon 
          1st Justin Johnson, 2:34:31                 1st Mandy Grantz, 2:45:53
          2nd Ricardo Ramirez, 2:43:13              2nd Bonnie Axman, 3:05:42
          3rd Andrew Chandler, 2:44:09             3rd Natalie Kintz, 3:14:59

            Men's Half Marathon                  Women's Half Marathon             
          1st Mark Batres, 1:12:55                    1st Rosario Castaneda, 1:27:22
          2nd Bartolome Sequin, 1:13:21           2nd Claudia Garcia, 1:28:43
          3rd Ray Castillo, 1:15:34                    3rd Kate Martini-Freeman, 1:29:03