P.R.s fall like Styrofoam bowling pins in a remarkable Raptors weekend!

Post date: Jan 21, 2013 6:40:58 AM

September 22 and 23, 2012

The weekend of September 22nd and 23rd, 2012 was easily one of the finest Raptors weekends yet. It started with the "Farmer's Invitational" at Hayward HS. Annabel was running for the varsity team yet again and she was again the lead Albany HS girl. Granted, a few of the other top girls were nursing injuries but I don't think it will matter. Annabel will not give up that top slot easily or willingly! So, how did she do? Just 18th overall with a new 5K PR of 20:10!

Krisna and Isabelle before the start. Note multiple lightsticks in Isabelle's hair!

So that was in the morning. In the afternoon, Krisna and family (in their car) and I (on the motorcycle) ventured south to San Jose to join Jared and Gary (Jared just came to watch and cheer. He was saving his energy for an attack on his 5K PR the following day at Lake Merritt.) for the 2nd Annual "Firefly Run." I almost didn't make it. Yahoo maps bit me again and I wandered about looking for a street called BURBANK that didn't seem to exist and that no one had heard of! With 7 o'clock rapidly approaching and no clue how to find the place I came within a millimeter of simply giving up and heading home in defeat. But I decided to just kind of choose a street and "bushwack" it. By some miracle granted by the running Gods I found it! And I was even safely there and talking to our racers before the race started.

Just a tiny part of the huge turnout.

I was still a block away from the start area when I realized this is one of the coolest races EVER. Not only is it at night, which is always fun and exciting (and rather rare) but the organizers had supplied every runner with two led light bands, which many had supplemented with many more so the whole area really did look like a firefly festival! And there were people. . . man where there people. The crowd was huge and rowdy and happy. Music blasted out of huge speakers. A truly (no pun intended) "electric" atmosphere. Add to that the gorgeous neighborhood in which the race was held and the virtually perfect balmy-but-not-too-hot weather and this race is a must every year. I'm even going to try and schedule it for the MLK team!

Isabelle sprints in at the end. She and Krisna came in so far ahead of where we had expected I didn't have the camera ready!

We were expecting both Isabelle and Krisna to finish somewhere around 25 minutes so we were in shock when someone yelled "Look!" and there was Isabelle absolutely flying toward the finish while the clock was still in the mid-23s! And just a small bit behind her (only 16 seconds!) was Krisna, who was having an all-out sprint race with an adult that had at least a foot in height (and thus stride length) on him. They had been going at it stride for stride for what Krisna told me later must have been the last half mile. Niether was willing to give up but Krisna managed to eke out maybe eight inches on the guy and held it to the finish! It was quite amazing and fun to watch. This kid is tough! Race with him at your peril!

Krisna in his epic finish. He had already chased down the woman behind then and eventually beat the guy with headlamp on!

When the smoke cleared, out of a total of 2.059 runners (it looked like a lot more--I had guessed 4,000!), Isabelle had finished 81st and Krisna 87th! That's a top 100 finish for both in a huge race. Wow!. Back in my racing days I was satisfied if I finished in the top 10%. I don't want to do the precise math (Nikhil?) but it looks like both Krisna and Isabelle were in about the top FOUR percent! Their times we both huge PRs! Isablle ran 23:41 and Krisna 23:57. Both had PRs in the 25s before Firefly! AND both finished fourth in their age/gender group which is remarkable since the groups (rather unfairly) spanned from 11-15.

Krisna right after the race. Knackered! Of course in like five minutes he was back to normal, scooting around and full of ideas and further projects for me!

Afterward we all cruised a short distance to the very upscale Westmont Mall and ordered some serious quantities of (delicious) food at California Pizza Kitchen. There we got in a long, fascinating (to Raptor members!) conversation about the future of the club, which direction we want to go in , etc. There were some great ideas put forth and there will be more mention of this in weeks to come. It was well past eleven when we adjourned and close to 12:30 a.m. when I pulled the Triumph into my driveway after a blessedly uneventful (but pleasant) trip up 880!

The gang at Calif. Pizza Kitchen.

Of course I was far too energized to fall asleep so it was late when I finally turned off the light! Morning came quickly (not too much time had elapsed!) and it was time to hop back on the bike and head down to Lake Merritt. I overslept a bit (me?) but managed to show up more or less in time, and as I was parking the motorcycle I looked over to Lily (Belle's little sis) on the return part of the Kid's 1/2 mile race. She was hauling and eventually finished second and first girl with a time in the three minute range! Another star is born! As I strolled to the start I saw Annabel (who had kindly gotten up early on her only day off to come cheer the team on. Annabel is indeed the quintessential Raptor!) and Toby, Jared and Belle, who were all running the 5K along with Gary's wife Joanne and Jared's brother Jalen.

Toby! He is going to be a force in Master's racing.

I don't have precise times and finishes yet, since LMJS have been woefuly slow in posting results since they took their timing and scoring "in house." But I do know that Jared did indeed PR by a wide margin (I think the time was like 21:03?) and that Belle just missed her PR but won her age group! Henry was exhausted from a race the day before (he won it!) but dad Toby just ripped and I think finished at least top-10 if not better. I believe he just missed going under twenty minutes by a second or two.

More Raptors winners!

Afterwards we made the now-traditional trip to Fentons where much more delicious food was consumed. Annabel enjoyed the reward of training so hard as she dove into a huge three-scoop, caramel covered (w/whipped cream and cherry!) bit of caloric heaven. At the pace she's going she's gotta keep that weight up!

Altogether an awesome weekend in the true sense of that often overused (certainly by me!) word. This is an incredible club and I'm very sure it is going to keep getting even better!