Taken Down by Klaus at the Santa Claus Half
They had to change the course because of all the rain. Typically, most of the race is on trails through a 40 year old flood diversion channel and its dikes. However, while not totally inundated this year, there were sections that were knee deep in water (not to mention 3 inches of mud no doubt), so they moved it to the roads. I went in hoping for 1:20 or 1:21, but not sure if I could hold that.
We lined up in the damp chill, and I surprised not to see many of the usual suspects. Things looked good for a third and a chance to move up in the race series. Boy was I in for a surprise.
The plan was for a 6:15 or so first mile and then to drop down to 6:05 or so and to hold that for as long as I could. Kevin took off like a rocket, probably 5:20-5:30 pace, and Chad was not to far ahead, but running with Chad was 6’4” Klaus (40ish). I’ve raced against Klaus many times and he's usually 15-30 seconds per mile slower. He’d come back I figured, as he and Chad crossed the mile in 5:49 compared to my 6:13.. Chad pulled away in pursuit of the fast starting Kevin, and Klaus kept motoring along. By 5 to 7 miles I figured he’d drop back, and I planned to make a push between 7 and 8 in case he was still ahead.
He seemed about 18 to 20 seconds up at 5 miles (30:24), and I ran the next two miles in 11:58, but at mile 7 he had 30-35 seconds on me. What the heck!? By then I knew he’d be tough to reel in. I ran has hard as I could the rest of the way and clicked off 6:03s to 6:08s, and tried to at least look good for my wife who was cheering at the lap point, but Klaus kept going and going. At 10 (1:00:49), the gap was too big unless he decided to stop and tie his shoes and pick some raspberries, and so I refocused on trying to break 1:20.
Kept on pace, but did fall off in the 12th mile (6:20), and I knew the time would be down to the wire. Surged several times for 30 to 40 seconds in the last mile, saving for a big push with about 500 meters to go. Sprinted in, the last 150 m along the Alaska Pipeline, and crossed the line unofficially (my watch) in 1:19:58 (confusingly, the race clock said 1:19:25 or so).
Kevin went 1:15, Chad 1:16:44s, and Klaus was 1:19:14. He’ll be tough on skis this year, and definitely a challenge at the Equinox.