Tuesday, August 11, 2009


“Jake Klim?”

I looked to my left and saw a clean shaven bare-chested 40 year old man striding nonchalantly along.

I muttered something which indicated I was in fact Jake Klim. The man put out his hand and said “Francis Burdett”. I leaned over and shook his outstretched hand, but said not a word. Before I knew it, he was bounding down the street. At one point I saw him turn more than 90 degrees and wave to a fan. Amazed at how comfortable he looked, I finally whimpered a “Jesus Christ Frank!” but, I don’t believe he heard me. He was running 5:03 pace. We were somewhere between mile marker 4 and mile marker 5 and I was dying…

I arrived on Cape Cod for the 37th Annual Falmouth Road Race early on Saturday morning. I had 24 hours to kill before I would toe the line with 10,000 other runners which included Olympians, former American record holders, local Joe Joggers and everyone in between. I was feeling good, tapered and ready to race.

My plan was to go out a tad more conservative (5:05) than last year (5:00) and try to maintain splits close to 5:00-5:07 throughout the 7 mile race. The goal was to get as close to 35:00 as possible.

The gun went off and thousands of runners poured across the gated draw bridge that separates Woods Hole proper from the rest of Falmouth. Half the continent of Africa stormed over the first incline. They were chased by some of America’s best and brightest and they were followed by citizen runners, exercise enthusiasts and dreamers. I found a groove and settled back behind a pack of Americans, one of the many chase packs that had developed just moments after the start of the race. I chased after two other runners and found myself running next to a younger guy clad in blue. “What are you trying to run?” he said “As close to 35:00 as possible” I answered. “Okay, I am with you” he replied. “Great, now let’s go get that pack, slowly. Not too fast”. Blue nodded with approval. The first mile marker loomed ahead, just below iconic Nobska Lighthouse. 4:57. My mind began to debate - “Damn, too fast. It’s okay, you’re in shape. Just sit here next to blue and keep running along. Not too fast though. Not too fast. Don’t hammer the up hills. It’s too soon. No need to kick those down hills yet either.” The other side of my brain roused from its slumber and finally spoke, “I have to push, I NEED to stay on pace.”

Soon blue and I were out of the sun and into the shade. We rolled along over the rolling hills of Oyster Pond Road. We set our sights on a big pack of runners who had gone out a bit faster and soon they began to come back. I could see Robby Wade ahead of the pack and moving onto new territory. Blue and I caught up to an Ethiopian who appeared to be laboring pretty hard. He hung on for a minute or two and then I heard his breath no more. Blue began to pull away. I tried to stay with him, but realized I was laboring pretty good myself. In fact I was breathing very hard…as if I was at altitude. It was weird. These hills and turns were wicked. It was like a roller coaster. I didn’t remember these hills from last year…I never seem to remember the hills. Up and down, left and right. Up and down. Although I lost old blue, I got in a good rhythm and pounded along. I hit mile 2 in 10:05 and mile 3 in 15:12. I was slowing down just a tad, but it had been a tough few miles and at least I was still walking down that remnant of a pack. Ahead of me were Mutisya of Kenya, a Canadian and two Americans; one wearing Saucony Red and the other donning white. Like colored pinballs we emerged from the tunnel of shade onto the oppressive stretch of the race known locally as Surf Drive. Gone were the hills and zig-zag turns. They were replaced by the warm, white glow of bright sand and sauna-like heat. As we progressed down the road, the beach grass danced in the light breeze and waved warm air back and forth across the sandy street. An occasional band appeared and played a summer tune, but for the most part all was quiet.

I put my head down and ran tangents down the center of the street. I passed the man in red and then the man in white, but I was passed too. A younger guy in yellow stormed by me and I did my best to hang on. I don’t recall what I hit mile 4 in, but I think it was somewhere around 20:30. I didn’t want to think about the splits, for I knew I was dying. Then, I heard Frank call my name. I snapped out of it and tried to go with the master. Together we passed Mutisya, but Frank was soon gone. I started to feel pretty terrible, but I regrouped and hit mile 5 (25:40ish) back on pace. Soon the crowds were roaring. I heard a few “go Jake”s or “go Klim”s but could there be THIS many people who knew me? No. I soon learned that the crowds were in fact roaring for the first woman who shortly thereafter appeared on my left shoulder. Together we glided down the street and at times the fan noise was deafening. I got out of my funk and made a last ditch effort to attack as hard as I could during the last mile plus. I hit 10k in 32:00 and realized again that my time wasn’t going to be as great as I hoped. My body soon began to lurch forward to one side and my stomach began to stitch up. I could still be a gentleman and help Ms. Daska to a fast finish. I pushed the final hill but fell apart half way up. This was a disaster. I finally saw the giant American flag and did my best to kick it in. My face resembled a painful grimace and it felt as if my sternum had been crushed. I hobbled over to the tent and grabbed a towel drenched in ice water and threw it over my face. I straightened my back and began to march down the runway that led to the giant field at the finish line. I ended up running a 25 second PR over last year, but well off my goal. Not a bad race, but certainly not a great race. Time to regroup and get ready for the Philly Distance Run.

31 Tilahun Regassa 19 M Ethiopia 00:31:41 1 1
11 Ridouane Harroufi 28 M Morocco 00:32:03 2 2
24 Edward Muge 26 M Kenya 00:32:10 3 3
6 Boaz Cheboiywo 31 M Kenya 00:32:11 4 4
15 Mebrahtom Keflezighi 34 M Mammoth Lakes CA 00:32:12 5 5
25 Samuel Ndereba 32 M Kenya 00:32:29 6 6
30 Hendrick Ramaala 37 M South Africa 00:32:35 7 7
34 Hosea Rotich 30 M Kenya 00:32:36 8 8
21 Richard Limo 28 M Kenya 00:32:41 9 9
12 Ibrahim Gashu 19 M Ethiopia 00:32:57 10 10
27 Gilbert Okari 31 M Kenya 00:33:04 11 11
32 Jonathon Riley 30 M Madison WI 00:33:15 12 12
14 Tekeste Kebede 27 M Ethiopia 00:33:17 13 13
17 Daniel Kipkoech 22 M Kenya 00:33:32 14 14
29 Stephen Pifer 24 M Edwardsville IL 00:33:38 15 15
36 Patrick Tarpy 27 M Providence RI 00:33:51 16 16
20 Felix Limo 28 M Kenya 00:33:58 17 17
7 Jeff Eggleston 24 M Greece NY 00:34:11 19 19
4 Benjamin Bruce 26 M Eugene OR 00:34:20 20 20
19 William Leer 24 M Eugene OR 00:34:27 21 21
10 Peter Gilmore 32 M San Mateo CA 00:34:38 22 22
8 Karim El Mabchour 27 M Morocco 00:34:39 23 23
1 Austin Baillie 26 M Flagstaff AZ 00:34:45 24 24
26 Billy Nelson 24 M Springfield OR 00:35:02 25 25
102 James Koskei 40 M Kenya 00:35:06 26 26
101 Joseph Koech 40 M Kenya 00:35:10 27 27
52 Gilbert Koech 28 Kenya 00:35:18 28 28
42 Eric Ashe 21 M Allston MA 00:35:21 29 29
18 Ryan Kirkpatrick 30 M Colorado Springs CO 00:35:22 30 30
91 Mike Fisher 25 M Brookline MA 00:35:22 31 31
16 Josephat Keino 29 M Kenya 00:35:47 32 32
37 Robert Wade 27 M Ireland 00:35:52 33 33
67 Matthew Parker 20 M Portland OR 00:35:59 34 34
148 Francis Burdett 44 M Worcester MA 00:36:00 35 35
39 David Wishart 24 M Canada 00:36:14 36 36
46 Jake Klim 29 M North Bethesda MD 00:36:21 37 37
F6 Mamitu Daska 25 F Ethiopia 00:36:23 1 38
89 Craig MacPherson 20 M Derry NH 00:36:38 38 39
41 Charlie Meade 21 M Wellesley MA 00:36:42 39 40
103 Gideon Mutisya 42 M Kenya 00:36:50 40 41
50 Joseph Navas 38 M North Eastham MA 00:36:51 41 42
43 Adam Fitzgerald 28 M Carlisle MA 00:36:51 42 43
44 Peter Gilmore 19 M Hanson MA 00:36:52 43 44
942 Ryan Murphy 23 M Purcellville VA 00:37:10 44 45
35 Tommy Schmitz 26 M Mineral Point WI 00:37:12 45 46
68 Michael Brouillette 31 M South Hadley MA 00:37:12 46 47
F7 Rebecca Donaghue 33 F State College PA 00:37:14 2 48
104 Paul Mwangi 42 M Kenya 00:37:26 47 49
56 Marc LeBlanc 29 M Natick MA 00:37:32 48 50
F12 Edna Kiplagat 29 F Kenya 00:37:34 3 51
196 Kyle Sousa 23 M North Dighton MA 00:37:36 49 52
F2 Neriah Asiba 28 F Kenya 00:37:37 4 53
F101 Colleen De Reuck 45 F Boulder CO 00:37:40 5 54
49 Tim Fahey 35 M Arlington VA 00:37:44 50 55
63 Brian Hughes 21 M Jamaica Plain MA 00:37:55 51 56
F14 Renee Metivier Baillie 27 F Flagstaff AZ 00:37:56 6 57
F15 Sally Meyerhoff 25 F Eugene OR 00:37:58 7 58
F105 Edith Masai 42 F Kenya 00:38:02 8 59
45 Todd Ptacek 24 M Erie PA 00:38:07 52 60
F10 Sara Hall 26 F Mammoth Lakes CA 00:38:08 9 61


Sid said...

that was an excellent effort, Jake.

KLIM said...

Thanks Sid, it was "fun".