Sunday, April 25, 2010


Pike’s Peek is the fastest 10k around. And by around, I mean from Richmond to New York. Healthy Kidney and Ukrops are also damn quick, but I can’t put my finger (at the moment) on another 10k that compares. I could do the research, but frankly I don’t want to.

In any case, PP is certainly a place to set a PB. And that is what I wanted to do. Thus far in 2010, I’ve set PBs in 3k, 5k (twice), 5 miles and 10 miles, so now I wanted to take down my 10k mark (31:22), dip under 31:00 and if I was really lucky run in the 30:40s.

The weather was wet and a little windy. Temps hovered in the mid 50s. Great running weather but terrible warming up/hanging around after the race weather.

There appeared to be a ton of talent this year, but I didn’t know how much until we rounded the first turn some 400m into the race. I found myself in about 20th place behind a mass of Africans. Former Notre Dame star Luke Watson was in the mix as were a few other Americans I did not know. I hit the half mile around 2:20 but then slowed down to race pace. I looked over my shoulder to see where MY completion would be. I saw Joe Wiegner and Wilson Komen (who smiled and said “hey Jake”) before I turned back around. I hit mile 1 in 4:50 and felt pretty good. Dave Berdan stormed by on my left and I knew he was going to shake up the trio that was right ahead of me. I followed in his wake and passed a few Africans in the process but didn’t take the big step of going with him. I settled back behind Jimmy Picard, Tim Schaefer and Jared Abuya who were strung out behind the hard charging Berdan. Mile 2 (9:46) came and went and I felt super. “I can run 5:00 pace all day”, I told myself, knowing that I most certainly couldn’t, but I feeded off my early race optimism nonetheless. Picard went with Berdan and soon the duo had gapped us. Stay here then attack. Schaefer, wearing blue and Abuya, wearing red, made good targets in the drizzly gray conditions. You need them there. You need targets after 4 miles.

I hit my next mile in 5:00 (14:46) and 5k in 15:17, which was exactly what I was aiming for (15:15-20). I had sub-31 locked…or so I thought. Either way, time to attack. I felt good, but had slowed down. There would be none of that, especially if I had fodder ahead of me. I dipped my head and made a surge up a long hill. My competitors seemed to come back to me, but then the gap stopped. I began to feel tired, but this was to be expected. Time to toughen up. I hit mile 4 in 19:56 – a 5:10. Damn. I knew I was tired, but I couldn’t be falling apart this early. It’s okay, there was a hill, no big deal. Or was it a big deal? Was I dying? Ten minutes to go, just ten minutes to go. Time to pull it together.

Around mile 4.5 I heard someone breathing. This triggered a surge in my legs and I splashed through the puddles at the bottom of a downhill with some newfound vigor. Still, a couple of minutes later Aaron Church came up on my shoulder. I turned as if to say “hello” and he replied with a “hey buddy”. Usually one to talk, I could tell Church was conserving his energy. I pointed my finger south down Rockville Pike and together we started after Schaefer and Abuya. We’ve worked together during a number of races in the past, so let’s keep up the streak. The next mile + was an absolute grind. I was beginning to labor considerably. I could hear myself huffing & puffing and each time I tried to clear my throat I felt as if I would spit out more than just spit. I was running on my red line. Despite how uncomfortable this is, there is something “cool” about dying a slow death in a race. I was going all out; I was giving it all that I had. I was falling apart. How often does this happen in life? It was marvelous.

I was falling back…ever…so…slightly... A second here. A second there. I shook my head, got tough and redoubled my efforts on catching Church, Schaefer and Abuya who were about to collide just ahead of me. My next mile was 5 flat (24:56). Instead of focusing on backs and shoulders, I turned my eyes toward the ground and tried to pick up the pace. One minute at a time, one minute at a time. My breathing got worse and I now knew that breaking 31:00 would be tougher than previously expected. At 5k, I thought I had it nailed, but now, at 5 miles, I was going to have to close hard in order to dip under the coveted barrier. My face was now contorted and my breathing was even more labored; staccato like. In fact, I don’t know if it has ever been this bad. Still, my legs had more fight and I was getting ready to throw them into the battle. My lungs were riddled with bullets. Send in the legs! With a 1/3rd of a mile to go I began to drive my arms and sprint like hell. I rolled past mile 6 in 30:01 and knew that sub-31 was probably not possible. But I drove on and set my eyes on the 3-man battle ahead of me. The last ¼ mile was downhill and my legs were now running 4:30 pace. All out. My toes smashed the front of my flats. I was a ways from the finish but could see the clock at the finish line: 30:38, 30:39…Upon seeing this, I thought I had comfortably broken 31.

I looked up again 30:49, 30:50. Shit! Where had those 10 seconds gone? The finish line was still further ahead. All the while I am kicking like a mad man; faster than I ever have before at the end of the race. By now, I could almost reach out and touch Church. Then I did one final lean and heaved myself over the finish line, but not before glancing my eyes sideways towards the clock – 30:56.

Had I done it?

I grabbed my hips and proceeded to hold myself up with my hands. Then I gave up and found a chair which I promptly crashed down into. I covered the last .2 miles in 55 seconds. 30:56.

30:56, 20th place. Splits and results below.

4:50 – 4:50
9:46 – 4:56
14:46 – 5:00
19:56 – 5:10
24:56 – 5:00
30:01 – 5:04

1 1/82 8 Bado Worku 21 Bronx NY 28:44 28:43# 4:38
2 2/82 27 Julius Kogo 24 Chapel Hill NC 28:45 28:44# 4:38
3 1/170 6 James Kipketer 32 Marion VA 28:46 28:45# 4:38
4 3/82 2 Worku Beyi 23 Bronx NY 28:46 28:45# 4:38
5 1/143 63 Derese Deniboba 27 Bronx NY 28:46 28:45# 4:38
6 /143 1 Tesfaye Bekele 27 Bronx NY 28:48 28:48# 4:38
7 4/82 25 Kumsa Adunya 24 Bronx NY 28:49 28:48# 4:38
8 3/143 26 Ketema Nigusse 29 Bronx NY 28:49 28:49# 4:39
9 5/82 3 Abiyot Endale 23 Bronx NY 29:14 29:13# 4:43
10 4/143 28 Paul Langat 27 Chapel Hill NC 29:16 29:15# 4:43
11 5/143 5 Luke Watson 29 State College PA 29:27 29:27# 4:45
12 2/170 20 Gurmessa Megerssa 30 Washington DC 29:55 29:54# 4:49
13 3/170 12 Mohammed Awol 31 Bronx NY 30:11 30:10 4:52
14 6/82 29 Henry Kipsang 24 Chapel Hill NC 30:11 30:10 4:52
15 6/143 24 David Berdan 28 Baltimore MD 30:22 30:21 4:53
16 7/82 35 Jimmy Picard 24 Richmond VA 30:48 30:47 4:58
17 4/170 2723 Tim Schaefer 31 Gaithersburg MD 30:54 30:53 4:59
185/170 57 Jared Abuya 33 Manassas VA 30:55 30:54 4:59
19 6/170 31 Aaron Church 34 South Riding VA 30:55 30:54 4:59
20 7/143 30 Jake Klim 29 N. Bethesda MD 30:57 30:56 4:59
218/143 22 Kassahun Kabiso 26 Bronx NY 31:37 31:36 5:06
22 7/170 9 Wilson Komen 32 Washington DC 31:47 31:45 5:07
23 1/198 65 Ray Pugsley 41 Potomac Falls VA 31:47 31:46* 5:07
24 9/143 36 Joey Wiegner 28 Rockville MD 31:56 31:55 5:09
25 8/170 1400 Gareth Peters 31 Annandale VA 32:00 31:58 5:09
26 2/198 40 Joseph Ekuom 40 Quincy MA 32:06 32:06* 5:10
27 8/82 3308 Sergiy Zupuo 21 Clarksville MD 32:11 32:10 5:11
28 9/170 3221 Sam Blasiak 30 Fairfax VA 32:26 32:24 5:13
29 10/143 61 Zerue Kelele 28 Albuquerque NM 32:34 32:34 5:15
3 011/143 38 Brian Baillie 27 Carbondale IL 32:44 32:43 5:16

2500 runners


Andy said...

Epic finish!!!!

Chris Vames Sloane said...

It was a good race, Mr. Fox.

Lauren said...

Love your description of the race! The weather was definitely better this year. I shaved two minutes off my time, which is still almost 20 minutes slower than yours. (I also blame the massive cluster of the 8:00/mile pace group at the start causing me to lose at least a minute on that first lap.)


KLIM said...

Thanks Lauren. Congrats on the PB! 2:00 is a damn good chunk o' time

yf said...

your photo for pike peek, in case you haven't download it:

KLIM said...

Thanks Frank. I added it.