Ending the Year with ZombieRunner’s Quarry Lakes Marathon

Quarry Lakes Marathon, organized by Zoom Running is two laps along the Almaden Creek Trail in the scenic Quarry Lakes Regional Recreation Area. For a while I was debating between running this vs. the Woodside Ramble 50K as my last race for the year, until I heard that my cousin (cousin-in-law to be more exact) was going to run the marathon. I’ve ran this course in May when I ran my first full length Western Pacific Marathon. From a scenic perspective, it’s hard to compare this with running through Redwoods (my favorite). But there was something else.

Quarry Lakes Marathon

The last two years of my running, I’ve never really run a race with anyone, start to finish. Partly because I was very shy of my running initially and partly because I think I’m too much inwardly focused during a race about food, hydration, distance, elevation, blah, blah. Here was an opportunity to run with my cousin Rajan who is 53 and didn’t start running until he was 49! He had told me earlier that he was going to run at an average 10 minute/mile pace. I took the opportunity to register and volunteered myself as his pacer (he didn’t exactly ask for it, BTW), all 26.2 miles of it.

  • Racing in Vibrams
    Racing in Vibrams

We carpooled and were welcomed by a 35°F chilly morning. Just for a change, I decided to run with my Vibram KSO. After Wendell’s admonition to stay away from blue ribbons, we left at 8:00am and it was a nice change of pace for me, to just run without worrying about PR’s, distance, time, etc. and keep quiet company. Rajan also had Vibram’s on and pretty much stuck to an average 10 min/mile pace most of the way. We stopped by aid stations briefly, chatting up with the volunteers.  While I had my Ultimate Direction SJ Ultra Vest with Clif Shot Gels, Succeed S Caps and home made Onigiri, Rajan simply relied on the aid stations. I stripped off some layers at mile 10 and we finished the first lap of 13.1 miles a little past 2 hours. The weather had warmed up a bit, though still very pleasant. There was a lot more walking during the second lap. I found that his consistent-paced running is so much harder than my style – which is varied pace, random walks and stopping to take pictures, eating, drinking and goofing around. We stopped at the mile 20 aid station for a little longer and proceeded slowly and steadily to the turn around point. The aid station at mile 23 felt pretty far, but we stuck to the dirt shoulder along the paved path as much as we could. Soon saw a fire engine and an ambulance. Apparently someone had called in to report a dog bite, not that we saw anything. We shuffled along and made the last push to cross the finish line at 4:45 with Rajan finishing 8th in his age group! As I told him, if I’m able to do what he did today when I’m his age, I’ll be a happy camper. And I totally have new found respect for pacers.

Have you paced a race before? What was your experience?

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