Saturday morning I participated in the inaugural Susan Komen Race For the Cure Double Down 10k! Not only was the 10k race new for the 17yr old event, it was a new race distance for me as well! This run, while spontaneous, was very special since I dedicated it to two women, one a survivor and another just starting the battle against breast cancer.
Saturday morning was smooth sailing for the most part; no traffic getting to the event, plenty of parking…however the main entrance off the freeway to Dodger Stadium was SEVERELY bottlenecked by the race parking volunteers, so many people got fed up and turned around to try to find the other entrance. Fortunately I only had to wait 5 minutes before they decided to finally open up the entire 5 lanes to everyone to enter the stadium (yay for me!). Once I got in, I scored a pretty good spot in one of the first rows, meaning I could go back to my car fairly easily. This event was same day bib & chip pick up, so after I picked up my stuff, I wandered until I found a sharpie to dedicate it to a good family friend (survivor) and my blend Gina’s stepmom Starla who is currently battling breast cancer. It was an honor to run for both women 🙂 . For some extra bling, I also pinned a free pink ribbon to my bib.
As for the EXPO, I really didn’t feel like toting a bunch of stuff around, so I only grabbed a couple of free Odwalla bars and just walked around to kill time/warm up. I mean, did have an hour and a half to kill… eventually I found the starting line and hung around for a while to stretch. It was then I spotted some very fit and handsome gentlemen standing around with suspenders hanging around their black pants. At first I thought they were a team of volunteers (since they were in the team running/volunteer areas), but apparently they were pre race motivation/inspiration. Check out the series below (your welcome):
Talk about being at the right place at the right time! They were posing for professional photographers, and only a handful of us were able to capitalize on the moment. After the eye candy, I walked around some more, did some parking lot yoga and did some final stretching before the start of the race.
Before I get to the race itself, I did some research online about the course. Due to lack of information about the elevation on the race website, I decided to use Google earth to trace their artistic rendering course to determine distance and elevation changes more accurately (my nerd is showing). Glad I did because I found out that there would be hills during the course…(click for larger image):
Yep. There were hills. The 10k runners started at 8:45; the course started out flat, went down hill, flat, went up hill, flat, went down hill, went up hill, went down hill and then came back to the starting line. We were diverted to the right to bypass the finish line. The first ‘lap’ went extremely well. I started off at my usual pace, 70% of the people passed me and then I passed maybe 15% by the end of the first lap since lots of people went out really fast and the hills got to them (yay for turtle slowness!). We ran through beautiful green park areas with shade and lots of birdsong. That aspect was very nice, though I had no idea where I was in the course…the first water station was at mile 1 and the second water station after mile 2. Even though it was chip timed, I probably won’t get any split results 😦 The second lap was the kicker for 3 reasons:
- WEAVING THROUGH 5k WALKERS
- the hills
- the downhill around mile 5 started to aggravate the outside of my knees/lower IT bands.
Like I said, this is the first year for the 10k. If they do this in the future I suggest either diverting us completely from the walkers or starting us at 8am and the 5k at 9, giving us plenty of time to finish and not have to force walk along the more narrow roads/sections of the race. At one point, after mile 1 (the second time), I hit the most congested area right around the water station. A man and his small child were trying to run on the edge together. I was behind him and noticed he was having a difficult time holding on to his child with all the congestion. So, I started a trend by yelling:
RUNNERS ON YOUR LEFT!
Pretty soon people started to clear a little path for us 10k & 5k runners and I heard other people behind me yelling it as well. Most walkers were happy to get out of the way, so I made sure to thank them as I ran by. This trend continued for the best part of 10 minutes until it opened to a large road again, though I still had to weave a bit… Around mile 4.5 I started to get hungry, so I gulped down a Huma chia energy gel (strawberry) since I still had another hill and a half to go. Other than my lower IT/outer knee area that started to act up a bit around mile 5, everything else went great! Regulated breathing (three steps on the inhale, three steps on the exhale), good form, and focused mind.
Once I reached the entrance to Dodger stadium (~.2 mi from finish line), I increased my pace and started my sprint in the finisher chute for a time of 73 min! My current normal pace is about 11:30min/mi on flat ground, so to only be at an average of 11:45 min/mi with HILLS, dodging walkers, and running farther than I have post injury is awesome!
In the parking lot area, I found a nice shaded tree to lay down my yoga mat and stretch for about 15 minutes. It was perfect! I also popped a Tri Berry Nuun tablet into my water bottle and re-electrolyeted myself since I tend to be a salty sweater. Overall, I feel the race went very well! I certainly would have been faster on a flat course, but it was a good challenge regardless. Fortunately, I woke up to only mild soreness yesterday: upper/outer quad area, hip flexors, and calves. Yay for all that strength training in PT!!!! Oh and its driving me crazy that I can’t find the race results or photos online yet! Hopefully they will post it soon.
P.S. due to popular demand, I put my ‘throw away’ jacket back in the car before the race 🙂
A big thanks to those of you who donated to my fundraising page for the race, THANK YOU!