Boy am I tired! My day was full of activity. My exercise occurred in basically four parts.
PART 1-The first five miles: before the race
Alarm goes off at 4:45. I usually need an hour to fully wake up before a long run or race. Today I had planned on doing both. My plan was to get down to Balboa Park by 6 so I could get ten or eleven miles in before registering for the Race for Literacy. Between poor late night math and a hard time getting out the door, I ended up not having nearly enough time for ten miles. Beginning at 6:25, I ran five miles around Balboa Park.
I was feeling slow and sluggish. The first mile felt like I was putting in a lot of effort for a 9:34 pace. I started doubting if I should bother paying $33 (a splurge these days) to run in a race by myself. If I were running with someone, it might be a different story. Hmmm...maybe I would wait until I got back to the race area to decide.
I ran up past the zoo and around the outside of Balboa Park. I actually ran for a bit on the actual race route. Seeing cones up closing off the freeway on ramp made me realize that I wanted to run the race no matter how I was running. How often do you get to run on a closed off freeway? I will run on this same freeway in the Rock-N-Roll Marathon, but the other direction-- uphill. Today we run south on the 163, which goes downhill. Yeah.
On easy runs, I have been listening to a book on tape. It isn't a particularly good book ("Confessions of a Shopaholic"*), but it is brainless distraction. I have noticed that I have had a hard time upping my pace while listening to a book (or even a podcast). It is ok for a recovery run, but a bit frustrating for anything other than that. I didn't want to run super fast, but I didn't want to labor for 9:30 miles.
My last couple of miles felt better. I was able to get closer to 9:00 and even under 9:00 for the last mile. When I got back to my car, I saw all the pre-race activity and started to get excited. I love races.
My average pace for PART 1- 9:18
PART 2- The second five miles: the race
I registered and was pleasantly surprised to see chip timing. Since I arrived so early, my car was super close to registration and the start. I went back to my car, attached my bib, chip, drank some water and relaxed. I had over a half an hour until the start.
I met some fabulous people in the parking lot. They belong to a running club I hadn't heard of that is pretty darn close to my house. After talking with these people (both before and after the race) I think I might join them. I think a running club with coaches might be the best way for me to get better and maybe actually get an age group award someday. They were so welcoming that when they all posed for their group shot, they insisted I join in. I felt awkward, especially since they all were wearing yellow "Bonita Roadrunners" singlets and I, obviously, was not.
Finally, the race started. Even though many announcements were made and signage was very clear, several walkers started out at the front. There was quite a bit of weaving in the beginning. By the time we got to the bridge, I was able to get into a rhythm. I started my running playlist that I try to save for races. There is something very comforting about that first song ("Let's Get It Started" by the Blackeyed Peas). It really gets me into that race state of mind.
I have never run an 8K before. I wasn't sure what a good goal would be. Since my half marathon PR is an 8:37 pace, I figured that shooting for 8-minute miles might be reasonable. Ironically, I am pretty sure that my 5K PR is somewhere around 8:15. I was pleased to see my first split at 7:54, despite the congestion at the beginning and the slight increase in elevation.
After mile 2, it was pretty much downhill. I LOVED running on the freeway. I always think it is one of the prettiest freeways that runs through a city. By the time we got off the freeway, the race was almost done.
As we turned onto G Street, I saw the finish line. I turned it on at this point. Holy cow! That was a long stretch! At one point I thought I might throw up. I was pushing hard at the end. They have this great big sign that is easy to see. Little did I know that it was a quarter mile away. That is a long time to sprint, especially after ten miles. I ran that last mile in 7:10!
Finish- 38:43 Pace- 7:48
Overall- 308 out of 2666
Women- 72 out of 1602
F 40-44- 7 out of 167
PART 3- The third five miles: after the race
I wandered around the post-race festival. I ate a banana, a breadstick and drank some water. I even took advantage of a free massage. Ahhh. I looked around for people I knew were running today. No luck.
The race was a point-to-point with shuttles to get back to the start area. Since my original goal was to run close to sixteen, I decided I would run back to my car. The announcers even joked about "die-hards" running back to the beginning. When I saw the insane lines for the shuttles, I thought that my idea to run back to the car wasn't such a crazy plan. I am pretty sure that I made it back to the park sooner than most of the people made it on the shuttles.
It was actually only a couple of miles from the finish. I had to add a few miles by running to different parts of the park. I had to run around the parking lot a couple of times because I really liked the idea of keeping the mileage the same**. Those last five miles averaged 9:03.
PART 4- An additional couple of miles with my kids
I came home and I was welcomed by my kids asking me to go for a hike. It was a gorgeous day. We hiked about two and a half miles down from our house to the canyon floor and went exploring. I am happy to say that we didn't encounter any snakes! The kids were tuckered out and I had to carry my daughter the last half mile or so for an additional workout. We had a good time.
I am exhausted.
All in all, everything came together. It truly was a harmonious day.
*I usually like the "Chick Lit" genre for brainless distractions, but this one doesn't really do it for me. I think when I am reading I can scan through the drivel and get the highlights and/or funny stuff. When you listen, you have to hear every word. Not the genre for that!
**My Garmin showed that I ran just over five miles in the 8K race.
Here are a few pictures from our family hike.