The race started early. It was called the “10K Dawn Run” and began at 8 a.m. My friend, Marci came and parked at my house at 5:30 and we jogged to the race area for a nice little warm-up. I had picked up my packet, but Marci had to register.
We didn’t wait long before we were ushered to the starting area. The race was chip-timed, which was a pleasant surprise, considering that this is a relatively small local race. If a little race like this can afford to do chip timing, there is no excuse for any bigger races not to do it.
Marci asked what my goal was and I wasn’t exactly sure. I had only done three other 10k’s and one of them was the Nike+ Human Race. My PR was from that Nike+ race (55 minutes and change) that was pretty much on the honor system, so it never really felt real. I knew that I could PR with relative ease, since those races were in 2007 (my first race ever) and 2008. I told her that I would like to run it at around an 8 minute pace, if possible. She was good with that. Before we knew it, we were off.
We started off running on the track and then out on a road I drive or run on all the time. There were some rolling hills in the first few miles, which I love. I haven’t run with a friend in a race in a very long time. It was strange to run next to someone you run and chat with and not say a word. I made some editorial comments hear and there. I thanked volunteers and spectators. At the first water station, it was obvious that the volunteers were pretty new at this. They had some water poured, but they chatted with each other and didn’t hold the cups out at all. It was only around mile 1, so no one seemed to mind. I didn’t. I did notice that the same girls were handing them out on the way back. They must have figured it out by then. The first two miles were 7:47 and 8:04—we were off to a good start.
After the second mile, the course started uphill. The name of our community is Anaheim Hills, so it was no surprise. I had run this road before and knew what to expect. What I didn’t expect was that it turned up yet another, steeper, road before turning around. There was a water stop at that turn and we grabbed water and stopped to walk while we drank it. Marci said breathlessly, “I’m dying.” We kept up that steepest part of the course toward the turnaround. The only redeeming fact about that incline was that I knew that we got to run down it in a few minutes. That third mile of the race was our slowest, by far: 8:47.
There was a very athletic blonde girl running ahead of us most of the race. In my head, I wanted to pass her. I knew she was younger than me, but she looked strong and I wanted to pass her. As Marci and I flew down the hills in the fourth mile after the turn-around, we passed her. I didn’t know whether or not Marci was competitive like me during races or I would have high-fived her. But then I thought that might be rude. It would have been premature, too. When we reached the flatter terrain, she passed us again. I’m glad I hadn’t been cocky. The fourth mile, which is mostly downhill was 7:33. The fifth mile was 8:08, just slightly slower than the same stretch of road in the beginning.
As we turned onto the track for the final stretch, I knew I had a bit more left. I could see the tall blonde ahead of me. Marci and I had run the entire race together, but I really wanted to sprint it in. I picked it up and sprinted the final 200 meters. I passed the blond!! I ran across the finish line and saw 50:XX. I was THRILLED. That was five minutes off my previous PR. The last mile was 8:01 and the final few hundred yards were run at a 7:03 pace!
Marci came in about fifteen seconds behind me. She congratulated me for my strong finish and I was relieved that she wasn’t upset that I took off. She told me that if she could have talked, she would have yelled, “Go, Lisa!!” She also thanked me for passing the blonde. LOL. I knew she and I were good running mates!
Marci had to leave, but I stayed around to run the 5K with my sister-in-law, Kristi. I had promised her to run next to her, to help her meet her goal for her second 5K. She is very new to running and was pretty nervous. I was looking forward to a nice cool down after the really tough 10K we had just run.
We started out the first mile a bit faster than I thought was wise for her goal, but she was all smiles and felt great. I thought that maybe her goal (under 35 minutes) was too conservative for the extra running she had done. I didn’t slow her down, but I did let her know what her pace was.
By the time we hit the end of the second mile, I knew she was hurting a bit. She stopped for a moment to walk and when her iPod froze, I thought for a moment, she was going to cry. Luckily, that had happened to me before and I was able to reset it so she could continue to listen to her music.
We continued and I occasionally told her about the terrain or how much further we had. When I told her that we were feet from turning into the track for the finish, she lit up. She turned on the steam and really started going. I am so proud that her last few hundred yards were run at the fastest pace of the day. She really dug deep. We crossed the finish line in 34:30!!! She beat her goal by 30 seconds!! She thanked me for pushing her, although she really just pushed herself. I merely gave her information throughout the race to help her.
My family doesn’t usually come to my races. It is tough to get the kids up that early and my husband gets stressed out trying to navigate all the logistics of finding Mommy. He came down to my first two marathons and was totally bummed when he missed me at one of his viewing spots. Since this one was so close, my husband brought the kids down to the race on their bikes.
I went to the timing trailer to try to work it out. There were a couple of other runners with the same problem. There was a list that was posted right after the 10K that had me listed as the winner of my AG. The timing official explained that when I stepped on the timing mat during the 5K, it erased my 10K time and gave me a new start time. ACK!!! Why didn’t I just take that dumb chip off and throw it away? Luckily he was able to change my time based on what my Garmin said. Unfortunately, he was only able give me my gun time instead of my chip time. That changed my time from 50:23 to 50:42. I was still the winner of my age group, but I went from 5th woman to 6th woman. I didn’t care. I won my very first division award!!!
Woo hoo!! I’m the winner!
I was running for Team Jamba and there was a Jamba Juice tent. I was so excited. I was looking forward to helping to hand out samples, but the Jamba folks were selling smoothies instead of giving samples. They were employees of the local store. They also asked me to explain to people that they wouldn’t accept the coupons I was handing out. It was a little bit of a letdown. I still handed out a bunch of coupons and sent people to the Jamba Juice store across the street.
I was suppose to run around 15 miles on my training plan, but I was happy with 9 1/2 (with part of it a pretty tough tempo run). I had another race on the schedule the next day….. but that is another post. ;-) It was a great run and a great day!