October 31, 2010
Ever since my friend Heather Stevens was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, I have made it a priority to run this event and to get others to run this event, too. However, because it hits on a Sunday in the fall, the tradition is that the Long Beach Hash has their Halloween run on the same day and people don’t like to do the long drive and do both (but I’ll do it). Back when Heather was still alive, we made a concerted effort to either have the hash be closer to West L.A. or have a late start. Since I am the Trailmaster for the Long Beach Hash, I worked it out to have the start be around 2 miles away from the Los Angeles VA (where the race takes place).
Leading up to the race, I have not had a good time of it… my back has been hurting and maybe I tried to come back too soon from the trying No. Cal. 50 miler.
The LACC course is a 5K loop, with an uphill (but gentle) slope for the first half mile, then a roaring downhill (with a few dipsy-doodles) to the Wilshire Blvd. undercrossing. When you emerge from the tunnel, there is a mile-long loop around the hospital end of the VA. It is a gentle downhill for the first half and a gentle (read: annoying) uphill for the second half. Then you recross under Wilshire, head uphill for about a block, and then a quarter-mile flat dash to complete the loop. The 10K is two loops.
On the first loop, I feel OK… or at least I think I feel OK. I run the initial uphill, but I have to walk a bit on the subsequent uphill sections around Mile 2. My first loop is a respectable 23 minutes and change.
On the second loop, I walk the entire beginning hill, and every subsequent hill, and I feel terrible, and my back hurts a lot (so best not to run the hills). My second loop is around 28 minutes.
While 51 minutes is a decent time (about 8:30/mile), I am disappointed that 3 weeks after my race, I am performing sub-par.
After the race, I head over to the hash. Since it is Halloween, I am hoping it is the usual short trail, with numerous beer stops… but it turns out to be the complete opposite. There are no stops (not even for water) and the trail is 9.79 miles long. I think a lot of people turned around early because they were wearing costumes!
I walked most of the way with Dulce Barton (who had also run the 10K) and Chris “Undercover” Spenker. What is notable about doing this hash is that we three had an in-depth conversation about feasibility of doing half marathons (Dulce and I both had done halves and Chris had not.). Chris had walked/jogged a few 5Ks and wondered if he could do 10Ks or longer. Of course, by the time we got to the conversation, we had already covered 7 or 8 miles (which is longer than a 10K), and after doing 10 miles… well, what’s another 5K, right?
Chris was just short of his 70th birthday and here he was, thinking about doing half marathons. It’s like I always tell people… it’s never too late to start running!