July 4, 2014
I decided to run the La Palma race once again. Even though this is a pretty boring double-5K-loop course, I like the job that the City of La Palma does in putting on the event. Before signing up (a little over a week ago), I talked with Dona McBride to see if she was going again and also asking whose turn it is to drive the carpool (I think I drove last year).
For once, the online sign-up for this race was a better deal than mailing in registration. If you paid by mail, it was $37 for the race, plus $5 for the pancake breakfast (but could save $5 by opting out of the Tech T-shirt). OR… signing up online was $29 (no shirt opt out), plus $5 for breakfast and $3.20 credit card fee. Obviously, I think costs have gone up, but the online was a much better deal.
The race started at 7:30am, so Dona picked me up at 6:15 (I think she originally wanted 6am, so I did get to sleep in a little bit (a bit of a joke, because I have had some trouble getting to sleep and I only slept 90 minutes last night).). Kate was already in the car.
There was no traffic and we got all parked (100 yards from the start). We go to the registration and pick up our numbers (no line), and by now, gosh, it’s probably 6:45am. We mill around forever (geez, I could’ve got another 20 minutes of sleep, at least).
Some more of the AREC “usuals” are here – Nick Kincaid, John Hunter, etc. The past few years I have been passed by Nick towards the end, and I usually cannot keep John in sight for more than a half mile or so.
The “charm” of this race is that the 10K starts 0.15 miles behind the 5K start, and we generally don’t get to hear the National Anthem (a bit distant)… or the start. You can usually tell that it’s started by when the 5K people take off.
This year, they had a few folks standing at OUR start with an air horn, ,which they blew semi-simultaneously with the 5K start. So, our meager band starts out and quickly make up the stagger between the 5K and the 10K. They keep the two races separated; this is good because there are a lot of slow walkers that we would have to weave through.
I felt pretty good for the first loop, even though it was a bit muggy (but overcast). My split at Mile 2 was 15:49.
By the second loop, the sun came out and the temperature soared (as much as the temperature can soar in 25 minutes). More than anything, I was seeking to improve upon my time from last year (when I kept having to stop and thought I had a heart arrhythmia).
So few people were in the 10K (compared to the 5K) that once I started on that second loop, I was mostly by myself (mostly because I lapped a few 5K runners finishing their first (and only) loop). A little before Mile 4, Nick passed me (the earliest ever) and I wanted to walk a bit, but once I passed Mile 4 in 31:40 (almost the same split as the first 2 miles), I set a new goal of finishing under 50 minutes or under 49:48 (8:00/mile).
I got a few cheers on the course because I had an American flag tucked into the back of my hat.
I paced myself about as evenly for the last 2.2 miles (though there was no one, other than Nick was just ahead of me to catch, so I was just running against the clock. I finished in 49:14, a smidge under 8:00/mile pace.
This result was particularly good because I had just had a very long ‘distance every day’ streak. (I don’t call it ‘running every day,’ because some of the days are 2 mile walks.) My old streak was 18 days and this was 30 days (and ended yesterday).
Let me tell you how small the 10K was… Nick came in one place ahead of me but 90 seconds ahead, Mark Phair came in one place behind me and a minute behind. There were just over 100 finishers.
Dona, Kate and I connected with Paul Browne for pancakes and we waited around for Dona to pick up her award (a HUGE mug). Paul and Lorenzo also got prizes, but Kate and I were in supercompetitive age groups and just placed outside the top 3.