July 4, 2015
Back to La Palma for another 4th of July race. Dona McBride and I carpooled. It’s sort of like we know the drill – we switch off who drives and we always park at the Hospital parking lot that is adjacent to the local park (20 yard walk from the car). No one else seems to know this trick.
If you register online, it’s the best deal (even with the credit card charge). Registration included a technical t-shirt and $4.50 gets you a pancake breakfast ticket. Plus, they always give out mugs or something cool to division leaders.
The negative side to this event – particularly the 10K – is that you start 0.15 miles behind everyone else… so you cannot hear the announcements (including the starting gun), you half-hear the National Anthem, and once you catch up with the 5K group, there are hordes of people impeding your forward motion (the walkers, the meanderers, and the minute-per-mile-slower-than-me people).
We see a few of the usual people that we always see at this race – Paul Browne, from TRH, that lives right around the corner; Gil Perez (AREC VP) sporting a Beach City Runners shirt, but an AREC hat (wanting bonus points for wearing the hat – wrong shirt, buddy!); and Nick Kincaid, another AREC guy, who has gotten faster over the years (I used to be able to beat him; now I can only ‘contain’ him.).
The 10K starters are listening for the distant gun so that they can air-horn us off, and immediately, I find myself trying to accelerate around the mopey folks in this field. I have about 400 yards to formulate a strategy to get around the 5Kers.
One item in the negative column that I forgot about is that there are random Mile markers… some for the 10K on the first loop (but 5K markers) and one on the second loop.
That being said, I reach Mile 1.15 in 8:25, which is around a 7:39 pace. Fast… for today. It started out overcast, but I can’t see that continuing 25 minutes from now.
There are lots of people out here but after the first mile, I presume I have passed most of the slow types… but I may encounter some of them on the second loop. I get to Mile 2 (yep, for the 10K) in 6:46… but as my last mile was actually 1.15, my pace here is 7:31.
There are a couple of water stations after Mile 2 – one close to Mile 2 and one about 500 yards from the end of the loop. It is here that it begins to get crowded as some of faster 5Kers are gearing up for their finishing sprints. As I pass by the start, I time through in 9:36 (back to 1.2, because this segment is 3.1+0.15 – 2 = 1.25) or 8:43/mile.
The positive point here is that the crowds have thinned out, but the negative is that I don’t really have anyone to run with because until I catch the walkers, I am caught out in ‘no-man’s-land.’
I do see people off in the distance (including Nick), and I try and use that as my motivation to go a bit faster (also I am not zigzagging around anyone). I reach Mile 4.0 in 6:11 (7:58/mile), and then Mile 5.1 (the 10K 2M marker) in 8:49 (8:00/mile).
Now I begin to catch the walkers. One of the people I spot is the former owner/coach of Team Runners High Jeff Tribole (now of Beach City Runners). He is walking with a number of other people, very slowly. I can be critical since my finishing time ends up about 6 minutes faster than my 80-year old dad walked last October… and I passed Jeff at Mile 2.5 (for him).
Jeff used to castigate me at track workouts that I should ‘run a little faster and talk a little less.’ I feel that you don’t really have the right to criticize me for this if you yourself are not ‘walking the walk.’ I have heard that Jeff used to be quite the runner, but in my 18+ years in Southern California, I have never seen him do more than a slow walk (yes, he had a heart attack 10 years ago, but even prior to that it was bark out the workout and then skulk off to watch the Lakers on TV).
It’s fun for me to give him a little jazz after all of the ‘helpful suggestions’ I endured over the years. After I finished (in 48:32), I watched him ‘run across’ 10 minutes later, as if he and his group had been running the entire time. I say we give him that, let him say that he was running 19 minutes per mile.
I was very happy with my time, considering that one week ago, I did a very special high mileage trail run in honor of my little sister’s 40th birthday. I ran for 6 hours 27 minutes and 40 seconds at El Moro and Laguna Trails and covered 26.1 miles (my sister turned 40 on 6/27, hence the timing).
When it came to the awards ceremony, almost all of our group received an award… but I came in 6th… even though I was the 28th finisher overall. Small race… too many 40-44 year olds!