October 25, 2015
Pretty much I have run the LA Cancer Challenge every year since 2004. This is a special race, one of the few that is a cause that I will run for
The past couple of years I have had to be goaded into running, not because I don’t want to support the Hirshberg Foundation (for Pancreatic Cancer Research), but because it has traditionally been around a week post-Twin Peaks and I am usually not recovered from a 50K (or 52.5M as was the case last week) enough to walk a 5K. (OK, honestly, I can walk a 5K, like at Boeing, but I hate to spend money on a race that I am just going to walk.)
Last year, my friend, Doug, offered to pay for my entry if I could show up to run. That was pretty effective guilt-tripping. Yes, I will run. No, you don’t have to fund me. Support used to be a lot better for this race, but we are getting on ten years since Heather Stevens died, and also, the past few years, the race has been on the same day at the Rock’n’Roll LA Half Marathon. I’m hoping in the future that either folks will get tired of the expensive RNR events… or that the races will be on different weekends.
Another twist this year was that they had to move the race very last minute. The LA Veterans Administration location decided they could not host events that didn’t directly benefit Veterans. (So I guess it will be a ghost town for a while.)
The new location is in Woodland Hills. Arrgh. The drive to the LA VA was pretty substantial, similar to my commute in 2000 to West LA (around 25 miles one way). Well, Woodland Hills is another 15 miles away, so a really long drive for a good cause.
The semi-good news is that two of my reliable compadres, John Hunter and Steve Schatz are going to carpool up, and I can go with them (Richard Parker, too). The bad-ish news about this is that they decided we needed to allow 2 hours to get up there. Honestly, there is usually not much traffic on the 405 Freeway at 5:30am on a Sunday.
We arrived more than an hour before the race, which allowed us to leisurely stroll from the parking lot to get our bibs (shaped like pumpkins!) and shirts, stroll back to the car, take a little nap, hang out in the team area, and that left another 20 minutes before the race started.
Like previous Cancer Challenges, they start with the 10K and then do the 5K, and the course is a loop course. I liked the course OK, except for a weird section where we passed an intersection, ran 10 yards, did a U-turn, and then made a right-hand turn at the intersection. Not that I had any speed, but nothing like doing a bunch of tight turns when you are trying to run fast.
Early on in the 10K, I had some issues with breathing. This usually happens when it is the first time I run post-ultra. I just gutted through as best I could, throwing in walking breaks when needed. I ended up running near the front of the pack (think the race was smaller this year) coming in 50th overall. (50:51)
Had a small break before the 5K. Not really enough to recover. And in the second race, my quad got really tight, as if I had been running downhill a lot. At least I didn’t have to run two loops, but I got sick of this loop pretty quickly.
I was happy with my results. Being able to manage 8:00 – 9:00 minute miles 8 days after an intensive ultramarathon (on a sprained ankle) is impressive in my book.
Probably my favorite moment was running into one of my hash friends. People always ask me to take their picture because my bird’s-eye view has a slimming effect. She asked if I could take her picture with the Start/Finish Line in the background. I thought I did a good job until I saw it later on Facebook, and I had mistakenly cropped out the “S” of START. (Swear I don’t think you’re a tart.)