October 30, 2016
Different location (again!) for the Cancer Challenge. Ironically, we are back to the location we started at in the mid-00s, UCLA. For several years, the run had been on the property of the LA VA and last year, last minute, they decided that we could not run there and so did a random street location in Woodland Hills.
Despite being back to their roots, the parking situation is kind of a mess. Decided to pay for parking (or my carpool pal did), but we kept getting directed to lots that weren’t open and then once we were parked, it was not particularly close to the check in or the start.
The conditions are very overcast and very muggy. It looks like it’s going to rain. Yuck. 10K is first and it starts on the intramural (artificial turf) field. During the warm-up session (the ridiculous jumping jacks and other work-out stuff that some of these races provide), it does start to rain and there is some concern that the AstroTurf will be difficult to run on (i.e. slippery). There is also some concern (for me) about the hilliness, speed bumps, etc.
The race starts and it’s a mad dash across the slippery turf, and then immediately uphill out of the field area and onto the street, a little bit of downhill and speed bumps galore. The speed of the initial dash takes me through Mile 1 in 8:18 and 7:45, respectively.
Next is a steady climb up a hill, and then a dash back down the hill back into the general area that we started in, an out-and-back along the quad and then up a rather steep hill, some flat, and then down to the finish line (except we do the loop twice). My 5K split is 25:05, and now I have to go through the circuit again.
The second go-round of the first mile is 150 seconds slower, mostly because I am walking the uphill sections. But my second time on Mile 2 is 20 seconds faster because I ran a little harder on the downhill.
The last time (or 1.1) is about 45 seconds slower for a net time of 54:16… but I need to circle back around (since the start and finish are in different areas) and get ready for the 5K run.
It’s already raining on the field and several people are debating whether they will run or not. (Might as well… you already paid for parking, the race, etc. At the very least, you should walk it!) Maybe everyone in my age group will opt out (usually not in a 5K though).
My goal is to do better than I have in the past, which is sort of a don’t walk/speed-walk goal. I used to be able to do a back-to-back 7:00/mile 5K/10K, but I don’t have that speed anymore.
The ground is a bit wetter than before and there are loads more people. First mile, 9:38, is in between what I ran for the first and fourth miles of the 10K.
Second mile is in the mid-8s and the last mile in 9:38 which is pretty similar to the first and second times, but not bad for a steep hill AND being at Mile 9 of two “sprint” races.
Alas, the drop-out rate was not even strong enough for me to place in the Top 10 of my division (much less top 3). A good run for a worthy cause and an extra mile or so trying to find where the car was parked.