Category Archives: 10K

LA Cancer Challenge 5K/10K – 2016

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.

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La Palma 4th of July 10K – 2016

July 4, 2016

Back again for another La Palma 4th of July 10K.  I would probably have a streak of 12 years, but one year, I ran a 15K with Mark and Michelle for free, but I do enjoy doing this local race.  I heard a rumor this year (don’t tell anybody) that this race might not continue.  The crowds look at big as usual, but I think there is starting to be a recession from people being excited about running (it ebbs and flows), so hopefully this race isn’t a casualty of this issue.

I used the GPS again, to see where I was at in the second half of the race, because being with everyone in the 5K tends to pull me along to a good first half time (and also it warms up on the second half).

My first lap (5K) was 24:23, close to my best runs for a 5K this year (within a minute or so), and so, on the second half, I did take some walking breaks.

Towards the end, I was passed by Nick Kincaid.  We usually finish close together, either with him finishing just behind me or passing me early enough that I can’t make up the stagger.  I did my best to stay within range of him and caught him right at the finish (timing showed we had identical times).

And, for the first time in a few years, I got an age group award.  My theory of being the youngest in my current age group holds up, I guess.

LA Cancer Challenge 5K/10K – 2015

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.)

Bimbo Global Energy 10K – 2015

September 27, 2015

This inaugural event offered a great deal – $6 to register and included a technical t-shirt (and a sandwich).

Because the run was in downtown Long Beach, I figured parking would be a mess, and decided I would just walk from my house and walk back (and get in a little reading, too).  I knew that would affect my time a little bit, because it is a 4-mile walk each way.

It was a warm day and pretty crowded.  I did my best to get up near the front just to avoid the bulk of the crowds.

There were two races, a 10K and a 3K (untimed, and no awards).  The 10K headed off in the direction of the Yardhouse and the 3K headed in the opposite direction, but started about 10 minutes later.  (This would create total havoc.)

We ran through the parking lot towards the Yardhouse and then did a loop on the boardwalk/parking lot loop.  Because I got a good jump, it was a little less crowded here, though you could see how crowded it was going to get for those behind us.

They marked the miles on the course in an odd manner – by how many miles (and also kilometers) left to go… so I can’t tell you my first mile time, only my first 1.2 mile time – 9:04 (which translates to 7:30, evidence of a fast start).

Just after we passed back by the start, we encountered the behemoth that was the 3K group.  They were mostly walking and filled the entire pedestrian path.  I opted to run along the bike path (to the great ire of cyclists – did you not see the crowds?) until I passed the 3K turnaround and then I basically had the pedestrian path to myself.

My second and third miles were in the 8:30 range and then I got overheated and ended up walking a goodly portion of each of the last 3 miles.  Fortunately, the majority of the 3K runners were done by the time I finished.

I would have loved to run at an 8:00 pace, but due to the heat, the warm-up, and running with a book and t-shirt in a bag on my back, I was happy with my 55:39 time.

After the race, I looked around (in vain) for my sandwich, but got a number of Bimbo products and a bunch of cans of coconut water.

Of note was the overall winner’s prize – a free entry to any of next year’s races (apparently held simultaneously).  With few exceptions, all were held in Spanish-speaking cities, and included Santiago, Chile; Madrid, Spain; Asuncion, Paraguay; and Beijing, China.  Airfare and hotel room included.  I wonder which event the winner chose.

After the race, I walked back home and was pretty tired… after all, I did a little over 14 miles!

La Palma 4th of July 10K – 2015

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!

Dallas Running Club Frigid 10K – 2015

January 3, 2015

I saw this opportunity for a 10K for $10 (no shirt, but chip-timed).  My sister had mentioned to me that Dallas Running Club (DRC) is one of the largest clubs in the country with 5000+ members (which is how they can put on a race inexpensively and have enough volunteers that don’t want to run).

I wasn’t exactly sure where I was headed (though I can use the GPS in my folks’ car to figure out the location).  From their website, it showed that there were a half dozen places to park for this race (how many people will there be anyway?), including the “DRC Clubhouse.”  I guess if you have enough club money, you can afford to buy some property!

I took the freeway about 10 miles from my folks’ house, drove a bunch of random city streets (including a Rupley Street (gives me hope there is a Rahl Avenue somewhere in the world)) and then turned on some road towards a ballfield.  Even though it was not yet sunrise, there were 4-5 volunteers directing traffic.  I managed to get a plum parking spot within 200 yards of the registration spot (not the clubhouse, but a park building).

It was still super cold out and I had my sleeves on under my long-sleeved shirt and gloves (hoped to be able to button my shorts by myself today, though).  I hustled up the hill to the registration (inside), filled out a form (Clydesdale) and paid my $10.  They handed me a number and a D-tag for my shoe.  Since the race was not starting for another 45 minutes, I headed back to the car, read Julie & Julia for a bit and napped for a bit, too.

With about 10 minutes to go before the start, I thought I should head over to the line.  It was down a dirt hill from the registration “cabin,” and along the White Rock Lake bike path (a large inflatable arch and people milling around gave me a good idea where the start line was).  I recognized some folks (but not enough to actually know a name or have an in-depth conversation) though I shot the breeze with a few folks, as I often do before a race.

There are two races run simultaneously, a 5K and a 10K, with (obviously) an earlier turnaround for the 5K.  i stationed myself somewhat near the front as I don’t want to get stuck behind any stroller or walker folks.

There were a couple hundred people at the start and after a few announcements, we started basically on time.  Some skinny Hispanic guys in tank tops as well as some “kids” sped off at a pace I could never hope to match (so this will be a bit more competitive than the Carrollton run).  The first mile or so is very gentle rolling hills (just slight undulations in the path, mostly flat) and I get my first mile in 7:43.  If I can finish in under 49:48 (8:00/mile), I will be pretty happy, since I usually don’t run that fast nowadays.

The course continues to hug the lake, with a few minor bridge crossings (over side inlets) and then goes up a minor uphill (but enough that I would normally walk up it) and cruises down the other side.  The lake has devolved into some waterfalls (really scenic).  Mile 2 takes me 7:45.

Now that I have passed the 5K turnaround, the course heads up a lengthy uphill (I DEFINITELY would walk up this.) and I carefully pace myself to the top and manage a 7:59 mile and take the extra tenth to the 10K turnaround.  As folks are coming back towards the finish, I try and size up if any (or all) of them are also Clydesdales.  One “big” guy has on a Rocky Raccoon 100M tech shirt (2012, I think) and a red-headed guy also looks to be maybe 200+ pounds.  Don’t know if I can catch either of them.

From the turnaround, I know there is a sizable downhill (but then 2+ miles to the end, so I can’t fly down it too much).   Another mile, 7:41.  There is now even a possibility to finish under 48 minutes.  My last 10K was 49:18 (in July) so finishing under 48 would be my best time in a while (finishing under 49 would be my best time).

I passed the red-headed big guy just before the downhill, but he re-caught me on the uphill by the waterfalls on Mile 5, where I slowed to 7:54.  I kept him in my sight; maybe he might stand between me and getting a Top 3 Clydesdale finish…

For the final 1.2, I began trying to visualize in my mind how the course would be backwards, how far the little bridges were from the end, etc., to figure out when to accelerate and if I would be able to catch either of the big guys ahead of me.  Just past Mile 6, I caught the red-head and began accelerating to the finish.  My last 1.2 was 7:41 (my best mile, and it was 1.2M! (~6:40)) and I finished in 48:09.

I chatted for a bit with the guy in the Rocky Raccoon shirt – he had done RR100 in 2011 as his first (same as me); also, his daughter (aged 14) had run her first 5K race today. I was trying to think how he had a 14-year old daughter… and then I saw his age (because I thought we were about the same, but he was 35 (!!), but this is Texas after all).  I also chatted with the redhead.  He is 33, lives in Texas, but grew up in Modesto.  Small world.

I went inside to see how I did, but could not find my results on the printed out sheet.  When I was just about to go and complain, I realized for some reason, races are putting Clydesdale runners in a “separate” race.  Probably too confusing to place them separately and they want to make sure Clydesdales don’t double-place. This is why at the Plano race I was shown as the winner of the race (because I was the fastest Clydesdale there).

I was still a bit annoyed with the results because even though I beat the redhead, he started 15 seconds behind me.  True, he ran a faster race, but had we started together, I may have been able to gauge my pace better.  I prefer that awards be based on gun time.  Still I did manage to place third in my division (and there were at least 15 competitors) and both of the guys that beat me were at least 8 years younger than me.

The award ceremony was nice and fairly efficient and they read off each name and presented a Dynotaped medal (somewhat generic, but did have “DRC” on it) with the race name, division and division place on it.  I grabbed a few bananas (to get my money’s worth) and also took the opportunity to let the race volunteer coordinator know that the volunteers at the aid stations were great.  It’s always important to do this because positive reinforcement begets more volunteers, and good volunteers always make a race that much better.

I walked back to the car and I was parked in a puddle (I was when I arrived, but hoped that it might dry out a bit by the time I got back).  This made it difficult to change into dry clothing, but I was able to clean off my shoes a little bit.

This will be my last race in Texas until I am back for another family visit.  I spent $62, ran 5 races, and won a medal, Gatorade recovery drink, and a champagne flute (I should have received another award but the ceremony took too long in Plano.), plus a New Year’s Day tech shirt and some mimosas.

LA Cancer Challenge 5K/10K – 2014

October 26, 2014

Just about a week has passed since my (50 mile failure) 50K success at Twin Peaks.  Muscle-wise, my recovery was not too bad… but I had trouble sleeping all week.  I had been debating about doing the LA Cancer Challenge, because I missed the discounted rate deadline… but I really do want to support the organization, especially to support my friends who have succumbed to Pancreatic Cancer.  After several e-mails back and forth between myself and Doug Atkin (who said he would pay my entry if I showed up), I decided that I could float the entry fee myself.  I also arranged to carpool with Eric Villalobos, who had popped up on the AREC Grand Prix list and wanted to maintain his Top Ten position.

When I woke in the morning, I didn’t feel great.  I am having a recurrent problem with part of my groin (I think suffered 10 years ago doing inadvertent splits off a wall.).  My lower back and also my arthritic shoulder are also sore.  I guess I’ll see what I am up to; this is my first time running since Twin Peaks.

The 10K was first and I felt halfway decent, running the hills on the first loop and walking them on the second to finish in about 55 minutes.

For the 5K, I decided to do what I did last year and just racewalk it.  It allows me to do a halfway decent time and also build up my confidence as I pass a whole lot of runners (who cannot run as fast as I can walk).  The first half mile or so I am accompanied by Alvin Leung.  Nice to have some company, but I know that he won’t walk the whole race and eventually does take off running.  I finished in 34 minutes (which is pretty pretty good for a 5K).