Saturday, December 13, 2003
The run was interesting, to say the least. It turned out that the event was even closer than I thought it was, the starting line was about 200 yards away from my place. I got there about an hour before the start, just as the first few 10k runners were coming in, and got my stuff from the registration desk. A number of vendors and sponsors had booths set up, and after a few minutes of stretching - and downing some of my nasty-ass Cytomax (the newer flavors are really vile, the old Green Apple was actually good) - I bought a new pair of socks for the race. The new Pegasus Trails I would be running in have a pull-on tab at the heal that had been chafing me on long runs with low cut socks, luckily one of the booths was selling just the kind of CoolMax socks I needed. While I was stretching I watched the 10k runners come in - some of them were really...... big. That was more than a little encouraging.
The announcer called the 5k runners to the start, but apparently a number of people were already waiting there, and had positions near the front of the pack. The pack itself was huge, this was about 1500 people smooshed into a space as wide as a small two lane road (which it was). With all those people, the start of the race was more of a walk than a run. The first hundred to two hundred yards up Barnard Way was mostly people walking/jogging until there was some space between everyone, by the time we hit Pacific just about everyone could start running.
I had no idea what the course was, which turned out to not be a problem. All of the streets were blocked by LAPD and SMPD, who cheered and waved as we passed. Most of the course was just down Pacific to just past Venice Blvd, after which we turned and came back along the strand. All of it was on asphalt or concrete, which isn't much fun - it's pretty hard on you.
There were people running together from clubs, there were people obviously on their own. The first mile I had a group of 8-10 year olds with their coach right up with me, that was a little humbling. Most of them had planned on just doing a mile, though at least one girl I saw went the whole way. Most of the run I had a guy near me pushing one of those baby carriages with bike tires. I never saw wether he actually had a baby in there, but hell if I was going to let that guy beat me. At one point at about 1.25 miles I slowed down to ease up on my calf muscles (which turned out to be worse - at that point I felt just how messed up they were, they had gotten stiff and numb) and there he was, pulling up next to me, squeak squeak with the carriage. I pushed on. Several more times he got close, but I knew parts of the course better than most since it was all in my neighborhood, and in the last 1/2 mile or so I blasted so far ahead of this guy I never saw him again. I have no idea how far behind me he was at the finish, but he sure didn't beat me. I could have placed about 8 people ahead by pushing harder in the last 200 yards but at that point my pace was a bit screwed up and my legs weren't entirely doing what I was telling them to - the stiffness in one muscle group was working against me. I could maintain my pace, but to go all out would have had me falling on the asphalt in a hurry.
Overall I got something like 342 or 348 out of 1500+, and a time under 30 minutes (for 3.1 miles). I could have done better, I could have done worse, but I'm pretty happy with how I did. Not bad for my first race since sometime in 1994!
[ 12/13/2003 11:40:00 AM ] [