I know this post is a few weeks late, but…oh, I’m not going to apologize. It’s not like any of you were waiting for it.
I woke up at 3:45 am. Sixteen minutes before my alarm went off. You ever wake up at an ungodly hour and somehow feel AMAZING? I was having one of those mornings. I bounded out of bed, threw on the clothes I had so meticulously laid out the night before, and headed into the bathroom to brush my teeth and pin up my bangs. When the alarm went off at 4:01, Matt was still sleeping. I ran in and started yelling and dancing around the bedroom. It’s 4am! It’s 4am! We gotta go soon! Yay! Yahoo! I’m pretty sure he was cursing me under his breath.
Because I’m so smart, I had programmed the coffee to start brewing at 3:45. So by the time I made it downstairs the kitchen smelled like heaven and all I had to do was pour my java juice into a to-go mug. We were bringing Tilley with us, and again, because I’m the smartest woman on earth, I had his doggy bag all packed and ready to go and sitting by the front door. I looked around the room and smiled. My preparation pleased me. I made a packet of oatmeal, scarfed it, and we headed out the door at 4:30.
We drove into Los Angeles to pick up my dear friend, Annie. We pulled in at 6am just before the sun rose and after a quick use of her toilet we headed down to Manhattan Beach. This was Annie’s first 10k. She had run her first 5k at a race with me earlier in the summer. She is also the one I talked into doing the Santa Barbara half with me in a couple of weeks. She is a good friend 🙂
We made it down to Manhattan Beach around 6:45 for a 7:30am start. I had just enough time to use the porto potty twice. This is my pre-race bathroom strategy: 1. Find the toilets 2. Pee 3. Get back in line 4. Pee 5. Get back in line 6. Pee — you get the picture. I’m pretty sure I was born without a bladder, and after having run one race in which I had to pee the entire 6.2 miles, I just keep getting back in line until race time.
I’d never been to Manhattan Beach, and therefore knew nothing about this route. It’s right on the beach so I figured it was flat. Wrong. I was standing in line for the bathroom when a woman behind me asked if it was a hilly route. Oh, I have no idea, I’ve never run it before, was my answer. The girl in front of me turned around. Oh, yeah. There are hills. Good luck. Great, I thought. Not only was this my first race since moving from sea level to 5500 ft a month before, but now there are hills!
Annie and I started on different sides of a grassy median, as there were too many runners for a single start. My first mile was about 7:30 pace, and I was aiming to keep it around there. I often go out too fast, spend miles 3 and 4 bringing it down a notch, and then speed it back up for the end. This is not ideal and it tuckers me out, so today I was reigning it in and making a concerted effort to work on a negative splits.
The first couple of miles were great. Yes, some hills, but there were lots of spectators and the energy was good. We looped back around to the start and around mile 3 Enrique Iglesias “I Like How It Feels” came on. Now, this song is my running JAM. I swear every time it comes on I smile like a fool. Man, that build…I digress. This song came on and I just kind of forgot that I was racing and I just took in everything around me. The nice weather, the fans, my fellow runners. Ah, sigh. By the time the song was over I realized I had slowed down just a bit and I snapped out of it to get back in my groove.
Mile 4.5 brought with it a gnarly hill. I laughed to myself a little bit while I trudged up. Then – freedom! A huge downhill and then the last mile down the boardwalk to the pier. I booked it that last 1.2 miles, reaching about a 7:00 pace. I felt tired, but good. This was certainly the strongest finish I had ever had, and I nailed my splits. 2 seconds slower than my PR, but considering the hills and the fact that I hadn’t been running as much the last month, I was thrilled. I had run a solid race with good technique, and I felt great.
MB 10k gives awards in age groups 10-deep. I had no expectations of placing – this was the largest 10k I had run in, and I was hoping to make it in the top 20 or 30 of my age group. Imagine my surprise when I saw I had placed 7th!
To racing! To medals! To friendship!
See you out there!
age group: 7/269