Packet Pick Up Problem

I’ve decided to throw in one more race before the holidays. It’s a holiday-themed 5k and while it is far away and was way too expensive, I just couldn’t help myself. I’m kind of addicted. At least it’s a healthy addiction? (Though my wallet would say otherwise)

Ok so I have a question for you. This race is 2 1/2 hours away from home (I’m insane). I have a wonderful dog who will have to stay at home, and so I will drive in the morning of. Whenever I possibly can, I pick up my race packet the day before – I hate the stress of running around pre-race. In this situation, however, due to the distance, I planned on picking up my packet morning-of. To my surprise, I saw that there was a $20 fee to pick up your packet on the morning of the race. In years past they’ve gotten themselves into a pickle with too many runners picking up in the morning, and so this is their way of deterring people from waiting til the last minute. For those in the LA area, they will also be holding packet pick ups there over the weekend (this option is free). But I’m still 1 1/2 hours from LA! I mean, I TOTALLY get it – no one likes a late race, and I understand how crazy race logistics get. But $20?? What about those of us who don’t have many options? Unfortunately I don’t know anyone else running the race, or I would have them grab my bib. But now I’m forced to choose between paying $20 to pick up the morning-of or drive 3-hours round trip the day before. Ugh. I can’t afford the registration as it is! 

Anyway – this 5k is the little sister to the day’s main event – the half-marathon. I don’t think I’m ready for another one of those quite yet. This race is mostly to help me figure out if the 5k I ran at Universal earlier this month was a fluke or if I am in fact becoming a stronger runner. Plus it’s a good excuse to go down the mountain and see some friends. Ah! I just realized in this moment that the race is less than 2 weeks away. Where IS the time going?? I’d better get some jump squats in pronto!

WeSPARK 5k Recap (and a big win!)

Clearly this race was a bundle of fun. But let’s start at the beginning!

5am: After waking up every hour between 11pm and 5am (I can’t help it, I get so excited!), it was finally late enough for me to get out of bed. Poured the coffee, ate the oatmeal, walked the dog, out the door by 5:45. Because of the time change, I got a lovely view of the sunset as I was zipping down the mountain. The rising sun coupled with “Friends” by the Beach Boys got me to Universal Studios safe and sound by 7:15.

I parked and headed over to the expo to pick up my packet. I was pretty excited to get bib #1999. I had Prince stuck in my head all morning.

Being as I had an hour until start time at 8:45, I actually had time to warm up properly. I stretched and jogged around for 15 minutes while I waited for my friend, Jackie. This was her first racing event and she planned to walk it with some friends. It’s always nice to have some pals around pre and post race! While I was jogging in circles I caught sight of Max Greenfield, who was going to be starting the race. He plays Schmidt on the show New Girl. Yay celebrities!

Waiting in line for the bathroom took FOREVER. You know how there are a million lines for the porto potties and each line unofficially gets 2 or 3 pots they can work with? Well my line had 2. And someone must have had some pre-race nerves or SOMETHING because for about 5 minutes we were definitely down a bathroom. And I get it, we all gotta unload, but…come on, girl – race starts in 15 minutes!

I quickly dropped off my bag at the bag drop and headed over to the start line. Before I knew it, Schmidt was blowing the horn and we were off! Now, remember when I said I didn’t like 5ks? They’re too fast – no time to relax. Well, I discovered another reason I hate them. I don’t know how to run them. After the 1st completely downhill mile, I looked at my watch. 6 minutes, 3 seconds. WHAT?!!! I started laughing out loud because I didn’t know I even had the capability to run a mile that fast. I made sure to slow down my next mile, but even that was at 7 minutes. Mile 3 was an absolute bitch. There were HILLS. Steep, steep hills. The kind of hills that you wish would just end. Now. But they don’t. And you see people up ahead of you turning and they are still running UP. It was tough.
Also! Can we talk about the temperature, please? So the race was supposed to start at 7:45. A week before the race I received an email stating that the race would start at 8:45 due to some Universal sound ordinance. Then! We had to turn the clocks back. So now we’re running at what is really 9:45 on a day that is supposed to reach into the 90s. Race start temp had to be in the low 70s. Ugh.
I will give credit, though, to the course distractions. The Universal backlot? Amazing! Wisteria Lane, WhoVille, War of the Worlds, the Psycho House – even as I was sprinting by, I managed a whole heck of a lot of smiles. How can you not when there’s a Mariachi band playing on Mexican street right after Zorro is sword fighting on Western ave? I’ve been through the lot on a tram tour before, but being able to run right through made for a pretty unique course. I managed to sneak backwards onto the course after my finish to snap some photos.

War of the Worlds!

Pyscho house!

Anyway, back to the race. I knew I was out front, and as I passed the last woman I could see, I started to wonder…was I in THE front? (We’re talking in terms of females here, of course). I didn’t see any more ladies in front of me, but as the course was twisty and turny, I knew of course there could be a speed demon in front of me.
Sidenote: As the course got tougher and I got tireder, I made a couple of audible noises – you know, the kind when you are really struggling and sounds just escape from your mouth when all you really intended was an exhale. Lucky for me I had music on, so I couldn’t hear myself too much, but when a guy in front of me turned around as I approached him, I knew it was because I was making a racket. Oh well. Pretty sure I beat his butt.

Pretty sure a terrible noise was escaping my throat at this moment

Anyway. As I started up one of the last hills, I set pace with a boy who I later found out was 13. Awesome. Thanks to this kid, I didn’t stop and puke in the bushes like I thought I was going to have to do. I’ve never really considered stopping during a race to vom, but I seriously considered it this time around. Lucky for me, the last .1 was just ahead and boy was that the LONGEST .1 miles of my entire life. But I made it. I even heard my name on the loud speaker.

Oh race photos, you always make me look so good

And when the overall winner came up and said “Hey! First woman – congrats!” I knew my spastic race strategy had all been worth it. I had won. WON! ME! I’ve placed 1st in my age group before but NEVER overall. And boy oh boy did I not expect it to happen in a 5k. I said a small prayer of thanks to my fast-twitch fibers for getting me through this race exactly 1 minute faster than my first attempt at a 5k. I grabbed some free snacks, congratulated the next few women to cross the finish line, and then called mom and dad. My dad used to be a marathoner back in his day and so it means a lot to me to be able to call him with exciting running news. Always the coach, though, he did be sure to remind me that I need to work on not blasting out of the starting gate (I know that, now).

Finishing a race in under 22 minutes means you have a lot of time to wait around and watch everyone else come in. I LOVE this part. It is so exciting to see all of the people who come out at the break of dawn to participate in these things. And for such a great cause, too. WeSPARK really put on a wonderful event and they raised a ton of money through fundraising, too!

I met up with Jackie and she hung around with me for the awards. I received a medal for my 1st place age group finish and a trophy for my overall female win. The female awards were handed out by Maggie Jones, the sweet little girl from We Bought a Zoo and the tv show Ben and Kate. Really, my prize was getting to pose with this NUGGET. Gah she is too CUTE.


So, the day was a success. Any race that’s filled with smiles, charity and the Cat in the Hat is an A+ in my book. See you next year, weSPARK!

partying like it’s 1999

Official Stats:
time: 21:43
overall: 15/2044
ladies: 1/1341 
age: 1/185 

weSpark Cancer Support 5k

I’ve only run one 5k. I decided afterwards that I didn’t particularly love it, as I felt like I was sprinting the whole time. I much prefer to run a 10k or a half-marathon (well, based on the one half I’ve run…). I like pushing myself, but I’m pretty sure I’m built more for endurance than speed. I appreciate being able to relax a bit during a run, and I don’t get that during a 3.1 mile-run. My slow-twitch muscle fibers scream at me every time I run fast. “Aw come on, man! Can’t we just go for a long leisurely jog today?” And while slow distance is my preferred exercise, I do know that I’ve got to get those fast-twitch fibers in shape, too, and so I do try to add a (little) bit of speed work to my routine. So, with that said, I’ve signed up for another 5k.

Now if I’m being honest, the main reason I’m running the 5k and not the 10k is because I have a half-marathon 6 days later and I don’t want to completely crush my legs. Though, based on the fact that some of the insane (in the best way possible!) bloggers I follow run 2, 3, 4 half-marathons one after the other, I would most likely be fine running a 10k. But 5k here we go! This race was an afterthought, brought on mainly by the fact that 100% of all money raised goes to this local cancer support center. This year’s been tough cancer-wise, and so I figured this is a small way for me to support those I’ve lost and those I know who are currently battling this stupid disease. Plus, it’s through the Universal Studios backlot, which should be a distracting enough landscape to keep those slow-twitch fibers quiet.