In an unusual form of race report, I’m going to take you through my thoughts about the day and the 2014 La Habra 10K as it unfolded for me.
Midnight: Darn it, why can’t I sleep? I must still be winding down from seeing Divergent. Dang that movie was tense. Good thing I slept nine hours last night.
5:30 a.m.: I see Mike is up for his zombie run. I’m glad I don’t have to get up yet. I hope my oldest girl isn’t too mad about getting up that early! I hope she has fun!
6:00 a.m.: Wasn’t it just 5:30 a.m.? Time to get up. It’s still dark out. I hope the younger girls aren’t mad.
6:05 a.m.: Thank goodness the 9-year-old woke up the 5-year-old for me. I love having older kids. Oh look, she even got her dressed! Bonus! Man, I should have shaved my legs last night. Do I care enough to shave them now? No, and besides, it hurts when you sweat on newly-shaven legs.
6:15 a.m.: Coffee with cacao powder. Yum. Oatmeal all around. The oatmeal tastes good, not like cardboard, I must not be too nervous.
6:45 a.m.: Sunscreen? Water? Garmin? Race belt? Timing bib? Sunglasses? Bathroom trip number 4? We should be out the door by now.
7:00 a.m.: Darn it, Mike took my car. Back inside for his keys. Let’s go girls! The race starts at 7:30!
7:10 a.m.: How awesome is it that this race has child care for the kids while the adults race? Oh look, they get to make Rainbow Loom bracelets! And bounce in the bounce house! They’ll be fine without me. Gear check. Easy peasy. Time to warm up with a slow jog and a few strides. Now I’m really feeling those race jitters!
7:20 a.m.: The diaper dash is done and it’s time for the Kids 1K. Oh look, a girl won the race, just like at the Encinitas Mile! Love it! These kids are so cute!
7:30 a.m.: National anthem. I promise to put my hand back over my heart after I check that my Garmin is working and ready for the race start!
7:35 a.m.: Lining up by mile times. How cool is it that I know my mile time is 6:34?! I love that I ran that Encinitas Mile. Okay, that lady cannot run a 6:34. I love a local, small race but I wish people would follow race etiquette! Just chill, don’t say anything.
7:36 a.m.: We’re off! Don’t get trampled in the first turn at the end of the parking lot! Here comes the first steep hill! If there ever was an incentive to go out slow and steady, this is it! Round the corner and up another, more gradual hill.
Running Mile 1: I knew this race was hilly — I did the La Habra 10K before back in 2012 — but dang it’s hard to pace myself correctly with these hills! I need to keep the pace under 8:06 to PR, and under 8:02 to break 50 minutes. The race calculator said that based on my mile time I could race a 10K at 7:37, but that assumes a flat course, and this ain’t flat! Just keep it under 8:00. Well, under 8:00 average.
Running Mile 2: You can go over 8 on the hills. But not by much! Book it on the downhill! Relax your shoulders! Remember how it looked like your shoulders were hunched up by your ears in your Encinitas Mile photos?! Relax your shoulders again! Unclench your fists! This is the hardest mile on the 5K loop. Don’t burn out, just pay attention to your form. Watch out for the kid who keeps sprinting and then walking. How cool that that guy behind me just started coaching that kid! THAT is why I love a small, hometown race.
Running Mile 3: Okay, this is better. Plus the crowd is thinning out. Hey, that lady just complimented me! We’re keeping pace. Yes, I can tell you our pace! It’s 7:27. Yay for the downhill! Are you running the 5K or the 10K, ’cause I’m running the 10K and if you’re running the 5K, you’d better book it, don’t stay with me because I’m running an even pace for the 10K! We’re almost there, good luck!
3.1 Miles, End of First Loop: Hey, I think I just got a PR in the 5K! [Yes, chip time 24:08, a one second PR! Every second counts!] I hope I didn’t go out too fast. Oops. But I feel good. Now let’s see how I handle the hills on round 2.
Running Mile 4: Breathe. Keep a quick turnover on your feet on the hills. Even effort, not even pace on the uphills. Let your legs go on the downhills. My legs feel great, it’s my lungs that are dictating the pace!
Running Mile 5: Darn mile 5. Good thing I remember from mile 2 how hilly this is. Just keep it as close to 8 as possible without burning out.
Running Mile 6: Shoot, that lady passed me! And I don’t think I can pass her back. I hope she’s not in my age group. I don’t think so. [Nope, she’s in 30-34 and I’m in 40-44]. I’ll try to stay as close as possible but run my own race. I know I’m doing my best. Maybe I can pass that older guy who keeps walking on the hills. I’m not gaining ground on him though.
Last 0.2 Miles: I can see the finish line! It’s a straightaway here through the parking lot. Don’t trip on the speed bumps! It would be so awful to face plant on the asphalt! Sprint! Don’t throw up! Does the clock say 49 minutes? Yes it does! You’re going to break 50 minutes! RUN! There’s that lady who was running the 5K! How sweet of her to say “There’s my friend!” and cheer me on!
Finish: My Garmin says 49:02 for 6.35 miles. Way to run the tangents there, NOT! An extra .15 miles. It didn’t help that you ran into a wall of 5K walkers at the 5-6 mile mark. Oh well! You got a PR! Hey, there’s that guy you tried to catch. Fist bump! Good race! Nice to meet you, Ming! Ooh, banana and oranges and water! Cookies from Corner Bakery — better save those for the girls. I should say hi to that lady, too. Nice to meet you, Julie! How’d you do? Good job! Let’s check our times. The 5K split is posted. I did PR in the 5K! Oh they’re announcing the 10K awards. I wonder if I won an award in my age group. There’s the medal table. The lady says my name’s not in the top 5? Bummer!! Oh wait, that was the 5K list, I got first in my age group in the 10K! No matter that there were only four of us 40-44 year olds in the race, I got me a “golden medal” as my youngest would say. Plus 6th place female overall. And my official chip time is 49:03 for a big fat PR by 1 minute, 23 seconds. That’s a 7:53 pace. Man, I wonder what I could do with a flat course? I want to run another 10K! And a 5K! I bet I could break 49 minutes in the 10K. Just 4 seconds to shave off, I could do it!
Overall Race Review: The La Habra Races (Diaper Dash, 1K, 5K and 10K) are great hometown races that benefit some wonderful local causes: The Children’s Museum at La Habra, The City of La Habra summer concert series, and the La Habra High School Cheerleaders. Packet pick up is easy the night before and also available on race morning. I paid an extra $12 for the tech shirt upgrade and it’s a really nice, black long-sleeved tech shirt, plus I still got the regular, white cotton race shirt. The race volunteers and police support on the course were great. I could not have been more impressed by the timing company. I’ve never seen results posted more quickly at a race and especially online. By the time I got home at 10:30, all the results from the 5K and 10K races were up. Nice work, Gemini Timing! I have also never been to another race that offers a Kids Club while the adults race. My kids loved it — both the activities they got to do and seeing the runners race. This is a hilly course, a challenging course, but a fun and well-organized race!