Posts Tagged ‘Brea 8K’

The 8K is an unusual but delightful race distance. At 4.97 miles, it has some key advantages: (1) It’s long enough that you feel like you get your money’s worth. (2) For those of us who hit our stride at 2 miles in, it makes more sense than a 5K/3.1 miles. (3) It can be raced at a comfortably hard pace (if there is such a thing), rather than a punishingly speedy 5K pace. (4) The 8K/4.97 mile distance is not particularly punishing either, compared to the 10K/6.2 miles or of course the half or full marathon.

The Brea 8K Classic benefits the students and programs of Brea Olinda High School. The 2020 race last February was the last in-person race I did before the pandemic shut down races! That was my 5th Brea 8K, and people who know me know that that is a huge compliment to the race — I rarely run a particular race/course more than once. It’s a great local race for a great cause, and so when the 2021 race went virtual, I wanted to support the organizers and the high school. At least, I did when I signed up, haha! When the day actually dawned to run my virtual race on the last day possible, February 28, I wasn’t too keen. I’m still recovering — in mind and body — from the virtual marathon on February 6. I have been enjoying the post-marathon recovery by changing up my workouts a lot, ranging from taking an impromptu barre class taught by my 16-year-old ballerina, to riding mountain bikes with my 12-year-old in Chino Hills State Park. That means I haven’t done a heck of a lot of running.

I leisurely sipped two cups of coffee, and lingered over my peanut butter toast. I loaded the dishwasher and got it going. I talked my husband’s ear off. And then I finally got out the door to run 8K. The virtual race used a new-to-me app called RaceJoy to let participants time and run their virtual race anywhere. The setup on my iPhone was easy and I had no problem hitting “start” on the tracking as I crossed the virtual starting line in my neighborhood. I could even listen to my audiobook on my phone at the same time my phone tracked my race. The app chimed in with my mile splits and told me my average split pace and predicted finish time (a nice touch). I should have also worn my Garmin so I could see my current distance and not just mile splits, but it was probably a good thing for me to run by feel and not think about my current pace or distance. I ran down to the local track and finished the race there. The high winds today helped me at my back in one direction and challenged me as I rounded the track into the wind.

I’m pleased with that time (43:15, 8:42 average pace) for a virtual race I didn’t train for specifically. And while I won’t get the race medal or t-shirt until next month, I got the best post-race reward as I walked off the track. Another runner called out to me, “Do you compete?” I nodded and smiled and pointed to my phone. “Yes! I was doing a virtual race today!” And he said, “You looked great! You inspired me!” That has to be one of the nicest things anyone has ever said to me. I hope he knows how pleased I was to hear that, and how much he brightened my day.

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My body finished racing the Brea 8K about four hours ago but my mind is still racing LOL! To sum up: gorgeous race weather (51 degrees, light wind), well-organized race, slightly hilly course, user error when I didn’t quite manage to hit “start” on my Garmin but that trusty GPS watch still paced me to a PR! In spite of my pre-race jitters and Garmin snafu, everything came together for a wonderful race.

I didn’t sleep well last night (although when I did sleep, I dreamt I was eating donuts and dreams just do not get better than that!) I don’t know whether it was the race jitters, the salt I had with the Goldfish I ate while I watched E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial for family movie night, or that little nap I took earlier in the day, but the night was not exactly restful. I should have added to the post on dealing with pre-race jitters: Do not panic if you cannot sleep well the night before the race. It’s the sleep you get two nights before the race that carries you through the event. At least that’s what I kept telling myself.

I got out of bed at 5:15 a.m. and made plain oatmeal and coffee with almond milk. I drank about 20 ounces of water two hours before the race. I headed out the door at 6:50 and arrived at the race at 7:10 (gotta love a local race!) There were no lines at the porta potties (I call that a personal victory already) and by 7:15 I was chatting up my half-marathon running coach Stephanie and my classmate Tina. It helped to calm my nerves to talk with them, and it certainly didn’t hurt to hear about Tina’s 10-minute PR at the recent Tinkerbell half! Super impressive to cut off nearly a minute per mile!

Half an hour before the 8 a.m. race start, Stephanie and I did a warm-up jog around the first little loop of the race course. I like to do a dynamic warm up before all races but I do not necessarily warm up with a jog as well before longer distance races like a half marathon or full marathon. For an 8K, it helps me to jog so that when that starting horn goes off, my muscles are warmed up enough to tolerate a fast start.

In light of last year’s crowding at the start, I positioned myself closer to the front this year, right at the front of the 7-minute mile pack. Those were some dang serious (and nervous) runners and we all took off at a 6-something pace. I quickly realized that was too fast for me to sustain (as if!) and I dialed it back into the 7-minute range. My goal was to keep my pace between 7:39 and 8:00, aiming for an overall time under 40 minutes, and if not under 40 at least under my 41:35 time from 2012. As I said, I goofed at the starting line and did not manage to hit “start” on my Garmin Forerunner 110, but it still showed me my pace and I did eventually start it properly.

The course has some hills, nothing terrible, and I used the downhills to my advantage by keeping my feet quick and light, then powered up the hills at a steady pace, paying attention to keeping my effort level steady rather than pushing to keep up the pace up the hills. Just about halfway through the race there is a hill fondly named “Heartrate Hill” and that steady slow climb challenged me but I knew it would payoff with another downhill after that and we’d be over halfway done. With two miles to go I concentrated on keeping the pace steady in the 7s with only a few dips into the 8-minute mile range. With one mile to go, I pushed hard, and with half a mile to go I gave it my all. There wasn’t a whole lot left in the tank at that point, and I was super happy to round that last bend in the mall parking lot and see the balloon arch over the finish. I could see the clock said 38:30-something and I sprinted to see if I could get in under 39 minutes. I crossed the finish line and celebrated being done and frankly, not throwing up. Hooray for leaving it all out on the course (but not literally all, if you know what I mean)!

I’ve hit “refresh” on the race results about a million times today and finally my official results came up at about 6:20 p.m.:

Chip time: 38:42 (a big fat PR over last year’s time of 41:35)
Clock time: 38:52
Overall place: 431 of 2726
Women’s rank: 95 of 1466
Females 40-44 division: 5 of 180 <— Do you have any idea how happy this makes me?! Happy tears, that's how happy.
Pace: 7:46 minutes/mile = 7.7 mph

"SoCal's Finest Finish" lived up to its claim again this year. The expo boasted the typical water, oranges and bananas, but the main attractions came in the form of Slater's 50/50 hamburgers, Chilled Swiss Oatmeal (a European muesli made with low fat yogurt, rolled oats, green apples, bananas, currants, dried cranberries, and skim milk) from Corner Bakery, pizza from California Pizza Kitchen, Rubio's, Jamba Juice smoothies, and Farrell's ice cream to name a few. The expo offered something to please everyone. If chili doesn't appeal to you after a race, you can grab a chocolate chip cookie. Looking for something healthier? Try a whole organic apple from the local market. The only limiting factor for me was how much I could carry in my hands!

After more chatting with Stephanie and others from A Snail’s Pace running shop, I saw Mike and my girls looking for me. What a nice surprise! We got a quick family photo and headed out for brunch as a treat for everyone. TAPS Fish House & Brewery in Brea puts out an amazing brunch buffet. At $35.99 for adults, it cost more than the Brea 8K entry fee, but gosh darn it, the pecan cinnamon rolls alone made it all worth it. And the mimosas. And the cocktail shrimp.

All in all a great race day! I leave you with my favorite race sign from today: “That’s not sweat, those are tears from your fat cells crying.”

Did you race or run this weekend? Tell me about it!

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Brea 8K 2013 logoAre you racing the Brea 8K this year on February 24, 2013? I highly recommend the Brea 8K. It’s a well-organized race with a fun finish line expo that features tons of free food from many well-known vendors. The 8K (4.97 miles) distance is unusual and makes for a nice challenge — not so fast-paced as a 5K but not such a big commitment as a 10K or half marathon. The 2013 race will be the 22nd annual running of the race.

Race Fee: The fee for 2013 is $30 for adults and $25 for minors (there’s a $5 price increase after February 20). The kids’ 1K fun run is $12 and includes entry to the finish line food expo. I’d say this is a fair price for a well-organized race with a fantastic finish line expo. Plus, you can feel good about supporting this local race that benefits the arts and academic programs at Brea Olinda High School.

Packet Pick-up: You have two options for packet pick-up — on Friday evening at Brea Olinda High School or on race morning at Brea Mall at 6:30 before the 8 a.m. race.

Race Parking: Parking is free and could not be any easier at the Brea Mall and Brea Marketplace (near the Target across from the mall). I arrived half an hour before the race start and had no trouble finding a parking place within easy walking distance of the start.

Pre-race: You’ll find typical long lines at the porta potties but the facilities were adequate and close to the race start.

The course: The course has a few slight hills but I would not call it challenging. You can check out the exact route here. There are three water stations on the course. I carried my own water though so I cannot speak to how well they were managed. I can say that February makes for nice racing weather in Brea — not too chilly but not warm either. Bring a throw-away jacket for before the race and ditch it before the start.

Bling: Unless you make it on the podium there’s no medal for the race but I have to say that does not bother me at all. You do get a cotton t-shirt with race registration and there are some vendor freebies at the finish line expo in addition to the goody bag from packet pick-up.

Finish line expo: The Brea 8K boasts “SoCal’s Finest Finish Line” and I have to agree with that statement! There were all sorts of free food treats available in the massive finish line expo at the Brea Mall parking lot. Last year’s food sponsors included Panera Bread, Jamba Juice, The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, ChickPita, Corner Bakery Cafe, Mother’s Market & Kitchen, Ralphs, The Melting Pot, Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlour, Olive Garden, Hot Dog on a Stick, California Pizza Kitchen, Pinkberry, Tacos & More, Rubios, BJ’s and Sprouts. Just note that to enter the food expo, you have to have a race bib (so that means no family and friends unless they’ve registered for the race or the kids’ fun run).

Things You Should Know: Dogs are allowed to participate in the race if their owners keep them on a leash and clean up after them (although dogs are not allowed in the finish line food court). Strollers are also permitted (although for the child to enter the finish line expo she or he must be wearing a race bib as well).

Ways to improve the race: The only thing that bothered me was that I lined up with the 7- to 8-minute starting sign and there were a ton of people who were slower than that in that area. I ran the race at a pace of 8:21 and I should have started a couple people back from the starting line. I ended up dodging people, even some people walking from the start, for the first two miles of the race. Without setting up corrals I’m not sure how this could be improved, but it’s at least something to pay attention to as a participant.

Best part about the race: You’ve gotta love a well-done, community-supported race. I’ve never been to a better finish line food expo.

Would I do it again? You betcha! I’ll see you there this year!

For more on the Brea 8K you can read my race recap from the 2012 Brea 8K.

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Brea 8K 2012 logoWith the 2013 Brea 8K coming up on Sunday, February 24, I’m flashing back to my experience at last year’s race. To give you some context, I’d been running for 11 months at that point. I was 40 years young. I’d done a few 5Ks, a sprint triathlon, and an Olympic distance triathlon. I had just started training for my first half marathon, and I was recovering from a groin strain injury in my right leg.

I went to bed at 10 p.m. and got up at 6 a.m. to get ready to race. I left the house at 7:15 and got there at 7:30 for an 8 a.m. start time, cutting it a little close given the line at the porta potties! But I had time to make it to the start line with a few minutes to spare and I happened to meet up with my half marathon running coach Stephanie. She is so nice. She chided me for running the full 6 training miles yesterday and said I only should have done two. 🙂 She also coached me on how to protect my pulled groin muscle from further injury — she told me not to lengthen my stride when I went up the hills — to keep my stride quick and short and not overtax that muscle. Good advice. I felt great during and after the race.

There were 4,500 people registered for the race [2,853 finishers I found out later] and even though I stood with the 7-8 minute mile starters, there were tons of walkers and beginning runners who stood there too and should not have been there. I did a lot of passing for the first two miles of the race. Frustrating. I made a mistake trying to pass someone too, totally my fault but she made me feel bad about it. She was listening to her music and couldn’t hear me overtaking her on the right, and while it’s my duty to keep out of her way as I overtook her, I thought she knew I was there. My bad. I said, “Sorry, sorry!” and she said, “Yeah you better be sorry.” I didn’t feel quite so sorry after that!

The course starts on a straightaway and makes a loop through a business district by the Brea Mall but then turns into the suburban neighborhood. There were some slight hills but I would not call the course challenging (aside from the fact that an 8K is 4.97 miles of course!) There were plenty of spectators and some funny official race sponsor signs.

I was cheered on by Mike and the girls. They showed up to surprise me on their way to go skiing for the day. First they drove by right around mile 2, and then they pulled over and stood on the sidelines to cheer for me. That was so nice! Mike saw a couple of his co-workers too.

My chip time was 41:55 for a pace of 8:21 per mile and an average 7.17 miles per hour. Not bad for an injured, tired woman!

Place overall: 689 of 2853
Gender place: 181 of 1618
40-44 Female division place: 17
Of 40-year-old females: 5th of 39
Of females from my city: 1st of 8 (hey, I’ve got to celebrate my “victories” where I can get them!)

At the end of the race someone called my name and I turned around to see Mike’s co-worker Jennifer. He didn’t even know she was running the race so I was surprised to see her there and so very glad I remembered her name. 🙂 We enjoyed the post-race food — quite the spread of vendors. I had a banana, oranges, water, a slice of BJ’s pizza and a small Jamba Juice strawberry-banana smoothie. I started to get really cold as the sweat evaporated off my running shirt, and I took that as my cue to drag myself away from all the free finish line goodies and head home.

All in all it was a great experience and I’m glad I signed up for the race again this year! Who’s in it with me? If you’re interested in the 2013 Brea 8K, take advantage of the 10% off discount code from the Race Grader coupon code page (scroll down to the Brea 8K entry and create a free Race Grader account if you do not already have one)!

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