This has been a crazy week for me – arriving back home from Vienna, dealing with moving, and then, you know, actually moving. Although I was literally run ragged last week, I’d remembered I’d signed up to run a 10k on Saturday, April 6 in Hollywood.
Whitney signed up to do it too (along with a couple of her co-workers), so I hit up the expo at Universal City Walk’s Hilton on Friday evening, and then spent the night with Whitney in Santa Monica so we could trek to the race together pretty easily.
I have a couple of thoughts about the expo – first, it bothers me that a relatively local race doesn’t have race-day registration or bib-pick up. Getting anywhere in LA during rush hour is just a bad call. Also, since participants are essentially forced to go to the expo, it seems like highway robbery to charge me $10 for the privilege of parking my car for 8 minutes. Despite that, the expo was fine, relatively painless. They get points for allowing friends to pick up their friends’ bibs, provided they have a copy of their photo ID.
Whitney and I prepped for the race the night before – we pinned our bibs, planned our 4:30 am wake-up, and managed our playlists. I decided to go for mostly Rihanna and Justin Timberlake.
Oh, and they get points for cool bibs.
We headed to the start at Hollywood and Highland (after picking up one of Whitney’s co-workers, Jennie) and got there with plenty of time. We also were lucky to find street parking for free (or, well when you park at 5:30 am no meters are running).
Just to put you in the frame of mind I was in heading into this race: my Garmin was packed in some bag somewhere, I borrowed my Dad’s earbuds, and I ran with my phone because I had no clue where my iPod was. I decided to run without any timing and just try and run comfortably. I viewed this as a training run more than anything else.
The start was a little bit disorganized – we seemed to be have been assigned our corrals completely arbitrarily. It ended up being fine, but in hindsight if I had been in a faster corral and could have run with people closer to my speed (instead of nearly 6.2 miles in no-man’s land), it could have been a different story.
Not having a watch was awesome. I just ran what felt like a steady pace – I guessed I was in the 8:30-8:40 range, maybe a little bit faster. The course was an out and back, heading East the entire time on Hollywood Blvd. We turned around after about 4 miles and then retraced our steps, and finished a mile East of the start, at Hollywood and Vine.
The “Hollywood” nature of the race was sort of cool – people were dressed up and there were a few bands playing along the course. I mostly felt bad, though, that these poor hipster kids had to be before the crack of dawn to play music to people literally running away from them with headphones in, listening to other music. Nice idea, though.
The race itself seemed to be a lot of people’s first race – there were a LOT of runners but it wasn’t insanely competitive (more on that later). Also, the fact that all of the events (5k, 10k, and 1/2 marathon) started at the same time was annoying toward the finish. The 5k turnaround meant that I came barreling down on a bunch of (slower) runner’s. It was particularly frustrating in the last 200 m or so. All in all, though, the course was flat, pretty fast, and fun.
I crossed the line (no clue what my official time was) but I felt good. I didn’t take a picture of my medal, but it’s pretty cool – star-shaped (in keeping with the theme) and coated in silver glitter. I waited a little for Whitney and cheered her on – this was her first race since high school track! Her legs were a little sore but I know she’ll be half-marathon ready in a month.
Later that day, I checked the results when they were posted. My official time was 47:34. (7:40/mile pace) Not a PR, but still a good day.
It also happened that I won my age group (25-29), out of 211 runners. I was the 4th woman (out of 998) overall – and I missed 3rd by ONE SECOND. If only I’d been able to start in a faster corral or something. Overall, I was 38th out of 1,469. I’ll take it.
After a very trying week, this restored the pep in my step. Funny, too, because 10ks aren’t my favorite race distance.
What’s your favorite race distance and why?