PRE RACE AND BIB PICKUP
We couldn't do bib pickup the day before so we decided to get our stuff morning of. I went bed early (I was exhausted from editing papers for 3 hours and finally turning them in!) around 930 and had my alarm set for 5. I got up and got ready and had breakfast (adding leftover cranberry sauce to my hot cereal=christmas in a bowl!) and stretched. I've decided a full 45 min to get ready for a race is perfect. It's enough time to not rush and also allows for ample stretching time.
Headed out at 550, got Devin and we got to Santa Monica around 630. There was crazy traffic which was to be expected as parking sucks down there anyway. We ended up parking in a short term lot with the idea of paying an hour now, going to get our stuff and come back and re up it for 2 hours. We did that-walked over, got our bibs, shirts and Santa hats, and went back to the car where things were crazy. Pretty much one of the parking meters was not working for a lot of about 400 spots. We ended up waiting to repay and missed the beginning of the race. There were lots of us dealing with parking issues but blah.
We ended up starting about 7 min after 730 which was good because the course was wide open.
I could see my pace and decided to still go on feel as much as I could. With the course wide open, there was nothing in my way. I decided on intervals of 2:45 running and 30 sec walking.
My first mile clocked in at 9:15! Ummm-WHAT? I was feeling great and thought I would try and maintain the pace as long as I could. And that didn't last long-my shins KILLED which has always been my bodies way of telling me to slow down. I had to insert more walk breaks and by this point, I had caught up to the back of the pack.
This is also where course crowding and other obstacles took over. There were many cars on the street that were ticketed but not towed so there were random points where the course narrowed from 2 lanes to one. Trying to maintain a 845-930 running pace with people walking too far across or with parked cars in the way was hard but I tried my best.
I could feel myself slowing and it was so frustrating. I always negative split and pride myself on this fact and I knew that wouldn't happen this time. I definitely learned my lesson about holding back in the beginning. I think even 10 sec slower would have made a difference. This feeling of slowing was definitely effecting my mental state. I was so down and defeating which is so unlike me. I don't know where my head was!
There was a free water bottle before the water stops. I couldn't remember if there were water stops in the past so I grabbed one just incase. There were actually 2 water stops on the course which is great for a 10k.
A thing about the course-it is a flat out and back course. You can always see the faster people ahead of you and the people behind you. On the turns, it always slows down significantly as people try to take a tight turn. Also with the crowding, I had to weave in and around cones to try and get around. The course also allows dogs and strollers so there is weaving around those too. Not to mention, the sun was extra bright and it was pretty warm in the sun.
I hit the half way point under 30 min and knew a PR could still be in the works. I split a mocha clif shot between miles 2.5-3 and I felt it kick in around 3.5 (the bottle of water came in handy!) and knew it was time to kick it into gear.
As we headed towards the boardwalk, I felt more in the zone. It was the same area I had finished my 20 miler the week before so I knew exactly where I was. I was trying to do math and I knew I would be close for a PR. At that point, I came to terms that I would be happy with under an hour and great with a PR even if it was a few seconds. This race was about completing 14 races in 2014 and celebrating how far I had come in a year! A year ago, if you had said I would be battling a sub 1:00 10k I would have said you were crazy.
I kicked it into overdrive and went as fast as I could maintain for my interval of 2:45 and still have a bit left in the tank. As i continued on, I knew I could PR was not sure how much. I decided to keep pushing. Towards the end there is this hill. It's only at max 30 feet but for some reason it always slows everyone down. I walked the hill and turned the corner and knew we had .3 left but I was worried I would crash and burn so I walked for 10 sec at mile 6.
I pushed forward as hard as I could and finished in 58:05! New PR by one min and 16 sec.
My splits were all over the place and it bothers me (according to Nike plus since my Garmin somehow was off were 10/8:56/9:21/9:17/9:12/9:24) . I definitely could have broken 58 and that is bothering me still days later. I can think the race and pick out precious seconds that would have gotten me under 58:00. I hate that I finished and was disappointed. There are things I could have done differently and I definitely learned about starting too fast. Starting the race on time may have helped but I think course crowding would have taken over more then. However, I am looking on the bright side. Last year I ran the race in 1:18 (it was raining and I was dealing with a leftover injury) so to run :58:05 is something to be proud of. I mean-I'm in the middle of Dopey training, that alone is a beast. I have to let go of the coulda, woulda, shoulda and move on :)
Afterwards, we got our medal, apple(a new variety called Opal which was fantastic!) and banana and got a few snacks. We then headed to dunkin donuts (FINALLY!! You on the East coast will think this is crazy but it is the first Dunkin in LA and i have been trying to get there since it opened in September) and had a nice celebratory lunch with mulled wine, sparkletinis, and Christmas specials. I then relaxed all evening and crashed around 9. I had to get sleep as I had to get up to do dining reservations for our June WDW trip.
Overall, this is a great race and one I look forward too. The costumes are so much fun and it's a flat course with a 730 start time. The addition of a medal and a Santa hat were also great!
I will do a wrap up post about doing the 14 races in 2014 and also a plan for 2015 races next week! It has definitely been a big year for running.
Anyone else run a Christmas themed race lately?