The Santa Monica-Venice run is a race I ran for the first time in 2011 and I have only missed it once since then because of work. It used to be my favorite local race-flat and fast and good for a PR. Last year they changed the course and it was crowded and I missed a PR by less than 30 seconds. I was apprehensive about the race this year but signed up because it was 35 bucks for a 10k.
Well imagine my surprise when I read final race instructions and saw they had split the races with the 5k at 730 and 10k at 830! I was already worried as it was predicted to be quick warm. I knew a PR would be hard to come by.
Last year parking was a hot mess so we optioned to Uber. We used a real restroom and then went to register for next years race. This all took longer than planned and I didn't get time to do a warmup which as I learned at wine and dine, is crucial for me.
We headed to the race start and there are no corrals and just a mob of people. They started us as a large group. It should be no surprise that it was a bob and weave and a mess. We headed to the streets and then down to the boardwalk before doing three out and backs to finish at the boardwalk.
Don't be fooled by Hollywood-the Venice boardwalk is nasty and gross. Running at 830 meant more people were out so it was narrow. So narrow I got sandwiched between two strollers for almost half a mile. And remember how the 5k stared at 730? Well we ran by the finisher Festival and the finish line and start line are over one mile apart so many of the 5kers were walking back. Yup there is also one main way to walk back so they also were heading back as we were heading down. Basically a cluster.
Add in the fact my left shin was not having any of it, I was so over this race by mile 1.5. I just stayed steady and tried to not weave too much and just do the best I could. I almost tripped in pot holes and fell a few times. There was one DJ on the course and no spectators and nothing to look at.
As for water stops, there was one at the exit of the finisher area and it was a cluster-people I talked to after did not even seen it. There was also one around mile 4. I would have liked one more water stop. Luckily the weather was okay and cloudy but I still chugged a full bottle of water as I finished.
MILE SPLITS: 10:42/10:53/10:32/11:03/10:42/10:20/9:01 (.27 miles)
I was not happy how this race was at all. My goal was sub 1 hour and I was over a minute slower per mile. Some of it was the course crowding and some was my body. I knew better than to skip a warmup and it causes my shins to be unhappy. So unhappy they didn't loosen up until the last mile which didn't help at all either. After really processing and thinking about it, I just think this is not the time for PRs. I am stressed to the brim with dissertation and work and life. That stress is definitely spilling over into my running. As I am wrapping this up, I am hoping my stress levels will decrease.
At the end, they just had water, chocolate milk and a banana. I was ready to head out and get over the bad race experience.
Will I run this again? Well I already signed up for the 5k next year haha. It's the morning of Devin and Brian's wedding and we are going to dress up and have fun before needing to get ready. after that-I am not sure. I don't like the changes they made to the course and the late start time and the mass start. I will have to wait and see.
Have you ever run a crappy race?