Mallory decided to just come early which worked out well. She picked me up about 7 and we headed to the race. It was raining all the day before but had actually stopped. I was hoping unlike the Coaster Run, there wouldn't be puddles everywhere.
We parked with no problem, prepped our stuff and walked over to bib pickup. the area was busy but it was for people registering on site so the actually bib pickup was easy. We went to get shirts and the lines were long and they were out of Smalls. After the race, there was an area to pick up shirts so I decided just to wait. We went back to the car to finish getting ready and used the porto before getting In a quick warmup (.84 miles for 11 minutes).
I was able to get in about 10 min with some quick sprints. As I finished, the national anthem was starting. After that I tucked into the back of the 8-8:59/mile as I needed to try and stay under 9 min pace to secure a PR. The self placement/wave start is one thing I love about this race but some people don't get it. Luckily I didn't end up with any strollers or walkers in front of me.
The start of this race is the best! They had the bugle person from the track come and play us off. Even cooler was Victor Espinoza (yes the jockey that rode American Pharaoh to the Triple Crown!) ran with us!
I was the second wave and it started without hassle. I settled into my 1:30/:30 intervals and stuck with an easy pace. People were flying and I knew they would slow down so I stuck to my pace. We head out the parking lot and head over to the Arboretum. Basically the Arboretum is super gorgeous and peaceful. Random fact: the opening of the show Fantasy Island was filmed there. Even though the path was more narrow, I never felt boxed in or I couldn't run. I tried to stay towards the side as people would pass.
MILE 1: 8:58 pace
I noticed my breathing was heavier than I would have liked and realized that the course was semi-hilly (minimum was 471 feet, max was 547). I knew I would have to dig deep as my PR was set on a flat course. We hit the only water stop exiting the Arboretum and I took 2 cups as the air was heavy. I was just hoping the rain would hold off.
MILE 2: 9:08 pace
Heading back to the race track is mostly downhill. We went backstage and saw where the horses are stored and came into the track from the back. We did a loop before hitting the track. You mean the sand track that basically turned to mud? Basically we had to single file it. I was able to pass a few people but running in a single file line is basically the definition of being boxed in. I passed one person and my feet were sinking in the mud, I knew I would just try and hold on. I ran the rest of the race without stopping.
MILE 3: 8:47 pace
As we hit mile 3 we had to move off the rail to hit the timing mat and I moved back over and kicked it into gear. I knew I had run long and that the sand/mud was hard to run in.
last .14: 8:23
Final time: 28:03! NEW PR! And I'll take it after being so close the week before and running in the mud. Even better, this is the first race I've ever done where I averaged a sub 9min mile pace!
I stopped and got a pic (they were free but none of them turned out well) and then walked through the expo and got my t-shirt. I waited for Mallory to finish and we got a pic-our only pic together! After Mallory got her shirt, it started to rain! Ahh! We headed out.
Afterwards we went to Target, had breakfast and got dressed and I worked on the final touches to my dark side costumes. Since it was raining, we just wore boots, jeans and our shirts. We went to lunch at Chilis and then over to Santa Anita Derby. We ordered a mint julep and watched the derby: so amazing in the rain! We sadly did not win any money on our bets. We headed back to my place and watched Harry Potter movies, made dinner and went to bed so we could get up early to go to Harry Potter Wizarding World of the West (recap tomorrow!)
Overall this is one of my favorite races and even better it's so close to my place. I think it is well organized and just so much fun. I will definitely be doing it every year as long as I am free!
What is the last 5k you ran? Ever been to a horse race?