I've always wanted to run this annual 5K in Santa Margarita. Seems like we're always out of town or have guests over. It's been running every July 4th, since 1999 and finally today I got to see what the course is all about.
It is flat and fast and boy was it hot! The race promptly started at 8:30 and when we got there about 7:30, it was already getting very warm. We ran our warm up mile and waited. After that little warm up we were dripping with sweat. I had been working on my speed and wanted to see if I can break 25 minutes for this fast course. But the weather was the deal breaker--not a fan of running in the heat.
When the Race Director Joe Rubio called the start, everyone darted out fast. I chose to be in the middle since I didn't want to be trampled. It forced me to hold back a bit. I didn't do that usual sprint right out of the gate which hurts me all the time. I read somewhere from the godfather of running, Arthur Lydiard, said that if you start out too fast in that first mile, you are going to hurt the rest of the 5K. His words are so true.
Holding back a little, gave me a somewhat of an even pace in the middle mile. That's where I usually give in to the people who were going to pass me. That's when I lose my nerve and don't usually put up any fight. I just let them go. This time, my pacing was even, my breathing was fine and I found myself not wanting to glance at my Garmin. Partly because I didn't want to be disappointed at whatever pace I was doing, because the heat felt like everything was in slow motion. All I could think about was, look for the turnaround, then it will be that much closer to the finish. I was waiting to see the first woman, which signifies the turn around is close. I was getting worried, this was a 5K, but it seemed longer. Finally, the Olympian Linda Somers-Smith came and then I saw the turn. I felt better to push a little, but was also intently aware that the heat will slow me down if I push too hard. It was a gentle negotiation.
From the first mile, I knew my goal of breaking 25' today won't happen. I had to quickly revise my goal to don't let a "40-something-looking-female" pass me in the last mile. Then she came. She didn't pass me quickly, I felt she was laboring, but her persistence put a gap of 3-5 feet between her and I. She ran with me for a few seconds, then she took off. I wanted to match her gait so I can stay within a striking distance, should I have the will to fight back. I didn't have that in me today. I let her go. Revised goal #3, don't let another "40-something-looking-female" pass you again. Thankfully so, no one else came from behind me. One thing I don't ever do is try to look back. That's just too stressful. One look back and my focus is gone. Why? Not only am I worried about the people in the front, now that picture of people chasing me is now in my head. I don't want to know who is reeling me in, no thank you.
Next, I focused on the person in front of me, tall gal in black tank and black shorts. She must be burning up. She was looking like she was cramping. She stopped for a few seconds to walk. I caught up closer, then she started to run again. Bummer. Then she slowed down again. I got closer and closer, until I was within 50 meters. I put the pedal to the metal, I didn't care if I puked at the finish, I was taking her and the lady in an over sized T in front of her. Two birds, one stone. All for not--neither women were in my age group. 25:51 was my official time. I missed the 3rd place in my age group by 3 seconds. I will take that in this heat. I ran an even pace and that's good enough for me this time.
The perks were the BBQ breakfast in the end, as well as the fabulous Running Warehouse giveaways. The raffle prizes are stuff that runners love: socks, caps, hydration bottles, shoes, shirts, running vest, jackets, tech tees, shorts, buffs, gaiters, from manufacturers like Brooks, K-Swiss, Asics, New Balance, Nike, Reeboks. Bottom line is, you go to this race and you are guaranteed to go home with one of these prizes. I came home with a pair of running socks, a Salomon runner's cap and the buff. What's that, you ask. Remember in Survivor they would wear this head gear that you can use as a headband, or a scarf, a gaiter, or wristband or a tube top? That's what I got.
|Not bad...Thanks Running Warehouse!|
|The Buff or my Do-WRag|
|I can always use a pair...|
|One Size Does Not Fit ALL--- but the cinch helps...|
|Liking the color...|