Monday, June 11, 2007

Race Report: Pride Run 10K

Race: 26th Annual L.A. Frontrunners Pride Run
Distance: 10K
Time: 46:49 (unofficial) ***PERSONAL BEST***

I have not run a competitive 10K in a long time. I've done 10K distances for Run Hit Wonder and the Camp Pendleton Mud Runs but those weren't run seriously with the intention of posting a good time. Our Mud Run team last year posted a time just under 2 hours last year. In that sense my last competitive 10K must have been the horrid Hills Are Alive 10K in Palos Verdes way back in summer of 2005. I didn't even PR there. My best 10K time was at Fiesta Days in May 2005--to date my only race where I placed in my age division--where I ran a 50:51. I guess I hated the Hills Are Alive so much that I refused to do another 10K--that is, until today.

The Pride Run has been a race I've planned on doing since I started running. For one reason or another I haven't been able to. Last year's excuse was a troublesome foot. This year, though, I had no excuses. The fact that I had just run a marathon the week before could have been one, but I felt good and recovered and resolved to run a conservative race any way, so there was no getting around it. The only thing that would have kept me from running would have been lack of sleep. However, I was able to get up on time, albeit very groggy, got dressed and headed off to West Hollywood.

It was a small race, so I thought I had a good chance of medaling. However, my short run with TNT yesterday was marked by very stiff calves, which I thought would bother me a lot today. I made sure to warm up and test out the calves before the start. Although they weren't completely troublefree, they felt good enough to run on, so I had high hopes that I would at least finish under fifty minutes. Based on my performances in half and full marathons, I'm really overdue to finish a 10K under 50 minutes. I should be able to do 48 minutes in the kind of shape I'm in.

The course is a loop that starts on Robertson, turns right onto Santa Monica Blvd and heads east up to Crescent Heights. At that point you do a U-turn and head west, past Robertson and then another U-turn. The loop is 5K long, so for the 10K you had to do two laps. I liked this because (1) elevation changes balance out; and (2) I knew what to expect on the second lap, allowing me to conserve when the course was on the downhill or push harder on the hills knowing where it would end.

I tried to start off slow early on, but that didn't' work out. The group took off fairly fast so it was hard for me psychologically to focus on slowing down. Basically I would have been running with the slowpokes. I ran the first mile in 7:49 when I was planning to do it at closer to 9 minutes. My calves felt fine, though, even with the fast start. The warm up must have helped. The second mile was uphill but also featured the first turnaround, so the second part was downhill. I ran this in 7:39. By this time I just tried to remain comfortable and save fuel for the second half when I was going to need it. I ran the first 5K in about 23 minutes, which compares with my fastest 5K, so I'm curious what my new 5K PR would be.

In the second half I focused on picking people off. By this time those who took off too fast were paying for it, so I was able to pass those people fairly easily. Then there were those who were moving well but I thought I had a chance of passing if I maintained my speed. The main one was an Asian guy whose lead kept yo-yoing as we were running. There were a couple of times I almost caught up to him and then all of a sudden his lead would grow. I focused on him and eventually passed him at mile five. After that I zeroed in on another guy with earphones. He had slowed down a lot, though, by the time I caught up to him, so it wasn't as much as an effort as the other guy. There was one more older guy near the finish that I thought I could pass, but I couldn't move my legs fast enough, so I just settled on a new PR and coasted to the finish.

As far as I know, I finished 34th out of about 90 runners, possibly fifth in my age division, but I don't know how many are in the division. I could have been last!

Overall, quite a good race. It was well-organized and it was fun to run down a deserted Santa Monica Boulevard and glance over at people eating breakfast and having a cup of coffee. I will definitely do it again.

Afterwards, I stuck around for a bit to watch the parade and to catch a glimpse of this:

Waste of Water

...and this

Asian Guy

...and this


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