"Will you look back on life and say, 'I wish I had,' or 'I'm glad I did?'" -- Zig Ziglar
Another month, another race. I can't believe I have participated in six races in seven months. This time last year, I had completed... zero. Who am I? Haha.
The race started early on Sunday morning. It was gorgeous outside - cool, but not uncomfortable. The marine layer was lifting early, and the race crowd was light. And the smell of the sea... oh, to be so lucky to start every day with the smell of the sea!
The course was an out and back similar to the trail I train on at home. I'll be honest with y'all... I didn't plan on a fast pace or running much in general. This race was much more for my soul than my ego, and I wanted to keep it that way. Unfortunately, the 10K was the race that the most competitive of runners decided to run. (Seriously... the 5K was mostly walkers, and the half marathoners seemed to have the full gambit - elite and slow runners like me. The 10K? All the fast runners!). Alas, we took it easy and enjoyed the sights along the coast and the 2 miles of wetlands. Ego be damned!
The ego took a bit of a hit, however, when we hit the 10K turnaround and realized we were at the back of the pack. We weren't last, but it was close! My friend and I picked up the pace considerably for the last 4.5 miles. I'm glad we did. The marine layer lifted unseasonably early, and the sun was starting to beat on our faces.
The last three miles were not my favorite. All three races ran the same course (with the only difference being the start time and turnaround points). As I mentioned before, the 5Kers had a lot of walkers, and there were some beastly half marathoners who easily lapped some of the slower 10Kers like me. Our paths collided around these last few miles, making the already tight and narrow course even more crowded. Additionally, the trail we were on was not closed to the public, so the guests from the nearby hotels were also crowding the trail as we neared the finish.
Alas, we waded through the crowds and we finished! My favorite race MC was there to congratulate us by name at the finish line. (I can't believe I typed that... who has a favorite race MC? Apparently, I do! Thanks, @TheRunMC!) The after party was a bit busy but cool. Our relatively inexpensive race got us coupons for a beer (good beer - Firestone Brewery!), tacos, açai bowls, and organic açai energy drinks... all free! My friend and I opted for the açai bowls, and I grabbed an energy drink for later. As tempting as a free beer is... 9am is a bit too early for me to start drinking something so heavy!
So to answer the question a lot of you have asked... how'd it go? I loved it. I didn't put myself under pressure to do well, and it gave me time to just enjoy being there... with my friend... enjoying the morning. I love racing. I really do Focusing on racing and pacing, however, has been less fun. The recent "streak" taught me that if you force me to do it, I won't enjoy it. The Disney races, while fun, have so much pressure on pacing that it makes me nervous. I know I can do it, but I start to doubt myself every time. These smaller races are better fit for me, I think... We'll see.
If you find yourself in Southern California, I highly recommend the events hosted by Elite Sports California. The races are small, but fairly well run. I know I'll look for more in the future. I have another race in the Ventura/Oxnard area in December, and I can't wait. Maybe I'll run into you there? :) Have a healthy week, y'all!