My first running race! After the 109-mile ride the day before it was easy for me to crash out early and get about 8 hours sleep before the early starting time. In the morning it is basic logistics that almost keep me from going to downtown for the start. Where am I going to put my wallet? What about food? I decided to wear a cycling jersey and use the pockets in the back. Later, when I described to actual runners that I had brought 2 Clif bars and a Clif shot, it dawned on me how I was over-prepared. Topped off my gear with my yellow Campy hat.
Riding through downtown on an early Sunday morning, with roads closed for the race, was an experience in itself! Roll up, lock my bike, and I feel like I am in gym class in high school. Till someone proves different I say that running does not have the subculture feel that cycling has. Pay my money, safety pin on my number and mill about eating the free food. We are called to the start and someone sings that patriotic song that they do before baseball games. WTF? I turn my back. Then we are off!
All the shit in my pockets is bouncing up and down and I am worried something will pop out. For sure it is exhilarating to run through DTLA with a bunch of people on closed roads. Mile one passes and my time is 8 minutes and 6 seconds. Since I started running this year I have not timed myself so this number seems okay. The homeless people are cheering us on. At the first water ‘hand-off’ or whatever I try to drink and choke on the water. No more drinking for me. Mile 2 and I am at 16 min and 15 seconds. The course is a 5K loop that I’ll do twice. Mostly flat, but heading south is a slight decline and then the obvious incline as we turn back to the start point. My 5K time is 25 minutes and something. Feeling confident. Legs are fine and I am keeping my pace at the point where I am still able to breath normally. Oddly I am passing people despite having to stop and tie my shoes. The heat is kicking in under the sun. At mile 4 or so I end up next to some guy and we pace together for awhile.
I had decided that at mile 5 I’d pick up my pace to where I could comfortably push hard. This is about where the slight incline starts and I drop the other guy. Passing people pretty regularly it reminds me of how we always sandbag on double centuries and it gives us the false impression of being fast. About a mile from the end I look down and both my shoes are untied. Fuck it. My chest is feeling the extra speed but legs are holding on. Sweat runs down my face as the sun sneaks between the DTLA skyscrapers. I round a turn, people are cheering us on, and this one woman refuses to let me pass and we cruise across the finish together with a time of 49 minutes and 5 seconds. Sweet. My goal time was 50 minutes. Stretched out my legs, ate as much free food as possible, stuffed Clif bars into my jersey pockets, picked up my free shirt and got on my bike to ride home.
I felt well the rest of the day and am stoked on my first race. Has opened my eyes to the possibilities with running. Hope to sign up for some more runs and take this more seriously. 10K and longer are feasible due to my experience with long distance cycling, it is getting fast, just like with cycling, that will be the difficult part.