Seeing as my next race is in 10 days I thought it was about time I recapped my last race. Back in the middle of September I ran the Santa Monica Classic 10K. I was about a month into marathon training and I hadn’t been doing the short, fast repeats that I had been leading up to my 10K PR at the Cypress 10K in July. Still I felt like I had some unfinished business in the 10K because I had been soooo close to breaking 36 minutes and thought I was still capable of doing so on the training I had been doing. Spoiler alert: I didn’t.
One of my favorite parts of this race was that it started at 8:30. This was especially nice because we live about an hour away from Santa Monica and the later race time meant that we could wake up at a relatively reasonable hour. We parked about .5 a mile from the starting line area and walked along the beach path over the packet pick-up, stopping to use one of the rest rooms along the way. Packet pick-up was pretty easy, I stretched and rolled out with my Stick for a few minutes before heading out for my warm-up. After two easy miles, drills + a few strides I handed Henri my phone, headphones & warm-up top and headed to the starting line. As with most road races, the corral at the start of this race was not very organized. They try to manage street crowding by starting the race in waves every 1-2 minutes and as I was trying to work my way to the front a high school kid holding a yellow rope refused to let me by, even when I told him I was trying to place in the top 3. Actually, what I told him was that I was trying to win and when he tried to explain how the chip on my bib worked I was not the nicest and simply just crouched under the rope and kept walking (not my finest moment… and remember this interaction because it spurred me on during the last 2 miles of the race).
Once I had made my way to the front I got in some last minute strides and then we were off!
The first mile went as planned, maybe a bit quick – 5:37.
Then after that I found myself in “no man’s” land. There were no women OR men around me and we started climbing a really gradual hill. I lost focus and was just running for 1st place. Miles 2 & 3 slowed down significantly 5:56 + 6:13.
Around the 5k mark we turned up San Vicente which is a pretty decent hill in the middle of a race, and we headed up and up for the entire 4th mile. About a quarter mile into the hill I heard a group cheering on a girl behind me and thought “oh no!”. I told myself to push the hill a little to keep my 1st female position but at the same time to maintain some energy for the last 2 miles. At the top of the hill I knew we had a u-turn and would be running back down the hill that we were running up. I resolved that if I made it to the top of the hill in 1st place I wouldn’t let this girl beat me – I knew I wasn’t going to run my goal time so I figured it was the perfect chance to practice my mental toughness and competitive racing. Mile 4 clicked off in 6:31.
At the u-turn I saw the 2nd place gal about 100m behind me, she caught up to me around mile 5.5 and the race was on from that point. We definitely picked it up going down the hill and I was biding my time for the last mile – 5:52.
As soon as we turned back onto Ocean Ave. and had a little over a mile to go she passed me. I thought about letting her go but then I remembered my interaction with the volunteer in the corral and wondered if he would be at the finish line watching (doubtful) and for that reason also I refused to let the girl get away from me. We picked up the pace as we approached the finish line and traded positions a few times. Mile 6 – 5:30.
With .2 miles to go she had so many friends/supporters cheering her on but that spurred me on even more! I sprinted the last quarter mile and finished just 7 seconds ahead of her in 36:52 (5:08 pace for the last .2 miles).
I was disappointed in my time because it was nearly 1 1/2 minutes slower than my goal time but I was happy with the mental victory I had out on the course. It’s also hard to be upset when you have this adorable face greeting you at the finish line!
After my 6 mile cool-down (race/long run day smooshed together…) and the awards ceremony we were off to brunch -> my favorite part of every race recap. 😉 We went to Urth Caffe which totally hit the spot!
What is one of the funniest/weirdest things that has motivated you in a race? My two funniest/weirdest are the conversation I had with the volunteer at the beginning of this race and this one time in a high school cross country meet that I refused to let a girl beat me because she was wearing her hair down… oh teenage girls! [insert eye rolling emoji here]