February 17, 2015

California 10/20 10 Mile Race Recap

Despite good intentions to blog more, here it is a month since my last post.  However, I do have a race to recap----the California 10/20 10 Miler--which I did a few days ago. It was my first 10 mile race, so a new distance to me---and an automatic PR.

I was very excited about this race. It's billed as a 10 mile coastal run, with 20 bands playing.  I actually registered last year but couldn't do it.  I had accidentally registered myself for two races on the same day (this one and the Coronado Valentine's Day 10K). My husband, who was training for the LA Marathon at that point, decided to take my bib for the 10/20 race (he was scheduled for 18 miles that day, and would do another 8 miles on his own after the race) and I would do the 10K with my best friend.  As it turned out, J had a heart attack a few weeks before the races and wasn't able to participate, so the bib went unused. Needless to say, I was determined to do it this year--and I'm glad I did, because while this is only the second year of the race, it's also the last, due to lack of sponsorship or something like that.

The Friday before the race I went to packet pickup at Road Runner Sports.  The best part about this was after runners receive their bibs and shirts, they are forced to exit through the store, which is usual for a packet pickup. Normally I get handed a coupon for 10% off anything in the store---but that day the coupon said $10 off anything, same day only.  What?  I'd actually only been in the store a few days before to buy new shoes, but hey, I could always use new gear. I settled on a new pair of socks, my favorite Balegas. Member price as $10.78, so with the coupon I only paid 78 cents plus tax.  A win any way you look at it! Score!  The goodie bag was actually filled good coupons and some bar samples, not the usual unusable stuff most goodie bags have.

Fast forward to race day.  The race started at 7:30 at the Del Mar Fairgrounds.  I didn't know how bad traffic was going to get on the freeway getting into the fairgrounds, so I wanted to arrive early.  I ended up getting up at 5, leaving the house by 5:35, and was in my parking space by 5:55.  Oops...too early....but hey, I would always rather be early than stressing out in traffic on the freeway! I  sat in my car until 7, reading a book and munching on a Luna Bar.  At 7, I got out and found some women from the local Moms Run This Town club. I'm a member on Facebook, but have only met a handful of the moms on there, so it was nice to meet some more women and put some faces to the names!

I need to mention my headband here---a few months ago, I was the winner in a contest the race had on Facebook, and my prize was a 10/20 Bic headband.  I was glad I remembered to wear it on race day---if not then, where?

pre-race with my race-specific headband

At 7: 15 I headed to my corral. I was in Corral 8, and was pleased to see the corrals were very roomy. Mine only had about 50 people or so.  My friend Barb had an aunt and cousin running in the race in Corral 9, right behind me, and it only took me a minute of looking before I spotted them (Barb had given me their bib numbers). I hopped over the rope and introduced myself.  I love making connections!  Not too long after was the singing of the National Anthem, and the race started!  They didn't really stagger the corrals, and I crossed the start line at 7:33.

start line

I decided right from the start I would stick to my usual 2:00 minute run/30 second walk ratio, which has gotten me through most of my recent runs and races with minimal pain to my sciatic nerve.  We started running around the fairgrounds---I've run here before, at the Electric Run, but that was at night and I couldn't see anything.  Now, in the day, I could see much more.  The neat part was running through a part that looked like the Old West, complete with cowboys on horseback lining the dirt trail we ran on. This must be where they house the horses. Very cool.

On an uncool note, at only 1/3 mile in, I started to develop a hot spot on the bottom of my right foot.  I was wearing new shoes (usually a no-no on race day) but they weren't BRAND new, as I'd already worn them once on an uneventful 4 mile run earlier the week.  They were fine during the previous run, but I was concerned about going another 9.66 miles!  Luckily, a mile or so later the hot spot seemed to disappear.

I spy the ocean ahead!

After a mile or so, we exited the fairgrounds and turned left on Via de la Valle, which we took up the hill until we turned right (north) onto the Coast Highway.  Soon we were treated to the gorgeous Pacific spread out in front of us.  I bike here often, but rarely run here, and it was amazing.  That view never gets old, hence the reason I bike here a lot.  We ran a few miles up the coast, past Del Mar, past Solana Beach, and up to Cardiff/Encinitas.  The turnaround is the Cardiff Kook, a landmark statue with a great history (people dress the statue up all the time in different costumes). I smiled, because I often turn around here on my bike; from my house to the Cardiff Kook is exactly 20 miles, so it makes a great 40 mile route for me.

this view NEVER gets old!

Meanwhile, I was feeling great.  My run/walk ratio was working great for me. I felt strong.  My run pace hovered around 10:45 (tempered by my slower walk breaks, though).  At mile 5 I took a Gu, and at mile 8 I ate a few Gu Chomps.  I had brought Gatorade on my fuel belt, but only went through two of my four bottles. It was warm, but I felt ok in my tank top and tri shorts (I wore tri shorts instead of running shorts because I needed to bike after the run).  There were lots of bands on the course. There were supposed to be 20, and while I didn't count them, I know there were a lot. I listened to music on my iPod, but every time I neared a band I turned my own music off so that I could hear the live music, and clap for the musicians.

By mile 9 I was ready to be done.  This is when I'm typically drained (not just physically, but mentally) in a half marathon, but instead of having 4 more miles to go I only had 1.  Yes!  So at mile 9 I abandoned my run/walk ratio and just decided to go for it. I ran as much as I could, with a little walk break here and there.  I crossed the finish line (with the announcer calling my name) in 1:56. My goal was to break 2:00, which I crushed. My finish photo shows me triumphant, which is rare for me at a finish line.

nice bling

I didn't stay for the beer garden or after-party (even though former Eagle Don Felder was playing) as I still had a long bike ride ahead of me (ah, the joys of half-Ironman training).  But I was happy to get my medal, and they had tons of snacks---I fueled on an orange, banana, pretzels, and a bar before heading off to bike 29 miles. 

I'm really sad this race won't happen again next year. I truly loved it.  It was very well organized, and you can't beat the course---any race that runs along the Pacific is tops in my mind!  I also loved the distance. While my true love is the half marathon, there' something to be said for a 10 mile race.  It's still hard, you still need to train for it, but just at the point that I start to hate running, the race is over. I don't think there is another 10 mile race in San Diego. It's a shame. But I sure am glad I got to experience it!