Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A great race

Pre-race, The Great Race of Agoura Hills / Deena Kastor 5K
[This post also at http://runwendeerun.blogspot.com/; this version with additional embellishment commentary]

I find myself looking at these pictures of  me in orange and thinking three things:
- 'Wow. I look like a pumpkin'
- 'Gee. If I went with an all-black ensemble, maybe it would make me look taller'
- 'Hm. I wonder if I can get away with wearing just the tights. Would that be worse? Oh, I just don't know.'

Oh, here's a fourth:
- 'Ooo, okay.At least they're nicer than the pictures of me running!'

I'd been worrying about the weather: Would it be too cold? Would we get rain? At the 9am start, temps were still down to 45 - 50F. Pretty chilly for Southern California (see those gloves?), but great weather for running!

We got there early, wandered around the fitness expo at the finish line, then walked uphill to the start. I'd forgotten how steep that hill was (the walk uphill is a pretty decent warm-up) and commented that if the finish was up *that* hill, I'd probably be pretty cranky.

J agreed, knowingly.

While we were waiting for the start, the announcer briefed us on the course terrain (I was glad that I'd checked elevation maps before, to be prepared for the uphill parts) and the history behind the course:
The Great Race is proud to name its 5K after former Agoura High School standout Deena Kastor, who set the 5K WORLD RECORD at 14:54 in 2002. Deena grew up running in The Great Race. She won the bronze medal in the marathon at the 2004 Olympics and holds U.S. records for the 5K, 8K, 10K, 15K, half marathon and marathon. (from race website)

Deena rocks!

Crossing the starting line. Note: The start is in the middle of a quiet neighborhood, inflatable starting arch,  loudspeakers and everything. 

They say the Great Race is a fast race, and it is. The start is downhill. Then there's a gentle incline for about a mile, then a good looong downhill stretch. The turn up Thousand Oaks Blvd just before Mile 3 is uphill for a little bit, then the finish line is all downhill. The last time I ran this, 5 years ago, I PR'ed, without having trained very deliberately. This time, I'd set my pace and finished about 20 seconds or so early, as well. If we were to designate my current running phase as 2.0, this race would be again be a PR.

I stayed back far enough to not get trampled by the speedsters and got into my groove. Like the Rose Bowl race, at about a Mile 1, I could pick out others that were running at about my pace, and they kept me company along the way. Never mind that I was keeping pace with two gentlemen who were 30 years my senior; Slow and mellow gets it done. I let myself get frustrated thinking about how quickly others are going (not while I'm actually running, fortunately, but afterwards), but if I can still be running at this pace in another 30 years with my original hips, knees and ankles, I'll keep to my wog (walk/jog) routine.

Note to self: Don't give in to the temptation to check on friends' times. Just know that they're FAST.

The after-race party is fantastic. Dole is a major sponsor, so there's lots of fresh fruit, juice, fruit cups. There were lots of booths, lots of food. I understand that Whole Foods has a breakfast buffet as well. By the time I'd finished, caught up with a friend I ran into after crossing the finish line ('small world' moment), collected my medal, and found my BigBear, we realized that it was more busy than we were up for. And since J hadn't run, he really couldn't have any of the food. And you just don't go nomming down food in front of hungry bears!

Race time: 41:40
(3:40 run / 2:00 walk) 8x

We had booked a room for that night, so I showered and we hit our favority restaurants in the area. We drove out to Zuma, where I'd spent so much time before and watched the surfers for a bit. The sunny Sunday never materialized, so we napped. Our trip out to Santa Barbara will have to wait for another weekend...


Donna said...

Congrats on another successful race!

zephyr said...

i am SO impressed!! And, i like the orange!! :^)

Wendee said...

Thank you, both. It was a blast. I don't have my next race planned, but am already working on longer running segments in my run/walk routine and really enjoying it.