Race Report: UCSD Grove Run 5K

Posted on May 27, 2009 under Race | 9 Comments
Race Report: UCSD Grove Run 5K

Race Report: UCSD Grove Run 5K

Course: 5K with hills during mile 2 & 3
Time: 20:19
Splits: Mile 1: 6:06 HR: 179; Mile 2: 7:13 HR: 192; Mile 3: 6:17 HR:193
Total Calories Burned: 446

The last time I competed in an official race was during the Track & Field season of my senior year in high school…2003! That is a very long hiatus from racing if you ask me. After that last race, I ran on and off the first and second year of college, but not very often and definitely not training for any competitive races. Working out at the gym helped keep me from gaining that infamous freshman 15.

I finally started running again a couple of months ago and to keep myself from being bored running the same distance every day and alone, I decided to also compete in a race, so that I was actually training for something. So I heard about a race at UCSD, called the UCSD Grove Run 5K, which is “Socal’s First Sustainable Race”. They were trying to run the greenest race ever: by not having race bibs (just writing your race # on your hand), having appropriate recycling receptacles, and even organic fruit picked straight from local farms. They also had something called the “Greenest Athlete Award” where you get a certain number of points for doing things to help reduce your carbon footprint. For example, if you biked to the race, you would get some points. Or if you carpooled or brought your own water bottle or donated any type of running gear too. That was a pretty cool idea, too bad I did almost nothing that was green.

The race description already warned everybody that the course had a number of hills and the director of the race actually told me that I should not be too discouraged about the time, especially since this was my first time racing in such a long time. I didn’t want it to feel that much like a race, but still wanted to prepare for it, as if it were a race. So like almost all of my previous races in high school, I had a regular spaghetti dinner the night before the race. I tried to get there early enough to warm-up and stretch, even though I haven’t done it that often since I started running.

I got a good enough warm-up that I started to sweat and feel a little warm, which was harder than usual since it was still cold out. Everybody around me was pretty calm and relaxed about the race, probably because they weren’t really there to win the race or anything. I, on the other hand, was a little nervous, but excited at the same time. I actually did some strides before the start of the race and felt pretty good about it. My heart rate went up after each one, but dropped back down to normal while resting. We finally got the heads up to head over to the starting line. Now high school cross country races are a lot different than these types of races. In high school, the number one runner on each team would be near the front of the starting line, while #2 and the rest lined up following them, alternating between each team. In this race, it was sort of a free-for-all, whoever got to the front first, that was there spot. However, logically, it wouldn’t have made sense to be in the very front of the pack, since I would have gotten trampled by all the faster runners behind me. I still wanted a good position and by running with these faster runners, I would be able to push myself to a faster time, but be aware that I will not be able to keep that pace, which I am completely aware of.

So I positioned myself around the 2nd or 3rd row and got my watch ready. It was funny because there were other runners around me talking very casually, first noting that there was only one “barefoot runner” today and right before they started the race, how funny it looked that everybody had their finger on the start button on their watches. The race finally started and I was able to get a pretty good start and not run over anybody (or get ran over myself). It was sort of too good to be true at how far up I was compared to everyone else in the race. I felt pretty comfortable at the beginning of the race, which is a change from some of the runs I have had recently, where I start off too fast and was not able to pace myself for the rest of the run. The first mile of the race actually didn’t have any uphills, which is probably why I was able to run such a fast first mile (6:06). But even better than the fast time, I felt really good and prepared for the ensuing hills (even though I had not done any prior hill training).

Throughout the rest of the race, I was running around a few other runners: a runner from UC Irvine, the barefoot runner, another guy, and another other women. I would either pass one of these runners or they would pass me, depending on the situation. For example, during uphills, I passed one of the runners as well as on the downhill where the barefoot runner would slowdown to avoid cracks and random objects on the ground. But I would also get passed at other times too. But more or less it was just a small group of runners going back and forth.

The coordinators of this race was very good at displaying the first and second mile markers, but I didn’t see the 3rd mile marker, which should have been right before the end. But I was able to hear the announcer at the track, which meant that we were almost finished. Once I turned the corner, we were on the track, which was the final stretch of the race. As onlookers were cheering on, I began my finishing kick. I noticed the woman that I was running back and forth with up ahead and made her my target. As I approached her and began to pass her, I actually heard the announcer say, “here comes our first woman finisher!”. So I just finished ahead of the first woman. But what surprised me more was my time, 20:19 and if it indeed was a 5K on a course with hills, that is a very good first race, in my own eyes. And what was even more surprising was my place, which according to the results, was 30th out of 155!

I think the one mile run/time trial that I did over a month ago and definitely this past race was a good starting point for me on my way to training for additional races. I now know where I stand when it comes to how fast I can run, and I can use these numbers to determine how hard I should be training and running on a per day basis. I can’t wait for the next race, which should be within a month, which means, I have keep up the hard work!

Race pictures will be uploaded soon!

9 Responses to “Race Report: UCSD Grove Run 5K”

  1. lindsay Says:

    a 20:16 is awesome, especially on hills! (and with no real race-training). sounds like a cool race and love their green ideas. six years is quite a dryspell from racing, but i’m sure you are now hungry for more. congrats on a great race!

  2. diana Says:

    Aweseome race report. You ran great. Well done. I am sure this race is jsut a start to many more.

  3. Anne Says:

    Awesome! Awesome! Awesome! I’d heard about this race through my track club and am glad to it went so well, especially for you. First woman finisher — whoo hoo!!!

  4. SDrunner Says:

    @everybody Thanks for the kind comments! It was a really great first race. I didn’t think I would do so well, considering they were hills. And I wasn’t even going to do it because of the hills, but I’m glad I took the risk. Can’t wait for the next one!


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