It’s already been over a week since I ran this race, so now all I remember about it is what the notes I took the night of the race when I first planned to write up this report. But first the fun stuff, results: 1:34:59 (13.23 mi, 7:11 min/mile), 26/350 AG, 215/5485 Overall. This was a very evenly paced race as you can see in the official splits (and mile by mile splits later on): 5K: 22:27, 7:14 min/mi, 3.7mi: 26:55, 7:17 min/mi, 10K: 44:46, 7:15 min/mi, 15K: 1:07:34, 7:15 min/mi.
I’m just going to post some highlights of the race, basically everything I could remember since the race.
Course: Gaslamp Quarter (basically downtown SD), Harbor, Harbor Island (the rental car parking lot by airport, pretty lame if you ask me), Cancer Survivor’s Park, Navy buildings, memorials, etc., Washington Street – Challenge Mile (tough hill around mile 8-9), Balboa Park
The only part of the course I wanted to elaborate on was the Washington Street hill which was hard, especially having to run it at the latter part of a race when most people are pretty exhausted by then. Unlike other races that I’ve ran in the past, this one only has you run along Balboa Park, rather than through it. Even better, I had run the same part of the course with my cousin the day before, so when I got to it, I knew exactly how long I would be running down that street and knew it was a decline so I was able to push the pace as well.
The Race: Unfortunately, they only had a 1:30 and 1:45 pacer for this race which were too fast and slow for me to run with. Ironically, I started the race next to a guy who had been a pacer at another race I had run a few weeks back. I ended up running with him for a few miles, but that was it in terms of pacers.
I did my best to hold back the first few miles and I am happy to say that it was a better job than other races. In fact, my splits as a whole were very impressive (if you ask me). Outside of the uphill around mile 10 and last 2 miles which were downhill, my pace hovered around 7:00-7:10 min/mile. I’m still surprised at how well I can hold a pace (without much training and coaching). Now I just need to practice negative splits and holding an even faster pace!
Race Strategies: Because I was able to hold back in the beginning, I had the energy to run strategically and competitively, which I love to do. I tried a few random things like drafting behind a taller runner to avoid the wind, running next to people and surging to the next one (favorite move!) and even a countdown (run with this guy for 30 seconds then surge).
The one tactic that I feel worked the best (in this race at least) was this OCD tendency that I have sometimes of touching markers throughout the course. At each mile marker I could get my hands on (sort of like a flag), I’d surge as I touched the banner. I also did that as I ran along a line of cones that divided the road for cars and runners. I’m sure each little surge helped cut down each mile split. All of these go back to something my coach taught me back in high school cross country where the (3 mile) course was shorter and had even less runners in each race. As we turned a corner, they told us to surge immediately after. So a runner who is on your tail will be surprised to find you a lot farther than before they hit that corner themselves. By creating that gap, it might be enough to break them down mentally to the point where they give up on trying to catch you.
How to Hydrate? I’m pretty sure this has been an issue with me since I started running races. What is the best way to drink while running? I’ve seen some seasoned runners fold the water cup so the water comes out in a straight line. I think I tried that once but failed. So what usually happens is I spill a lot of it on my shirt and body (but there are a few occasions where I intentionally just pour it on my head to cool down). Either way, by the time I’m done with the race, my shirt is drenched! No shirt I’ve ran in has the wicking capabilities to dry all the water I pour on myself. I suppose this is just something that I’ll get better at over time.
Random Sign: I wish I could remember all the inspirational/funny signs that spectators hold up. One I read at another race said something like, ‘if it were easy, I’d be doing it rather than holding this sign’. The one I saw in this race said, ‘don’t worry about black nails, they’ll grow back!’ It was funny at the time, but when I got home from the race and looked down to find my 2nd toenail completely black, I was less amused…
Epic Finish: A huge selling point for this race was the ‘epic’ finish at Petco Park (baseball stadium). So you actually get to run into the stadium with a crowd of people cheering you to the finish line. Although the finish was as it was stated, the route leading up the finish was very hard for me. I underestimated distance to get to the stadium, so I actually ran out of gas just before I entered and didn’t have anything left for the ‘epic’ finish. But after I finished the race, I did see that they were showing everybody finish on the Jumbotron and there were a few hundred spectators in the stands cheering the runners in which I thought was cool.