I’ve wanted to run this race for a few years now, mostly because it’s literally next door to the mall by my parent’s house in LA. I wasn’t planning to run it again this year, but my friend told me that he was going to run it and told me to do the same. We were actually old high school cross country teammates, but he stopped racing once he graduated. I stopped too, but as I’ve said before, I started to race competitively a few years ago. I knew running with old teammates wasn’t really going to be a fun run, so I wanted to be prepared for race day. I actually ran a lot faster than I had expected, which is great. Results: 19:42 (6:20 min/mile), 8th AG, 71/3735 overall. My friend, who accidentally forgot to put his timing chip on before the race, ran about a 21:25, which is actually pretty good considering he had pulled a groin muscle and had to stop running for a few weeks. The problem he had was that he tried to run with another alumni who was in shape and hit a wall after the low 6-minute first mile. I had just run a 5K about a month ago but couldn’t even break 21 minutes, so this was a huge improvement. It’s actually one of my top 5 fastest 5K finishes, which is awesome. It’s sad because the one thing that contributed to this improvement was just running more often, but of course that’s easier said than done!
When Daylight Savings took place in early March, I had decided that I would start running in the mornings again. It took a while to get used to waking up earlier than usual to run, shower and then head to work. But every day that I completed made it feel more and more like routine. I was still working out at the gym pretty often too, so I had decided to add some leg workouts in conjunction to my training runs. And to top things off, I planned an interval workout the week before the race, which I felt went really well. I had also ran a 10K trail race the week before that (which I had won 2nd in my AG). Now even though I was not running very fast in my training runs, I was at least running every day, which at least allowed me to build up my mileage.
I was really afraid I was going to end up running positive splits. I used my previous 5K that I ran a month ago as a gauge of what pace I should and would ideally want to run. But once the gun goes off, your race strategy may change since there are other (faster) runners out there that you want to try and beat. As I mentioned earlier, my friend ran a low six minute first mile. I wasn’t too far behind and ran about 6:26, which is the fastest mile I’ve ran in months! I was afraid my last 2 miles would have been significantly slower, but those morning runs actually paid off and I had the stamina to keep going at that same pace (6:34, 6:25). We actually got to finish the race inside the race track, too bad the dirt was really soft (almost like running on the beach).