This is kind of old news, but I still wanted to write about my most perfect race to date, the Rose Bowl 10k. My previous PR of 56:07 was set in October 2013, and it had been a while since I’d actually raced a race, if you know what I mean. I hadn’t really been in the best shape my last few races, and I was excited to see how far I’d come since ramping up my training and getting serious about it.
The packet pick-up was held the day before the race, and it was pretty small. There were no expo booths (they had them at the finishers’ area at the race the next day, though) and it was just a few tables with volunteers handing out packets. It was really unclear that you had to stop at the first table and sign a waiver, then find your number, then find the right table to pick up your packet (many people were grumbling and complaining about this), but it really wasn’t that big of a deal, and if you waited in line and got to the front and you didn’t have your number, you had to go to where they were posted and then get back in line. An inconvenience, but not the end of the world. The shirts were cotton and too small unfortunately, otherwise they were nice-looking.
The race started at 8:15am, and Jeremy and I got to the parking lot around 7:15, and were able to park for free. The half marathoners started first, and then all the 5k and 10k runners lined up in the chute (there were no waves, it was a pretty small race). I was prepared for the course to be hilly, and I thought we would be running on some trails, but it was actually just two loops on a path around a golf course, and was blissfully flat. Coach Lauren gave me some paces to try to hit in the first 5k then see if I could speed it up in the second 5k if I was feeling good. During almost all of my other 10ks, I’ve gone out too fast and struggled after mile 2 or 3, or I just haven’t been in good shape. This time, I was conservative in my first mile (it was also a smallish path and there was lots of weaving between runners) and then sped up the next two miles. Once we finished the first loop, according to my splits I slowed down a bit in mile 4, then realized I only had two miles left and felt really good, so I ramped up the speed.
The last bit of the course was a downhill into the stadium, which was awesome. I was sprinting so hard and I had to dodge people (including someone walking with a baby stroller), but I was gunning for a sub 50-minute time, and I made it just in the nick of time.
I finished the race with a 7:28 mile! This still blows my mind. I forgot to pause my Garmin right away, so my average pace is a little slower than what the race website says:
I also blew past the little kids giving out medals, so I had to go back and ask them for one. This was the first time getting a medal for a race that wasn’t a half marathon, so that was cool.
The only weird thing is that my Garmin said the course was 6.00 miles, not 6.2. Those last .2 make a big difference, so I may not have had as big a PR as I thought and the course was probably short, but oh well. I still basked in the glory of a 6.70 minute PR and enjoyed a free Bud Light after the race.
I also got second in my age group, so Jeremy and I waited around a while until they announced the awards. When they announced the winners in the ‘Athena’ and ‘Clydesdale’ categories (women over 150 pounds and men over 200 pounds), the runners looks embarrassed, honestly, and it was weird. I am surprised no one has complained about this bizarre category. They finally got to my category and they called my name and I got to go up to the podium and get a second, bigger medal.
It was really exciting and felt like validation for busting my ass the past couple months.
Overall it was a good race and I’d run it again because of how fast and flat it was, but the organization could have been better. Jeremy put it best when he said it felt like the Pasadena community just got together for a fun run and not an actual race, like the announcer at the finish line wasn’t paying attention to the people actually finishing (he didn’t even announce when the winner of the races were coming in). I got lucky and the morning wasn’t too warm and the course was pretty shady, so heat wasn’t an issue. And I wore my new Saucony Triumph ISOs, which make me feel like I’m flying. I’m really proud of this race, and can’t wait to see what happens at the San Diego Half Marathon next weekend.