Friday night, after our pitiful Valentine's Day, I left the race program on Thatboy's pillow for him to peruse. Saturday morning he acknowledged this was going to be a really cool race, and he could understand why I wanted to run it. And now he just had to figure out what band he wanted to watch while cheering me on. Of course, by Saturday night he had decided that a race starting at 7:30am was too early, so he was back to skipping it.
So Sunday morning I got up while the world was still dark and got myself ready to go. The race was being held just a couple miles from home, but after the experience we had at the Electric Run, I didn't want to take any chances. I sat in my car for a while, munching on some overnight oatmeal, drinking water, and using my inhaler. After a while I headed towards the corrals. I got out of the car and it was COLD! Usually this isn't an issue, because I toss Thatboy my sweatshirt before the race starts. But since he wasn't there, I debated whether to check it or keep it on. In the end, I decided to keep it on - it seemed like a smart thing to do since I was recovering. I paced the corral, chatting with a couple of other runners. Comparing notes about shoes, the race, and important things like that. And soon enough, it was time to run run run!
The first mile was all within the Del Mar Racetrack. We were running on dirt, and I made sure not to start out too fast, pulling back as I watched people passing me. Trying to run "smart." After the first mile, the sweatshirt had to come off - and tied around my waist.
We hit mile 2 as we headed out to the coast. Or I should say, UP to the coast. This was probably the gnarliest hill on the course, but that could just be because it was the one I was least prepared for. My training runs had all been along the coast, but starting out at the coast. I didn't even think about the fact that Via de la Valle would be uphill the whole way out. I felt a little surge of relief when we finally made it out to South Coast Highway. This was the course I knew and loved.
There were bands all along the course. And while I was a bit concerned about their musical selection, I was pleasantly surprised that many of them were playing covers - songs I knew and loved. As I approached mile 3, the band on the other side of the street was warming up, waiting for runners to start heading back. They were playing "I Am the Walrus." I joined in on the woos.
They didn't have too long to wait for returning runners. By the time I hit mile 4, the 5 of the elite runners had passed me, on their way back to the finish.
Mile 4 was the toughest for me. I felt pretty strong through the race, but as I headed down the hill toward Seaside Beach, I started questioning what kind of idiot runs a 10 mile race when sick. And that's right about when I came upon The Unknown.
They were playing "Till the World Ends" and although I'm not a huge Britney fan, the song just seemed to come right at the perfect time to pick me up, and I was A-OK from there on in. I mean, do you see the view? I was running on a "highway," beside the water, with awesome bands playing every few feet. It didn't matter if this wouldn't be my fastest run ever, if I had to slow down, I would and could. I was just going to relax and enjoy the run.
I did a little internal cheer when I hit 5 miles, halfway there! And I laughed when a woman behind me hooted a little later at the turnaround. I turned to smile at her and she pointed out that we were about to head down hill. Everyone was in a pretty good mood between the turnaround and mile 6, all downhill. It probably didn't hurt that The Christopher Brothers were playing "Help" at that time. Who would have guessed the Beatles would have music that gets you in the mood to run?
Around mile 7, someone yelled out we only had 5k to go. The racers in this run were certainly vocal!
Shortly after mile 8 we turned and headed back to the racetrack. I'm not going to lie, it felt too soon. I wasn't sure how they were going to get in another 2 miles once we were in the track, but they did. Without the ocean to watch, there seemed like less bands (even though there were 3 between the time we entered the track and the finish line), and it was definitely the most boring part of the run. But soon enough, I recognized that we were nearing the corrals where we had started and I knew the finish wouldn't be too far off.
As we approached the finish, I realized I was going to finish in under 2 hours. Part of me was a little worried - my plan was to finish around 2 hours, because that meant I was taking it nice and slow. But I'm not going to lie - part of me was excited because I hadn't pushed myself, I had taken it "easy" and I was still going to beat my goal.
As I crossed the finish and started to slow, I could have sworn I heard my name. I turned and saw Thatboy, with Thatbaby on his shoulders, waiting just passed the finish line. Once Thatbaby had woken, Thatboy decided they should head over to the race, and watch me finish. He got the text that I was at the halfway point right as they were getting in the car. They had watched one of the bands for a while and Thatbaby had danced, and then they headed over to the finish to cheer me on.
It was kind of awesome to have them there. Of course, I dissolved into a mess of coughing once I finished the race, but I accepted my medal, gathered some water, oranges, bananas, and snacks and Thatboy hearded me into a warm place for my lungs to calm down a bit.
We sat together, snacking (Thatbaby was more than happy to share my post-race loot) while they filled me in on their morning and I filled them in on the race. Then we went home and I collapsed in bed for the rest of the day.
Overall it was a great run - the Expo was disappointing, but for an inaugural race, it was well organized and a lot of fun. The course was fantastic and so were the bands. There were some definite "quiet" portions, where some runners took to yelling "more music" but overall I actually preferred this race to the last Rock 'n Roll race I ran.