Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Roses en La Playa

This last weekend I ran the Roses en La Playa 5k in Santa Barbara. I had been eagerly awaiting this race so that I could set a more challenging 5k PR and I think I accomplished that goal.

The race was on a beautiful Sunday morning right by the beach. Fog hung over the water and the islands were at full visibility. God was really showing off that morning. As has become habit, Daddio and I ran the 5k together. Daddio is an awesome running partner, he has the experience and know how and he really drives me to push myself. We arrived an hour early and did an easy jog down to the harbor and back, just loosening up. Fifteen minutes till the race, we did a couple hill sprints at the speed we wanted to start. I was feeling awesome and had some really high hopes.

At the starting line, there were two extremely annoying college students yelling and making ridiculous noises while the race officials were trying to give the last minute instructions. I was immediately determined to beat both the guys on the course. The instant the official yelled go, Daddio and I were off. We were getting swept up in the tide of quick runners and also doing our best to avoid walkers. Within the first quarter of a mile Daddio was telling me, “let’s not get too crazy”, which caused me to glance down at my Garmin and see that we were going much faster than planned.

Almost the whole first half of the course was uphill, but it was an out and back, so we got to cruise back down that hill all the way back to the finish. I felt good and the hill wasn’t feeling too challenging till the last quarter of a mile. We started being passed by the lead runners on their way back, so we cheered for them and I kept my eyes on the turn around ahead, ready to hit the down hill.

The turn around was a little uncoordinated, they had the arrows going the wrong way, so the people heading into the turn were trying to dodge the people coming out of the turn, while others ignored the arrows and did it however they wanted. From there it was a matter of working with gravity rather than against it. That’s when we started picking up speed and picking off runners. We first aimed for people right in front of us and than I started aiming for people much further ahead. I caught sight of the annoying college students and pushed hard to pass them and then pushed hard to get out of hearing range of them (seriously annoying).

Daddio enjoying the morning
I set my sights on a gentleman with a unique running form moving at the very good pace and told Dad, “I want to beat him”. For the last quarter of a mile, we slowly gained on him. I was starting to think he was going to get away from us when he started his descent down the last steep hill that led to the finish, so I dug in and pushed harder. Daddio started falling behind, so I started to slow down till I heard from behind me, “get him, get him,” I took off. I felt like I was flying. I passed him a good fifty yards from the finish with people from the crowd saying, “Nice sprint!”

I think I was flying!
I felt ecstatic to see my finish time 26:24, over 4 minutes faster than my New Years 5k. Another great race in the books!

Like usual, the race was well stocked with food and water at the finish line. The times were posted online in record speed and pictures were up within hours. Another awesome thing about these local races is that they obtain free race pictures from Santa Barbara Pix, the usual photographer and all we have to do is go online, pick a picture we want and email them our request. I absolutely love that!

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