If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you are probably aware that I am going to be running my first half-marathon on November 10th (so close, yikes!!!) in Malibu. You can read more about it in an earlier post here. Since it is my first time going the extra-distance, I looked into a few training plans for guidelines. I find it hard to fully follow a plan, so I usually just focus on getting the number of runs and the distance in, and not necessarily the order, days of the week, etc. Some half-marathon training plans suggest running a 5K and/or a 10K during training. I thought this was a good idea since in order to go the extra distance during my long runs and to cope with the heat, I did lower my pace per mile and I wasn’t sure how fast I could run given a racing environment. Obviously, you can choose to run your own 5K or 10K, but I find that it is not the same. I usually get extra motivation to push myself during a race and I do enjoy the water stations, finish line snacks, and knowing that I am being timed more accurately than my phone app does.
After looking into a few options when I moved to Lose Angeles, I didn’t find anything appealing and almost gave up on fitting a race before my half. I did find a 10 mile race that seemed nice, but it was more expensive than the half-marathon!!! They mentioned the scenery, but c’mon, you’re not paying the views, and if you are than the Malibu half-marathon would have been more expensive. Several weeks later, I received an active.com email about the Vibha Dream Mile race and it sounded perfect for what I wanted. It was a low cost race, it took place in my neighborhood (part of the course is part of my weekly runs), it had options for both a 5K and 10K, and it was starting around 9:30 am so I wouldn’t even have to wake up early for it. It also sounded like a small race so I figured packet pick-up and registration would be painless, which it was.
On race day, I arrived at the race about an hour earlier, but really there was no need as registration was super fast. They provided some water and pre-race snacks, which the kids seemed to enjoy. Everything was well organized and we got to start the race right on time! Here is a picture shortly after the start. (Except for the picture above, all the pictures were taken by the Tanori Photo. The photographer did a great job taking flattering pictures, which rarely happens in a race! :-))
In retrospect, I started a little faster than I should have, but since I was not familiar with the course, I wanted to be able to follow other racers, and the men were quite fast! Thankfully, there were a lot of volunteers at potentially confusing points and I was able to settle down in a more comfortable pace within the first mile. As you can see, there were even kids running! The 5K had even more kids walking/running. I really liked that this race was focused on being a family event and getting everyone to be active, even if it meant walking it.
To my pleasant surprise, I managed to run sub 9 minute miles for the first half according to map my run. I did slow down during the second part since it got hotter and I needed more water, had to tie my shoes again, etc, but overall I was feeling pretty good about it. Here are some pics from the course:
Amazingly, I can smile while running! No ‘OMG I am going to die’ faces, or maybe the photographer was kind enough not to share those 🙂
This picture was taken very close to the finish line. Surprisingly, I gathered enough energy to both smile and finish the race strong setting a new PR! Shortly after I finished, I saw people gathering by the start/finish line tent and realized they were posting the race results. What a happy surprise to see that I was the 3rd female finisher! Okay, this was a small race, but it is still nice to place well and my average pace was way better than I thought possible (almost a whole minute faster than my previous 10K in March!) 🙂 It also happened that I was the first in my age group, so I ended up with two medals!
Overall, a great race! They even had some Indian food delivered after the awards ceremony, but I skipped it in favor of a more traditional brunch at a local cafe. While I love big races with their nice dry-fit shirts, small local races can be very charming and provide extra-motivation to run faster since you know you can’t get lost in the crowd 😉
Have a great weekend everyone! Stay active and eat well 🙂