This section of my website used to be dedicated to triathlon training, personal race results and certification reviews, like Turbo Kick. I am expanding it to include more generic health & fitness topics. Also, I talk a lot about "D" -- he's my husband (Dave Liu)!

Monday, May 26, 2003

Pacific Sun 10K

For Memorial Day, hubby/Dave & I participated in the Pacific Sun 10K in Kentfield, CA. According to the Tamalpa Runners' website, the race is a USATF nationally certified (CA98013TK) loop course through Kentfield, Ross and San Anselmo. They also had a 2.5 mile race, which I considered participating in instead, but I was so pumped after running the Bay to Breakers last week that I decided to just go for it and throw myself in the 10K.

We got to Kentfield at around 7:30AM. Kentfield is a lovely small town north of Marin. The weather was perfect: the sun was shining and the weather was warm. The race started at the College of Marin where we picked up our running bibs and timing chips. The timing chips were new to both Dave and myself. It consisted of a little velcro strap that we used to affix it around our ankles. I hope we didn't have to activate it manually, because I couldn't see anything on it to push or twist etc. I'm not sure how it works but I think it syncs with some sort of master timing device and turns off when you reach the finish line.

Since this is the first real race I've competed in, I started towards the back of the pack because I didn't want to get in the way of the more seasoned runners that were going to cruise by me anyway. Most of the people there looked like they were regular runners, especially the middle-aged folk. I saw some women whose faces indicated they were at least 45 years old, but whose ripped, rock-hard abs suggested they were in their mid-twenties.

I was very nervous about the race, and hubby offered to run with me but I told him to go on ahead because he doesn't get the opportunity to train that much on weekdays (he's on an out-of-town project). However, he was kind enough to start with me, but after the starting gun went off, I watched him take off and disappear into the distance almost instantly. The race started pretty slowly as the pack gradually dispersed and people found their own pace. I followed hubby's tip #1: don't run too fast early on and burn myself out. He said that I should take the first mile easy and evaluate how I felt at that point to determine whether I should speed up or slow down. What wonderful advice: the first mile was definitely the hardest and I was tempted to stop with every step I took as the cool air burned my lungs. I reminded myself that I had it easy with this race - I can't even begin to imagine how much harder it would have been if it were a lot colder that day or if it were raining (miserable racing conditions that hubby has previously endured).

There were water stations at the 5K and the 5-mile marks. Since I wasn't running with my portable water supply (i.e., hubby), I took the water offered at each and every station. The first time I grabbed a cup, I wasn't quite sure what to do with it. I certainly wasn't going to stop to drink the water, but I couldn't figure out how to hold the cup still against my lips. So I kind of just threw water in the direction of my face and hope that some of it would make it in my mouth. I nearly choked on the first try, and half of the water ended up ON me as opposed to down my throat, but just enough of it ended up down my throat to keep me going. Maybe I should check out some running websites to see if there's some special technique I should deploy to ingest water while in motion.

At each mile marker, there was a representative who would read out the time from a stop watch so people would know how fast they were going. At the first mile marker, I was coming in under 9 minutes which I very pleased with. I considered that to be a strong start and I suspected that I would slow down in subsequent miles once I became tired. After the first mile, while I was about to enter a long loop, I saw the fastest runners coming back around the other side of the loop. Those guys were fast and were practically sprinting. Whoa. Meanwhile, I was still plodding along when I came up to a residence on the left where a family was standing on the curb cheering on the runners. They were playing "Chariots of Fire" as inspirational music. It was pretty funny and I was very touched that they did this because I certainly needed the encouragement.

I wanted to keep to a steady pace but I had no idea how to do that because I had no concept of how fast I was going and I have a tendency to unconsciously slow down when I get tired. That's when hubby's tip #2 came in handy: try to pick somebody in the pack with a decent pace and run with that individual. You know what: it works! The first few times, I picked people who were much faster and ended up speeding ahead. But finally, I came upon a couple of women who were about my speed: one of them was about my age, and the other one was about 40 years old. It was nice to run with others because they kept me honest, and kept me going! My legs started getting tired after the 4th or 5th mile, but it was my lungs that were holding me back. That's also when I felt blisters developing in EXACTLY the same place that I had them from last week's race. Bummer.

After what seemed like forever, I finally got to the last quarter mile. The run actually finishes on a running track where I saw hubby hanging out on the side. He was cheering me on and then ran with me for the last part. His final tip (tip #3)? Go for it and don't leave anything in the tank! So I sprinted the last 100 feet which was just pure misery. But it felt awesome crossing the finish line and hearing the announcer say over the P.A. system, "Coming in is Lauren Wu from San Francisco!" I can't remember my exact time, but I ran a consistent 9-minute mile throughout so I finished in under an hour. Woo hoo! Hubby came in around 49 minutes. He ran the first 5 miles at around 7-7.5-minute miles, but slowed down to an 8-minute mile for the last part. No wonder - he was really hurting after playing 6 back-to-back games of basketball at the Presidio YMCA yesterday. Ouch. It was amazing that he finished at all, especially since he was running (as usual) with his signature camel pack. After stretching briefly, I headed over to the free stuff: bottled spring water, Propel (I have yet to try some), orange wedges, pieces of banana, bagels slices and of course a souvenir T-shirt.

It was an awesome experience - I'm already looking forward to the next race!

No comments: