May 17, 2011

The 2011 Santa Monica Classic 10K

We woke up early Sunday morning to the unexpected sound of a moderate rain fall (for So Cal - which means a minor drizzle to my mid-west and east coast friends). I was a little bummed until I pulled up the 'hour by hour' weather report which showed sunshine and no rain by 7am. Race time was 8am. Come on weather people - please be right, please be right.....

We took our usual route out to the Pacific Coast Highway via Malibu Canyon, driving through the Santa Monica Mountains for about 9 miles. I asked the hubby to take this pic because the clouds with the mountains and fog looked so beautiful.

We decided to park at the Santa Monica Pier and walk 3/4 mile to the start so we would be finishing near the car. We had plans to meet up with some Dailymile runners (one is a member of our Galloway training group) before and after the race.

Walking the path from the pier to the race start. Always pimpin' DM!!
I don't know if anyone but my husband knows this, but I have issues with pinning bibs on my shirt. Anal retentive is more like it. I swear I have more of a mental block with safety pins than with running a marathon. "Honey, is it straight? Well it looks crooked. I don't want to look like I don't know how to pin these on. Damn, now that side is all wrapped around the circle-thingy and I can't pull the bib out. Forget it!"

Then I had to do it all over again (I think this is actually the 3rd or 4th time I've pinned the bib on now) due to the weather change while we were waiting for the 10K start. Oh yeah, the sun is out! The pillowy clouds are floating away. Let's go already so I can stop fussing with this stupid bib!

I had not raced for a 10K PR for over a year and half - and it was on this same course. That year, I ran the course under the Santa Monica/Lexus 5000 sponsorship which is later in the Fall season. I didn't really put it together that this SM Classic course was the same one I ran before until we were actually out on the course.

Basking in the sun, waiting for the gun!
I was nervous and excited. I wrote my pacing strategy up on the Motivation Board in front of our treadmill and stared at it for 3 days.  I train during the week using Galloway 4:30 run/ 0:30 sec walk intervals but since I was racing and wanted to average an 8:15 min/mile (reserving some energy for a little kick at the end), I used his recommended 4:00 run/0:30 sec strategy. Fifty one minutes. I can do it!!!

The course really is beautiful. We ran through the streets of Santa Monica:

Headed back towards the SM Pier (that's the archway in the background). We made a right onto Ocean Ave from here.

As soon as you turn onto Ocean Ave heading North (just before mile 2), you're on a slow progressive hill that I didn't really feel until about mile 3. I always use a minimum of a 1% grade on the treadmill but that is to simulate road resistance primarily. I saw my pace dipping slightly towards 8:20, then 8:30, and I'm wondering if I'm pushing too hard. No Vera, you can do this. Push, push, push.

Just before mile 3, I am starting to feel the hill, my heart rate has increased slightly and I knew the San Vicente hill was coming just after mile 3. I decided to give myself a short break and backed off a little on my pace. We'd be turning around soon and I wanted to save whatever I had left for the last downhill miles of the race! We made the turnaround and I let loose. I ran the fastest mile I have ever knowingly run in my life between mile 5 and mile 6, clocking a 7:07 pace! WHAT?!? Thank you walk breaks and a long downhill finish!

Just as we ran up Ocean Ave, we ran back down it to the Finish that was at the Pier. The ocean is to the right. Isn't this a gorgeous ending to a race? Hubby snapped this pic because the speed limit sign was flashing 8 mph as some people were passing.

In the home stretch
And here's the big finish! You can see that big blue banner from about three-quarters of a mile out (I think). I wanted to give it all I had but with Grandma's marathon fast approaching and the fact that I knew I was on track to hit my 51 minute goal, I held back slightly. My right knee was a little wobbly and I was starting to feel a pull in my right calf muscle. "I'll just hold this pace until the last quarter mile and see how I feel". I had already deviated from my original plan to hold the 8:15 min/mile pace until mile 6. I ran mile 5 in 7:49 - this is faster than I had planned on finishing with! In the last quarter mile, I kicked up my pace by about 15 seconds/mile. "Almost there; push push push". I cross the finish line and hit the stop button on my Garmin. It's reading 50:15, but I wasn't exactly sure how far behind the gun I was. I guessed my time would be around 50:07.

The Finishing Chute!
Here are my splits.  My official time was 50:05.  In 2009, my time was 59:42 with a final pace of 9:34 min/mile.  It was fun to look back at my 2009 Garmin data. My overall average pace decreased by 1:32 min/mile but my average and max Heart Rate were almost identical. I love to see the progress!! Link to 2011 SM Classic Garmin data

In hindsight I'm thinking "if you'd just pushed a little harder, you would've broken the 50 minute mark!". Then again, I PR'd by almost 10 minutes without injuring myself, placed 13th in my age/gender group AND I have another milestone goal - break 50 minutes in my next 10K.  Maybe even 48.5 min on a flat course!!

We met up with fellow Dailymilers, including a member of our Galloway group (Wendy, in the center).

Photo op at the top of archway to the Pier.

And of course a spectacular view of the Pacific Ocean, Malibu and the Santa Monica Mountains.

All in all, this race is awesome. It is extremely well organized, easy to find parking and your friends, a great course and a fun post-race expo on the pier.

Happy Racing!!

1 comment:

Johann said...

Yay, super run and great PR, well done! That is really good! Great race and report. I enjoyed the photos. I have a problem with pinning on bibs as well. Mine is I just can’t get them on properly. I have to put my shirt on a hard, flat surface and iron out any wrinkles. Then I start my “operation”. I’m laughed at very often about this.