Sunday morning I woke up at 6:00, 30 minutes before the alarm went off. I had slept really well. Usually the night before a race I don't sleep well because I'm so fearful of oversleeping. Maybe it was the spaghetti. I might have to reconsider my decision on OSF!
I've been hearing about this race for the last three years from the members of the A Snail's Pace Training Group. I trained with them for my first marathon. The CA Cruisers are an offshoot of the official training group. A Snail's Pace is a running store in Brea and is a sponsor of the race. I have never run the Brea 8K because it is usually the weekend before the Los Angeles Marathon. This year the LA Marathon was moved back two weeks to accommodate the Academy Awards. I had decided long ago not to run LA again so I was free to run the Brea 8K this time around.
Everybody had good things to say about this race. I didn't had no expectations for time since I hadn't raced this distance since a 5 miler back in August 2003. I was just getting started running back then. My time then was 51:something. Obviously I would be faster now but how much I didn't know. I had a 7:17 pace in the 5K on Superbowl Sunday, but didn't think I could keep that up for 3K more. The Brea 8K is known for its rolling hills. I don't mind hills, in fact I kind of enjoy them. I did make a rookie blunder and not familiarize myself with the course. I wasn't really sure where the hills were; when I needed to save energy for the up and when I could kick it in on the down.
I had decided that my goal was 40:00 or less. I was only a couple of seconds off the starting line. The first mile started downhill but after we turned the first corner we got our first taste of uphill. My first mile came in at 8:33. I wasn't really pushing at all but I didn't want to go out too fast and die at the end. Between Mile 1 and 2 there was a longish, gentle incline. Mile 2 was 8:01. Getting there, but at this rate I wasn't going to make my 40:00 goal. From Mile 2 to 3 included the worst of the hills. In actuality it wasn't that bad. Earlier in the race I saw a t-shirt that read "Kraemer Sucks, Only for you Eric A. 2003, 2004, 2005" Kraemer is the hill. This runner was apparently talked into this one once but keeps coming back. Mile 3, with the hill, was 8:17, not bad I thought, but still off pace. After Mile 3 the course took a nice long downhill. I decided that I had better get moving. Mile 4 in 7:22! Mile 4 to 5 was mostly slightly downhill, a very mild incline and a downhill finish. The last 0.97 miles was 7:17 for a final of 39:38 (official). A PR for the 8K distance. Of course anything would have been a PR for 8K, but it was nice to meet my original goal. Thank goodness for the downhill finish. In the end I think I probably ran this one too conservatively, but still no complaints. I really enjoyed the rolling course.
The post race food is really another special feature of this race. The organizers have the food set up in an area open to racers only. I've been to plenty of other smaller races where the general public often has access to the post race goodies as well. That's not really fair to the back of the packers. Often there's little left by the time they get there. At Brea, about a dozen or so of the local restaurant/chains are there with food. We were able to sample Chinese chicken salad, focaccia sandwiches, lemonade, pasta, Jamba Juice and even pizza from BJ's. Maybe not your usual post race fare and maybe a little early for salad and pizza, but tasty and cool to see the support from the local businesses.
I hung out for a little while and watched the little kids finish their 1K Fun Run. What a blast that was to see little 5 to 8 year old kids give it their all at the end.
In the goodie bag, we got coupons to Souplantation. My wife and I went for a late lunch without the boys and had a nice quiet meal for a change (and no server to apologize continually!)
Weekly miles: 30