Today, April Fools Day, was the second of the 5K races for the Puma Cup Series. This was the La Habra 5K/10K.
I woke up to rainy skies. I brought my cap and a trash bag to help keep my dry before the race started. I don't mind running in the rain but standing around waiting didn't seem quite as appealing. The bad thing about our trash bags - they are the tall kitchen variety, 13 gallons - not exactly big enough. I'm not a big guy but I guess I'm more than 13 gallons. With a hole in the bottom the bag fit over my head but I couldn't move my arms very much. I did serve its purpose though. Just before the race started I ditched the bag.
This race reunited, Jesse, Jim, Jay and I for a friendly competition. I actually don't really stand a chance against them but I'm trying. My PR was still slower than any of them. I just went back to the website to check my official time. It now says 22:43. This is the time I had on my watch but back on the day after the race they had me down for 22:36. Either way a PR, so today was the day to see if any of that speed work would be paying off.
The rain was coming straight down, thankfully there was no wind. The temp was maybe around 60 so it wasn't terribly cold. The description for this race was "semi-challenging loop course." I ran into Arcie before the race and she told me that it was hilly. Perfect, I love the hills. I didn't know how it would translate into an improved time but I knew I would enjoy it.
I seemed like we stood forever in the raining (actually about 5 minutes) before the race finally got started. Jesse took off like a bolt of lightning. Jim followed him and Jay and I brought up the rear. The course turned right almost immediately after the start and up the first hill. Jay and I talked for a little then off I went. Only a couple of people passed me up that first hill and then we pretty much maintained our positions for the race. Jim was always 50 to 100 yards ahead of me. On every up hill I would pass the guy in front of me and then we would go by me on the downhill. By the 4th incline I got ahead of him and he must have run out of steam because on the next longish downhill I never saw him again. The course was marked in kilometers rather than miles so I had no real idea of how fast I was going. I only knew that I was getting closer. I'm just not up to the task of converting minutes/km into minutes/mile in my head on the run. (Sorry Danny). When we turned the last corner into the home stretch, I wasn't really able to pick up the pace, but neither was anybody else.
I crossed the finish line in 22:20!! A new 5K PR on a more difficult course than the nice flat course in San Diego two months ago. I still wasn't any closer to catching Jesse but I'll take the 23 seconds. The official results are not on line yet but the finish line photo is and it shows the clock as clear as day. Jesse finished in 20:26, an 8 second improvement. The guy who kept challenging me on the hills finished 7 seconds behind me. I took a certain degree of pleasure in that.
This race included a 10K as well. Many of the Cruisers were running that. Both races started at the same time. The 10K was simply two loops of the course. Before the race Kara and Dorothy invited me to run the second lap with them. The finished the first lap in about 33 minutes. The second lap was a nice slow cool down. There was hardly anyone left on the course at this point. The rain had pretty much stopped as well.
I hung around for the award ceremonies. Jim and Jay won age group awards in 5K. John, Dorothy and Kara won age group awards in the 10K. They are all over 55. John is 71. So I guess the key to getting an award is to outlive (or at least out last) your competition.
My schedule for called for a 14 mile long run this weekend. So rather than trying to fit it in tomorrow, I drove over to the Santa Ana River Trail in Yorba Linda where we usually run and put in 8 more miles for a total of 14.2. This is probably not the most orthodox way to achieve a 14 miler but those 14 miles were all on my legs, so I'm going to put them on the books.