Sunday, April 5, 2015
Race Report: Santa Anita Derby Day 5k (and the week)
On Monday evening I ran an easy 9 miles from The Line. Truth be told, I felt terrible the entire run. Perhaps it was the weather or the fact I didn't drink enough water at work, but things never really clicked. Still, it was a beautiful evening (weather wise) to run and it's really never a bad day when you get to run in Rock Creek.
The next morning I ran an easy 8.5 in North Bethesda.
On Wednesday morning, I shuffled an easy 5 miles, never dipping below 7:10 pace. That evening, I joined the GRC at the track. The plan was to run 10 x 1,000m (2:00 rest), but I planned to stop at 5. For some reason, I didn't time any of the repeats, but we started around 74 secs (for 400m) and cut our way down to 71. I think this might have been the hardest workout (for me) yet, but I was glad it felt tough. 12.5 for the day.
On Thursday morning I flew to Los Angeles with Katie. We arrived shortly after lunchtime and did "family stuff" that evening. I never intended to run, so it ended up being a "0" in the log.
On Friday, I ran an easy 8.5 in Arcadia, which is located in the foothills of the Angeles National Forest. It's super hilly here -- almost to the point of being ridiculous at times. I couldn't find any flat ground anywhere, so I kept the pace pretty chill wandering around roads that snake like tentacles in and out from the great sandy mountains above. At one point, I began to climb up Mt. Wilson (see below), but I threw in the towel after a mile. Then I ditched the shirt and ran back downhill back home.
On Saturday, Katie and I drove down to the Santa Anita Race Track. Later in the day, they were running the famous Santa Anita Handicap, but this morning 8,000, or so, runners descended on the parking lot for a 5k. I had to get in something fast today, so I figured this would be a great idea. Last year, 15:0-something won the race, so I knew it brought competition. Plus, they had cash prices for the winners. After a 3 mile warm-up, I wandered over to the starting line, which is essentially a horse gate, but it was packed to the gills with people. I strong-armed my way to the front as best I could, but I was still 4-6 people back!
"Go" was shouted and everyone funneled awkwardly through the openings. I pushed over some adolescents, shot out wide then bee-lined my way to the front. A quick glance at the GPS (4:50) indicated I wasn't running suicidal, but, still, no one went with me. For the next 1/3rd of a mile I ran tangents after the lead bike. Eventually the pitter-patter I heard in the distance grew louder and soon I had a runner on my heals. Then he was by my side. He was a tall fellow, with a dark beard, and wore a black baseball hat -- backwards. As soon as we made the first turn, I tried to drop him by picking the pace up on a small hill, but he came back. Together, the runner with the black hat and I entered the LA County Arboretum and Botanic Garden, which boasted a series of twists and turns. Although the course was fairly flat, it was absent of any straightaways and we were constantly turning and shifting gears. Dozens of peacocks, which live in the arboretum, strutted about on either side of the course. We hit the mile in 5:01 at which point black hat took over. I drafted off of him, running tangents where I could, and shifting gears on the turns and hills. As soon as we hit mile 2 (5:06), I made a big move on a downhill. But, again, the man with black hat caught back up. The last mile weaves through the inner workings of the race track, which involves two tunnels giving the race a Olympic Marathon-like feeling. With a half mile to go, black hat had me, but the last 300m (or so) of the race was a sprint down the sandy homestretch of the horse track. The lead bike was replaced by a horse -- and it was none other than the horse who played Seabiscuit (in the film) ridden by the 2014 Kentucky Derby champion. Good company. I let black hat lead the way until I knew I was comfortable to take over. When I did, it was somewhat decisive and I tore down the track towards the finish line. I won in a slower than intended time of 15:41 (4:59 last mile), but I would argue this was a slow course, albeit a fun one. Black hat, later identified as "Tim," and I cooled down together. Turns out we had a mutual friend in PhillyK, too.
On Sunday, I ran a very hilly 14 miles throughout Arcadia. The last 2 miles of my run were straight up a mountain.
61.5 miles for the week. The taper fro Cherry Blossom as begun.