This is my first post in a long, long, time, so you’re probably expecting a long, interesting post…
But, basically, I’m just posting about my new interest in running, and specifically, about my very first 10K ever in my life.
(For your reference, the race webpage. )
It was on a cloudy, rainy (for southern California, anyway) morning that I arose from my bed at 6am to drive to Chinatown to participate in my very first 10K. I had only heard about the race on the previous Monday, stumbling upon it as I missed the Redondo Beach Super Bowl 10K that I had planned after having a ball at my first timed 5K at the OC Marathon a few weeks prior. That night I asked myself, could I do it? It might be a stretch, but I could give it a shot. And so I told myself that if I really thought I could do it, I’d better check by running tomorrow morning. So on Tuesday, I ran 5.6 miles, and it felt pretty good. I had no illusions of speed or such, and so I timed myself at 1:10, which is about a 12 minute mile pace. So I told myself: Self, you’re probably good to go, but you’re gonna take 1:15 to finish and the 2.7 miles of uphill may be challenging. So… there. I made plans to go (but didn’t register online due to the silly 3 dollar surcharge), buying myself an actual running shirt and actual running shorts at Target. I told myself that I could finally start considering myself a runner, though a beginner, and kind of out-of-shape.
Anyway, on the day of the race, it was certainly rainy, just as forecast, and though it wasn’t really cold in an absolute sense, it was cold to be in a short-sleeve shirt and shorts, with a breezy light rain ensuring adequate dampness. I shot the breeze a little with some other mildly-shivering runners, who explained that the course was pretty rough and full of bumps and cracks, and that you wanted to stay in the middle to avoid mud and sand and twisted ankles. Confirming this, the race announcer warned of potholes recently formed from the rain, and cautioned us all to stay safe and have fun.
Luckily, the rain stopped about 5 minutes before the actual start time, and I really couldn’t have asked for better conditions. The air was crisp and cool, and I was treated to beautiful views of downtown Los Angeles and Dodger stadium at the top of the Elysian Hills, about halfway through the course. I settled into a group of people at my pace after about the two mile point. By that time, everyone slower had yielded to walking and everyone faster was, well, faster than my conservative uphill pace. I met a few people… a veteran-sounding runner who briefed me on the views I should expect, a couple who would exchange some friendly trash-talking and rivalry between each other, a couple of boys who couldn’t have been more than 10 years old, a bride-to-be running with a wedding veil, with (I can only guess) her future bridesmaids, and some nice woman who kept my pace nearly the entire run (she was probably faster than me, but probably hampered by an ipod and clothing too-warm…I lost track of her in the last mile). During the last stretch, I happened upon a older woman (age 60, from the results) who sprinted with me towards the finish line.
It felt great to finish, and I seemed to have a ton of leftover energy. I think the clock read 1:04:36 when I passed the line, but the results show me at 1:04:10.
You’ll find me in the race results with my name misspelled as “KANIEL” at a 10:21 mile pace. Honestly, I don’t know how I or the scantron could’ve messed up, but maybe that’s what I get for registering late. If you ran in this race and are looking for people to run with drop me a line (especially if you have a similar pace).
So there you have it. Ever since getting my magic running shoes (a gift, which seem to have nullified my historic knee pain from running), running’s been satisfying and fun. Maybe a marathon isn’t as out of reach as I thought (perhaps next year?).
(By the way, I continue to be inspired every time I think of the elderly lady (at least 70, probably at least 80) who jogged for at least the first two miles of the last 5K I did. The kid who wanted to run 200 miles for charity but ended up running 124 miles? I think he’s on another level.)