The Double Double 10k
The Double Double 10k was a race that I found on one of my daily escapades to runningintheusa.com. After moving to California I figured there would be a lot of races nearby, and my fabulous showing in May at the Flying Pig 5k proved that I need some more experience running around people other than myself.
And what’s better than running in a race put together by Rocket Racing Productions? Not only are their races affordable for poor people like me and personal, as the races are very small, but it has rocket in the name! Frickin’ rocket!!
The morning of the race I found myself waking up at 4:30am feeling pretty good. Why so early? Well I had been visiting my mom who lives in Oceanside, and the race was in Santa Monica. And for those of you who are neither locals nor experts in Californian geography, the two places are about an hour and a half down the beach from each other by car. So up we were and off we went!
Around 6:30 we parked and headed down to registration to pickup my race number. This race was at this awesome venue called the sidewalk next to the beach, and being there at sunrise was so pretty. Even with the grey marine layer, seeing everything turn from deep grey shadows to a lighter golden grey and then transform into a beach was nice. Plus it kept the air nice and chilly which made for a great morning for running in my opinion.
Ok that was a lie, I would think any morning was great for running.
There were actually four races going on that day: 5k, 10k, 5mi and 10mi. The 5k and 10k would head down the beach to the south, with the 5k going out and back once, and the 10k going out and back twice (hence the double double name). I’m guessing the other two races went something like that except to the north avoiding the Santa Monica pier, but I had stopped listening after my race course had been announced since when I get up at 4:30am and am about to run I have the attention span of a spoon.
Finally it was time to line up and the countdown began. 3… 2… 1… all at once the 5 and 10k participants and I stormed down the sidewalk. This time I had decided to bring along my iPod, in an attempt to make the run feel more like a workout. I figured if I could get myself to relax but still get a nice surge of race adrenaline, I could really run my own race and not be fighting for my life at the end like at the Pig 5k.
One fun part about this race that helped me was that there was absolutely no way to tell who was in the 5k and who was in the 10k, unless you were one of the race directors with the clipboards of numbers. Also being on an open course meant that there were others around just out for their morning runs, and not associated with the race at all. So I couldn’t tell if anyone in front of me was in any race. No friendly green shirt guy to pace myself with this time; I had to run on my own.
I pretty quickly settled in behind a few people I knew I had started the race with, especially this one younger looking kid with really really bright yellow shoes. I honestly wasn’t sure if it was safe to look down while running behind him.
I hung out with this group, and even passed all but yellow shoe kid. We went down the beach, passed a street cleaner (because we need to street clean the beach sidewalk?) and ran off into this cool little spot with shops and surf dudes on one side, and the beach on the other. Pretty cool place to be running.
We finally got to the turnaround, and since I was concentrating on the kid in front of me doing his U-turn, I mistakenly did a U-turn like four feet before the line. Then realizing what I did I panicked because I felt like I had cheated with those four feet. So I proceeded to do another U turn back to the line which in essence means I ran in a big circle, and then turned around again for leg 2/4. Yep. The intelligence is strong with this one.
Feeling better about my integrity as a human, I continued on this leg of my journey, passing the kid with the yellow shoes. Since everyone had their race numbers on their stomachs, besides those I saw running towards me for the turnaround I no longer knew who else was racing. Cool. I listened to my music and cruised along, daydreaming I was actually floating because I’m weird like that.
I arrived at the turnaround, smiling because the thought of the moment had changed to cheesy jokes. I’m not even going to try here. They’re not funny… Unless of course you’re on a running high, kind of dehydrated and woke up way too early. Like me. I thought I was hilarious.
After turning around and realizing that the few people in front of me were indeed part of the 5k, I began powering into leg 3 of the race. I was feeling great at the halfway point, and ‘Living on a Prayer’ came on on my iPod. My life felt complete. About halfway through this leg, I heard a group of runners right behind me, gaining rather quickly. I assumed that they must be part of the race and had turned on second gear, so I sped up a little, but after realizing there was no way I could keep that pace for another 2 or so miles I slowed back down and let them pass. As they passed one matched pace with me for a second, and I noticed no race number on his ‘LA Marathon’ shirt. As the group continued on in front of me at an increasingly speedy and seemingly impossible pace, I then realized what it was like to get passed by probably elite marathoners. I also then realized I’m probably never going to win the Boston Marathon.
On I went, and I kept watching for the runners in front of me to get to a turnaround point and, well, turn around. But one by one, the people in front of me finished their morning runs. Surely dude in the blue shirt is part of the 10k? Nope? Ok…
Eventually nobody in front of me was running, and I hadn’t seen anyone with a race number pass in the opposite direction signaling a turnaround soon. “Man, whomever is in front must be booking it,” I thought as I then began to scan the ground for the turnaround chalk. I ended up almost running past it, saw it at the last second as I crossed, and then turned back to begin my final leg home. I didn’t see anyone with a race number on for a minute or so, and began to wonder if I was the only one who signed up for the 10k. Soon after thinking this however I saw a girl running up with a race number on, and being in my loopy running state and excited to see another race person I smiled and did the surfer wave (make your hand into the ASL symbol for “y” and then wiggle it) like some stupid hippie.
She smiled back and I continued heading to the finish. Soon after I saw some of the others in the race and did my goofy hello to them too, just for kicks. Feeling like I still had some juice left in the tank, I sped up just a bit for the last half mile, and once the finish line was in front of me, I broke out into an all out sprint. The best part? I had improved my ability to not look like I was dying at the finish line!
It turns out a couple of people I had caught up with at the finish were also racing, but I soon found out they were in the 5k. Cool. I hung out around the finish for a minute chatting with some of the other runners, found out my time, and went to go grab a banana and my finisher’s medal and chat some more. A good end to a fun race!
So not only did I get a super sweet medal with a rocket on it, turns out there was a good reason I never saw anyone ahead of me at the second turn around.
My time was officially 46:01. Divide that by 6.2 miles and I was hauling a pace of 7:24… which I had no idea I was capable of running because my Nike plus system is
plotting against me inaccurate, making me think I’m consistently running slower and not as far as I really am.
The person in first was booking it. But they weren’t a mile ahead of me. Not even a few hundred meters. The person in first was me. And I was literally a mile (around eight minutes) from the person in second. Holy carp in a hand basket batwoman. I just blew out and won a 10k.