On Feb. 15 (the day after Valentines) Lisa and I ran in the Coronado Valentines 10k. We wanted to do a race while we were in San Diego, and 10k was a good distance (aka not too long). This would be my first official 10k, as well as my first time entering the couples category. Lisa and my combined time would go up against all the other couples, and I made it clear to Lisa that I wasn’t there to lose!
We didn’t exactly follow any sort of prep for the race. The day before the race we road up and down the coast for three and a half hours, and I followed that up with a 10k run. But this was going to be a race so we were both going to give it all we had.
Race morning we were up before 6 and had a bagel with almond butter and honey, and were out the door soon after. Our plan was to catch Uber to the race but there weren’t any drivers in the Pacific Beach area at that time. So we hoped in a cab and were on our way to Coronado. Coronado is a part of San Diego we wouldn’t have visited if it wasn’t for this race, so it was nice to see more of the city.
We arrived at the race site around 7:00AM, got our race kits, and then waited around for the start. I tried to do a bit of a warmup but my legs were tight and sluggish. I was just banking on the race excitement to push me to a fast time. I definitely wanted to run under 40:00, but I didn’t know what I’d be capable of.
Conditions were good just as the race was about to begin. It was sunny and likely about 18*C with no wind, nor a cloud in the sky. Both Lisa and I lined up towards the start, from last years results I could see that there were a few super speedy guys, but also lots of slower runners I didn’t want to get stuck behind.
Lisa and I lined up together, but there were a lot of people around. The gun went off and I didn’t see her again until the finish. I took off quick as the opening km took up through an open park and along the water. It wasn’t crowded, but I had other runners around me as I ran an opening split of 3:38. I was working, but I didn’t want to ease off the gas. The route took us under a bridge and then we ran along a golf course in a residential area. There were all sorts of people out along the route cheering, which always helps. As I got onto the road I noticed the 5mile marker. The course was an out and back, and I crossed the 5mile at about 1.7k, so I suspected the course could be a little short (should be about 1.92k), or that my watch was a little off from the opening run. I wasn’t wearing headphones and I could clearly head two runners just behind me talking. One of them was really upset his coach wasn’t at the start and expected to see him at the 2mi mark. Hearing them converse helped distract me from the pain while I tried to keep my footspeed up. We crossed 2mi, his coach wasn’t there and he had a mini freak out. I’m not sure if he dropped out or what, but I didn’t hear him after that.
I made it to the 5k turnaround in 18:39, 3:44/km pace. Unfortunately at the turnaround you go from running on the road to running behind a couple buildings on the water so I didn’t get to see how Lisa was doing on the way back. By this point there were still runners within eye-sight but nobody was running next to me. This meant I could focus on feeling every inch of the pain and keeping my foot turnover up. Just before 6k we were out from behind the buildings and back on the road. Hundreds of participants were still running to the turnaround while I was going the other way. Anytime I’ve been in this situation the runners going the other way are great cheerleaders, and today was no exception. Splits in the low-mid 3:40’s kept ticking away and I was surpassing my own expectations for the race, but still knew all the training I’d done in the days before this could come crashing down on me. Between km 7 and 8 I noticed I was very slowly catching two females. I set my sights on them and really focused on closing the gap. Between 8 and 9k there were some turns to navigate, and I was able to be much more efficient through this area than the two of them and ran up onto their heels. The final km is back through the open park where the run started. I put my head down and gave it all I had, passing the two women. I clenched my teeth and just tried to hold on. With 400m to go one of the women came blazing past me and I had no response. I ran through the finish as best as I could, finishing in a time of 36:29 on a course my Garmin says is slightly short.
Results: 36:29, 3:39/km, 10th overall, 1st M/F Couples (1:15:54 combined time)
After I crossed the finish line I was shattered. My lungs were burning, I was out of breath, and my legs ached. But I was really happy with the time I managed to put up. Not long after I finish Lisa came across the line. Our combined time made us the couples champion!
For post race food one of the things they had were mini cinnamon buns that were delicious! I ate more of those than I’d like to admit while we basked in the sun and waited for the awards to start.