A good chunk of runners will say that their dream race is Boston.
Mine is Marine Corps Marathon. Or Leadville but that’s another story.
2020 being what it is, I decided to register for the virtual version of the MCM 10K.
Race weekend dawned and oops, I’d been super lazy. Hadn’t run in almost 2 weeks. Longest run previously was the Giants 10k over Labor Day weekend. Oh, I was totally ready for a 6 mile run. Yep. I really wanted to run it on the actual, original race weekend so I sucked it up.
Thankfully, the weather gods gifted us with some almost fall weather so I was even able to be lazy and sleep in on race morning. Yay!
I headed out in the early afternoon and told myself that I would run/walk 3 miles and walk 3 miles. I could walk as much as I wanted but I could never stop. No breaks. Those are my new “race” rules.
I headed for the river path and what used to be my long run route- in other words, an uphill start but a downhill finish. Woo hoo!
I knew that being out of shape, I would tire quickly so instead of running the first half and struggling to finish the last half, I walked the first 3 miles. So, does that mean I walked the part of the route that was uphill and ran the downhill? Yep!
I even found some crowd support!
Not gonna lie, I was feeling tired towards the end but that was really no surprise. And my shoe was coming untied but I refused to stop. Good thing I didn’t fall on that last half mile. That would have been classic.
I finished and stopped to stretch. Oh, I was going to be feeling that later.
Hey, and somehow I was faster than I was for the Giants 10K! On a much hillier course. Gotta take those wins where you can find them right?
This was not the MCM of my running dreams but it did help me prove to myself that not all is lost. I just need to get out of my own way.
I am not exaggerating when I say if I hadn’t dropped to the 10K, I would have DNF’ed the half and likely have needed help off the course.
I first heard of Space Rock last year and thought it looked awesome but likely too far away. A little Googling and I learned it was only 3 hours south! But I had an insane October already last year with 2 halves at opposite ends of the state and a 2+ week work trip. So I passed. Instagram adds got me this year and I signed up.
Then the last 3-4 weeks went to hell in a hand basket and I wasn’t sure I was going to even start the race. However I knew that if I did, I was not in the mental shape for a tough trail half nor was I feeling physically up to it so I messaged the race and dropped to the 10K.
I headed down towards Santa Clarita on Friday wondering if the race was even going to happen due to large fire about 20ish miles away. Somehow the air over Vasquez Rocks seemed clear. I picked up my race stuff and checked into a hotel.
The race swag was awesome- the coolest tye dyed shirt and cutest canvas bag.
Race morning dawned clear and early. Parking was fairly convenient in a dirt lot. Then I walked the mile in to the start. The race started about 30 minutes late due to one of the bus shuttles breaking down. Just gave me time to use the port a potty.
Did I mention I was running this race in new trail shoes and a new watch?? 😂 We lined up and we were off.
Mile 1- 11:58 I was wheezing 1/4 mile in. Wait, what? It wasn’t cold and it wasn’t humid. The only thing I can figure was that I breathed in a bunch of dirt. I’ve run numerous trail races but I’ve never seen as much dirt in the air as I did here. I now understood the people I saw with Buffs over their face at the start- they knew. Other than that, we had a decent downhill and then we on to the single track. And the first person to fall in front of me hit the dirt. He rolled well and was up and running before I could finish my question if he was ok.
Mile 2-15:17 There was some climb here and I still couldn’t breathe properly but the main slow down was the out and back. We were running super narrow single track and it was and out and up then down and back. Those going up slammed to a stop numerous times to let the runners coming down through. We were doing the best we could but we kept bottle necking. And the second person took a tumble.
Mile 3-4- 14:58, 15:12 I still couldn’t breathe. I loved the downhill and I loved the scenery of the canyons as we were running. We came out of the canyon and started the climb that would break me. Oh, did I mention we ran through the darkest tunnel ever??
Mile 5- 18:06 I have never stopped during a race before, and I have run some doozy trail races. I stopped a few times going up this climb because I could not breathe and I felt like my heart was going to pound out of my chest. My only consolation was that I was not the only one struggling. Everyone around me was hiking and I wasn’t the only one coughing.
Mile 6- 17:20 Are we ever going to stop climbing?!! The woman next to let a few f-bombs fly when we reached a false summit. I agree. I ran all the downhills and struggle bus’ed the climbs and stopped a few more times. Passed an adorable orange haired boy doing the 5K and he cheered me on. So cute! Then we were down near the rocks again and I was walking to the finish. I maybe jogged 20 yards at the end?
Slowest 10k ever! I crossed the line wheezing and tired.
But the medal made me smile and the hot coffee being served made me want to jump for joy.
I would do this race again for sure, just maybe a little healthier and with my face covered in the beginning. Plus for all the roadblocks this race organization hit, they did a remarkable job adapting on the fly. Like water- their original water provider couldn’t get to the race due to the fire but they had plenty of bottles on hand at the finish and the 2 aid stations on the course seemed well stocked. Also, other my lungs, my body handled all the ups and downs well, I was only a little sore in my calves the next day. Oh and somehow in my struggle up the hill in mile 4, I landed in the top 10 in Strava segments. Yeah right!
What’s a runner to do when she needs motivation to actually run her long runs? She signs up for a race! I saw that Surf City 10 fit in my schedule and there was a 10 miler. Even better was when I looked online and found a sweet hotel for cheap. Yes! So I registered. Then last week happened and I was doubting my ability for a 10 mile race in the dark. Could I finish it even after being sick all week? Yes but that didn’t mean it was the right choice. So I dropped to the 10K.
Oh 10K’s. We have a love/ hate relationship. Well, mostly hate.
My 10K times are either great (for me) or a total crap show. Good- 55 to 58 minutes. The rest all range around 1:10-1:15 because I blow up. There has never been an in between. I rarely run 10K’s for this reason.
I headed down to Huntington Beach on Saturday. Checked into the hotel and then headed back to find race parking. Yes, I used the distance from my car to the start judicisouly – warm up and cooldown and added 2+ miles to my total for the day.
The race was a lot bigger than I thought it would be but I did my best to line up in the proper pace area but it was damn crowded. The race started on time but it took me a few minutes to hit the starting line.
Who wants to take bets?
Mile 1 was decent- 10:22. Not too bad, not too bad.
Mile 2– Well, crap, I know what I forgot. My inhaler. Mother ….. 11:16 Know what Huntington Beach has? High humidity. What triggers my asthma? High humidity.
Mile 3- 4 Yeah no, straight running wasn’t gonna work. How about 2 run, 1 walk? Could my asthmatic lungs handle that?? 11:20, 11:49
Mile 5-6 Ok, can’t breathe, how about 1 run, 1 walk. Oh and I had decided to wear a new skirt, nope. I was less running and more waddling due the chafe I could feel, how I crossed the finish line not bleeding, I have no idea. It still hurts 4 days later.
So maybe we should place bets on how long it takes me to run another 10K? Haha.
I did enjoy the race though. Running at night is kind of fun when you’re surrounded by people. A little more light might have been nice but guess who left her Knuckle Lights in the car?? Yep. Winner over here.
Woo hoo! First race(s) since the marathon! And it was one of my favorites. 🙂
I think I’ve talked enough about the logistics of this race over the years, even recently with my origin story. But if you’re looking for those details you can check out my reviews over on bibrave.com. Funny thing- a coworker called me today and asked if I had ever googled HOB Fun Run and clicked on images. No, why? So I did it. Holy crap, the images are either of me or taken by me. WTH?! And man, I change my hair color a lot. 😛
Race morning dawned early and of course my stomach was being an asshat. Lovely. I didn’t get to the start as early as I wanted. I had planned on attempting a warm up but was only able to get in a few blocks of walking. I stashed my shirt for the 5K at the refreshment table and lined up at the start.
Loop 1- Miles 1-3 – 9:25, 9:54, 10:08
The plan had been to try and get as close to goal half marathon pace as possible but I knew from the moment I woke up that wasn’t likely. Mile 1 was my quickest of the race. My legs felt ok but I was feeling really sluggish and couldn’t seem to find another gear. Mile 2 was more of the same but I just kept running. I was hoping I just needed some time to warm up and would pick up the pace soon. Around mile 2.25 something felt weird on my left foot. I looked down and my shoelace was completely untied and flapping around. Huh?! I think my shoes have only come untied one other time…ever. I pulled to the side to retie but seemed to have lost all motor skills- it took forever! As I was coming up on mile 3 towards the start line I could hear the motorcycle police officer coming up behind me. Which meant I was about to get lapped by the race leaders. Yay. So they ran a 10K faster that I completed the 3.1 miles of loop one. Ouch. Loop one- 30:25 minutes.
Loop 2- miles 4-6- 10:24, 10:08, 10:21
I was getting more and more sluggish as I ran. The skies were clear and the smoke has been gone for a while but my lungs were not happy at all. Walk breaks became a real thing and I used my inhaler a few times. A woman came up behind me just before mile 4 and asked if I was ok- I was coughing a bit and she saw me pull out my inhaler. We ended up leap frogging each other the rest of the way. We chatted a bit occasionally too. She was from out of town and had registered the day before when she saw the booth in the park. I said something about how it just wasn’t my day out there and things were rougher than they should have been. I whined. I later felt like an asshat when I overheard her on the phone saying it was one of her best races. And I was whining the whole time- I’m sorry!!! I hit mile 5 around 50 minutes and wondered if I could push the pace to finish under 1 hour. Yeah no.
Not the race I had hoped for but it was what I expected in those rare moments that I am realistic with myself. 😛 I missed the group photo opp so I grabbed my other shirt and then hauled ass to my car. I changed my shirt and my shoes. The last 2 miles of the 10k in my Nikes felt like my feet were on fire. Luckily I had the Hoka’s in my car.
Cool thing about this race is that a lot of kids run, bike or scoot with their parents. It’s just an accepted part of the race and there’s never any talk about bandits, which is cool since I ran with 2 coworkers and 2 kids. 🙂 One coworker brought her 2 kids and they were going to ride their scooters with us. I’ve learned that running with kids is more like fartlek training. 😛 Run!!!!!! Walk. Run!!!!!! Walk. Water! It was kind of awesome. And major props to my coworker- she was hauling a backpack with water and at one point was carrying both scooters. Moms rock! About halfway, her son (5) started fading and her daughter(7) started pulling ahead. I caught up with her and from then on we were in two teams. I did whatever she wanted to do and I learned that I should hang out 7 year olds more- she was awesome. At one point she asked why she could smell donuts. I told her we were passing the donut shop and pointed it out. Her response? “Oh, come on!”. I busted up laughing and for the next few blocks we talked about food. 🙂 She tired of the scooter so I started carrying it. It took me a few minutes to figure it out, luckily I only bruised one shin. I asked her is she wanted to wait for her mom and brother to catch up and she said no so we bolted to the finish.
All in all, was a good day and a fun one. I look forward to next year’s race.
I was one of those people who never ran. You know the one- “I only run when I am being chased” type. I was active in sports growing up- years and years of softball and tennis- but I hated running. Why would anyone want to run? I think I ran the mile maybe 4 times all through high school? Maybe, I was very good at getting out of PE. 😛
Fast forward to years later when I was working at Taco Bell. I opened every Sunday so I was always headed there early in the morning- every so often I would notice that the main street in town was blocked off and people were running up and down it. I couldn’t even contemplate the idea of a “fun run” so I had no idea what was going on. It also never dawned on me that it was always the last Sunday in September that this happened.
Fast forward a few more years to 2007 and I had a career change. That new career was big on community service. I admit I was clueless but a coworker told me that a good way to ease into it was the fun run. I’m sorry the what? Turns out the HOB Fun Run was a big deal. Last Sunday of September with races for all levels and ages. It was USATF certified, offered a decent prize purse and was flat and fast. 100% of race entries are donated to local charities. There were 2 10k’s, 2 5k’s, a mile race, a kids 1/2 mile race, 75 yard dash and a mascot race. I had no idea what any of that meant but they said it was easy to work an aid station and hand out water. Ok, sign me up.
Holy crap, someone should have warned me that I was going to be cold! I think my hands went numb. I may live in CA but my town has crazy temperature fluctuations- I could have used mittens. The first 10k was the masters division. So yeah, I saw elites race before I ever had a clue what that meant. They never wanted any water. 😉 The second 10K was normal people- except they were all still speedy. The 10K has an unofficial time limit of 1:10:00-1:15:00 anything past that and you are running into the 5K start. I didn’t know any of that out at the mile 1 aid station but it wasn’t a horrible way to spend a Sunday morning.
I worked the water station at mile 3 in 2008 and froze again. 2009 saw me working the aid station at mile 2- conveniently located in front of a grocery store and I went and bought us all donuts. The runners were very jealous. I was getting to know the stories- one man always ran in suit. One year he had been running later after church so he just ran in his suit. It became a tradition. The mascot race was always hilarious. One year Smoky the Bear lost his pants. The diaper dash was always adorable. Plus the parents were always eager- the winner took home a washer and dryer. 😉
2010 was the first year I contemplated running. My friend, NikeC was training for a marathon- I could handle a 5k right?? So instead of volunteering, I ran my first 5K. It was hard and I walked more than I would have liked but I was back the next year. And the next. 2012 was when I started volunteering at registration/ packet pick up on Saturday’s. 2013 saw my first double– I raced the 10k, quick bib change and ran the 5K. Same story in 2014 with a dose of a massive asthma attack and another double race day in 2015. I worked registration those 2 years as well. Over the years, we got a little more organized running team wise and we now have a good showing-
Things have changed over the years-the race is no longer USATF certified. I heard it was more of a pain in the ass than it was worth. The course has never changed though so you know the distance is accurate. So now there’s only one 10K and 5K. Running hit a boom and the number of local races grew which made the number of runners dropped a little. Doesn’t matter, it’s still one of my favorite (and most stressful) races.
Sunday will mark my 10th time participating in the HOB Fun Run in some way. I will be working registration in the park on Saturday and toeing the 10K line on Sunday. I haven’t signed up for the 5K yet but it’s 95% likely I will. 😛