12 in 2012: Long Beach Pajama Run 5k

This weekend I ran my 7th race of 2012. After a much needed hiatus, I got back on the path and ran like I stole something, as a friend so eloquently put it 🙂

After the last two races being plagued with issues from a knee injury to a poorly marked course leading me to miss a whole mile of my race, I decided to take it easy and just give myself a break. Well that break went from some healthy (and much needed) time off to me begrudgingly getting back on track.

I really was enjoying my lack of sweating and soreness from a workout but I knew if I wanted to complete my goal this year I’d need to suck it up and run. So I created a plan of attack. Along with my sister, who is training for a half marathon in September, I hit the road and starting chalking up some decent mileage.

My 7th race was scheduled for the end of June and I was looking forward to the rather outrageous costumes and pajama outfits I’d see being that it was a pajama run. I had suddenly become hugely superstitious about what I wore when I ran so I opted out of the dressed up aspect.

I was in this race to run well and I planned on giving myself as much of a leg-up as I could. So no costumes for me, just my trusty ol’ running jacket and my favorite running pants.

Oh and gum.
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The morning started well with some oatmeal and coffee and stretching at home. Except that I was nervous for some reason. And that translated into my stomach flip flopping through breakfast and not making enough room to really get down half of what I made. I figured I’d run it out of my system in a couple of hours and then have breakfast afterwards so no biggie.

It was beautiful when we reached Long Beach. The sun was playing peek-a-boo with some foggy marine layer just hanging out over the coast. I love running by the beach with that tangy smell of brine hanging in the air. But I became concerned each time the sun broke through. It was going to be warm, warmer than I have expected and I hadn’t run yet in summer conditions.

I crossed my fingers that the thick marine fog would roll in and blot out the sun altogether at some point. In the end I’d have no such luck and would run the entire thing in full-blown morning heat. Ugh.

Little did I know that this was the first year of this Long Beach Pajama Run. There had been in the past a pajama run in Long Beach but I don’t think the two are related. So, without knowing it, I went against my own rule: Don’t run inaugural races. They never go smoothly and end up causing more stress than fun.

At least for me.

I could go into all the details as to WHY this race was not well run but I won’t. You can do a search on Active.com and see everyone’s opinions there. They aren’t pretty, I’ll say that. My biggest issue was the lack of organization that lead to the race starting much later than I had planned because this meant that my meal was already burning off and I would end up running hungry. And because it was later than expected, I didn’t get to have breakfast afterwards like I planned.

So to sum up: nervous tummy makes breakfast hard to stomach. Lack of organization leads to a later starting time. Later starting time means I’m fully digested and now hungry. Later starting time also means we’re finished much later than expected and there is no time to grab food afterwards because we needed to return to homebase for some plans that got delayed due to the lack of organization making the race start later. Sigh…what an ugly situation.

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I will say this: The course was nice. It unfortunately wasn’t roped off and the city had not been properly flagged for a race during the week which created a problem because a lot of pedestrians and bikers, not knowing a race would be happening, came out to use the same path as us and it lead to a lot of confusion and pissed off beach goers. I even heard someone say one pedestrian was trying to purposely trip the racers out of frustration. I can’t say this was true for me. I just stuck to the path and ran my little heart out.

Now, as I mentioned before, I hadn’t run in summer weather yet and with the race being a later starting race to begin with and then add about 30 minutes onto the start time due to lack of organization, it was warming up pretty damn fast by the time I set off running. While my favorite running jacket is great in the cooler climate, I was roasting by the halfway point. I was even beginning to worry about overheating.

Note to self: make it a goal to buy a new racing tank top before race #8. It’s a little treat for running so well. Love, Me.

I made it through the whole thing despite it all: trippers, pissed off bikers, sand on the course and overheating. None of it stopped me from running through the heat, growling tummy and sore muscles. I ran the whole course without walking and finished with a time of 37:07.

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Not my best time yet but a better run. I’m slowly watching all my training pay off and I can feel myself running better. I’m more fluid and consistent. I’ll take the slower time if it means I run better any day!

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Despite all the issues that went down with this race, I ended up with a good run under my belt, a wonderful “Welcome BACK!” race after my time off and a nice little medal to add to my collection.

This was a good race. A positive, personal experience. I don’t currently have another race scheduled till October when I plan to run a 12k trail race but that doesn’t mean I won’t find one to add. I need 3 more races to register for to complete my goal of 12 in 2012.

And complete it, I shall!

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About Katie V.

A mom. A chef. A chauffeur. A personal assistant. A housewife. An office manager. You name it. I do it all while looking fabulous.
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