Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Victory for Victims 5k/8K
Finally...The Victory for Victims 5K/8K race day arrived on Sunday, April 11th after months of promoting the event to friends, strangers and anyone else who would take a postcard . I ran it last year in the heat and decided I liked it so much I wanted to volunteer to promote it the following year. As a volunteer, I was an administrator on their facebook site and helped increase the fan base, created and manned the twitter account, and started my own team - Team Naz. Some great Leggers also came out for the run!
So first, the good part of the event - The weather was about 20 degrees cooler than last year - This may be cold for standing around, but pretty perfect for running. And even though the weather Gods flirted with drizzle, it never did rain on our race parade. Another good part was my team! Yes, people actually joined ! Team Naz included 14 people total, including first time racers co-workers Milton and Valentino, running buddy Jeff and his wife Chandra and first time 5K walker, my mom! She was happy to find out that 5K wasn't 5 miles. (A group picture is forthcoming)
Another good part of the day - The landing of the Pepsi Jet Ranger. If you live in Southern California, the Pepsi Jet Ranger and Commander Chuck Street are well-known for sky-high traffic reports on Channel 5 and Kiss FM radio. Another positive? Country DJ Shawn Parr. What a trooper! He really knew how to go with the flow and keep the event moving. Of course the Kids Run may have been moved a little too much - about 1o minutes early - but as I'll mention later, it is extremely difficult for a non-profit organization to manage a large event like this without enough support.
So after all the 5Kers left about 15 minutes past schedule, Jeff and I got ready to do the 10K and waited around for "G0". We made some fast friends with another Legger and a woman who seemed to have a bad experience at San Diego RnR two years ago (I kept my ears closed). Somewhere along the waiting and the praying for no rain, I heard some strange news. The 10K had been switched to an 8K. Wha?!?! I thought it was a mistake. But no. The 10K was changed to an 8K in the last minute. The reason we were given was "safety concerns". The real reason I found out the next day? A federal injunction at the 11th hour against us runnng through the wilderness restoration area that we had been banking on going through. I guess protesters do sometimes get their way.
So once we got going, Jeff and I ran together for a little over a mile before I gave him the OK to take off since he had an energizer bunny in him revving him to go. I'm glad that I ran with Jeff for that first bit since it got me going at a faster pace - Hmm...Maybe I would beat my previous race times! I kept the groove going and in the last half mile, when there was enough space in front of me to do so, I experimented with shutting my eyes while running for a few seconds at a time. You know what? I ran faster and freer during those few seconds. It was exhilerating, liberating and I loved it. Maybe I can run with my eyes closed more often?
My final time was 47:49 - at a pace of 9:36/mile, this is my fastest race pace so far. Not bad. But now that I have run longer distances, I prefer longer races that I can take things slower and really enjoy the experience. The best part of the race was having a team who is now motivated to do more races! And hopefully, the kids who participated will be pumped to do more organized kids runs or 5Ks in the future.
This race shows that when a not for profit organization takes on the task of putting on a race for runners, that it is no small feat. This event attempted to be a race, kids run, and community event all in one. I hope that this year's participants will not be put off by any of the last minute changes, and will come back next year. And if you had any of the Los Toros Mexican food that was provided free at the end, you will come back. That stuff was good!
Here are some photos of some of team Naz on race day (Thanks Valentino)
After trailing this girl, I sprinted to the end and beat her by 2 seconds! We weren't in the same age division but I used her as motivation.