Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Race Report: Laguna Hills Memorial Day 5K

... officially part of the Laguna Hills Half Marathon series, featuring a 5K, 10K and half on Memorial Day (yes, a Monday race!).
May 25, 2015 | Laguna Hills, CA

Last week, I finally got around to talking about our Recon Retread "2014 make up race" that we did to get ourselves into the legacy running for the 2018 Chief of Staff beauty. 

Conveniently, Memorial Day is also the kick-off day for the annual #RWRunStreak summer challenge. I've been doing this challenge since 2012 and as of last year, turned it into a fun competition with friends all over the country (Phoenix, Chicago, and now San Diego and Tucson!) to hold ourselves accountable but also have a little friendly competition at the same time. I mean... what can I say, I'm competitive! I figured a 5K was an appropriate way to kick off these next 41 days... 

 We left for Laguna Hills about 5:45 am for a 7 am race time. Many thanks to the holiday morning and empty freeways that time of day, we got to the Laguna Hills Mall about 6:15, with plenty of time to walk over to registration (hooray race day pick up!), get our shirts (not as soft as last year's, womp) and get back to the car to drop our haul off and get situated.

Then it was back over to the start line and to a mad scramble to get through the porta potty line in time to get back over to the start. Getting into the corrals wasn't a huge problem, just that we entered the corral back with the 13-minute mile pacer for the half, so we worried about getting stuck. Thankfully, we've got a good system going and managed to weave our way up to the 10-minute group to at least get out over the start line.

Pre-race selfie. Duh.
 There were 1,048 finishers for the half, 788 for the 10K and 1,446 for the 5K. My only super major complaint about this race is the start line. While it's not huge by any means, it's big enough that I really feel the start should be staggered at least a bit. It honestly didn't affect my race too much, though some weaving was required, but for a race that felt that big, I thought it was odd that we all started, all together, all at once.

But, bonus to that? Chip timing, which is not common at most Renegade Races (or maybe just the large enough ones?).

This course is not at all what the Retreat course was (that was the last few miles of the full 10K course). The first mile or so winds through Laguna Woods retirement community, so there were tons of old folks out cheering us on, complete with signs, cowbells, and them set up in beach chairs on their curbs waving us on! I so very much appreciated their support as we wound through literally the entire property. 

Mile 1: 8:00
I pushed a little too hard in mile 1, so tried to back off some going into the second mile so that, perhaps, I could give a little more again in mile 3. 

Mile 2: 8:50
The hill. Really, not that huge of one but frankly big enough that I shouldn't have pushed as hard as I did pushing up the first half of it! I walked about 30 seconds at the top just to regain composure and get back in my groove. 

Mile 3: 8:44
A good downhill but not enough to make up for my walk. Ah well. The mile 3 marker was just at the corner, so it was one quick turn on the road, and an even quicker turn into the driveway of the Laguna Hills Community Center. 

I turned and waited for Doug, who came in not long after me. After a few post-race massages and chiropractic adjustments, food (Corner Bakery muffins!) and wandering the community expo (which was pretty large and awesome), we wandered to finally go find our times and check out how we really did, considering that stupid hill. I hate love hate am ambivalent about hills. 

Eh, for a walk stint, 6/50 ain't so bad!
 Doug also finished 5th in his age group, which is one of his highest place finishes ever too, out of a group of 31! Pretty awesome.

A great race, great community event, and some amazing support. Part of the Darkhorse Battalion was out there, complete with humvees and rifles to take photos with. A number of community organizations that support and look out for Darkhorse members, who gave so much and lost even more at the Battle of Sangin in 2010. I was literally in tears walking through the tent that had each of the men's faces, ages (19... 20... 21...) on display. Heartbreaking. An amazing Memorial Day tribute and event to support these Marines. Thank you, veterans everywhere!

Did you run a Memorial Day race?

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