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Not exactly magical, this time, but good enough.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Funny, I just realized I combined themes from two of my most recent posts to come up with the title for this one. hehe

Today was the San Jacinto Run United 5K. A little, local race we decided to participate in. Before I go on I need to give you a little bit of the back story here.

Hemet, my town, and San Jacinto are two towns nestled in one small valley. With traffic and slowish speed limits it takes no more than half an hour to traverse the valley from end to end in either direction. San Jacinto occupies the Northern half of the valley, Hemet the southern half. The square miles of the area are almost equally divided with Hemet gaining only about 1 square mile more. San Jacinto contains more agriculture space, Hemet is more developed and contains more shopping and industry. Hemet has the better school district (which isn't a big thing since Hemet schools aren't exactly stellar, but you take what you can get). Hemet has spent a bit more time and effort in city development (not always successfully) but Hemetites are generally very glad they are not San Jacintoans and I'm sure the feeling is mutual on the other side of the valley, but SERIOUSLY, Hemet is the better of the two towns.

So, one with the run. It started at San Jacinto's one and only High School (Hemet has three...remember we aren't bigger in square miles, just people). The organization on site was nice, there could have been MUCH better signage out front directing to parking and where the sign in tables were. There were quite a few local vendors on site and the sign in tables were kind of buried behind them and not really visible until you wandered through a bit. Sign in and t-shirt pic up was easy once you found the tables though and a fairly nice goody bag was given out. Mostly fliers and such from local stores tucked into a nice Walgreen's shopping tote, but a really nice pen/pencil set was in there...kinda cool.

The start line was easy to find, but I didn't like that we were set up in a street and the start gate took up less than half the width of the street. I don't think I've ever seen such a narrow start gate and there were no corrals to keep us in front of the gate. The problem being, you HAD to go through the gate because it was timed. I KNEW there would be a huge jam (despite the fact this was a pretty small race) and some jostling trying to get through the gate. I was right. I determined right off that at least this would keep me from starting too fast and aggravating the shin splints I get almost every race because I think I'm an elite who has to take off right out of the gate-lol. I only got pushed out of the way by one person who wasn't willing to take their turn at the gate and had to get in from the side, so not too bad there either.

Shortly after the start I actually decided I would mostly walk this one though as something was feeling off, I think it was the heat-lol. Not used to running in full daylight and today was a pretty warm day. Only in the 70's, but I'm used to running in 50 degrees or less right now so it was quite the difference.

Okay, here's the part where I really was not feeling the magic...the neighborhoods they took us through...I'm sorry, but if I were organizing a race, these would be the LAST neighborhoods I'd take people through. Run down homes and apartments, old houses divided into duplexes. Homes with mattresses in the yard and boards over the window. Flaked paint and dirt and weeds. I'm SERIOUS when I say that I would NEVER under normal circumstances run, walk or linger for any reason in these neighborhoods. A few neighbors came out to cheer us on and that was cool, but I kept waiting to hear the drunken brawl or gunshot. I think the TERRIFIC police presence we had kept everyone on their best behavior though. I'm not all. There were a few high points. Some great Victorian architecture that I wished were better preserved, and the people (it's the people that are the holds true), and a few pretty parks along the route helped.

Only one water stop with PLASTIC cups. There were plastic cups EVERYWHERE and they clattered when people threw them down. It was really annoying and I had a hard time with the "pinch and go" technique. When grabbing water from a water stop you pinch the lip of the cup making a spout so you can more efficiently pour the water into your mouth and not spill all over yourself or create a traffic jam taking to long at the area. Someone did a great job cleaning up those cups though because we came back the same direction and they were all gone, not sure how they did it, but someone did a great job and quickly too.

The High School cheerleaders were out there cheering on runners. That was a really nice touch and helped me feel a little magic.

But, as always, but the time the finish line was coming into view the feeling was there. There was magic at the finish...never fails!!

A little girl near me was finishing her first 5k, I'd say she was around 10 years old and her super fit mom was right beside her obviously going much slower than she could have to stay by her daughter and help her finish her race. Volunteers cheered you through and they were almost all High Schoolers. When confronted by THREE kids all trying to hand me water and a Zone Bar I took mine from the boy instead of the two girls and he jokingly teased them "she likes me better." Another girl handed us our finishers medal (nothing special except that I earned it).

One thing I LOVED...our results were e-mailed and TEXTED to our phones shortly after the finish. It took a few minutes, but within maybe 15 minutes my finish time had arrived at my phone. 55:26, which is still slow, but I'm TOTALLY happy with it because my times have been slow like that for awhile while I rebuild my stamina and running. Considering I walked all but about 1k of this I'm VERY happy with that time and it gives me encouragement that it is time to quit dragging my feet and really work on bringing my times and running distances back into line again so that I can PR by the end of the year.

I've had prettier races, but this one still carried its own brand of magic and its good enough. If it returns next year I'll probably do it again :).
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