This is the 5th time I have run this race, so you know I am a little biased. If it was terrible, why would I keep coming back, right?
Well, lucky for me, this race is not terrible. This race has been going on for over 30 years now and they have got it down to a science. Registration is easy and there are no additional fees (THANKS FOR THAT!). Parking has not been an issue any year we have gone (although see my notes on this later), and the post race festivities have always been a blast.
This year was no exception. as always, I stayed with the Johnson family on the night of the 3rd and early in the morning on the 4th Robb and I get up wayyyyy too early and get ready to do it again. We get out the door pretty quick joking about how early it is and asking why we do it. Really though, I think I am safe in saying it really is one of our favorite races of the year (I know it is for me). I missed last years race as I was in Florida with my Dad before he passed away. So I was very excited to be returning to this event that I love being a part of.
The drive down to Scripps Ranch is not too difficult and we usually get there with plenty of time til the gun goes off. This year when we got there we parked out a little further than either of us could remember, so the walk to the starting area was a little longer than it has been in years past, but it was not like we were miles away. Later we would hear that this year had a great turnout, so there were more runners than in years past. this is good, because you always want a good thing to prosper.
The walk to the starting area is basically 80% uphill. which you would think was a pain in the behind, but it really isn’t. It wakes up the muscles in your legs, and actually helps warm you up for the run. Of course it doesn’t feel like it when you are doing it! The start area was full of energy and we ran into a co-worker who lives in the area, and runs this race every year. his wife also ran the race this year as well, but we didn’t run into her until after the race.
The sun was out early, no overcast skies this year, which made the temperatures a little higher than they had been in previous years. The gun went off and we were off. After clearing out of the start congestion, I found a nice comfortable pace and kept to my race plan. I did not go out too fast and hit all of the water stations to keep hydrated, when I did find myself needing to walk, I picked a spot not too far ahead and started running again once I hit that spot.
Now, I am an Ohio State guy through and through and have to admit, I had motivation in a woman who was wearing a Michigan visor. She helped me keep pace in that I was NOT going to let her finish before me. To her credit she had good form and kept a steady pace the entire race. In the last three quarter miles I just kicked up a notch and put enough distance between us that I would finish well before get got across the finish line. Funny what gets you going, and that was my motivator, do not finish behind the Michigan chick!
I had set a goal to have a PR for my 2014 10Ks at this race and I did exactly that, I finished the race over 2 minutes faster than my best 10K this year. The post race area overall was great, picked up my tee shirt and rehydrated. There was only one aspect of the finish area that was a little disappointing, and that is only because the line to get into the beer garden was so unbelievably long that we decided to forgo it this year and just get back to Robb’s house. Pretty sad because the garden is one of the highlights of the event. That line was a great indicator on how much bigger the event has become. But that just encourages me to finish stronger if I find myself running it again (quicker finish equals shorter line).
So just like in years past, a very well run event, a great course, and loads of fun after the finish line (even though I did not make it into the beer garden). The shirt was great again this year, as it is every year (I have lost two of my past shirts just because I wore them out!). I would recommend this race to everyone I know, if you live in San Diego, mark it on your calendars.
Unfortunately this may be the last year I run this race for a while, as my running partner Robb and his family will likely be relocating later this year. Robb has been looking for work and is likely to be offered an incredible opportunity that is not in Southern California. I cannot express my sadness about this, as I would not be running if not for Robb. A few years ago he asked if I had any interest in running with him to help him train for a duathelon. and I said sure. Back in those days it was a struggle to run more than a half mile, in the years since he and I have run in many 5ks, 10Ks and half marathons. My gratitude to everything he has done for me over these years cannot be measured, not in words. He and I have had long conversations about our running careers and so many other things. as many runners will tell you, there is a bond among them, and Robb and I will always have the Scripps Ranch races to reflect on.
So thanks to the Old Pros for making this year as great as the other four we have run together. I hope that I will find myself down there again in the future with my partner in running.