UCLA Tri 5000 recap

Finishing up the UCLA Tri 5000 Now that I’m done with the marathon, I’m trying to figure out my next goals. I have some half marathons planned for the fall, but no other races… yet. I definitely want to get faster and beat my current records.

Since it’s been a while since my first and only 5K, I decided to give it another shot. I found a convenient race, the UCLA Tri 5000, on Sunday morning. I had two official goals and one unofficial:

  1. Beat my previous 5K record, 35:21 set at the Aztlan Indian Run in July 2009
  2. Finish under 28:30. It was a semi-arbitrary time, but also pretty close to what I’d been running 3 miles when I was trying to go “fast.”
  3. Finish under 26:26, the time I ran the first loop for the Turkey Trot 10K with Lori last fall.

I arrived at the starting line at UCLA’s Drake Stadium around 7:30. I had plenty of time to stretch and do a couple of warm-up laps around the familiar track (I did all of my track workouts during marathon training at Drake). The sun peeked out from the clouds and I was worried I’d overheat in a long-sleeve shirt. Volunteers and members of the UCLA Tri team, who were hosting the race, did an 8-clap to show their school spirit before the race announcer urged us to line up.

Promptly at 8, we started and were off the track through central campus and then to Charles E. Young Drive, the main road around campus (the course). I kept an easy pace for the first half mile as we climbed the first hill from Westwood Blvd up Young to North Campus. I ran the first mile in 9:13 and then sped up. I didn’t look at my watch much, but knew I was putting in a hard effort. At one point, I felt like throwing up, but it went away quickly. Most of the course was shady, so I didn’t get uncomfortably hot. I got some water at the first of two aid stations in Perloff Quad.

I felt good and around the Law School and passed up a couple of people. I stayed about 5 yards behind a woman in blue capris (in the picture above) for most of the race. Once back on the flatter part of campus by the business school, we were joined by an older man. He was huffing and puffing really loud. In the last mile, around Dickson Quad, I passed up the woman in blue capris, but let the man in red go ahead. As we entered Drake again, the announcer counted down to 26 minutes but I couldn’t kick fast enough to finish under 26.

I finished in 26:03. I was pretty happy with that given that I met my official goals as well as my unofficial goal.

After I caught my breath, I got a bagel and Gatorade and recapped the race with Sean. After eating and drinking a little I ran a few cool down laps. We grabbed some more snacks from the small expo, watched the awards (top 3 men and women), a few silly contests and laughed at the announcers’ unintentionally funny statements. Before I left, I checked my official time and place. I was 31st overall. I don’t think there’s even been anyone more excited to be 31st than me.

We left campus and walked down in to Westwood Village for a more substantial breakfast at Headlines (I recommend their Westwood and healthy omelets). We did some grocery shopping before Sean dropped me off on campus. I got to work catching up on some coding for job2, but I would have much rather taken a shower and followed it with a long nap.

THE STATS:
Finish time: 26:03 (splits: 9:13; 8:57; 7:53… all over the place)
Pace: 8:24
Place: 31st (!!!) overall, 80 total runners
Fuel: banana pre-race; water during the race; cinnamon raisin bagel and gatorade post-race

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