As races go, this one would score a big thumbs down. Not because it was difficult. Not because of the hills. Not because of pot holes, debris across the trails or the other things that the race organizers can't control. But for two reasons. First off, no mile markers. Other than the Start/Finish line there weren't any on the course. No halfway marker. No one mile to go. Nothing. Top it off with water stations without cups. This race will not go on the top of my list.
If I do this one again, maybe I'll just show up for the opening and the exhibits and pass on the actual run. Opening ceremonies were second to *NONE*. I don't care what you think, but a 1,000 running Elvi can't hold a flame to a hundred thousand firecrackers and a lion dance to bring in Year 4707, the Year of the Ox.
The after race exposition was also good with plenty of water, fruit and bagels. There were also vendors galore giving away everything from cans of Coca Cola Zero, various recovery and sports drinks, Starbucks, etc., etc. And the scenery. From Elysian Park the views to Downtown L.A. and Hollywood were to die for!
Oh - and the last bad thing - my performance. Yech. 1:01:55. It's been over a year since I last took more than an hour to run a 10K. But a number of things conspired against me this weekend (yeah right - not my fault!). I got to the start line, fired up the Garmin and got the dreaded "Batteries are low" warning. I think the warning should have read "Ha ha! Your batteries are dead!" I've never really practiced racing by feel, so I wasn't sure whether I could have pushed harder at the beginning or not. Then came the hills. Two and a half miles and a 700 foot elevation gain kind of hills. Nonstop up and up. I didn't want to blow up in a 10K, so I slowed my pace as I headed up. How slow I had no idea. Sure would have been nice to have the Garmin.
With all the recent rains, the scenery was spectacular. The race took off up Broadway to Elysian Park Drive, where we really started climbing. But, the hills were green, the air crisp and clean, and the skies were blue. A great day for running! We continued climbing to Elysian Point. From there the views of Downtown were great!
At this point, our 3 and a half mile downhill began. We headed on down (at points very gingerly dodging potholes, running water, puddles, and sand washed across the road) and back into Chinatown for the finish. I had to actually pull up a couple of times because the hills were so steep (downhill) that my back started screaming in pain as I pounded the pavement. I was disappointed seeing the clock, but knew that I had given it all I had on this day.
Once the race was done, I was on my next hunt. Breakfast! My back was hurting so I wasn't in the mood to walk down from Chinatown to Olvera Street, so I climbed in the car and drove to El Tepeyac in Boyle Heights (East L.A.). This restaurant has been around for about 50 years now. If you didn't know about it, you would not think to stop here for food. The outside is not spectacular, and the insides are about 1000 square feet of old kitchen tables and a counter. But it is an institution in Los Angeles. Their specialty are burritos, with the flagship being Manuel's Special, so large that it takes two 12 inch flour tortillas to create it. In fact, El Tepeyac is going to be featured on the Travel Channel's Man v. Food program. The episode is supposed to be aired on February 18th.
But, I was on a search for menudo. El Tepeyac's is not the best I've ever had, but it is still pretty darn good!
If you are interested, more photos and video are at my Flickr site here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/glennsphotos2007/sets/72157613546209236/