Monday, March 1, 2010

Another Race in the Books

I'm back from another race! You know what that means! Another (not so) short video:

Yesterday's race was the Firecracker 10K. Last year I gave this race a pretty negative review. All I've got to say is what a difference a year makes! The race organizers listened to criticism and made this a truly memorable event.

Sunday morning broke cool but clear. It was shaping up to be one of those spectacular days in Southern California.

Traffic is always a crap shoot in L.A., so I left with plenty of time to spare. I got to Chinatown a little early and snagged a parking spot right around the corner from the start line. I got my bib and goody bag. Wow! A reusable tote bag with more than just race fliers!

One thing that is *very* important if you do this race. You *need to get here* early. Not because of parking, or crowds, or anything like that. But for the opening ceremonies! Gung hay fat choy!

At this point it became *very* apparent to me that the race organizers took last year's criticism to heart. This year the organizers blocked about a half a city block so that everyone got a great view of the festivities. Way to go Race Director!

Since I had about 30 minutes until the 10K started, I headed back to my car, ditched my coat and pants, used the porta potties, and then roamed around a bit. Yes - all in 30 minutes. And yes - at a race with 4000 plus runners plus friends and families. Ever go to a race where you can't find water before the race? Not so here! Excellent Mr. Race Director!

This is not an easy course. The elevation profile tells the story:
The course is a steady uphill 2.5 mile climb, a little level off at the top of Los Angeles's Elysian Park, followed by a steady downhill back into Chinatown. This requires a pacing strategy (something that I am still struggling with) to keep from blowing up.

I often read about races with thousands of runners going different distances all sharing the same course. Not so here! There were 2400 5K runners and 2000 10K runners. It would have been easy to put us all on the course at the same time and then split the 5K runners off at some point. Instead, the 5K runners started half an hour earlier. This made all the difference when it came to some of the narrow points on the course. Kudos Race Director!

We started promptly at 8:30 AM. It took a couple minutes to hit the start line and activate our timing chips. I tried to hold back as we headed toward the steeper uphill portions of the course.

In about 3/4 a mile we turned left off the city streets and stared climbing in earnest. I shortened my stride, but as I hit some of the steeper parts of the trail, I still had to slow down to a brisk walk. My pace was almost pedestrian at times:

Mile 1: 9:16
Mile 2: 10:49
Mile 3: 10:44

As I moved up the hill, I couldn't help but notice the views where phenomenal!!!! Miles 2 and 3 actually include time stopped (yes stopped) to take photos and to take photos for others running the race. One *really* nice touch were the signs letting everyone know what they were looking at. Nice touch Race Organizers!

Here's the view to the Northwest:

Here's one that I didn't need a sign for - Dodger Stadium! (Oh - with Downtown L.A. in the background):

I started downhill. Unlike last year, I was not sporting a stiff, painful back, so I was able to let it rip as I headed down the hill.

Mile 4: 8:01

At mile 5, I had to stop again. Yes - that's right. I said STOP. We were entering BLUE HEAVEN!!! I am a *huge* baseball fan, *and* I was born and raised in Los Angeles. I had to pay homage to my beloved Dodgers.

Mile 5: 8:49 (Three stops included - video of Taiko drummers, photos of Dodger Stadium)
Mile 6: 7:55
Mile 6.2: 1:39 (7:11 pace)
Final time: Garmin: 57:16, Official: 57:30.4

In the end, I was satisfied with my effort. The uphill climb was a big challenge last year. This year not as much. I may have left my PR in the parking lot at Dodger Stadium (actually not -I wasn't stopped for 2 and half minutes). But what better place to leave it? I was pleased with my first time ever sub-8:00 miles (even though they were downhill miles).

I finished up the day with dim sum at Ocean Seafood in Chinatown! I met up with some of my Twitter friends for a delicious tweetup!

Pictured are @biblio_phile, yours truly, @nicolapiggott (standing), @ridgeley and @anotorias. Great way to wrap up a great day and great race.

Bottom line? I will definitely be back next year! If you are in Los Angeles in February, you should too!


  1. Great pictures and video!!!
    Holy Elevation!
    Great job Glenn!!

  2. Thank you for taking time to take all those photos and for your review. Looks like they have improved. I ran this race a couple of years ago and would love to go back and check it out again. Good job tackling that hill or those hills, it is killer!

  3. hills? I'll pass. You definitely kicked some butt though. Always feels good to go flyyyying down them too. :p Great time and great job Glenn!

  4. Nice race report, congrats on the time. It was a tough course...definitely not a PR type course. The opening ceremonies were fantastic. Sorry we couldn't have made it to the tweetup on time, but we at least got to stop by and say hello. See you at LA!!

  5. gotta love good organization. also the post race lunch you had. i like 10k runs. hard to find out here. lots of 5ks, and a few HM's here and there. only 2 10k's i know of. need more of them. nice post glenn and i like the dodger stadium shot.

  6. Hi Glenn,
    Good job!!! You did so good, way to kick it into high gear on the downhill portion:) Smart move! Those hills are tough and I always end up slowing down and killing extra energy. You had a great race recap with many awesome pictures:) Your race reports are always so fun to read!! By the way, I have never received a race care package that nice...there was all kinds of great stuff in that bag:)

  7. Well I am glad that this year the race was better! I think I remember you posting about this race and being so upset about alot! Great job on the 10k! Looks like a beautiful race!

  8. Fantastic job, Glenn! You do such a wonderful job documenting your races, in pictures, video, and written word. My goodness, you guys have some elevation out there! It makes a "flatlander" like myself sweat just looking at the elevation chart! :)

    Great are having an awesome year. Keep it up!

  9. Great Video and Pics Glenn! How do you shoot, snap, and run??? It's amazing how you are able to capture all the good moments and run!

    Well done!

  10. That's a great time especially considering the hills and stops. You are definitely prime for a PB.

    Nice pictures and video. I like the taiko drums (interesting they'd have Japanese drums in Chinatown).

  11. Dude, you have been crazy race man lately and I have been very poor at keeping up. You need to be like Lance Armstrong and just hire a photographer to take pictures and videos for you. You could be wicked fast if you weren't always stopping for a good picture.

    You know those people who juggle and run marathons at the same time? They call them jogglers. You're more like a photoggler. :)

  12. Wow, that was SOME organization there with everything in perfect lines and rows! That race looked pretty entertaining and fun and you did well...your training is really preparing you for the big one. You must be getting excited!

  13. yay yay yay yay! So loved finally meeting up! :D

  14. I loved loved loved your video. You totally captured the essence of this race.

    It was my first time and I thought it was the greatest race ever.

  15. looks SO fun!!! really, may have to put this on my to do list.

  16. is that how you scored the comp entries? whining last year? ;) you didn't mention anything about hills... i must say i'm kind of glad i missed out on those - lol. :)

    glad the directors took the criticism and improved the race!

  17. Continue to love your site... great video.... had to show my boys!! They LOVE it too.

    Thanks for the race info. Makes me want to do the Firecracker 10K next year.

    Thanks!! I'll keep reading!

  18. sorry I missed you at the run and the dimsumming afterwards -- but nice going! My pace was a pretty consistent 9:00-10:00 both up and down that crazy hill.

  19. This is my kind of course. I'm glad you had a much better experience, and I'm sure feeling healthier than last year contributed to that vibe. I don't think I've ever seen a race give out cans of Dole pinapple as a post-race treat.

  20. Fabulous recap Glenn! I love all your pictures AND videos! Congrats on your amazing time and first sub 8:00mi!!! I will definitely have to put this race on my 2011 calendar :)

  21. Nice work!! I love the videos. AND, good lord that was a ton of loot! Might have even been worth the hills.

    Also, you must be a crazy big dodger fan to stop and pay homage.