Yay, something a bit more relevant. The Oceanside Valentine’s Day 5K and Bike Ride. Biking, if you feel so inclined. I skipped on the biking 😉
Nic and I aren’t super into mushy holidays or doing anything over the top just because it’s a holiday. We love each other every day and really try to do something special all the time. I always get emails about local races and I’m always looking for deals, so when I get one, I take it. This was the first year that Oceanside hosted this event and it was a blast. It was hosted by a local running shop called Endurance House and Race Wire. I had a 50% off for a couple’s entry, so I signed Nic and I up immediately. Of course our team name was The Best Team Ever. Creative I know.
This race took place at the Oceanside Pier, so it was only about 5 minutes away from our apartment. I love the races I don’t have to get up super early for. I mean who doesn’t. I went to watch the 2016 Marathon Olympic Trials in Los Angeles the day before because I actually knew people racing in it (crazy!!), so we had to pick up our bibs the morning of. We rolled out of bed around 6:15 got dressed really quick and headed over to the registration/event area. Since it was Valentine’s Day, I wore a pink “Just Do It” Nike shirt with pink tube socks and gray and pink Nike shorts and shoes. I was all Nike’d out. I had to dress the part!
After we got our bib numbers, I went on a 2.5 mile warm up, while Nic drank his coffee. I took this chance to scope out the race course a bit, but since I’m from Oceanside, I’d ran the area thousands of times before. I just wasn’t sure which direction this course was heading in. I picked Nic up at the end of my warm up and we jogged down the start area. This course was cool and made 3.1 miles seem like a breeze. It started underneath the pier, went south on The Strand, made a u-turn and went back north to other end of The Strand, made another u-turn and went up the hill onto the Oceanside Pier. The runners went all the way to the end of the pier, around Ruby’s restaurant and back down through the tunnel and finished up on the street. Basically you made a giant T.
The race started at 7:30 am. The Strand is pretty narrow, so every one was huddle together. There were people of all ages from 14 and under to 70 and over. One of the reasons I love running is because so many types of people do it. Some people were decked out in Valentine’s day costumes and others, like Nic, were wearing black and grey. People were excited and enjoying the beautiful morning on the beach. I figured since this race was newer and smaller (only about 250 people), it wouldn’t be that competitive. It was the first time I put myself on the front of a starting line in a long time.
This was the first race I had done since the Carlsbad Half Marathon, but obviously a 5K is a whole other ball game compared to 13.1 miles. I say that like it’s harder and that’s because it is. I have no speed wheels anymore. I enjoy doing 5K’s because it gets me working on my speed for when I run half’s. One of my focuses this year is to get my kick back. I’ve been working on my interval training going into this race, so I wanted to see what pace I could hold for this race. My goal was low 6 minute pace.
The horn went off and the runners were off. I kind of stumbled at the beginning of this race because I wasn’t paying attention and joking around with Nic. He started right next to me.What’s running if you can’t have fun while doing it. There were about 4 men who took off. They started out pretty quick and when I looked down at my Garmin, I’m pretty sure it said 4:50 pace, even for a split second. My reaction was “woah, there nellie.” The first 200 meters were probably around 5:30 pace, so I settled back, obviously I didn’t want to kill myself. When I got my watch back to about 6:10-6:15 pace, I relaxed. The race weened out pretty quickly and I had settled right into third place after about a half mile. The Strand is a concrete street that rests right against the beach. During the spring and summer, many people drive it to check the waves or just for a leisurely scenic drive. There wasn’t any one on it this morning, but instead of being stable cement there was sand all over it. This is probably from the high tide. It was a bit more sandy then I anticipated, but still flat as can be.
I felt relaxed and smooth. It was a comfortably fast pace. My breathing was normal (two out one in is my rhythm). The air was cool and crisp and my body just felt fluid and my mind focused. I wanted to play my cards right and slowly put myself into first place, if I could. My first mile I hit a pace of 6:06. There weren’t any mile markers, so I was glad I had my watch on. I would have had no idea where I was in this race. Before the second u-turn, I slowly rolled up the second place runner. Again, my focus was just to stay in control and be consistent.
At this point, I wasn’t sure if I was going to catch the first guy. He seemed a bit far off, but then as I just tried to push myself, he started getting closer and closer to me. I think it was a combination of me trying harder and him slowing down. My second mile was 6:06 also. Talk about consistency. Running on the pier was beautiful. There was a second where I turned to my right and saw the ocean surrounding me. I am so grateful to run next to such breathtaking views. When we rounded Ruby’s I knew I had him. He was so close. I passed him. I knew the finish was coming up and all I had to do was hold him off. There was a bike leading this race, like most, so I just chased the guy on the bike, thinking about how it was only 3.1 miles, so I had to be almost done.
I could feel myself slow a little, but I was winning, I didn’t want the guy to catch me. I had this in the bag. I kicked into the finish and won! My last mile was about 6:13. I slowed a little bit, but I was proud with my consistent-ish miles. Last time I did a 5K, my miles got progressively slower. Plus, the third mile had a couple of inclines 😉 My overall time was 19:14. Nic even raced it with 21:48 and 7:01 minute miles. We, then of course, gathered for the delicious chocolates and wine spritzers afterward. We both won wine glasses and I got a sweet Oceanside tee and an Endurance House water bottle. This was a great event and I will definitely be coming back next year. I think we have a new Valentine’s Day tradition.
Did you do anything special for Valentine’s Day?