Saturday, October 24, 2015: Health and Fitness Expo
When I first started running, I honestly didn’t appreciate the expo. I had no clue what the spirit of the expo truly was, and I quickly glanced at the tables then went back to the car after picking up my packet. This expo was completely different.
I did work the Alpha Running booth in the morning for a couple of hours. I saw my friends Jacks and Peter when I was done working the booth, and I hung out with them during the expo. We were talking about races, checking out the booths, I actually talked to people who were working the booths, grabbed cards, and I signed up for A Run to Remember Los Angeles Half Marathon!
Rock n’ Roll Marathon Series had all the different medals out on display, so we got to see the “Hall of Fame” medal (earned by running 10 or more RNR races. We took photos, I mean, it was so awesome. I had a blast hanging out with my friends, talking about running, about races, and signing up for races. I never knew expo’s could be so fun.
I had to leave early, I had to head over to Olvera Street to pick up my packet for Los Muertos 5k. I was running into more of my friends on the way out. It is good to see friends, shake hands, and hug. I wish we could all catch up more, I do enjoy the company of my friends, and I love to listen to their stories.
Sunday, October 25, 2015: Race Day
You know you’re a running when you not only get excited for an expo, but you can’t sleep that night, and its race day. I was up and on the road at 2:30am. I had nervous butterflies in my lower abdominal. This race is my Dad’s very first 5k, and my son was running it with him. My dad is working on getting himself back into running shape. He trained and prepared for this race and he did it for my son. There is nothing more awesome than that!
The public parking lots that are all over LA Live were closed except for one. It was the LA Live structure on Olympic, next to the Start/Finish line. It was twenty (20) dollars to park, but it was ALL day parking. I was completely fine with that, because that structure you pay by the hour. We arrived in separate cars, my dad and my son in my dad’s car and I drove my car. I didn’t want them to wait for me to finish, and there was no telling how tired and hungry my son would be after his 5k. Better safe than sorry.
We hung out, relaxed, drank our coffee, and got ready for the race. We walked out onto the street, and I had never been in the area of LA Live before. To walk down the middle of closed off streets, looking at everything at 4:30am was ineradicable. That is just one of many things I love about running in these races, not only are they challenging, but it is the best way to learn an area and to learn it well.
This race was the first race I ran into my friends, hung out with them, stretched, and we got together with UnitedLA and took a group photo on the start line before the race. I was filled with positive vibes, motivation, encouragement, and well wishes. I wished all my friends good luck, gave them all hugs and smiles before getting into our corrals.
My run buddy, Susy, found me and we have some excellent butt kicking runs together. I know that Susy will make sure we do strategic walking during our runs, she just knows when is a good time to take a walk break so we do not injure ourselves. Our corral was up at the start line, the horn blew, and we were off running down S. Figueroa toward the historic Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
The Los Angeles Coliseum is not only home to the USC Trojans (since 1923), but it also hosted the 1932 Summer Olympics (known as the X Olympaid), and the 1984 Summer Olympics. It has also been home to major league teams such as: UCLA Bruins (1933-1981), Los Angeles Rams (1946-1979), Los Angeles Dodgers (1958-1961), and The Los Angeles Raiders (1982-1994), to just name a few. It was an experience to run the coliseum, so much history here for the City of Los Angeles, and so many great athletes from around the world competed here not once, but twice. That alone is an amazing thing.
The course was changed last minute due to a ceremony on the Sixth Street Bridge. So, we had a lot of hills to go up and down on our way to the Fourth Street Bridge. Going up S. Flower was killer, that hill leading up to 1st Street was a tad bit killer, but we were looking forward to running down Bunker Hill on 1st Street.
At miles 8 till mile 10 we were feeling great and doing great. We were singing, laughing and just having a ball. We were shooting for a 2:45 finish, and we were only 5 minutes off, so we were actually looking at a 2:50 finish. Then, we saw Bunker Hill.
Bunker Hill is a steep, and I mean steep, incline that leads you from LAPD HQ, to the Disney Concert Hall. It his a hike, and on a side note, when I had my old car it was a manual transmission (stick shift), and I dreaded that hill. It took everything that I had to make it up that hill.
We were almost to the top when I heard Susy say “I’m so over this hill.” I’m still working on getting up this hill; not realizing she was already at the top I said “Yes! I’m over this hill too, its killer.” I happen to glance to my right and there’s Susy, making that left to run down the hill. I for sure need to run more hills.
We’re making our way back down S. Flower St. toward the finish line, we are both physically beat because of the added hills, and both of us are pushing each other to the finish. I was physically done, it took everything I had to get up Bunker Hill, Susy kept pushing forward which motivated me to keep pushing forward. It was all downhill from here, literally.
I kept up with Susy as best as I could, she was fast. Once I saw the Geico flags I started to give it all that had and ran to the finish line. I felt myself started to slow down, I kicked it up a couple more notches and dug deep to keep up with Susy. Mentally I was telling myself not to quit, that I wasn’t tired, and I’m going to do this. I saw I was catching up to Susy and I could hear her cheering because she was crossing the finish line. Her cheering, gave me that motivation and encouragement to cross that finish line. I was cheering, waving, smiling, and cheering with her as I crossed that finish line! We grabbed our medals, water, cold wash cloths, chocolate milk, and gatorade. We drank our water and milk, while putting the cold was cloths on our face and necks.
Susy had three medals that day because she completed two of the challenges that Rock n Roll Series offers. Mr. T aint got nothing on her, those medals were huge! They were clanging together, and I must admit, it sounded badass when she walked with those medals clanging. She looked at me and said “Beer Garden.” I was smiling.
I had never been to a beer garden, I had never been to the ‘after party’ when I finished a race. I’ve always just gone straight home. That was not the case today.
Rock n’ Roll Marathon Series puts on a free concert in their beer garden, we grabbed our free beer and found a spot to celebrate. Susy found her sister, I had my friends (family), we were set. We were all cheers, enjoying our beer and enjoying the concert Sir Mix A Lot was putting on!
Have you ever been in the car, and a song came on the radio that you haven’t heard since you were little? Lets just say, that was us when we heard the old school songs from the early 90s. I couldn’t help myself, I danced and cheered at the songs! I felt young again, and I have to admit, I had such a great time. After the concert we got pizza, and hung out.
The Rock n’ Roll is one of the best races I’ve done so far! They know how to put on a show, they know how to make it fun, and this race benefited the ASPCA. This is one race I have to do every single year. Until next year RNRLA!