I decided to drive down and run the Santa Monica Classic 10k. With a few races popping up, I like to use them as excuses for a vacation. Driving 90 minutes is hardly long enough to classify as a vacation, but Santa Monica and Edwards, CA seem like different worlds. Which…they are.
The last 10k I ran was January 1, 2020. I declared 2020 “my year.” Which is funny to look back on now. I ran roughly 40 seconds faster in 2020, and I remember feeling good about it.
Since we didn’t know the lay of the land for the Santa Monica Classic 10k, we decided to stay overnight. It was a pricy adventure to stay, but I figured we don’t eat a lot of take-out now that it takes over an hour round trip to get to a decent restaurant. So anyway, we got to Santa Monica the night before. I wanted to see the Santa Monica pier, so we walked roughly 3-4 miles the day before. Probably not the smartest thing to do before the Santa Monica Classic 10k, but I wanted to see the pier and the boardwalk.
The morning of the Santa Monica Classic 10k, we couldn’t find the start. The race volunteer had pointed us in the opposite direction. I should have looked at the racecourse to see the exact location and that the Santa Monica Classic 10k isn’t pancake flat. I thought I would get 0 elevation gain (or maybe 50), but the Santa Monica Classic 10k had roughly 250.
I arrived to the start around 8:25, and the Santa Monica Classic 10k started right at 8:30. It was later than I prefer but not a big deal. The first mile was packed, and I ran a 6:45. My goal was to run in the 6:40s, but I already felt like I was working too hard. People were passing me left and right.
I finally settled into a groove during mile two and ran a 6:50. All I could think was this was not going to go well. There was water on the course, but I wanted something with electrolytes. It was in the high 70s and humid. Around mile 2, we went by the race finish, and I saw the 5kers finishing up.
The Santa Monica Classic 10k and 5k share parts of the course, and even though most of the 5kers were done, we did weave around people. This is my least favorite part of any running race, and I wish races would never do this. It’s unpleasant for everyone. We headed away from the beach, and I found myself falling apart. I ran a 7:07 3rd mile, and I felt like I was working hard. Too hard for 7:07. I knew it was humid, but it still felt incredibly difficult to me.
We headed out off the beach, and I ran a 7:08 4th mile. I was having an inner meltdown because I haven’t really run any 7:XX 10k times. What was happening? I felt like I was working hard. Around the turnaround, two men passed me chatting. I heard them say: “thank goodness we are done with the climbing.” Had we been climbing in the Santa Monica Classic 10k, and I didn’t realize it? It wasn’t until I looked back at the elevation profile that I realized we had been on a slow 250 gradual incline. My body noticed, but I didn’t.
Right after the 4-mile turnaround, I felt like I had been slingshotted. The downhill felt good, and I didn’t feel as out of shape. I hit mile 5 in 6:41, and I felt good about it. I no longer felt terrible.
I began to feel like I was on a roll and started pushing myself. It’s been a while since I’ve found the “pain cave” in a race, but I feel like I successfully did that at the Santa Monica Classic 10k. I ran the last mile in 6:22 and finished the .2 in 6:19 pace. I even passed a few people, which rarely happens at any distance.
I crossed the Santa Monica Classic 10k finish line at 42:34, which I’m pleased with. Which it’s one of my slowest 10k times ever; I am proud that I finished strong. I enjoyed the race, and I’m glad we went down there. I hope I get back to Santa Monica again soon.
Questions for you:
Have you run the Santa Monica Classic 10k?
Do you like 10ks?