Santa Monica Classic 10k (44:13)

Santa Monica Classic 10k

The Santa Monica Classic 10k is one of my favorite races of the year. Despite being hot and humid, it’s always got good vibes and just a challenging course. It’s one of the flatter California race courses I’ve run, but not flat. You definitely feel the 250 feet gain. Race day is always hard but it’s also a combination of the heat and humidity plus elevation.

Santa Monica Classic 10k

Before the Santa Monica Classic 10k:

I like to spend the night and avoid the chaos of driving 90 minutes in the morning to Santa Monica. While not cheap, it’s worth it to me. I arrived in Santa Monica around 3 p.m., picked up my bib, ate a quick dinner, and then relaxed in my hotel. I fell asleep early (around 7:30) and slept until 5:30 a.m. I got a solid 10 hours of sleep, but I’ve been exhausted all week, so I was in a sleep deficit.

The morning was uneventful, and I jogged the 1.5 miles to the Santa Monica Classic 10k start. I decided on some unusual race day things for me:

  • I decided to race with music. Something I haven’t done since 2011. It was partially because I wanted my music for my warmup, and then I didn’t want to stick my headphones into my pocket. (I just got jogged from my hotel to the race start). Sadly, I locked my phone around mile 2, so I only got music for 2 miles, LOL.
  • I ran in loose shorts. In my twenties, I used to think running in loose shorts meant I wasn’t “serious about a race.” I never raced in shorts with an inseam longer than 2 inches.  I like the rabbit Fuel and Fly shorts a lot, and they fit my phone, so I chose them. They were great.

Back to the Santa Monica Classic 10k recap. I met with LA Road Runners, took some photos, and did another few miles before the race. My plan for the day was to do 14, and I knew it would be brutal after the race because it was so hot. It rained a bit, and I was excited about the possibility of rain. It was already 73 and very humid due to the incoming potential rain. Sadly, it only rained briefly and then returned to being humid. I got the Santa Monica Classic 10k race about 20 minutes early. I’ve learned my lesson that you can’t roll up 5 minutes before and expect to swim upstream to the race start. It’s too crowded.

Santa Monica Classic 10k Race:

The Santa Monica Classic 10k started around 8:36. From previous years, I knew the Santa Monica Classic 10k was hilly, and you basically climb a hill until mile 4 and then run back down. Since it’s point-to-point, I believe it’s a net uphill race. My goal for the first 3 miles was to stay relaxed and not fly and die. It makes the two hilliest miles 3-4 brutal (like last year, LOL).

I hit mile 1 of the Santa Monica Classic 10k in 6:59. I was hoping for a little faster, but I also tried to remember it was 75 degrees and humid. I know I am in sub 7-minute 10k pace on a good day. But that was not at the Santa Monica Classic 10k.

I ran the next mile of the Santa Monica Classic 10k in 7:10. I told myself: hey, that’s 7:05 average, but I also knew the two hilliest miles were coming up. My headphones died shortly after mile 2, and I was left to climb with my usual thoughts which were basically: This is so hard. Okay, you got this. I got passed quite a bit from mile 2-3. I ran a 7:31 mile and hit 5k in 22:30. I told myself: if I can hold this pace, I bet I can break 45. Since I was above 45 last year (I couldn’t remember the exact time; I just knew it was above 45), I thought I could at least be faster than last year.

We continued climbing from miles 3-4 of the Santa Monica Classic 10k, and it didn’t feel “too bad.” I got in my groove and found myself passing people. As the runners who had already turned around came flying by, I calculated I was between 10-15th woman. I hit mile 4 in Santa Monica Classic 10k in 7:33, and then it was time to *finally* head downhill.

Since moving to Edwards, I’ve become comfortable running faster downhill. I wouldn’t say I’m great, but I don’t hold back as much as when I once did. I ran a 6:48 fourth mile, and we returned to the main road. I kept telling myself 1.2 miles.

It hurt, but I kept focusing on the end. A man who sounded like he was about to throw up passed me during that time. Listening for a half mile was unpleasant, but it was motivating to run faster.

I ran mile 5 of the Santa Monica Classic 10k in 6:41 and finished in 44:13 as the 13th woman overall.

Santa Monica Classic 10k Thoughts:

The Santa Monica Classic 10k 2023 is my second fastest and second slowest Santa Monica Classic 10k time (Fastest was 42:34 in 2021). I’m happy with my effort, and it’s nice to be a solid 2 minutes faster than last year in worse conditions. It was so hot that my shorts nearly fell on my cooldown, LOL. I’m looking forward to continuing to build fitness from here. I don’t have a ton of 10ks in the future, but I would like to test out my fitness eventually because I do know I am in sub-7-minute 10k shape.

You can see Strava here and more race recaps here.

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Questions for you:

Have you run the Santa Monica Classic 10k?

What is the hottest Race you’ve done?

I know this isn’t the hottest, but it was the hottest year I’ve run that year, and it’s definitely in the top 10.