Funnest 5K Race Ever!

I know that, as a runDisney fan, I should only think of the runDisney races as the funnest races ever. However, this past weekend, I had the best 5K race I’ve ever had on a race course that was super fun. I ran in the Miller Children’s Hospital 5K as part of the Long Beach International City Bank Marathon. Originally, I was supposed to run this 5K with my wife and two of our friends. However, our friends were unable to make it. So, it looked like it would just be my wife and myself. We attended the Health Expo on Saturday at the Long Beach Convention Center.


This Expo was just as big, if not bigger than the Expo at the Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend. Fortunately, this expo was held in a much larger space. However, the crowds were huge. So, it didn’t feel any better than the crowding of the DL Half Marathon Expo. One difference I noticed was that there was not much going on in the official merch area.


See what I mean? Pretty empty. There were some cool shirts that were tempting. Like this one…


And this one…


However, they were not tempting enough to actually make a purchase. I liked the way this expo was set up. You walked in and got your race bib. Then, next in line was the place where you got your race shirt and goodie bag. As you continued forward, you went into the Official merchandise area and then into the main expo floor.


Like the other expos I’ve been to, there was a mixture of vendors selling various running related products and people representing upcoming races.  Since I’m running in the Rock N Roll Los Angeles Half Marathon in a few weeks (October 27th), I had to check out their booth. Doing so only made me really excited for this race. Check out the finishers medal…


Pretty cool! Don’t you think? This is one seriously awesome medal. It has a good weight and will make a nice addition to my growing medal collection. I also got to see the race shirt I’ll be receiving. I’m pretty stoked about the shirt…

As I said yesterday, I love blue!


I also came across the booth for the Surf City Marathon. As I mentioned yesterday, I’m planning on making the Surf City Half Marathon my first race after the Walt Disney World Marathon.  Of course, they had the medals from 2013 on display…


The surfboard medal looks pretty cool! Earlier this year, I had a friend run in this race. After seeing their medal in pictures, I started thinking about running in this race for 2014. After seeing the medal up close, I’m sold.


Also, right next to the Surf City Marathon booth, was the Orange County Marathon booth. Their medals look pretty cool as well. Plus, as I mentioned yesterday, running in this race right after the Surf City Marathon will complete 2 of the races needed to get this beauty…


So, I’m definitely going to want to finish the Surf City Half Marathon, OC Half Marathon, and the Long Beach Half Marathon in 2014.


Of course, we couldn’t help but pose in front of this display. Looks like 2014 will be the 30th running of the Long Beach Marathon. I also learned that 2014 will be the 5th running of the OC Marathon. So, there might be some extra special medals for these events next year.


On the way out to the car, we saw that the Port-a-Potties were already set up and ready for the next day.


At night, my shirt was all set to go for the next day. I still haven’t mastered the art of getting ready the night before yet. So, I got to sleep much later than I wanted to. Oh well, there will be more chances to practice this.

I was up at 5am to get ready. Unfortunately, my wife had an absolutely awful night and didn’t feel well enough to go with me to do the 5K. She was bummed about feeling so crummy. However, she wanted me to go and run. During the night, I hear her tossing and turning. So, this wasn’t entirely unexpected. Now it was time to change my mindset from fun run with friends, to fun run with the wife, to seeing how fast I could run a 5K. I had approximately an hour drive time to get myself ready. If you remember from my post yesterday, my playlists were wiped clean on my phone. No big deal if I was doing this race for fun with my wife. However, by myself, it was a different story.


Until I got here, the drive was wide open. However, much like the folks with the marathon had advertised, it took over a half hour to get from the freeway exit to the parking lot. Since I read this the night before, I was more than prepared and had plenty of time.


I parked in the structure by the Long Beach Arena and Convention Center. Isn’t it cool how they’ve painted marine life onto the outside of the arena? Anyways, I got parked with plenty of time to put together a playlist to run with. Since I wasn’t at my computer, I was purely guessing how much music I needed. However, it seemed like a good list and totally worked out well during the race!


With the playlist set, I was ready to head out to the corrals. The Half Marathon was about 15 minutes from starting when I arrived. So, I had nothing to worry about. As the announcers were talking, I recognized a voice…


Our very own Rudy Novotny from the runDisney races was there to get the Half Marathoners going! Rudy’s unmistakable voice came through loud and clear as he said, “Runners. Seeeeeeeeeeeeetttttt….Goooooooooooo!


And they were off. I watched as wave after wave started their 13.1 mile journey through the streets of Long Beach. Next year, I’m planning on being among them. Once the half marathoners were through, it was time for us 5K runners to line up…


So, I got in line. After all, there were no corrals for the 5K. We just had one big group start.


Before you knew it, we were off on our 3.1 mile journey. I planned on taking pictures along the way. However, I got lost in the fun and excitement of being in another race, that I didn’t get the camera out. Plus, I wanted to see how fast I could go. The plan was to take this like my training runs with 1 minute run, 1 minute walk intervals and see how it went. Well, there was never a moment where I felt out of control. I made all of my run intervals and all of my walk intervals without fail. The lone exception happened when a guy on the course asked me how long it took me to get past the 1 mile marker. He asked 5 seconds before a run interval was supposed to start. So, in telling him, I got started on my run interval about 15 seconds late. No big deal. I still ran for a minute and ended up taking a 45 second walk break the next time to get back on track.

Like most races, the first mile was spent weaving in and out of traffic. A really big positive for this 5K course was the wide open roads we had. There were not very many places where the running path got narrow! Score! I finished the first mile in just over 11 minutes. So, I was off to a good start. The second mile was more of the same. By the time I crossed the second mile marker, I was averaging a few seconds more than 11 minutes per mile. So, I figured that I wasn’t going to PR this race. With 1.1 miles to go, we got our only water stop. Since my short training runs were done without taking a water break and because I was feeling great, I opted not to take on water. We passed the Aquarium of the Pacific in the last mile. It was cool to run past tha place. I was feeling great and taking everything in. One cool thing is that there was a woman in the race who I kept pace with from a little after the first mile through the end. When I ran, I’d pass her. When I’d walk, she’d pass me.  I crossed the finish line a little ahead of her because I was running at the end. It was fun to have someone who I would keep up for 2 miles.

As I approached the last mile marker, I noticed that I’d be doing so during a run interval. However, I’d have a walk interval shortly thereafter. So, I had to decide whether to run the entire last 0.2 miles or take a walk break. I opted to take the walk break as if I was going further than a 5K. However, once I saw my time, I decided that 10 seconds was enough and I ran to the finish! My finishing time was 34 minutes 04 seconds! I thought I might have a 5K PR!


See my new medal?


Not bad for a 5K medal. The Half Marathon and Marathon medals looked just like this one. The only difference was they had “Half Marathon” or “Marathon” written on them where the “5K” is on mine. Since the half marathoners were still going, I decided to walk around and cheer them on.


Not too bad of a view, right? I mean, the Queen Mary looks amazing!


Of course, I had to get a self picture with the Queen Mary


Zooming in…

Anyways, when I got home, I found out that I was just 3 seconds off from my previous 5K race PR. If I’d only known before, I probably wouldn’t have taken that walk break in the last tenth of a mile. It was still a great race and the best I’ve ever felt on a 5K course! So much fun! I highly recommend this 5K course to anyone who is looking for a fun 5K course to race on. It’s a relatively flat course with no crazy hills. Plus, it’s a timed 5K race. So, you do get an official time.., and, you get to run in a pretty scenic area. The finishers medal was awesome and I thought the race was very well-organized. The only negative from this event was that, outside of the start and finish line area, there were very few spectators along the course to cheer you along. In a 5K distance, that’s not a big deal to me.

It was the funnest 5K race ever!

2 thoughts on “Funnest 5K Race Ever!

    1. Well, not all US races give out cool medals. I have one from last year that was just a round one. This year, I’ve lucked out with some pretty cool medals. You can see them in “Race Bling” tab.

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