Thursday, June 6, 2013

2013 Grand View Gator 5k. Did that dude in Flip Flops really win another race?

Some people take pride in the college or high school they went too?
 Nothing against Mira Costa High School or CSULB 
but my
 Alma Mater 

The year was 1991 It was my  final year at Grand View elementary school, I was about a foot shorter and 15 pounds heavier (over 160 lbs).  I was your typical happy kid I loved sports but I loved Nintendo more. Was I a Vegan back then? Ha Ha! I ate fast food everyday and was a big time soda drinker.  I also had intestinal pains that would sometimes keep me up at night and keep out of school the next day.   If you told I would become I runner I'd gladly bet you a double cheeseburger that you were wrong!
Random running picture 2010 first place MB 5k
 Lucky for me I would grow upwards rather than outwards.  It would  be another 9 years till I ran my first real race the 2000 L.A. Marathon and 20 years till I would return to Grand View in 2011 and win the Gator 5k. I returned last year hoping to repeat as the winner but a smarter runner swooped in front of me  with 100 feet to go for the win.
Now I was back at the ripe old age of 34 and I was here to regain my title.
I even picked me up a pair of Gator green running shorts to show my school pride.
As we lined up at  the starting line the principle proclaimed this to be the biggest Gator Run ever, with over 1,100 competitors. Soon after, some cute kid sung the national anthem and the Mayor of Manhattan Beach had his finger on the trigger of an air horn ready to start the race.
The competition looked pretty tough but I blended right in?
 I wasn't the only kid with their mom snapping a picture of them at the starting line.
Although the principal encourages the kids not to line up in the front so they don't get trampled many of them do.  I think it's pretty cool and make the start a lot of fun albeit a little bit nerve racking trying to navigate.
The course starts by running straight down a pretty steep hill after the first 100 feet.  I was hoping to be in the lead by the time I got to the bottom but that goofy goober on the far left with giant stride was able to hold me off  "all I could do was chuckle"  In the last few years I have learned to become less reckless running downhill developing a shorter stride and more of forefoot landing in my 
The course isn't very flat and runs through the community I grew up in.

Once at the bottom the I made the turn on Blanche towards Valley and took the lead but I wasn't alone.  I had 2 high school kids running stride for stride with me.  I let them get a few steps ahead of me as we headed towards the first turn around.  Although I was now in third place it was me that was controlling the pace.  I would surge a bit and so would they.  After the first  mile the course begins to climb.  For some dumb reason I consider myself a good climber although I never run hills. 
(delusions of grandeur perhaps)

I accelerated up the hill and one of the 2 kids dropped off.  By the time we reached thee 1/2 way point I had gained a small lead over the dude as well.

The past two years the pace Vehicle had been a 60's Muscle car.  Running directly behind the exhaust of those gas guzzling behemoths was horrible! This year the pace car was a porsche convertible. 
Thank You so much to whomever decided on this change! 

As I ran back down Valley I thought about my win at the 2010 Manhattan Beach 10k which uses the same stretch of road. I ran a good race that day and I was doing the same today. The race would be over soon and all I had to do was keep running hard.

With a 1/2 mile to go I made the final turn around I assessed my lead to be at least 10 seconds over second place.  Comfortable but no guarantee I was gonna win.  After getting beat last year by a dude who out of nowhere sprinted in front of me at the finish line.  I wasn't gonna let that happen again.  I charged hard up the final climb and accelerated through the finish for the win.
With an Official time of 16:30 I finished in first place by 18 seconds and a pace of 5:18. 

Once again my Luna Sandals proved to be the perfect footwear for me as they had a two weeks prior at the Born to Run 50km.  For the second time in a row I had exceeded my expectations time wise and came away with a win.  Rather than patting myself on the back I'd like to thank my competition for pushing me.
"Good Job Justin #527 you ran a great race and made do better in the process. Thank You"
 Mom was there at the finish line to congratulate me and make sure I ate all my orange slices
She taught at Grand View for 30 years and still has her picture up on the wall.
After  a pretty amazing rendition of YMCA by a bunch of groms it was time to collect my prize.
Thank you to Murad for "Holy Cow this stuff is expensive gift basket"
I am gonna be so pretty once this stuff kicks in.  
Yeah Right :)

Thank you to all the sponsors and Volunteers.  
I had a great time and hope to be back next year!

"Because the Grand View Gators are so cool
Were the kids from the Grand View School"
(Last two lines of the school song)

1 comment:

  1. Kids do not feel comfortable in the dresses designed with too many hangings, laces, buckles and beads.Do not buy the oversized dress to be used for next seasons.Use Florida Gator Gear For Kids