What a weekend! We spent Saturday morning at the Palm Springs Mayor’s Healthy Planet, Healthy You Race and Wellness Festival. It was a great event, but, oh so hot! The day topped out at 107, but it was in the 80s even very early in the morning.
That is why I was excited to head to Redlands this morning. Alan was going to announce the Run Through Redlands Half Marathon, 10K and 5K Races. I was happy to go along, even though it meant getting up at 3:30 am on a Sunday morning, because I knew that it would be much cooler than the desert. I had a 10 mile run to complete, my last long run before La Jolla Half Marathon, and I was determined to get it done.
This is the 29th year for the Run Through Redlands and they expected a crowd of around 4,000 runners for the three races. Redlands is a lovely, older community (my grandparents lived there when I was a kid), about an hour from La Quinta. I don’t know it well at all, not really having been there for many years. The race start was at the Redlands Mall, which was easy to find. We got there early, parked, and Alan went to work.
Although Redlands was much cooler than the desert, it was still expected to warm up to around 90, so I decided to head out for my run soon after we arrived. That way I could run on the course, not get lost, turn around at the appropriate time, and not get in anybody’s way.
Interestingly, even though the first race was scheduled at 7:20, when I headed out to run at about 6:40, the course was barely even marked. I actually went on line on my phone to check out the course map so that I would head in the right direction. The roads were still open, though the barriers for the most part were leaning against poles at each intersection. The course was marked with little arrows on poles and big red arrows on the road.
I finally figured out which direction I wanted to head in and took off. Though the course started off on a main street, Redlands Blvd., it soon turned and started to wind up toward the hillier, older section of the city. Many of the homes were quite old, but also many new ones had replaced the older ones, all with fairly large lots. As I started to go uphill, I had just a hint of deja vu. No, I hadn’t run here before, but I felt that I was somewhere near where my grandparents had lived.
I continued to run, hoping that a street name, landmark, or something would pop out at me and strike a chord, but no such luck. I even stopped and texted my sister to see if she could remember the name of the street our grandparents had lived on. I also stopped to take a few pictures because it was really a lovely area. Older, lots of big, beautiful homes, giant trees, and even a small orange grove. I was excited to see that because the whole area used to be covered in groves and I’d been afraid they were all gone. The air was scented with orange blossoms, and I even picked an orange and ate it on the run.
The course was quite nice. After a gentle climb into the hills, it developed into a gentle, rolling type of run. I chose my route as I ran, first planning a simple out to mile 5 and back, then when I saw a turn off at about mile three for the 10k, decided to follow the 1/2 marathon route for a couple more miles, turn around, then follow the 10k course to the finish line. Hey, I can run and do math at the same time!
As I was running back toward the 10k route, the first half marathoners started coming toward me. It looked like a small crowd, but that was probably just because the leaders were a ways out in front. When I merged in with the 10k-ers, I seemed to be at the back of the pack, with slower runners and walkers. About a mile from the finish, the 5k runners also merged in and suddenly the road was packed with runners! It seemed like thousands, though it was probably hundreds, filling the street, all ages, all heading toward the finish line.
Talk about perfect planning! When I peeled off before the finisher’s chute, my Garmin beeped 10 miles at me. I saw Alan immediately, elevated above the finish line. The poor man had no microphone, and he was trying to yell over the noise of the hundreds of people finishing the race. No one had planned ahead and they weren’t set up for finish line sound (it was in a different area than the start line). Alan always brings a megaphone along with him, and I offered to go get it from the car. Not an easy chore, with so many people massing around the area. By the time I got it and came back, he was set up with his mic.
Now, having finished my run, I was hungry! We had Clif Bars and bananas in the car, but I was happy to see a Mexican restaurant called Oscar’s set up at the small expo. They had bean and rice burritos for only $2. At my questioning, I was told that no, they did not have cheese, and no, they were not cooked with lard. They were vegetarian (and in this case, vegan). Score!
I wandered around for a while, but having just finished running 10 miles, I was tired. I finally settled down close to where Alan was working, where I could sit in the shade, stretch, and rest. We had a cooler, so I had plenty of cold water to drink, and I was happy just to relax.
So, my training for La Jolla is complete. Now, when I say training, I mean that I’ve been putting in some mileage, building up my long runs, so that running a half marathon won’t be a 13.1 mile suffer-fest. It is a far cry from my training a few years ago, I’ve done no speed work at all, and I only run three days a week. But it is a huge improvement over last year’s race, where my training was so poor I couldn’t decide if I should even attempt the race (and finally opened up the question to my readers).
After several years announcing the 5k in La Jolla, Alan was promoted to the big show this year, the half marathon. So I am looking forward to hearing the words, “Here comes my favorite person in the whole wide world,” as I run across the finish line.
So, how was your weekend?