Thursday, March 27, 2014

Race Report: Leprechaun Leap 5k (and other weekend stuff)

The Leprechaun Leap 5k is a really cool race put on by Renegade Racing and the Tustin Chamber of Commerce.  It's one of the better 5ks in Southern California with a fun, flat, and fast course that is more than just a "run 1.5 miles out and then turnaround and run back" type of course.

I tend to not do 5ks unless I want to use them as an idea for where my "sprinting" fitness is at or unless I have family and friends doing them.  Usually, a 5k is simply too much of a hassle (registration, driving over, waiting around, etc) to spend 3-4 hours in a day for what is essentially a 20 minute race.

What can change that for me is if the venue is pretty unique, if the course is something special, or if it is for a good cause that hits close to home for me.

This particular race is highlighted by a run that goes through an aircraft hangar as an actual part of the course - which really perked my interest.  In addition, it's a race that isn't a "straight out and back" - which I felt would be a good test for me to push the pace and see where I come out.

Course Map of the Leprechaun Leap 5k - not your standard out and back by any means

I wanted to get a good time in this race - so I decided to use my Skora Phase running shoes.  This was mainly because they were green (really florescent yellow, but it's as close to green as I had).  I did, afterall - have to keep with the theme.

My friend and I arrived at the race with plenty of time to spare and I actually got to get near the front of the pack at the start line - so I hoped to end up with a good time.  The gun went off and off we went!

Start line was crowded but it opened up pretty quickly.

My wife says I'm always taking myself too seriously at races, so I'm trying to goof it up a bit.
Pulling away from the main pack at the first turnaround.

This was right before we entered the hangar towards the end of the race.
The race itself went as about any 5k would for me.  I pushed the pace at the beginning attempting to stay with the front of the pack but wasn't able to maintain my pace (mainly due to lack of fitness this early in the season).  My PR for a 5k is in the 16:30 range - but I knew that would be out of the question due to the lack of running I've had recently (both in overall mileage and speed work/interval training).  As soon as I realized my legs were not going to hold a 5:30 pace through the race - I dialed it back again and just tried to keep ahead of the "second group".
Coming down the turn into the finish line.

At the finish line.

I managed to do this - thanks to a late kick as we exited the hangar.  I ended up with a 17:58 for first place in my age group and 5th overall.  That's about as good as I was going to be able to do.  There may have been a few seconds in there if I had paced myself better on the first mile - but all in all - I'm a happy camper.

My brother in law (who did the race with me) also did very well  - scoring a PR on the 5k for him - going at a sub 8:00 pace for the first time.  Super stoked for him!

The event was extremely well run, with lots of little fun things to do at the festival.  The awards presentation was fun too, as Tustin native and former UCLA/Carolina Panthers running back DeShaun Foster was there to hand out the awards.  Was pretty cool getting an award from a guy who helped carry my fantasy team in 2006/2007.  There was also a band playing - which created a really fun vibe for everyone at the event.
As for the support on the course - it was fantastic.  There were multiple water stations - and the volunteers at the finish line were tremendous in making sure that food and drink were available for everyone around.  To top all of that off - the finisher medal is pretty cool as well.  I'll definitely be back next year!

Getting my award at the award ceremony.

The finisher medal is really high quality - and very cool looking.

In other news, my wife somehow convinced me to try out a crossfit competition last weekend.  Now, keep in mind - I do NOT do crossfit.  I really don't do much outside of swim, bike, and run exercises Sometimes the occasional time on the rower, paddleboarding, surfing, hiking - that kind of stuff - but never any weight lifting or anything like that.  

So when my wife approached me about doing the Beach Body Bash put on by Road Runner Sports Torrance, I was extremely hesitant.  However, she convinced me to give it a try so I went in having no idea what I was getting myself into - and simply deciding to take it easy and just relax the entire time.

I met up with her crossfit coach, from Crossfit Tough Angels, and were the first ones to show up.  He assured me that I had nothing to worry about and that everyone from CTFA would be doing the workout as a group. Also, I had to get clarification from him and my wife as to what half of the workout terms meant.
The crowd starting to come in as registration opened.
The workouts were basically a mix of running and general crossfit workouts with mini "challenges" thrown in.  Basically, you were to do a crossfit workout, then run to a challenge booth (located 1/4 or 1/2 a mile away), perform the challenge, and then return for another crossfit workout - and so on and so forth.

This was the workout board for this event

The event started with everyone getting their space in the parking lot, and then doing their 50 burpees (which I grew up with them being called "up and downs" or "sloppy sprawl drills").  A note - there were people keeping count, but due to the amount of people that were doing the event - you were more or less on the honor system to make sure you did the correct number.  I actually didn't have too much problems with the burpees - and was able to do all of them without slowing down too much.

Everyone getting their burpee on.
When I finished mine I stopped and waited for everyone else to finish - but I saw that a couple of people from our gym had already taken off.  Figuring that it was now every man (or woman) for themselves - I took off on the run as well.

I'm not the fastest runner in the world, but I'm definitely a much better runner than I am a crossfitter - and it showed at this race.  I managed to catch everyone who was running out to the first challenge and was the first back to the parking lot with the egg (the first challenge was to grab an egg, and run back to the "transition area" without breaking it).  Next up was 30 push ups - which wasn't a problem at all.
I probably don't have the best form anymore, but I did thousands of these daily in college.
After that, I ran out to the next challenge (get a toothpick and run back with it in your mouth).  Easy enough - and it was about at this point where people from my wife's gym (and my wife herself) were cheering me on.  This is when I realized that I was in the lead of this event and if I could keep pushing it - maybe I could win it.

I got back to transition area and the next "crossfit" workout was 30 air squats.  "Sweet, no problem!" I thought.  My wife showed me how to do these right before we started and I did 3 or 4 and it didn't seem like a big deal.

Well, it kind of is a big deal.  Especially after you have been running and are going full speed and working muscles in your body that aren't really into getting worked.

In any case, I got them done - but it wasn't pretty.

This is how I thought I looked while doing them.

This is how I actually looked. =(
Once that nightmare was over (it was never really over - as my legs were in pain after doing those) - I ran out back onto the run course - still in first place by some miracle - to the next challenge.  The next challenge was to sort though this big box filled with loose cards and bring back a "heart."  Not only did I find a "heart" - but mine had Han freakin' Solo on it - which could mean nothing but good things.

When I got back, they pointed me over to the kettlebells and had me do 30 kettlebells.  Basically, the technique shown to me prior to the event for the kettlebells was similar to the air squat - except you're swinging a 50+ pound kettlebell while doing it.  There's also this thing you do with your pelvis (where you pop it out to make the whole process easier) that I either completely forgot about when my wife showed me how to do it, or she neglected to tell me.  I was basically squating and using nothing but my shoulders and triceps to move the kettlebell.  There aren't any pictures of the process - but judging by how my face was contorting, I can assure you that they wouldn't have been pretty.

By this time, my legs were pretty much toast - and none of that had anything to do with the running.  I wasn't wearing a GPS watch during this event, but I figured my last mile (the final run was a .5 out and back before the final workout) was in the 8:30 range or something like that.  I felt like molasses on the road.

When I got back - I was still in first place and well ahead of most everyone.  However, the last event was 100 double unders with the jump rope.  Outstanding.  I hadn't jump roped forever.  I couldn't remember the last time I did that.  Even during wrestling and BJJ - where they used jump rope as a good way to warm up or cut weight - I always elected for something else and never really did it.  I'm sure there was a time where I did though and just can't remember - which is the only reason I'm not saying that I've never jump roped before this.

I kept thinking "just remember 5th grade hopscotch, just remember 5th grade hopscotch"

I managed to finish and still maintain first place - which was a miracle considering how horrific I was a jump roping and how many people caught up to me because my jump rope was just THAT BAD.  

A pretty good day - all things considered.
The prize I ended up winning was a "Head to Toe" Reebok outfit - which I gave to my wife (since she'll get more use out of the stuff than I will).  So she was pretty stoked to get outfitted in all new gear.  Also, during the raffle they held, I won a pair of Beats by Dre studio headphones (also given to her since our dog ate the pair she previously had), and my wife won a box of Rock Tape and a seminar on how to properly apply it.  Pretty good haul for a day's worth of work!

Next up for me is the PCRF Ride and Run which is another event put on by Renegade Racing.  It was outstanding last year and I hope for more the same this year.  It's a 50 mile ride on Saturday, and a half marathon on Sunday.  I'm nursing a sore hamstring, so these won't be competitive events for me - but they'll be fun nonetheless.  

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