Friday, August 29, 2014

Race Report: LA Galaxy 5k

This race came about a month after Vineman - and I was originally 50/50 over whether I wanted to do it or not.  This was mainly because I originally intended to do Ironman Lake Tahoe - and my training was all pretty specific so a "toss away" 5k didn't really have it's place in my training load.

However, when Ironman Lake Tahoe was cancelled due to my injury at Vineman, I ended up taking a few weeks completely off (no training swim, bike, run at all) throughout most of August.  Even still, I didn't really intend to do this race.

However, my son is a big LA Galaxy and soccer fan (despite being one and a half years old, not being able to communicate in any discernible form of language, and probably having no idea what soccer is).  He'll zone out to a soccer game on TV (which is usually the Galaxy since they're the local team so I have an automatic rooting interest) - so I figured taking him to a real, live soccer game would be a treat for him.  That's basically what drove me to do this race - the fact that they let you stay to watch a game afterwards for free.  Pretty nice incentive for people to register in my opinion.  This, coupled with the cool swag bag and the fact that the race is 10 minutes from where I live - pretty much drove me to sign up and participate.

My son and I pre-race with Cosmos, the LA Galaxy mascot

Renegade Racing was running the race for the LA Galaxy and they could not have done a better job.  The race went off without a hitch and was easy from start to finish (from registration onsite to the finish).  It was just incredibly well done and I was stoked to be a participant in it.

Bruce roaming around at registration.

Now, to be clear - I had no illusions of winning this race.  First off, I would be running it with a stroller.  On smaller races, that may or may not eliminate me from being in contention right off the bat.  Second, I was coming off of an injury with very little training at all - so I wouldn't be performing as well as I could be.  Third, there was a huge prize given away (free airline tickets, season passes, signed jerseys, etc) to the first overall male and female finishers - which attracted a pretty good contingent of runners ranging from USATF guys to collegiate and high school cross country teams.  What this basically equated to was that I wasn't even in the league of some of the runners at this race - even if I was completely healthy and trained and not pushing a stroller.  So it would truly be a "fun run".

Also - there was a kid's race which I wanted my son to do that came afterwards - so that's always fun.
Puppies and children - it's like fishing with dynamite!

Anyway, on to the race report:

The 5k is actually a pretty cool and unique route that basically goes around the Stub Hub Center and around the two fields inside the Stub Hub center.  It's fairly flat (a couple of short inclines) with several "in and out" turns.  The scenery is unique and makes the run go by fairly quick (empty fields and an empty stadium that's very clean provides a pretty unique feel than the typical 5k scenery).  There were 3 aid stations - which is more than enough for a race this long.
At the field before the race started.

My son was a little confused about which way to go at the start of the race. hehe

I was able to get to the start of the race in my stroller, convincing the race directors that I would stay far to the outside of everyone and that it would be the easiest way for me to be out of everyone's way.  I explained that if I started at the back - I would end up walking and - even then - people consistently "zone out" and cross into my path.  They agreed and let me start up front (although people cut in front of me so I ended up walking the start anyway).

Stroller parked at the start line before the race.

The race went pretty well.  I stayed with the first group for the first one and half miles or so and then lack of training and lack of ability caught up with me and I started falling back.  The small inclines were really effecting me during the race - and I'm not sure if it's because I was just out of shape, pushing a stroller, or what.  I was able to make another push once we ended up back in the stadium to go up a few places.  I ended up 15th or so with a time of 18:38 (according to my watch).  They didn't have final results posted up by the time the kids race started, and they were gone by the time I got back from the kids' race - so I'm not sure what the final thing ended up being.  Either way - I'm pretty satisfied with the race, even though it was hardly a PR for me by any definition.
Going up the last hill pushing the stroller.

At the finish and, of course, they gave my son a medal too. :)
After the race, we got to hang around for a bit and pick up our swag bags (which were dubbed "finisher bags") - which were actually pretty sweet.  They contained an Herbalife water bottle, an LA Galaxy towel, an LA Galaxy soccer ball, some misc protein bars, a pair of cheapo sunglasses, and the bag itself was a pretty nice drawstring bag.  Pretty impressive in my opinion!
Of course, when we went to see the cheerleaders handing out the bags - they basically kidnapped my son and started handing me their phones to take a picture with him.  I'd love to puff out my chest and say it was because of his dad's handsome looks - but I can't even kid myself with a straight face saying that.
My son is apparently quite the lady's man.

The kid's race was a lot more fun.  There was a bunch of kids SUPER psyched to run the race, and they were chasing Cosmos (the mascot) throughout the entire thing.  My son was a bit whiny at the start - so I carried him for the first half of the race (which was ~half a mile or so).  
Heading out at the start of the kid's run.

Bruce wanted to be carried for the first bit - and I brought along the stroller just in case he wanted to sit down later on.
About halfway into the "race" (I hesitate to call it that because it wasn't timed or anything to my knowledge) my son decided he wanted to go down and walk around.  Which was awesome, except for the fact that he had absolutely 0 intentions of walking along the race route to the finish line.  He wanted to go down to the field, into the janitor's closets (the cleaning crew were outside prepping the stadium for the game), etc.  I managed to corral him in and hold his hand to the finish line - where he was greeted by a small army of cheerleaders who were head over heels in love with him.
Bruce trudging along.

Almost to the finish line.

Crossing the finish line to get his medal from his legion of adoring fans.
He backed away after getting his medal - pretty unsure of the entire thing.  lol
It was a really fun race and is a really fun way for a family to get together for a day to run a fun 5k, do a kid's race, and then stay for the game.  Lots of fun to be had all around and I'd recommend it to anyone when they do the race again next year.  I know I'll be doing it next year - as it's about as cheap of a family day as you can have!
Post race with our medals - well earned a fun day!

Of course, when we get OUT of the stadium is when he decides he wants to start running!

As soon as we got home he was KOed.  lol

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