56th Annual Balboa 8 Miler

Every race yields learning experiences. Beginning with beverage choices the evening before. I am someone that through excessive consumption has become desensitized to the caffeine in Diet Coke. Generally, I can drink it at any point in the day and will have no issues passing out in the evening. In an effort to "save calories" Friday night, I opted for a Diet Coke and vodka (skinny bitch) instead of a pint of IPA (which is like 150+ calories more). That small amount of caffeine combined with have-to-get-up-early-and run mind game jitters resulted in not falling asleep until after midnight. Racing on 4-ish hours of sleep.

Another lesson is to question why a race is only $15 for 8 miles long. Perhaps the description of this race should also add in the features: "Bag check also includes your ass and we'll hand it to you at the finish." The course had a total ascent of 1115 feet and total descent of 1110 feet. That's no joke over only 8 miles. Mile 2-4 and 5-7 were brutal. Like dirt hills where you can barely run them and if you walked you would be at the same speed. I ran up them just because I knew if I walked, I wouldn't keep running when I got to the top. The unfortunate part is that the course is an out and back. So you have to repeat the pain from miles 2-4 in reverse from 5-7, with a really nasty uphill around mile 6.5. That last hill almost broke me. I wanted to just trot in at a 10:00 pace and had to convince myself that I had enough left to push the last 1.5 miles.

I didn't even eat a Clif Blok during the race because I couldn't imagine wasting precious energy to reach into my fuel belt, unwrap, and eat it. I had to convince myself to drink Gatorade because I knew I at least needed that. I was running behind one woman at the monster hill and I swear the noises she was making, I thought she was going to burst into tears from the effort. She ended up coming in 7 seconds ahead of me, so I guess that worked out for her.

The race was well run, though. Really friendly volunteers and friendly participants. While I was literally cursing the course during, I am glad I did it.

My race time is officially 1:11:40, 8:58 pace. My garmin said 1:12:13 for 8.13 miles, 8:53 pace. I think the course is a bit longer than 8 miles - most of the mile markers were off by .07-.15. I came in 7/18 in my age group but the reality is the people at this race were all pretty hard-core runners. Many track club members in their official orange/navy uniform. I was competing with an above average field.

The other thing I did at the event was get a gait analysis done. RRS had a mobile trailer with treadmills, video gear, etc, for runners to get a free analysis done. I had an analysis done years ago at an excellent running store in Marina Del Rey, so I never bothered to get it done again. But I figured, what the heck? I have always thought I was a moderate overpronator and was told that years ago. Talk about surprised when I found that I should actually be running in neutral shoes. My right foot is rigid and while my arches look low, the weight sensor thingy showed them as high arches (they don't collapse in when I stand - I keep the weight on the sides). The annoying thing visible on the video is my left foot pronates and is semi-flexible... Boooo. I need custom insoles so that I don't over-correct my right with stability shoes or under-correct my left with only neutral shoes. Stupid inconsistent Left and Right! Make up your mind!

Whatever, I am going to finish the year out with my existing shoes because they are fairly new-ish and I'm not having any problems as of yet. They probably still each have 200-300 miles left on them both, so while I am bummed for my right foot being over-corrected with the extra stability, I think it will be ok for now. I have to decide if I want to go custom orthotics from a doc (small fortune) or do the Road Runner custom ones which are much cheaper, but only last through two pairs of shoes.


  1. Those hilly routes can be brutal. Up and down, up and down, it's very exhausting. I feel exhausted reading it and I'm sitting on my arse. :)

  2. Congrats on the finish - definitely sounds brutal! Cool that you had gait analysis done - I think everyone in the world has a different right/left story. I would totally do the same thing as you - finish out your current shoes, particularly since you aren't having issues.

  3. I'm impressed that you did under 9:00/mi on such a hard course!
    ...and that the race only cost $15! You can't find a 5k around her for that price!!


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