Registration for the "Locals" race ran from 6:00 until about 5 minutes before the 8:15 start, so we headed towards downtown Oceanside, arriving about 7:15. We parked a few blocks (uphill) from the Civic Center where the check in was held and walked to registration.
When I saw the registration, I noticed that they were doing check in by bib number, and briefly panicked: I didn't know mine. Fortunately, they had a listing of names alphabetically with their corresponding bib number. As it turns out, the bibs were assigned alphabetically -- or at least appeared to have been since they other, unrelated, Oakes had the bib number just after mine.
I cannot help but think that this system would be akin to me setting up pre-reg pickup for DucKon (or any other con I might end up running reg for) by having a table where the people look up their badge number, and then get in the line to get their packet (or badge) which are sorted by number not name. But, perhaps, since bib number and the corresponding RFID tag, are crucial to get right, it may actually work better to do it this way.
After getting my and chip, we worked our way towards the starting line. About 20 minutes before the start, I found where the area for walkers was behind the starting line, and took my place fairly close to the walk/run dividing line since I expected to be fairly fast as a walker. I was a bit startled by the number of people with strollers in that area who appeared to be serious runners since running with a stroller (at least one designed for it) would still be faster than walking.
While I was waiting to start robot_grrl and Derrick sat at a bus stop, where no bus would stop this morning since the road was closed.
At 8:15 the race was started. They started it in three waves with the people who thought that they'd run a mile in less than 7 minutes in the first wave, then the people under 9 minutes in the second. The slow runners and the walkers made up the third wave.
Since the race is being timed (as most road races are these days) by RFID chips tied to our shoes, it didn't make much difference how early one started for their official time.
Shortly after starting I realized my first mistake of the morning -- I hadn't worn a hat with a brim. The course starts out by going south on Coast Highway from (pull up your maps of Oceanside California if you want to look at this) Pier View to Wisconsin. This whole way the sun was in my eyes, so a hat (and Tara thinks sunglasses) would have been very welcome.
About half-way to Wisconsin, I noticed that my legs were getting a bit stiff. I'm not sure if this was because I was walking faster than I should have been at first, the hard pavement, my body's current condition, or a combination of these factors. I think I slowed down just a hair at that point, because I soon loosened back up.
At Wisconsin, the race turns back north (ironically the southbound racers use the northbound lanes, and the northbound racers use the southbound lanes). A few blocks north we passed a 1 mile mark, and I determined I was on about a 14 minute pace (about what I expected, but not as good as I'd hoped). The route then continued back up Coast Highway, past at least one restaurant that had good cooking smells coming from it, back to Pier View. At that point we turned west and headed along Pier View towards the train tracks.
Somewhere along this stretch I realized my second clothing mistake. I was still cool when we started, so I was still wearing my coat. But I ended up taking it off and carrying it through more than half the race.
The run along Coast Highway and Pier View was mostly level, except for the tunnel under the train tracks on Pier View which, naturally, goes down and then back up. After crossing under the tracks, the route heads to Pacific and turns south again to Wisconsin. It was about half-way down this leg that we passed the second mile marker, and I was able to confirm I'd maintained a 14 minute pace.
The last legs of the race were a turn back west on Wisconsin, and down a fairly steep hill, to The Strand which runs along the inland edge of the beach. From there the race runs back North, ending just before the amphitheater and under the pier.
Along The Strand, I decided that I'd have been comfortable to remove my sweat shirt. But since I was already carrying my coat, and had strapped my water bottle on the outside of the sweat shirt, I left it on.
When I crossed the finish line, the clock there read 0:48, but I'm not sure that my time wasn't a bit better -- I don't know if it was displaying the time based on my chip crossing the finish line, or the time since the race had started.
At the finish line, there were some goodies, and I did get some water, a Souplantation muffin (a bit dry since it wasn't freshly baked) a bottle of a sports drink, an apple and a small energy bar. I passed on the bananas and the larger energy bars due to my allergy -- they make my mouth itch. I also missed the somewhat hidden place to pick up my t-shirt.
After I returned my RFID tag, I headed up the stairs (which was perhaps the hardest part) and then met Tara and Derrick where they were waiting by a coffee shop along Pier View on the east side of the tracks. We then walked back up the hill to Tara's car and headed home.
I'm a bit sore. In addition to slightly stiff legs, I think my shoes (which are walking shoes I've had for years and may be getting on their last legs) or my socks, have given me a "hot spot" on the sole of my right foot.
But I'm glad I walked, enjoyed myself and feel good for having gotten some exercise on what is often a day for sitting around and eating too much.
On the other hand, it sounds like Derrick should have walked. Tara says he spent the entire time griping about everything -- including how hot he was. As we were walking back up the hill to the car, he was even complaining about having to walk up the hill -- at least until I reminded him that I'd walked a lot more than he had this morning.