This was the second of my summer “fun runs,” in which camaraderie and companionship supersede competition and clock times. And this one I ran with my younger daughter Alex as a mother-daughter team.
When I saw we were starting and finishing at the Del Mar Racetracks, I assumed we were outside the fairgrounds – mainly because the race coincided with the San Diego County Fair, which is a huge local attraction. Much to my surprise, the race began and ended on the actual track, which meant we got to go by dormant fair exhibits and sneak a peek at the livestock displays as we picked up our numbers, technical shirts, and major swag at the expo. The staff and support were excellent, even as lines grew outrageously long.
We also used different timing devices on our shoes. These weren’t chips but a new, wafer-thin technology that easily ties to shoes, and that we got to keep after the race. There were roughly 3,000 women signed up to run or walk on a very warm Sunday morning, the kind where you’re already sweating before anyone’s actually moving. It was quite a show of our gender, and one special military wife’s deployed husband secretly e-mailed organizers to publicly wish her good luck in her very first race. She got a hearty round of applause from everyone, as did all wives and soldiers serving in our armed forces.
Both 5k and 10k runners start together, circling the same race track the horses use and then climbing a hill to the 101 highway towards Solana Beach. The 5k group turns around at the train station, while the 10kers head up another 1.6 miles to their turnaround.
The last time Alex ran a road race with the family she was in preschool and declared at the midway point of the 1-mile fun run that she absolutely couldn’t go on until she was sure she hadn’t broken her heart. This time went better, though I’m sure a part of her wishes she’d actually trained at little. Still, she made it to a little more than a mile, averaging a 10-minute pace, before our first walk break. She was overheating in the intense sun and developing a cramp.
We continued to run/walk the rest of the way, but so was everyone in our pack. In fact, when we hit the dirt track again, one woman suggested we all walk now but maintain a reddish face and sweat sheen for the crowds when we picked up the pace while rounding the track and coming into full view again. Of course, later, sitting in the stands eating our complimentary vegetarian burritos, muffins, fruit and juice, we realized everyone could see the other side of the track from that elevation.
We got a special shout-out from the emcee as we crossed the finish holding hands held high, him having no idea this was our first real run together and Alex’s first 5k ever. The results aren’t in yet, but from the looks of things, we still had plenty of people behind us. Looks like my kid’s a solid midpacker, just like Mom.