then on friday, as i was perusing my facebook feed, something caught my eye: one of the guys posted that he had a handful of complimentary entries first-come, first-served for a fun-sounding 8K run in brea. i knew we didn't have anything planned that day, and so i dropped him a message to see if there were any left.
well, you know where this is going.
bright and early on sunday morning, i dragged my sleepy ass up out of the warm bed, busted out my sparkly running skirt, and got myself ready for a fun morning. it was foggy when i left the house, and didn't clear up much as i headed south. as i found myself a parking spot at the brea mall and headed out towards the start of the race, it was chilly and overcast.
i managed to find the group after a few circles around the parking lot where various local businesses were setting up tents and displays. the others who'd claimed the comped tickets were sporting headbands and tees from a "tough mudder" obstacle course they'd done the day before, and did i feel intimidated?
well, hell yes i did. but the group was super friendly and welcoming, and my awkwardness left me quickly. we went through the registration process, claimed our bibs, hit the port-o-potties, and warmed up for the run together. okay, we didn't actually go potty together, but you get it. and at this race, the timing chips weren't attached to the back of the bibs like the other runs i've done. instead, it was a little plastic piece that i attached to my shoe with a couple of little zip-ties. and yes, i still have the pompoms on my shoes. don't judge.
i didn't even have to ask for this - one of the guys volunteered to take it for me.
as the gun went off and the race began, i found myself again propelled by the crowd and the rush of adrenaline from being around other runners. uh, i may have kept myself going by focusing on the kids who were sprinting ahead of me without stopping or slowing down. i'm talking little kids here, people. and not even that - there were dogs who were smoking my ass.
along the course there were lots of cheering spectators and representatives from brea olinda high school (this run is the annual fundraiser for their music department).
lots of law enforcement from brea and neighboring cities in full effect to keep everyone in line and direct traffic as needed. and if the barrage of cops didn't tip you off, there were signs like this where the streets were open in the opposite direction of the runners:
there's also a costume contest. this guy was obviously in it to win it. check out those bare feet, even. cah-razy.
a welcome sight.
and even more so:
i was super duper stoked to see this looming ahead of me.
this is my clock time. according to the official results page, though, my chip time was 51:51. i'm quite satisfied with this, especially since i took more than a couple walk breaks.
here's the real reason a lot of people love this run - they bill themselves as having "orange county's finest finish line." and sorry to the chick whose head i caught in this shot. hey, at least i cropped it.
since the winners of the race came in somewhere around 28 minutes (ha!) with a whole lot of other folks right behind them, the food court was already quite the hotbed of activity by the time i arrived. lines were forming, and they were looooong.
for some reason, aside from grabbing some hydration from this giant fort o'water:
i found myself drawn towards this tent for a smoothie.
it was dairy-free strawberry banana. not my favorite, but beggars can't be choosers and i gulped it down with a grimace.
olive garden is also not a favorite of mine, but the pasta salad they were handing out was pretty tasty.
i found my new running friends, who were happily munching away on the grub, and steered me towards the rubio's table. the smell coming from their grill was mouthwatering, and if it weren't for the super long line i would've gone back for seconds.
at the california pizza kitchen tent, we had our choice between the thai crunchy salad and their original bbq chicken salad. i opted for the latter.
by then, i was ready for dessert.
but it was a little too much, so i capped it off with a sliver of pizza from bj's.
"are you eating one of everything?" asked the hub via text. well, i didn't - but i came pretty damn close.
not bad for a last-minute freebie run, eh? and now i have another bib to add to my growing collection! i've now run a 5K, an 8K, a half marathon, and a 5.3-mile bridge race. whee!