Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Legends of Cross Country 5k Race Report 2014

I have so many things to say about this race, and this post has a ton of pictures.  I hope I don't go off on too many tangents.

This race has  always been so much fun for me.  In the past I have raced this event in 2003, and again in 2009.  This event brings out many high school runners, and local running club teams.

When I ran this race in 2003 I didn't have any running friends out here in Las Vegas,  and I was just getting back into racing.  I ran a 21:15 that day.

In 2009 I ended up being the Women's Open race winner and I set my 5k PR (20:29) there. It was a different course I think ran a smart race, by holding back during the first mile, and then reeling runners in over the next two miles.

Going into this race I hadn't really been doing much speed work since my 1600 meter race.  I spent the month of July base building and running for fun.  The week of the race I scaled back my mileage and threw in an extra rest day.  My goal for this race was to go sub 21 minutes.  I wanted to average about 6:40 per mile.

Morning of the Race

I got up early and I made my breakfast of two eggs over medium cooked in cooking spray, a banana, and a slice of white toast with butter.  I decided to wear a tank top and some booty shorts (It's been a long time since I squeezed into them, I almost chickened out).

I arrived at Sunset Park at 630am.  I wanted to warm up, do some strides, stretch, watch the first Open race, and catch up with running friends.

I also had the pleasure of meeting Sylvia Mosqueda.  I can't say enough about her!  She is a former NCAA cross country and track champion. She is also a highly decorated athlete who qualified for the Olympic Trials five different times for the 10,000 meters!! To say I'm a fan girl is an understatement.
Winning the Carlsbad 5000
Women's Master Race in 2009 

She has a local running club and she coaches several athletes in our area.  Unfortunately her running club meets and trains on the other side of the valley.  At this  I just can't squeeze workouts with her group into my weekly training. I hope in the future I will  have the opportunity to train with her club.
Las Vegas Running Project

My strategy for this race was to go out hard, but try to reign it in during the first mile, so that each mile gets progressively faster.  With Cross Country races there are plenty of "rabbits" people that go out really fast and then crash and burn later.  It was a common theme for my high school cross country running.  I used the "hold back" strategy in 2009 and it worked out great.

I don't know if high school running has evolved since 2009 but, it was a much different race, and I totally underestimated some of these high schoolers....These girls had on compression calve sleeves and they were wearing Garmins just like me.

I was able to enter the seeded race by meeting the qualifying standards earlier this year.  The standard was a sub 22 minute 5k and I did this at the LVTC poker run earlier in February.  I registered as an unattached runner.
Me photo bombing the LVRP group photo.

I was really nervous that morning but, it was so nice to see old friends and catch up.  Before I knew it, it was time to get on the line, and then the gun went off.

The course was all dirt and grass.  I wore my racing flats and I just kind of tucked myself into the pack and I hoped I wasn't going out too fast... About 200 meters into the race I looked down at my Garmin and saw 6:10 pace (gulp) I knew this was way too fast and tried to ease up a little bit.
I was slightly behind this first wave of girls

Lead men after the first turn around

Mile 1- 6:42

I started to make ground on some of the people ahead of me.
I'm tucked into the pack and you can't really see me.

There I am.

Mile 2 6:55-  I'm starting to slow down. I don't even hear my Garmin beeping.
This picture is misleading, I passed that pack of girls behind me
and about half of them caught right back up to me.

Mile 3 7:05-
 I'm am hurting and I'm trying to decide when to start my final kick... It's a gamble, if you start your kick too soon, you can crash and burn.  You start your kick too late, then you run out of real estate to catch more runners.... I think I started my kick too early.... I had seen two yellow jerseys (Las Vegas Running Project) runners ahead of me, and during the final 600 meters I started to go for it.  I passed one of the yellow jerseys.  With 300 meters to go, and with Coach Mosqueda cheering her runner on, I got dusted.
It was surreal to hear a coach yelling at their runner to
out kick me. Much less a  famous athlete...
Mile 3.24  1 :32 (because I ran on the outside most of the race.)  6:34 pace.

Here's the finish

Final Time 22:10  3.22  6:53 per mile average.  I ended up placing 14th overall out of 52 runners. I also snagged third in my age group.

When I finished I was disappointed with my time, and  from getting out kicked. But, I had an absolute blast that day.  When the results were posted I noticed that no one set any course records. It was a pretty slow course with all of the turning loops. I also ran cautiously because of the younger runners.  I didn't want to elbow anyone or trip someone on the heel.    This was a really fun day.

Photo Credits:  Cesar Mata, Roma Cachito, and the Las Vegas Track Club.  You guys took some amazing pictures.  Many Thanks!!


  1. My sister and I have both been asked by experienced runners or in a running store if we are related to Sylvia. I wish I could say yes but then I'd have no excuse for my slowness. At my son's first pediatrician appointment his doctor asked too and I knew then that we would keep his as out pediatrician. I can't blame you for fan-girling her.

    Congrats on the top 3 finish!

  2. Slowness!! Girl you ran a sub 4 hour marathon... At LA no less... That is one hard course! There is so much more to the meeting her story.... She's is the real deal, and tough as nails!!!

  3. 5ks are so hard to pace - for me it's the tendency to follow those around me (who often start too fast, too) and an inability to pick it up at the last mile.