I ran in my favorite LA race October 6th, The Santa Monica 5000, even though I did the 10K. I was able to see family, friends, patients, coaches and professional colleagues.
It was a special day because I was helping introduce a 14 year old young man just starting his competitive running career in his first 10K road race. Even though he had won every cross country race he had been in and is an excellent HS and collegiate running candidate, he was humble and eager to learn more about running and how to improve his performances. I kept reassuring him days before that he could use his music source in this race and not be penalized, even though music is restricted during his school competitions.
He arrived to the race on a warm fall southern California morning that was 80 degrees at 8 AM with a long sleeve compression top under a loosely fitted T shirt, baggy running shorts to his knees and wearing a baseball hat turned slightly to the side. My only suggestion was improving the lacing of his running shoes. Like so many young runners these days, I usually notice their shoes are not laced properly. He had tied multiple knots in each shoe. A technique I recommend in my “How to lace your running shoe” involves using every eyelet in the shoe and a special loop that secures the shoe better than other lacing methods, leaving less lace leftover and need for additional knots. I shared this method and some of my alkaline water with him, explaining how this unique type of water, explained in “Water, Water Everywhere,” stays in the body longer and that I would not need to drink any water during the entire race since I had been hydrating with alkaline water the few days before the race. That really surprised him!
We did 10-15 minutes of easy warm up strides followed by some faster strides just before the race started. Lastly, I showed him how to slither in between some of the PVC barriers at the starting line a few minutes before the race started where we were standing next to the elite athletes. Once the race started and he was off with the elites; I just merged with the other 1000 runners.
My young friend finished six minutes before me, first in his age group and I third in mine, so we both had podium performances, his obviously more noteworthy. My time was slower than last year’s, as I spent the prior few months preparing for the 10 degree uphill grade Palm Spring’s Tram Race in late October by running up and down the intense “Bump and Grind” desert run four days a week. That mountain training obviously did not help prepare me for this flat race course. Another faux pas I committed for this race was using a spray on sunblock. Yikes, when my forehead sweat migrated south, I developed the burning eyes syndrome that menaced me throughout the race. I hope that’s my last sunblock blunder. One thing that’s for sure is my young friend and I will have many more fun, productive and satisfying training runs and races!
Dr. Paul R. Copeskey, D.C., C.C.F.C.