WeSPARK 10k [race recap].

14 Nov

It all started with this tweet…

I had been itching to do another race since last month’s SF Nike Women’s Half, so I decided to do a last-minute 10k on Sunday. After reaching out to the Twitter-verse and my parentals, I decided on the WeSPARK10k benefitting a cancer support center at the Universal Studios backlot because I thought the course would be fun – and Universal isn’t too far from my apartment!

A couple of days later, Whitney asked if she could tag along! I was so happy to have a willing spectator – as well as one willing to get up at 6 something for no reason on a Sunday! I kicked the idea to my parents as well, and they both decided to run the 5k version (my dad is also training for the LA Marathon!)

Whitney and I got to the start in plenty of time and met my parents who beat us there by a little bit, I grabbed my small swag bag (a new Clif bar product and a T-shirt – I didn’t want to wait in line so I just grabbed an XL, cool) and we walked to the start.

This was most definitely NOT a runner’s race, and while that was frustrating at first it ended up still being a really fun event. It started about 10 minutes late, but as the cute guy next to me at the start pointed out, Wayne Brady was on the sidelines. Turns out he was sounded the horn and we were off!

My new 10k playlist was pretty clutch as well:

go ahead and judge.

I’ve never taken the Universal Studios Backlot Tour, and the 10k course was two loops through the whole backlot! I passed tons of awesome sets – the Psycho “Bates Motel” was beyond creepy, ran through the plane crash from War of the Worlds, and passed the Jaws lake. The best part for me at least, though, was running through Wisteria Lane!

It actually reminded me of a street in Westlake Village, CA. Funny – but so cool! Another cool thing about the course was since it was two loops, I got to see everything twice! But the not-so-cool part was having to pass slow walkers and runners with strollers who were doing the 5k. I am all for everyone doing physical exercise, but am not that down with having to ask people to move so I can pass them.

Mile 1 (and 4) was ALL downhill – hence my accidental first mile pace of 6:27. Whoops! Miles 2 and 5 were relatively flat, so I was somewhere in the 7s for both of those. Miles 3 and 6 were really hilly, so my pace was over 8 for both of those as well. I’m not winning any even splits awards, but I kept a consistent effort level throughout.

running through a (fake) plane crash.

This guy and I ran together for a few miles – he ended up beating me but made a point to tell me after that it was fun running together and that I helped him! I said the same – it was nice having someone on my tail – and to work to try and catch once he did pass me. Love the running culture sometimes, that’s for sure!

almost done...

This guy and I ended up racing to the finish. Again, it was so fun having an actual “race.” I looked up the race results – and while it was super close, I got him by 0.1 seconds.


After the race, I found my parents and Whitney. My parents had fun with the 5k – they enjoyed the course and my mom especially liked Wisteria Lane.

my dad!

my mom's finish!

I only remembered seeing one woman in front of me, but I wasn’t sure so I wanted to wait around for a few minutes until the “awards” ceremony. I grabbed a banana and talked to a few other runners, including my pace leader from my marathon training group! The results were posted, and I noticed that I won my age group, and I thought I was the 4th female finisher overall. My time was a PR by 2 seconds officially – 45:14 which is an average pace of 7:22.

After some more waiting…

what a trooper.


…it was finally time for the medal ceremony. The announcers were straight-up embarrassing and my mom totally called that these people are NOT runners. They botched every name, didn’t announce times for winners, and announced places 1st, 2nd, then 3rd, and not the standard other way around. I was driven nuts, but had to wait my turn for the 10k Female 20-24 category.

i have always had a big head. and not just figuratively.

winning. it's not just for charlie sheen.

We made our way to the parking structure (where both Whitney and I AND my parents forgot where we were parked. Whitney and I recovered before my parents – who I am sure are still relieved that the car was not actually stolen. Phew!).

We took off and headed to Starbucks (aka my 3rd home – in whichever city i’m in) for a post-run breakfast.


The rest of the day involved some studying, making some class-related playlists (i’ll save that excitement for another post) and a quick dinner with Whitney, Jenn, Bryan, and Matty at The Farmer’s Market‘s Lotería Grill. I chose something different – enchiladas in “de pipian” – which was basically a red pumpkin and peanut sauce. It was deliciously different. Also had to go with a side of chips and salsa!

We thought about sticking around for the Grove’s Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony, but decided to avoid the crowds and the chaos. I nabbed this festive photo, though!

It’s still too early for me to be totally into the holiday spirit, but again I’ll save those views for another post. I hit the hay early because I was tired from my 6 am wake-up.

Here’s where the real race news comes to a head – I was anxious for the results to get posted online so I could look at them and compare my results, Turns out, in typical fashion, I read them wrong originally. I was actually the 2nd female finisher overall! Kinda cool, but as SkinnyRunner has stated before that if you enter a race that is small enough (and not entirely TOO competitive), placing will not be that difficult. In hindsight, I wish I stayed until the end of the awards ceremony, but I have an e-mail into the race director to see if I can get my plaque or whatever obnoxious item they’ll give me.

Beyond placing, though, I am happy that the race was so fun, the weather was great, I got to spend a fun morning with my best friend and my parents. All in all my idea of a perfect Sunday morning!

I would definitely recommend this course for anyone who wants a fun, challenging but not too terrible, and dynamic race experience! It’s not for super hardcore athletes (one guy proclaimed that it was like being an obstacle course to me at mile 4 and I agreed).

I am also thinking about trying to do a race (5k, 10k, Half-Marathon, or Marathon) once a month for the indefinite future, effective immediately. I am currently deciding on races for the next few months, so if anyone out there has any suggestions on must-run races in Southern California, digame por favor!

Did anyone else run or race  this weekend? Give me the deets! 

15 Responses to “WeSPARK 10k [race recap].”

  1. Mom November 14, 2011 at 11:32 pm #

    Let the record show I recalled only seeing one woman ahead of you on the course … but then that was only a little more than halfway through. … Laughing over how geeky we look in these photos wearing the medals in public. 🙂

    • gillian November 15, 2011 at 9:27 pm #

      Lol, I stand corrected. Still waiting on that race director to get back to me. Blah.

  2. leftcoastcontessa November 15, 2011 at 10:32 am #

    Congrats on placing!!! Thats amazing!

    • gillian November 15, 2011 at 10:43 am #

      Thank you! It was a really fun course – and definitely not an extremely competitive field. Lol.

  3. Caroline November 15, 2011 at 2:10 pm #

    Wooooo congrats on winning your age group! That’s so awesome. Good thing you and Whit didn’t end up staying for the tree lighting, it was absolutely insane! I left after I was done working it. Not worth dealing with the craziness, haha.

    • gillian November 15, 2011 at 9:26 pm #

      Aww, thanks Caroline! I am jealous you got to work the tree lighting, though, even if there were about 3,000 people too many there for me. There were some pretty good performers there, Colbie included!

  4. Cody November 15, 2011 at 2:19 pm #

    There’s a 5K/10K christmas run in Santa Monica and Venice that I’ve done a couple of times. My mom and I are doing it again this year. I remember it being pretty flat and its fun with everyone dressed in costumes. I think its December 10.

    • gillian November 15, 2011 at 9:25 pm #

      Thanks, Cody! I will look into that one – i have heard good things! I am contemplating a half-marathon in Oxnard both of those races are during my finals…ahhh decisions, decisions

  5. livinglearningeating November 16, 2011 at 9:12 am #

    I seriously cannot be any more Christmas crazy – though Christmas in LA sounds just as gaga as Christmas in Orlando (did it last year)! 😛

    • gillian November 16, 2011 at 7:55 pm #

      I love Christmas, too! But just not until after Thanksgiving!

  6. Kristen - Anywhere There's An Airport November 17, 2011 at 3:04 am #

    CONGRATS! What an awesome accomplishment! Last night I thought to myself… maybe I’ll go running tomorrow. Tomorrow is here. Maybe not 🙂 You rock!

    • gillian November 17, 2011 at 9:24 pm #

      Thanks, Kristen!! I am not sure where my renewed running kick has come from, but I am enjoying it!

      I LOVED running in Parque del Oeste in Madrid, but this time of year it was WAY too cold.

      • Kristen - Anywhere There's An Airport November 18, 2011 at 1:12 am #

        Exactly my thoughts as I was walking (not running) around the city yesterday. “Ehh… too cold to run” 🙂

      • gillian November 18, 2011 at 11:02 pm #

        🙂 you have at least until February to say that!


  1. two thousand eleven: the playlist. « That's G - December 31, 2011

    […] symbolize the month based on that month’s race playlist. I was the 2nd female overall in the WeSPARK 10k at Universal Studios which was pretty awesome, and I also got a PR by about two seconds. November was largely consumed […]

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