5K #8 (or I Conquered The Big Hill)

This past Sunday was 5K #8, the weSPARK 5K at Universal Studios. This was my 3rd year doing this race, so I felt pretty prepared for it. This was also the end of my crazy 2 weeks doing 3 5Ks.

On Saturday after my work shift, I drove out to the valley to pick up my race number.

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I noticed while I was picking up my number that the race course was different from the past 2 years. This year, I wouldn’t get to walk past Bates Motel/House (where I worked at Halloween Horror Nights for 3 years). There was also some changes to the giant hill. The start/finish in the past were right next to the hill, so you went down it at the start of the race and up it at the very end. This year, the hill was toward the end of the course. You went up it and immediately down it toward the finish line. Also, in the past there was a flat street that you walked on in the middle of the uphill, this year it was during the downhill.

I was a little annoyed by the course changes, but since I knew this course had the hill, I wasn’t planning on worrying about my time so much this race. I got my PR a week prior and this time all I wanted to focus on was taking one break on the uphill (the last year I took 2 breaks).

The morning of the race was very cold, but bright and sunny.

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I knew it would warm up quickly so I wasn’t wearing a sweatshirt or long-sleeved shirt. Before I knew it, the different groups were getting organized by the starting line. I found the area for 5K walkers and got a quick before picture in.

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The race this year started by going next to the LA River. It isn’t very pretty, but it’s relatively flat. Next we went past Amblin/Dreamworks. There were security guards yelling at everyone that there were no pictures allowed, so I couldn’t get a picture of the E.T. crossing sign like last year.

Next, we headed to the backlot sets. We went past the courthouse from “Back To The Future” and there was one of the DeLorean out there for a photo-op. There was a huge line, so I took a photo while walking past it.

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We did more walking around the backlot and sound stages (I was focused on walking and didn’t take any pictures for this part). And before I knew it, the giant hill was approaching.

It starts out like this.

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You go around a corner and think you are getting close and then there are about 4 sections that look like this.

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It was a much longer hill than the past years (due to not walking through the Bates Motel/House section). We also walked up to the top of the hill instead of stopping toward the top where the finish line used to be. My hips were killing me and I was pretty out of breath, but I kept going. And before I knew it, I saw where everyone was turning around. I seriously appreciated the cheering section at the top of the hill by the water station. I turned around to go back down the hill without ever taking a break!

On the way back down, I noticed a golf cart heading by me. Lea Thompson, who was the celebrity who started the race, was in the back of the cart and waved right at me. Of course I took the opportunity for a picture while I walked behind her.

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I’m kind of curious to see how the official race that was taken at this moment will look.

We walked through the little Europe section and I knew I had to be close to the finish line. I looked at my watch at realized that I was going to finish either right at or right under an hour. That’s significantly faster than I though I could do with the hill.

Finally, I made it to the end! My watch said 59:37, but I know that I started it a little early and stopped it a little late. So I went over to where the printed official race results were posted (which, by the way, I love that this is being done at the race now).

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59:27! Another 5K in under an hour! It’s only about a minute slower than the Hard Rock Cafe 5K and that one was on a very flat course!

I got a quick victory photo with my medal.

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I’m so happy that I got 5K #8 done and with an amazing time! My next (and probably last) 5K for the year isn’t for a few weeks, so I have time to recover and hopefully get a bit faster. But for now, here’s to #8!

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By the way, there’s still some time to help me reach my fundraising goal for this race! Donations are being accepted though the end of this month!

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