I have lived in Orange County about 16 years now, and if its not for Lexus Laceup Running Series Races, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to go visit Ventura, Palos Verdes orRiverside! I live and work in Irvine in Orange County, and my life revolves around San Diego, LA and OC mostly and I had no reasons to go to these places! But I am glad I got to go run these towns, because of Lexus Laceup Running Series!
The last stop of the series was this Sunday at Riverside. Those of you that have been running this entire series would have noticed this is the only Sunday race, and every other ones were on Saturday. Why? I don’t know, but in hind sight, I like Sunday races better! I feel like I have more time to rest/carb load and hydrate all day Saturday!
I originally thought the Riverside Course was hilly, hillier than the Palos Verdes from their elevation chart on their website, but my running buddy Victor, sent his last year’s course chart, and I realized it was a tough course, but not as tough as Palos Verdes. This helped to revise how I wanted to run this race. For Palos Verdes, I wanted to start off with the aim of 1:50 pace, and as I go , I thought I would speed, and cut time. But with Riverside, I wanted to start off faster, and as I go decided to slow down. I am still learning, and I don’t know what the right approach is, but for Riverside, this approach paid off, as I finished with a new PR of 1:42. There had been couple of factors that helped with this time. Its been super cold last few weeks, and I feel like I run little faster in the cold. The race day at Riverside started off at 45 degree, which tremendously helped with the time. On top of that, just few days ago Mike Bertram from our running group offered to pace my 5 mile training at 7:30 pace, which helped me get a taste of running at this speed a little bit.
The course itself was pretty good course, tough at times, but it was fun nevertheless. It had a small residential loop, that we climbed up about 80 ft at a stretch. Other than that it was mostly an out and back loop.
Compare to other events of this series, Riverside event, at Fairmont Park, had a big space for their post event expo. As I already got used to their events by now, it was again one of the well organized, coordinated event, with options for same day bib pickup, nice tech-t-shirt, gear check, enough portable toilets, nice water bottles, photo print booth! Compare to the previous events, they stepped up their results booth, with a scanner, so getting the result was much faster this time! I usually don’t bother checking my time, as I don’t ever place as I am still trying to get better time, but you should have seen the smile on my face, when I learnt I got the 3rd place in my age division!
One of the thing I like about this race is, even tho Lexus is the main sponsor, the way they go about injecting Lexus brand name into the event. Its done very so subtle way, as an immersion of the brand to everyone that come run this race! The race focus is to get families and runners to come participate, run , enjoy, and while doing it get to see the Lexus car, and see how luxurious it is, without sounding it as a sales event! Its an art, and somehow this event group managed to make this happen! When I talk to others, I can tell how much everyone love this event! I am pretty sure these events managed to get Lexus as a house hold name and brand for these 1000+ runners that ran the event!
So Cal does have series medals, but its mostly different races try to come up with an idea of ‘series’ like the Tri-crown in SD or beach cities in OC/LB. But Lexus series is similar race experience, but localized with each town the race happens. The courses are different, the medals are different, Its kind of same experience, but I am looking forward to what this specific town has it as a twist! And, to me it seems like they have represented the cities in a very best of way, and in a good mix. To have me drive 5 mins to go run in Irvine (down the street from me), to get me to drive 2 hrs to get Ventura and run the trail and ocean side, and an hour to get to Palos Verdes to run the beautiful hilly seaside course, and to run in Riverside, at a park – its a very beautifully mixed experience. I got to experience each community at these cities part of this race!
Since the race offered a 20% discount to series participants, I saw lot of repeat runners at all the event, and by the time we finished our run at Riverside, it felt like we pretty much knew everyone there! Marquis – the guy from Menifee, who is doing his 26 race challenge this year part of his birthday challenge, Rebekah, who is full of energy and runs most every race in Socal, Christie, who always runs with her kid, and full of energy and smile, Jesus who you cant miss at a race with his energy who is crazy enough to run after a 70.3 Ironman the day before, the beast pacers Victor and Alex , and this girl Pam who got stuck pacing with me, because we didn’t have anyone close to chase or trail (who I later learnt has run Boston several time… what a privilege to run with people like that!)- I met so many individuals at these races, and I feel like I made lot of friends. These races have gotten me close to friends that I already had but haven’t been in touch for a while. Our friend Amber ran 3 out of 4 races, and placed at 2 races! What an amazing journey it has been for her! My boy friend wanted the lexus medals back in August when road runner adventure run was giving out free entries! I am so happy to see our collection is complete!
The post race Food truck line up was pretty awesome. They always get pretty good name trucks down at the post race part, and this race was no exception! and Sierra Nevada beers have always been a fixture at the post race party! I enjoyed both!
With a lot of memories, friends, medals, miles – I say Lexus Laceup Running Series – its a wrap! A very successful one!
PS. If you like data as much as I do,
- the Palos Verdes race was the most popular, mostly because its challenging with the hills and everyone wants to run the half marathon here and the course is beautiful!.
- Second popular one was Riverside.
- Ventura is way out of the way for most of us, that might explain the dip in the numbers there, but Ventura event was very nice, and I am hoping more people take the drive up to Ventura next year and make it a popular one!
- Even without a half marathon, Irvine scored 743 participants which is amazing! I wish they would consider adding a half marathon here.
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