2020 Manhattan Beach 10K (Virtual)

manhattan beach 10k manhattan beach pier

Hello, is this thing on? Remember when I used to write about running here? Well, I have an actual race recap for you today! I ran the Manhattan Beach 10K yesterday (virtually)—it’s my fave race I’ve found in California so far. (Last year’s recap here.)

manhattan beach 10k manhattan beach pier

Ugh, I haven’t been in the running shape I’ve wanted to be in for a while, and I’ve had a hard time, to be honest, sticking to it and putting in the work, so duh, I’m not going to miraculously get back there. But this race was important to me, so I’ve been working hard.

Meggie, Gillian and I wanted to make this as close to the race experience as we could, so we met up roughly near the start near the wood chip trail/greenbelt/Veterans Parkway/whatever you call it, and Meggie and I did a little warmup jog. We were planning on running the wood chip trail, but as nice as the trail feels versus the road, it’s harder if you’re used to solely road running! The actual MB10K route has a lot of turns, so we decided to nix that and run our own route—running down Valley Drive through Manhattan Beach, Hermosa and to Redondo, before turning towards the ocean on Herondo and running up the Strand.


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My objective was to walk as little as possible but also not beat myself up if I needed to.

And I definitely started out too fast—just like a real race! I went out in a 9:48, wondering why things were feeling a little hard from the get-go. Foolishly I thought maybe I'm just feeling really good! Ah how quickly we forget. I brought up the back of our pack, and I just tried to keep Meggie in my sight. She was looking awesome, steady and strong, and I aimed to just be like Meggie. I tried to just settle into what felt good and like I could hang onto it for a while. I didn't walk until after three miles, which felt awesome. Six weeks ago, I was running 3:00 on, walking 1:00, so I was happy to run without stopping for a while. Even though it wasn't a "real" race, running on part of the course and feeling strong made it feel like as much of a real race to me as possible, and I felt really happy.

The back half of the course? Not so much. I definitely walked more, but I would set a point in the distance, like a street pole, and tell myself to run to there, no compromising with myself. At a few points, I told myself I could slow my run but not walk, channeling my 2013 NYCM energy. The greenway has some rolling hills, which I actually really liked, because what goes up must come down, so getting to the Strand and knowing I wouldn't have any downhill was actually a little harder.

I'd really wanted to pick up my pace a little in the second half, but...that did not happen. I walked a good amount of mile 4, a little discouraged I still had 2 miles ahead of me, but once I hit 5, I just wanted to be done with the damn thing. I tried to run as strong as possible (feeling about an 8/10 on a rate of perceived exertion) but I couldn't sustain it for very long. But I just tried to keep reminding myself I was happy I was out there doing it and how lucky I was to be able to run along the beach. (Though I'd be lying if I said I weren't jealous of the people sitting on the beach or sitting outside on their terraces on the Strand with their coffee.) My ketamine doc is running for a local office in the South Bay, and I saw one of her campaign signs and also felt grateful for my mental health being in a much better place.

When I finally hit 6.2 on my watch, I immediately ground to a stop. HI I'M DONE.

Since it'd been a while since I'd run 6.2, I felt really happy and proud of myself for finishing the Manhattan Beach 10K — ESPECIALLY since the weather was SUPER HUMID. (hi am I back in NY??)

While you can run it anywhere, I think the draw is feeling some sense of community and tradition with the race, so if you're local and still want a taste of it, you can run it from now until October 13.

Time: 1:05:27 / Pace: 10:33

Tech question: anyone else with an Apple Watch not getting the map data from their workouts? I'm a little nervous to try this wipe-everything "fix."

COVID-wise, I ran with a buff to cover my face and kept it down until I saw someone. (It appears there are conflicting studies on its efficacy, though I didn't realize that yesterday.)

The Virtual Races on My Calendar

Y’all. I miss races.

When I moved to California, I was so excited to travel the state (nay, the whole coast!) to toe up at start lines. I’d say I probably run at least five or six races between moving here last May and when the world went into lockdown in March.

Pre-covid, I just didn’t see the point of virtual races. They weren’t for me.

In this covid world? Well, I’m addicted to signing up for them as I was for IRL races.

A chance for camaraderie (albeit virtual), the excitement of a race, and a medal I don’t have room for and a shirt I will never wear? BRING. IT. ON.

Here’s the virtual races I’ve signed up for…so far. It’s a mix of local ones gone virtual and ones that are just virtual.

Still I Run World Mental Health Day Virtual Race
This is the one nearest and dearest to my heart. Obviously, I am a huge mental health advocate—and future mental health professional! I’m also an ambassador for Still I Run, a nonprofit whose mission is to beat the stigma of mental health through running. For the race, you need to run between October 9-11. (You can listen to my interview with the founder, Sasha Wolff, on my now-defunct podcast.) Use code THEODORA2020 to get $5 off at signup.

Manhattan Beach 10K
Of the smattering of races I’ve done since moving to LA, this one is by far my favorite. I’ve done it twice, and I love how it feels like a hometown race even though it’s actually several thousand runners. (I think after NYC and NYRR races, anything will feel like a little hometown race to me.) The IRL course runs along the Greenbelt in Manhattan Beach, ending on The Strand and at the pier. It’s virtual this year, of course. Registration opened a few days ago, and you can run it between October 1-10. I’m getting back my running fitness and a 10K feels like a challenge right now, but I’m working on it. After years of kicking and screaming internally that my running isn’t what it used to be, I finally decided to start using intervals to make it approachable and enjoyable for me. I’m currently doing three minutes running: one minute walking, and it feels good.

Santa Monica-Venice Christmas Run
This was another IRL race I LOVED (hi, I love Christmas) that I’m signing up for the virtual one. You have all of December to complete a 5K or 10K. I know the holidays will likely be weird this year, and I’m not sure if I’ll be able to have my cookie swap, so I am going to run WITH BELLS ON. (Literally.)

Sloth Running Team Virtual 5K/10K
Does this one need further explanation?! Signing up because it looks hilarious, and my cousin and I are doing it “together” from 3,000 miles away from each other. You can run this one at any time.

I Run 2 Stay Classy Virtual Run
I haven’t hit register yet on this one but I’m pretty sure I have to. If you are a long-time reader, you know I am obsessssed with Will Ferrell and Anchorman. I definitely didn’t use it as a way to get guys back to my apartment in my early 20s. But I digress. This is absolutely a shirt I will actually wear. You can run this one at any time.

Oiselle Womxn Run the Vote
This one is super cool—it’s a virtual relay from Atlanta to D.C., raising money for Black Voters Matter, an organization dedicated to increasing power in marginalized, predominantly Black communities. Teams of 15-20 will cover a combined 680 miles—and there’s a gazillion activities that “count” towards the mileage.

What about you? Have you caught the virtual race bug?