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Joshua Gilless

Two things:

  1. I ran the fastest I’ve ever run.
  2. I was slower than I wanted to be.

I’ve never been a runner. But I’m working on becoming one. About 4 years ago, well before we knew what COVID-19 was, Emma and I did couch to 5k. It was great, I could run for 30 minutes non-stop. We did it all outside in our Studio City neighborhood. We waved at strangers, we ran together the whole time, we had fun!

We had talked about trying to run an official 5k. We wanted to keep motivation high, we wanted to have an end goal. Then we stopped running as much, and we worked on some strength training, and we started hiking and started camping, and then there was a pandemic.

I hadn’t run in 3 years.

But my fitness was still okayish. I’ve been cycling and hiking and walking.

So a few months ago, we started halfway through the couch to 5k program we did the first time. And we saw that the Santa Monica Classic was just a couple of weeks after we’d be ready, on September 11. So, we signed up.

September 3-5, Labor Day weekend, our 5 year anniversary. We go to Mammoth lakes and have one of the best weekends of our lives. We rode our bikes up to Crystal Lake, we rode our bikes around the town loop, we ran a few miles at altitude. We wore our legs out, and the Tuesday morning after we got back, neither of us had much strength in our legs. I worked from home on Tuesday ‘cause I couldn’t ride my bike to work.

We took most of the week off, I was feeling better on Friday, so I ran 30 minutes on the treadmill for some low-impact running. 15 minutes at 6mph, the rest at 5mph. It was hard.

Sunday, September 11, 2022 came along, race day!

We started the race 15 minutes late, I needed the bathroom and the line was long. Our bibs had a tracker, so we crossed the starting line to trigger them. A police officer stopped us and let traffic pass. I ran faster than I’ve ever run. There was so much energy from being in the crowd, from passing people, from being passed.

The route went up Ocean Avenue, and looped back on itself at Washington Ave. I caught a lot of energy at the loop back and saw Emma just behind me.

I ran the last bit, it was downhill, I dodged past as many people as I could get by and finished strong.

My time: 30:04.