The Together with Love run happens on the second Sunday in February each year – usually before Valentine’s Day – and it benefits the Monterey Rape Crisis Center. This is one of my favorite runs and although I haven’t run it every year, it goes on my race calendar every year and I try my best to schedule things so that I can run it. It’s a favorite of mine because the course is right along the coast in Pacific Grove, the goodies at the end are pretty tasty, and the weather is usually perfect for a run – cool and overcast on the way out with the sun coming out from the clouds on the way back to the finish line.
The race t-shirt was a long-sleeved technical t-shirt with a minimalist design that’s very attractive. I think this was their second year giving out a technical t-shirt and I’m glad that they’ve switched from cotton t-shirts. The t-shirt and goodie bag pick-up area seemed more disorganized this year than in previous years. I had no problem getting my t-shirt quickly but missed out on the goodie bag.
I didn’t run this race last year so I don’t know if they used the D-chip last year but they did use it this year. It was such a surprise to get my race bib and to see the D-chip attached to it. A chip-timed event always feels so official. I know that I’m not the only one who leaves my D-chip attached to my laces long after the race is over! Just one of those crazy runner quirks, I suppose.
The course is an out-and-back course that starts at Lover’s Point. The 5k turnaround point happens just after the Pacific Grove Golf Course. The 10k turnaround point is a little further up the road from the Big Sur Half Marathon turnaround point. The entire course is part of the Big Sur Half Marathon course.
In the many years that I have run the Together with Love run, I have never run the 10k. Yesterday was my first time running the 10k. I’m not sure if my training is better than in years past but the 5k turnaround point came up so quickly that it surprised me. In the past, the 5k turnaround point couldn’t come fast enough!
There were two water stations on the course – one after the 5k turnaround and one right before the 10k turnaround. If I were to change anything about this race, I would change the water stations. I would put the first water station before the 5k turnaround so that both 5k and 10k runners can grab water. I would put the second water station after the 10k turnaround instead of before the turnaround. But it’s really the first water station that I would change because it could do triple duty instead of double duty – water for the 5k runners, water for the 10k runners at the 1.5 mile mark, and water for the 10k runners at the 4.6 mile mark.
The running protocol was a little mixed up, which I’ve never seen happen before. I think that means that there were some volunteers out on the course not doing their job. The pre-race instructions noted that runners going out were to run on the land side and runners coming in were to run on the ocean side. However, people ran in both lanes going out, not even moving over as the 5k leaders were racing back to the finish line.
The post-race refreshments consisted of banana halves, orange quarters, muffin halves, water, Gatorade, and Vitamin Water. There were clearly posted signs that the refreshments were for runners only but I saw several groups of spectators with grocery bags filled with bottles of Gatorade, Vitamin Water, and muffins. I was happy that there were still goodies left when I crossed the finish line so kudos to the race organizers for making sure that there were plenty refreshments.
All in all, a good race and one that I would recommend. A note on my personal performance: I’m not sure if this was a PR for me but I ran the entire race without walking or stopping. I hope that bodes well for the rest of the year!