Today it was off to the races for me. The local track store (which gives bad customer service) hosts a 5K and a 10K in the morning as part of the celebration of Founders Day in Celebration (a little sort of artificial town where everyone seems to have white picket type fences)Fl. They have a challenge called a “Distance Dare” – a racer can enter and complete both races. So, being that this week my long run was a cut back at 9…I decided the smart thing to do was to enter both races….Whew.
Actually this was the best thing for me. I had started to find the training tedious and I had this idea that I was not really improving much and I was feeling sort of “Blah” about running. This is never good in week 6 of an 18 week schedule. So I figured at the race I would at least have something new to look at.
My plan for the race was to run the 10K in my old shoes and then switch out to my new ones for the 5K. The website said there was a bag check, but I was never sure, so I left my shoes and fresh shirt in the car. I had enough time to go get them after the 10K but I realized they were about half a mile away…so lesson learned. My Asics did not get worn.
On may way to the race, I was listening to the radio and on came The Black Eyed Peas, “tonights gonna be a good night….” (lets see if this embeds?)
I started to think maybe I might have a good race. I try not to get too excited prior to a race because all sorts of things happen and disappointment is un-fun. I got there and got in the line for the Port A Potties. I mention this only because it seemed to take everyone forever in them! At first I thought it was just me, but then 2-3 others mentioned it…No matter what, you can not really make a Port A John some place that I would want to hang out.- Don’t you agree?
So after that…I lined up in the 10+ min mile group. I was surprised to see this lady I met at the Track store that gives bad service. She recognized me (I would never have recognized her.) and we had a nice chat. She took off and I never saw her after that. I think she was pretty fast.
The race horn went off, and in the back we actually never really heard it, but liek a crowd doing the wave…we all started to walk and then run. I punched the start button on my Garmin a little too early at this point and started to run….
For the 10K I had a very specific goal. I wanted to run the first 2 miles under 12, the next 2 under 13 mins, and the last two anything sort of in the 13:10 range was going to be ok.
I decided today that I really like 10 K’s. Everyone in the 10K seemed to have experience racing. People who stopped to walk moved over to the sides (for the most part), and because of the line up with the mins per mile, people seemed to be all running about the same pace-so no jostling, and people sprinting by…It was very nice.
My first mile came in under 12. I was really glad of that, but I was unsure if I could keep it up for mile two. I practiced doing this odd thing I do…I sped up for 5-10 strides then settled back into my 11:45 or so pace. I kept that up for most of mile 2 and was really thrilled to see it also under 12! The course was flat flat flat. This sounds easier, and I suppose it is. When one is used to running hills though one gets used to the changes in the muscle groups used and the muscle groups get accustomed to some periods of rest. So I actually found the flat to be a little tedious. When I felt disheartened about that though, I reminded myself that I could be running up some hill in Clermont. I went on from mile 2-3 and was pleased to see my time coming in at under 13 but very close to 12. After 3, I started thinking about taking a break. I wanted one, but I am still not sure why. My legs felt OK, would have preferred sitting on a bench, but they felt ok. My Breathing was spectacular (Thanks to makers of Zyrtec and Singulair!!!) so I decided to simply plow on. Mile 4 came on and I noted that it seemed to be going downhill. In retrospect I realize now that it was just flat, and I am not used ot it so it seemed like it was sloping down. At about mile 5 we came across a band of guys probably in their 50’s rocking out on classic rock. They were playing “Freebird” which is not really a fast song…but the noise and their enthusiasm still kept me hanging on. We passed over a bridge that got very narrow, and only 1-2 people could go at one time, so that also kept me running, as I did not want to impede anyone else’s progress! At the end of the bridge when we headed into the home stretch (a little over a half a mile left) I did finally take two walk breaks. I kept a pretty close eye on the Garmin pace calculator and when every it hit close to the 13 min mile mark I just started running again… At the 6 mile ish point, we had a bagpiper dressed to the nines in his Kilt Sporran and tartans, blasting away typical bagpiping music. The noise again perked me up a bit and I finally decided just to push through to the end. the announcer called my name out as “Holy” rather than Holly. I thought this amusing. My time was 1:15. No record set. BY most standard slow as a turtle. BUT….My previous best 6 mile time ever was 1:17 SO I was beside myself!!!!! I got some water, and some accelerade sample drink and sat down and stretched out and paced a bit. I was done so early I had to wait about 40 min for the other race to start. Just enough time to get really cold and stiff and for all the sweat on my shirt to make me feel wet and cold!
So, we all lined up again. This time with a bunch of new faces. I talked to a very nice guy who was also doing both races. and then we took off and he disappeared.
The 5K is where it went a little downhill. I had no goal for it other than to see what I could do, and preferably under 13 min miles. When I started my legs were feeling pretty beat up. I just jogged it. Indeed again, we all came across the rows of oblivious walkers who were walking in designer sunglasses, flip flops and carrying their coach purses… WTF? I did get past all that, and found myself watching the same poor middle aged (me too) woman’s behind for the whole race. I got in front of her there at the end and I felt a definite loss of focal point!
On top of that the 5K is of course a popular race for younger kids. No problem, most of them are faster than me! Somewhere at about 0.5 miles We were all surprised by the howls of an 8-9 yr old girl…. “Mommy, why am I not winning?” and poor Mom and Dad telling her she is doing great and the point is to finish. Kid is very chubby and had no hope of winning anything but great health. She continues to wail for at least another half a mile, until I finally passed them. I suppose it was a great lesson for her to learn that we don’t all get ribbons, and can’t all be recognized winners.
After that, I concentrated again on that ladies behind. She ran such a consistent pace that it was helpful. Not very interesting but helpful. Somewhere around mile 2.2 we passed the awesome band again, this time playing Deep Purple’s “Smoke on the Water” which is a song I can get into so thankfully that speeded me up again, then the narrow bridge again. Post bridge I continued to jog, feeling like a very tired prancing pony, when I heard a lady behind me say, “THis is the hardest thing I have ever done”. I realized indeed that what I was doing was a little hard. I felt a wee bit smug that I had already run 6 miles and was still ahead of her. Then I forgot about her. As is usually the case in 5K’s kids go out very fast, and then find that 3.1 miles is a lot of miles. Parents seem to allow their kids to run without supervision which is a terrible idea for kids safety. These are not 11-16 yr olds, these are little kids 8..While the kids are with each other, it’s an environment that isn’t that well, controlled. Little boys in particular seem to get put out by being beaten by someone who looks to be in their minds, older than the hills! So they do this funny thing, they sprint in front of me….then after getting about 10 feet in front of me they stop, gasping….I overtake them….After I get about 20 feet in front of them they get Pissed and try to sprint again…So that went on with what I estimate to be 3rd graders for most of the last half mile of the race. Thankfully at some point I simply got too far in front of them. It’s cute, but annoying. I always wonder why people don’t want to actually run with their kids. A Dad and his Daughter were out and having what seemed like a fun conversation. She was describing what sally said at school….(you know girl talk) and Dad was looking completely confused. I bet he learned alot in those 3 miles!!! Would you want to run with your children or would you feel safe letting them run with their friends? Not having children sometimes my ideas are a little not in tune with the reality of parenting!
Anyway… that was one long day of racing. I’m glad I did it, but I do not think I will be doing too many more of the “Distance Dares” I think I would have done better if the race had just been 15K, rather than having the time to get cold in between.
As far as the Organization: the race was well organized. There were plenty of port-a-potties, and lots and lots of water and fresh apples and bananas. There were lovely free samples and the race announcer was from a local radio station so he did a great job getting the crowd going where they needed to go. So I really have no complaints that I think are legitimate!