When I got up this morning, I did not want to do this race. The projected temperature was around 15-18 degrees with a feel of around 4. Winds were subject to be around 18 mph. Oh, and there was suppose to snow with potentially accumulation of 1-3inches. Nothing about this fun. Nothing. However, I had 12 miles to run and friends who weren’t bailing, so I threw on a ridiculous number of layers and to the race I went. I will also say this was my first race in my new age bracket. Whoooo!
I had 12 miles to do today, so the plan was to get to North Park early, run 2.7 miles as an easy warm up & then line up for the RSG1 Valentine’s Day 15k race. I picked up Mike on the way up and there was a nice steady snowfall. Nothing was really starting to stick, but it wasn’t thrilling to drive in. We got to North Park with no issues, other than me realizing I either need to clean my wiper blades or get new ones.
We headed up to the Rose Barn to pick up our race stuff. This was the type of race, where you were given your race number in the order you showed up. I was given #523 and then a t-shirt. I walked away and saw my friend Carly in the one corner. We started chatting a bit and then I realized I didn’t get a race bib. I went back to get one but they said they don’t have them. WHAT? NO RACE BIB? Really, how much extra is it to have those generic race bibs to hand out to your runners? The chips they handed us had a specialized logo on them. I would MUCH RATHER have a generic chip (even one I’d have to give back) and then be given a bib. Sorry, wasn’t impressed on this. Even with the $25 race fee, I feel like they could have sprung for some bibs.
So, I took my t-shirt & chip and headed back to the car. I had to change into different layers and hit the road for those 2.7 miles. I ended up with a pair of compression socks, a pair of thicker low cut socks, fleece lined tights, pair of rain pants and then on top I went with a cold gear Under Amour long sleeve, short sleeve, light fleece and my Goretex rowing jacket. I also added a neck gaiter, fleece lined hat and two pairs of gloves.
I did most of the warm up miles on the road between the boathouse and tennis courts. I basically just ran in some circles until I got 2.7 miles. Around 2 miles in, I headed back to the car to switch out some layers. I gave up my fleece for a light weight long sleeve and traded out the two pairs of gloves for my fleece gloves. A few more circles later and I was done with my warm up run. I finished these miles in 30:16 (11:13/mile).
I thought I had made perfect timing as I went to the start line area right at 9:45am, threw back some sport beans and was ready to start. I didn’t see anyone right away, but I finally I spotted Carly and then Jeff saw us and brought us to the larger group. Here is where strike 2 happened for the race organizers.
The race start for the 10k/15k was set for 9:45am. The 5k race started at 9am. Just prior to 9:45am, all of the 10k/15k runners started heading over to the start line and were all ready to go. Keep in mind, it was about 15 degrees (IF THAT!), so we were all starting to get really cold. There were no announcements being made until 10am. Yes, 15 minutes after the race was suppose to start. They said that there were about a dozen 5k runners still on the course and to be careful as we started. Finally, 5 minutes later they started us. We all sorta of just looked at each and wondered why they didn’t just start us all at once, have the 10k/15k start an hour after the 5k or just simply made announcement so maybe we could have hung out in the warmth a little longer.
As I started the official race, I knew I wasn’t going to “race” this race. I needed to really just use this race as a long run to get the miles in. I started the race with Lauren, Steff, Natalie & Jimmy and figured I would try and keep up with them as much as possible. I surprisingly kept up with them for about a mile, but then a shoe lace came untied and I just never really caught up with them again. Oh well. I tend to be a long wolf out there on the pavement anyway.
Right around mile 2.5, there was a water station. I walked through it to make sure I grabbed some water and some more sports beans, then started back up. I wasn’t too worried about my pace, but I did have a goal in mind. I think by mile 3 this just went out the window. Oh well. I started walking too soon and was really beginning to struggling with the tilt in the road. My knee started hurting, my hamstring was cramping and my legs were just starting to seize up from the cold at this point. (Keep in mind, I was over 5 miles in too) I tried to find flat spots on the course, but it’s pretty hard in areas around North Park lake to find areas not with a nasty tilt in the road.
I finally turned on Pierce Mill Road and told myself I had just over halfway to go! I ended up walking up the first hill as you turn off Babcock and I was OK with that. I knew another water stop was right outside the boathouse before you go up the bigger hill. Again, I walked through to grab water and then I saw Coach Jeff up ahead. I thought he had headed home hours ago and seeing him as I started to head up the hill was just the boost I needed! I ran up as much as I could, but ended up walking the rest and I think this is where it all went downhill (okay, literally and figuratively).
When I started coming down the bigger hill, I could just feel everything seizing up. I knew the 10K turn around was only about a half mile away, and I seriously thought about just throwing in the towel and calling it a day. I didn’t. I kept going. I figured even if I walked A LOT (OK, let’s be serious, I think I walked half of these miles), just getting the miles in at this point was most important.
On the whole back stretch of the lake, I would pick a sign, run to it, walk, pick another sign, start running and just followed that until I basically finished. The back section is really what also kills my knee and hips. I don’t know why they had the 15k course go so far back on the back stretch, when we could have cut it shorter and just cut in by the tennis court roads. That didn’t make sense to me. Somewhere along these miles, I also finished off the water I took with me, but I figured being a longer race, they would have one more water stop, perhaps by the turnaround. Yup, I was wrong. Strike 3 in my book.
At this point I was just miserable. I was cold, I was zig-zagging on the road to find the flattest spot possible because my knee and hip were being weird from the road tilt and now I was thirsty as anything. As I finally made it to the turn around, I realized there were only two ladies behind me. Great.
I would start my run/walking combination and eventually they passed me as we came to about .7 left in the race. They were so sweet. They asked me how I was doing and we were talking about our trainings. I mentioned I was so thirsty and was disappointed that there wasn’t a third water stop and one of them handed me her water bottle and said there wasn’t much left, but to chug it. Wow, I needed that. Thank you random running stranger for giving me that push!
I tried my best to run the whole last part of the course, but there was just nothing there. I turned the corner and not only did I see the finish line finally in sight, but I saw Mike & Lauren standing there IN THE COLD and cheering me to finish. Seriously, if that isn’t what friends are for, then I just don’t know. I don’t think they know how much that push meant for me!
All in all I had a pretty miserable day. I was cold, frozen and really wasn’t in it by the end and just wanted to be done with it. Even though I wasn’t racing, I still wanted to hit around 11:30 average. I know we all have off days, but this past week I had been feeling so great about my training and then bam, 12 miles later I feel completely different. I would be lying if at least once during today’s run I questioned if I could actually complete 26.2 miles in less than 3 months. This “race” was not the boost I needed. I guess the only thing to do from here is shake that run off and know it will get better.
Official finish time:
17/18, 30-39 Females