30 Before 30 #15: Run A 10k

If you had told me a year ago I'd be running a 10k, I would've been SHOCKED!! Running a 5k had been on my yearly goals for a good three years before I even started Couch to 5k. No I don't know what took me so long! LOL After my first 5k I definitely knew I'd want to do a 10K and eventually a half-marathon. I am still currently completely disinterested in a marathon. I rule nothing out for the future but for now... yeah...

To the 10K! Friday night I picked up my race packet with my number, the shirt you see to the right (ain't it cute?? Of course I don't like the orange on it but since I'm a Florida Gator I happened to have some orange ribbon) and gobs of advertisements and coupons from sponsors. My favorite? Free Chick-fil-a Chik-n-minis!!!!! That place has my favorite fast food breakfast. Those buttery biscuits! Yes, Lord! Evidence of your will and your way!

When I walked in to pick up my packet just 15 minutes after packet pick-up started, the line was wrapped around the gym. INSANE! Then someone said that was the 5k line and the 10k line was over there... aka the table with one person in line. Yes! I felt so proud walking over there! But when I left, despite there being well over 100 people in and around the school, not one person greeted me, or said hello. The sign out front says all welcome, this is a Catholic school and my participation directly helps your cause. OPEN YOUR MOUTH. People not speaking to me is my BIGGEST pet peeve when I'm spending my money. And most of all, this is my fourth race. I'm used to the excitement from volunteers. It's usually a very festive atmosphere. This was not. But I chalked it up in part to chaos and kept it moving as I got my race gear together. I laid out my outfit including the green socks with the shamrocks you can't see and reviewed my race morning preps.

Me and my sister!
I'm always crazy amped the day before a race and have a terrible time sleeping for more than a few hours at a time so I skimped on sleep a little the night before to make myself more tired. I know that's probably bad but... IT WORKED! I actually slept! The next morning I got dressed and my sister was here!!!! Yay! It was her first time seeing me run and we were both excited about it! Rashan was much less excited. He's been to all of my races and hates waking up early (I feel him on that) to do it and standing around waiting for me to return (he should always be happy to wait for me!!!). He was quite salty about it. Side eye to that dude.

This race actually had food available before it started and INDOOR BATHROOMS!!! I'm delighted to never have experienced a race without actual bathrooms! I realize that as I enter larger races this will change but I will rest on my porta potty-free running laurels for a while. Back to the food. I couldn't finish my oatmeal that morning because it made me feel queasy. So I was glad to note there was a ton of food there! I had a bagel portion (probably 1/5), an orange slice and some (intentionally) watery coffee. I need that to enter my pre-race fuel list. I felt AWESOME during the race!

I planned to pace myself for at least the first half, then push for the last half and almost sprint for the last mile or so. I paced myself pretty well. The course was an out and back AGAIN (every race I've been in now) so I got to see all of the early people pass me. I also got to see who was behind me. I had passed two women around mile two. They were behind me, a couple and that's it. A man SPEED WALKING with walking sticks passed me around mile two. My goal remained during this race NOT to let him beat me. Now I could tell early on my Runkeeper app was about .3 of a mile off but I did not estimate how much that distance discrepancy would throw off my pacing.

I originally wanted to come in under 1:19:00 but as long as I came in under 1:23 (my previous longest 6.2-mile run while training), I decided that would be okay. While I was excited about this race, I felt like my training period was off, I didn't know enough about the 10k distance. And my former running partner, who though I need a break from training with, I like racing with, told me three days before the race that she wasn't doing the race anymore. ????? I blamed both of us for that poor training but really more myself. It's my responsibility to prepare myself to run the race I want to run. I'm still upset about it. I thought I was over this race but writing about it is bringing it all back.

The whole race I was smiling and waving at people as I passed them. It made it really fun to race! Unlike the people at the front of the pack. They were so focused they looked angry. Please make me stop running when it stops being fun. I understand being focused. I can be focused for free. I race because it's fun. Around 4.5 miles in, the cutest little girls came out of their house cheering and offered me water! So cute! They buoyed me up! Especially since this was where I saw a guy who stone-faced me. A COURSE VOLUNTEER did not smile, wave or in any way acknowledge me. He was one of multiple. Y'all. These were HANDS DOWN the worst course volunteers I've ever encountered. There were some great ones. The lady right after mile five was AWESOME! My favorite all day! The timekeepers were great. There were others. But I passed multiple people who looked annoyed to be there. YOU'RE A VOLUNTEER!! I DIDN'T MAKE YOU COME OUT HERE!! Twas bad.

Around mile five, I caught back up with walking man. He was always in view but I just closed the gap in mile four. When we hit the five-mile mark, I passed him. It was awesome! I almost thanked him for pacing me but thought that might come off as rude. At this point I was sprinting. My version of sprinting. I felt GREAT! When I got near the 6 mile mark, there were lots of people cheering so that was cool. But then there were others who turned their backs as I passed. I kid you not. HORRIBLE PEOPLE!!!! But right after them, I passed another woman. I felt a little bit bad about that because I could tell she was struggling and I knew it would only make her feel worse. I started to say something but thought it would sound bad. IDK.

After that I saw Rashan, my sister and her friend. They were cheering me on so that was fun! I love seeing my people at the race! Then I saw I the finish line clock was getting close to 1:21:00. UGH!! But I felt great so I was actually kind of okay. I just wanted to get under 1:21:00 so I pushed even more. I was pretty sure I made it so I was cool when I crossed the finish. I walked to get my legs back (your legs feel SO WEIRD after long runs) then got some food. All the Krispy Kreme doughnuts were gone by this time. Jameil wept.

Then I looked at my Runkeeper. Y'all. Why did this app have me thinking I was averaging 12:28/mile when I was actually averaging 13:04/mile!?!?!? I didn't even realize it until I saw the times posted online. I knew I felt great for the first 5 miles and that I was obviously holding back and pacing myself but 13:04?!!? I wanted to cry. With the way I felt at the end of the race? I bet I could've shaved off 2 minutes, maybe more. And my unofficial time was 1:21:01. UGH!!!!!!!!!! I consoled myself thinking the official time would be different because I didn't start right when the gun went off. You let the fastest people get at the front. So I hung back a little. EXCEPT it was a gun start. Everybody gets the same start time marked as the time the gun went off. AND NO ONE TOLD US. What!? Can you tell me the point of having chip timing (tracking my finish time) if everyone gets the same starting time???? How does that create official timing??? I can't describe to you how annoyed I am by that. I need every future race to be specific. It's so OBVIOUS that I wouldn't have even thought to question it.

Post-race, I like to hear the fastest runners. Most races announce the three fastest male and female. This race announced the fastest three males and females in every age group from 10 to 70+. In multiples of five. ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?!? It took AT LEAST 45 minutes. The only reason I stayed was for the door prizes which they said you had to be present to receive. There were some FANTASTIC prizes. $100 gift certificates to running stores and expensive restaurants, travel vouchers. It was great. But then the woman drawing decided to look at a list of names and pick the first one that her eye landed on. Then they announced that because so few people stuck around, if you knew someone you could get their prize for them. A group of women got 4 prizes for people they knew. TOTAL CRAP. Of course I won nothing. I was so annoyed by the overall experience that I wrote a letter to the organizers. They offered me free registration for next year's race. I'll accept it, already praying in advance I'm not here this time next year and will kindly hope to never see any of those people again.

To shake off that awful, awful experience, I almost immediately found another race. My next 10K is April 10th in Cary, NC near my sister. I WILL come in under 1:18:00. I've done a lot of research. I will get what I want. Here are some things I learned from researching and from my own experience.
  1. I feel great when I get a tiny bit of food in me within 30 minutes of the race. I'm sticking with a piece of bagel and an orange.
  2. Gummy worms don't work for me. Just one spiked me WAY too much in a bad way.
  3. 10Ks are hard to pace because there's so little room for error if you start out too slow.
  4. I MUST write down my projected times for each mile. My app won't be an issue if I have my hits worked out ahead of time.
  5. Most importantly: get in the game. Train the way I want to to be READY, willing and able to race.


Sparkling Red said...

I'm very impressed by the speed-walker. He wasn't kidding with the speed thing.

As for the race itself, I agree; the organization was totally bogus. Especially the prize distribution. I give them a long, heartfelt raspberry. :-ppppppppp

Mrs Count said...

I'm glad the organizers were responsive to your complaints. I hope the next race is much better

K. Rock said...

Great recap! I have had a hard time finding a running app that is accurate. Runkeeper and Mapmyrun are not great. Nike Plus is better but still not race accurate. They have all at one time or another told me I was much faster than I really was.

Grumpy volunteers sounds terrible. I dont think I have ever come across that.

They have these pace "tattoos" that you can stick on your arm to determine where you should be at each mile for the time you wanna finish. Check your local running store. If they dont have them, I will send you one.

I have tried that same method you did, take off slow and then gradually speed up. I have definitely got to practice it more but it seems to be the method that works best for me too.

Gun start!? Yeah that sucks. I would definitely shave a few seconds aff my time.

Great job! Glad your first 10K went well. Hopefully the second one will go even better!

Jameil said...

red... i encountered another like him in my 2nd 5k. i'd be impressed if they didn't make me look bad! lol (ish) they actually gave me a loooong explanation about the distribution that made it look even worse.

mrs. c... responsive-ish. i got way too much explanation about the prizes/awards ceremony rather than apologies about the course volunteers and the lack of a sense of community which i DEFINITELY communicated to them was my biggest problem with the race.

k... thanks! grrrr! it makes the apps useless if they're not accurate! i knew often the current pace was waaaay off but i thought the average pace would at least be mostly accurate. so horrible.

grumpy volunteers are terrible! i wouldn't have even imagined they would exist! i've heard about these pace tatts and i kind of want one!

i'm gonna keep working on it. man i was frustrated! now i'm so determined to get the time I want!!!

the gun start is the DUMBEST thing i've ever heard of! thank you for this awesome comment!

Naima said...

I'm so impressed with you right now!! An hour+ is a really long time to be running non-stop, wow!

I also feel so unprepared to actually run a race -- pacing, gun start, chip timing...huh???

Man, those volunteers sucked. I hate that it interfered with your experience :(

Jameil said...

Thanks Nai! I was like that, too but I've immersed myself in running literature so I'd know the lingo! I love it now! Worst volunteers I've ever experienced in my now 5 races. I hope worst ever. I never want to have that again.