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!
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.
- 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.
- Gummy worms don't work for me. Just one spiked me WAY too much in a bad way.
- 10Ks are hard to pace because there's so little room for error if you start out too slow.
- 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.
- Most importantly: get in the game. Train the way I want to to be READY, willing and able to race.