Race report. Always thought that was cool … now I get to write one.
So, I mentioned in my post yesterday that I was running a 10K this morning as sort of a “practice race” for my half marathon training. This was the Phoenix 10K and Half Marathon which was run in downtown Phoenix. The energy and logistics of organized races can really play games with your mind so I think participating in a few before the “big race” is a good idea. Fortunately I have run in a number of 5K’s through the years so I had a pretty good idea of what I was getting into. Only one other time though had I actually “trained” for the event, and that was for the 5K I ran several years ago.
After our long day of travels for football yesterday, I didn’t do anything to prepare for the race this morning. There were several races at this event in addition to the 10K (5K, half marathon, etc.) so, luckily for me, the 10K had the latest start time of 9AM. So, I knew I would have time in the morning to get myself organized. But, at 5 AM I woke up and my mind started racing … and then I realized that I probably didn’t have any of my “preferred” running clothes clean to wear this morning. So I jumped out of bed, dug through my laundry basket, and took a handful of running stuff downstairs and threw it in the laundry. Then I went back to bed, knowing I would have time to run the dryer while I was getting ready. So, that was an interesting start to my morning…
I got up at 7AM and had a breakfast of baked oatmeal. This is a pretty heavy meal for before a race but I have been eating this many mornings lately and I knew that my digestive system would most not likely revolt against it on a long run. Oatmeal is a pretty good carb that takes a while to digest. A lot of people suggest actually not eating at all before a race but my blood sugar can drop fast and I can feel very nauseous – I didn’t want to risk that. I tried not to drink too much water though because I didn’t want to take any potty breaks during the race.
I got downtown and parked in the garage where I always park for Suns and Diamondbacks games. It was a bit further to the race start but I knew exactly where I was going and I didn’t want to get lost. I headed over to the starting line but had a few extra minutes to go through the race staging area with several booths and I did find the porta-potties for one last minute stop.
I didn’t know anyone at the race and my family did not attend. That was a little strange but I was OK with it. I overheard a conversation between two women next to me and one of them mentioned she ran at an 11:00/mi pace. Since I didn’t have my GPS watch and didn’t want to keep pulling out my phone to check my pace, I decided I would stick close to her if I could. 11:00/mi is a bit faster than I can sustain, but I thought I could at least try. She was wearing a pretty distinctive outfit so I knew I could probably keep track of her.
The race started and I really focused on not going off too fast. I felt like if I kept things at a comfortable pace in the beginning, I could save the extra energy to push hard at the end. The race course was in full sun for the first half and it narrowed in sections that really created some bottle-necks. Quite a few times I got stuck behind some slower people or idiots that ran in a line next to each other completely blocking everyone. I had to kind of weave in and out of people more than I liked. There were some really small bands playing along the race route – like maybe they were high school kids playing rock music. They were not great but I appreciated their efforts. There were very few spectators out cheering either. This is a pretty small race and, I noticed, there were at least 5 or 6 other races this weekend around town. I think maybe this race used to be much larger (it was the 38th annual running) but so many of the other “color runs” and “obstacle course” runs are competing now – as well as runs for some other large charities. Across town a big women’s half marathon was being run and I would have been over there except they only had a 5K and not a 10K.
When I was about 40% done with the race, the front-runner of the 10K was already heading back towards the finish line in the other direction. He finished in 30:03 – less than a 5:00/mi pace. Crazy fast. He was flying!
After we made the turn to head back, we were on the shady side of the street. This made the run a bit more pleasant. There were 2 water stations on the way back and I slowed to a quick walk through both of them so I didn’t trip and fall. I think I drank too fast at the first one though because I got a little cramp in my side almost immediately afterward. Nothing major, but it was noticeable. I was still keeping up with the 11:00/mi lady and felt pretty good about that. By this point, the racers were spread out pretty well but the same little group of us seemed to stay together. When I got within the last 2 miles, I was still feeling pretty good and tried to start pushing a bit harder. I was wearing my Polar watch just to keep the time (although I really didn’t know where we were distance-wise). I could sort of guess though that I was going to be pretty close to an 11:00/mi if I kept it up. Finally I decided I had enough energy to pass my “pacer” lady and I took off on my own. There was a guy “walking” that I came up on and, wow, he was really fast. I really wanted to beat him so that was my new goal … and I did surpass him towards the end. As we crossed the finish line I learned he was pretty well known in Arizona for race-walking.
The clock time was about 1:09:30 but I later got my official “chip time” and it was 1:08:20 – which was a pace of 10:59.83! Just under an 11:00/mi by a hair! Definitely the fastest I have ever run for that much distance. I was pretty beat but managed to recover quickly just by walking around the finish area for a minute or two. I headed over to the race staging area for a few minutes to text my family to let them know I was done, picked up some water and a KIND bar, then slowly jogged back to the parking garage (trying to round up my mileage a bit since, technically, I had 8 miles on the training schedule this weekend).
On the way home I stopped off for a Krispy Kreme donut. I really just wanted an original glazed one but added a second one to my order at the last minute. Unfortunately, the lady messed up my order and I realized when I got home that I had two donuts but no original glazed. Arrrrgh. That’s what I get for deviating from my plan – which wasn’t a great plan to begin with! I showered and then my family got home. I have felt great the rest of the day – not sore at all. I have been running that distance for a few weeks so it shouldn’t be an issue.
My final results were emailed to me and I was pleased with the outcome. I placed 42 out of 89 runners in my age group (40-44 years old). I was 272nd out of 574 women and in an even 700th place overall (out of about 1200). Considering that the 10K is a bit more of a race for runners than the usual 5K fun run, I am happy to be squarely in the middle of the pack.
So, I learned a few things for future races. I really need to get my clothing situation figured out well ahead of time. Even something seemingly simple like putting on underwear was a potential issue today because I evidently grabbed a pair from my drawer this morning that I really should have gotten rid of because they were a size too big. Not an issue when one is walking but once I started running they were kinda moving around too much and driving me nuts. Stuff like that can mess with you during a race. I can’t wait to have my Garmin for the next race I do. I hated not having a clue as to how far I had gone or what my pace was. Maybe just listening to my body was the best strategy but I didn’t enjoy it too much! All in all, I’m really glad I decided to do this race. It was a good opportunity to test out some of my training and give me confidence as I continue to work on my training plan for the half marathon.