I got to race over the weekend! Like actually race, race. I think the last time I ran a race that I felt I could push myself was the Turkey Trot back in November of ’11… And talk about a totally different everything from last year’s St. Patrick’s Day weekend running… So where to begin?!
I woke up to actually find snow on the ground on Saturday, not really something I was expecting. I don’t recall ever doing a race when there was snow on the ground! When I signed up for this race, I was not at all thinking Spring would still be a distant event, especially considering last year’s race was 80 degrees and I was frantically trying to rip the sleeves off my shirt because I was way too hot. I guess a year makes a big difference! (and PS, the groundhog needs to be shot and a new one hired, this one is as accurate as the weather forecasters…)
The race started at 9am down in Tosa and my parents decided to come along and cheer me on! Little did they know they were going to freeze as well. The start area was SO crowded (3,500+ runners!) and considering this was the inaugural year, I really hope they realize the course cannot support that number, let alone any additional that will join next year. Parking was chaos, running was terribly cramped and the finish area was horrible. I actually think I had more room at the Disney races I’ve done and that’s saying something. I feel bad for the people finishing behind me because the finish line got so much worse within five minutes after I crossed! I was also really glad my parents were along to help with the parking situation because I would have totally freaked out when I got there if I was alone!
I got to Hart Park with plenty of time to get my packet, use the port-o-potties (which were plentiful at least!) and stand around for a few pictures before the race began. It was crazy cold and I was really glad my mom + dad brought along some blankets so I could try to stay warm. I was so cold I even kept my puffy vest on at first which was dumb but whatever.
The first two miles were super crowded and I had to really weave and pop through people to try to get to a point I felt like I was running. I surprisingly felt really good and like I was keeping a great pace, except for all the crowds holding be back so I tried my best to get to some clearings so I could really run. At about the two mile point, we got to a neighborhood and that really helped ease the route crowding and I could finally run freely for another 1.5 miles.
I hit the three mile marker and thought, “Hey, just one more mile!” but within a half mile, I passed the four mile sign so then I was really confused. Also, by this time, I was carrying my vest, headband, gloves and phone… oops. I was sure a 7k was only four miles, even, and I guess I never looked that up to confirm it?! Also at this point we started running on a SUPER narrow path through the park so it got even worse before I could finish as far as crowding was concerned but I knew I had to be getting close so I just kept running.
Once I finally could see the finish line, I took off to try to get in close to 40 minutes which was my original goal, thinking that would equal 10min/mile pace and I thought I was already over that. (Gun time 41 minutes or so) I missed a chance to grab my pup and bring him with me because I was way too much on a mission to finish
Once I finished I was super confused for awhile because I really felt like I ran faster than 10min/mile pace which is what it would have been had the course been the four miles I stupidly thought it was After a few minutes though, I realized it was really 4.3 miles, hence my confusion all race!
I was even more surprised to find I had finished in 38:57 or an 8:58 pace!?! No wonder it felt kind of challenging!! Either way I would have been happy with my finish time because I didn’t walk once which was my secondary goal, but considering I came in under 9 minute miles, I was really shocked by that finish time!
Pros/Cons of this race:
1. Start/Finish in the same spot
2. Free t-shirt, bandanna, beer + green “finisher” necklace
3. Short porto-potty lines!
4. Awesome volunteers directing traffic + lots of police helping with that
5. Fun distance!
1. WAY too crowded…
2. Poorly marked miles
3. Chaos at the finish line through the beer pickup, spread this OUT!
4. Cold But I don’t think that was under any race official’s control!
I do think the snow amounts negatively impacted the amount of space at the finish line and maybe even all along the course, also, it was likely way more people than they thought would join an inaugural race?! I guess before I sign up next year, I will make sure they either choose a different course or stagger walkers/runners/strollers. (I was passing walkers within 2 minutes) But all and all, it was a fun race that I would like to do again, provided more room on the course in future years.
To continue the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, I also made the best dinner EVER! Cottage Pie, Irish Soda Bread and Irish Salad. OMG so good!
I am excited for racing this year and really hope my slow + steady weekly running with an actual plan will help me a lot for my upcoming half marathons! Now if only Spring would appear so I can run in shorts and tanks…
Next race is a 10k at the end of April, unless I find another 5k to run before then