I sort of feel that I got both a trick and a treat in this race — tricked in the parking guidance, treated to a PR (although my Garmin shows the course just a smidge short).
I know this is a 10k race review, and it ought to be considerably shorter than a half review, but we “ran” into some problems which I want to detail — you just never know who you might help out. I apologize for the length in advance!
Can’t speak to it; my friend picked up our packets the day before the race. She had no complaints.
The weather & dressing
60F in Fall isn’t the same as 60F in Spring or Summer. And cloudy and 60F is different than sunny and 60F. Although it would have been nice to have sunny skies, it didn’t rain (slight chance) and the cloud cover kept it nice and cool to run.
I wore my Skirtsports Wonder Wool Tee (Skirtsports Ambassador) — it’s really amazing — and a Skirtsports Cascade skirt. I stuck the bolero in my pocket, but after walking around for a while, I knew I wouldn’t need it (although it might have been nice after I finished).
My Race Plan
I didn’t bother to ask Rachel @ Runningonhappy for a race plan. Despite the fact that I was gunning for a PR, this was also a run for fun. No pressure, really.
I thought my 10k PR was about 1:10, maybe 1:09. But it’s been three years since I ran an official 10k (I’ve done a few at the winter series, which are supported long runs in the winter), and it turns out my PR is actually 1:11:12.
I deliberately didn’t look up my previous 10k PR. And I targeted a 1:08 finish.
So how’d that work for me?
- Mile 1: 11:09. Much like Wineglass (read about that here), this race starts on a narrow road and it was crowded. I actually thought this mile would be slower due to the crowded conditions, and it was actually a bit faster than I’d planned to start.
- Mile 2: 11:21. It was at this mile that we saw the firetrucks entering the park. It turned out a young man had gone into cardiac arrest (we heard later that they expect him to recover fully). I basically averted my eyes and didn’t gawk, but my guess is I was slowed down by those that did — or just recovering a bit from that speedy first mile.There’s also a slight hill here. No one but me seemed to notice it, which didn’t bode well for the hilly second half of the race.
- Mile 3: 11:01. By mile 2, unlike Wineglass, I’d already found my own running space. This is where the 5k splits off to their finish and the
masochists10k runners continue on.
- Mile 4: 11:00. There’s a pretty long hill here. It’s really not that much elevation wise, so why did it feel so hard? Yet it was the fastest mile of the race????
- Mile 5: 11:32. Mile five has another small hill. Which somehow doesn’t have a downhill according to the elevation chart; how is that possible?
- Mile 6: 11:14. Mile 6 has another small hill, but apparently we found the downhill from mile 5 + the downhill from mile 6 here.
- Last .14: 11:09. And a sprint to the slightly uphill finish.
1:08:39 — Official Time
11:03 Average Pace
5k split: 35:19
10k split: 34:23 (the hilly portion!)
I came damn close to my goal, which was slightly ambitious as it turned out anyway. Now, according to my Garmin, my average pace was actually 11:13, which I do believe is more accurate; the course was very slightly short. I was shooting for about an 11mm — there were a few of them in there.
Interesting side note: I put my most recent half finish time into the McMillan calculator. According to it, I could expect a 10k finish time of 1:10:33. I know these types of calculators are just an estimate, and that a lot has to do with the course and the day.
I’ve always found, though, that I can usually run the shorter races faster than it predicts, but the half is usually slower than it predicts. So while it predicted a 1:10:33 10k, which I beat by almost 2 minutes, based on that same 10k finish time it predicts a 2:24:50 half marathon, and my recent half was 4 minutes slower.
Which just tells me what I already know: my long distance endurance isn’t where it ought to be. But maybe someday I’ll live up to that prediction, too.
Was the race well run?
The race was extremely well marked and I would say there were many more course marshals than were even necessary — it’s pretty rare you can say that!
There were only two water stops for the 10k (or if there were more, I missed them). Extremely happy I chose to use a handheld water bottle (I didn’t use any of the aid stations).
Now ahem. Let’s talk about the volunteers and parking. Despite the fact that the friend I drove in with has lived here all her life, neither of us really knows the park well and neither of us had ever run this race before. In fact, I had never actually parked in the park before; I’d always run into it from somewhere else.
There was a sign at the first turn into the park (there are several; it’s a large park) for the race, but we didn’t see it until it was too late to make the turn. No worries, I thought, we’ll just take the next turn, which also had a sign for the race. When we went to park, we asked the volunteer if this was parking for our race and where the start was. He told us it was, and that the pavilion for the start was a straight walk down the road.
So we got out, figuring we were there in plenty of time, and walked around in search of the real bathrooms Darlene had mentioned in a previous review. We saw the finish line (or so we thought). There were also lot of kids running around, also searching for bathrooms. We also saw the baked goods the race boasts of and we were drooling.
At least, that’s what we thought.
Turns out while what the volunteer said was true, he gave us a bum steer. Where we parked was probably about a mile away from the start of our race. There was also a high school cross country meet going on — and that was the food and the finish line we thought was ours.
So we’re walking around after using portapotties, texting back and forth a bit with our other friends, and we simply can’t find the start. I told my friend to stay there, and since I had a warmup to do anyway, I ran back to the car to grab the map. The problem was that the map didn’t show where we actually were.
We ran into a couple of women running the opposite way, and asked them if they were going to our race, and they were. But they were running. We ran a bit, but my friend has never done more than a 5k, so she had to walk eventually, but luckily we kept them in sight until we found the crowd going to the start. It was a long walk to the start.
We briefly met up with our other friends, so I was able to introduce my friend to them — they were also doing the 5k, while I was doing the 10k.
There were no signs to the start where we happened to end up, and we got confused by the other race going on (although we did know there was more than one event going on).
There was still a fair amount of goodies by the time I finished, but many were obviously store bought and not home made (although some were), but truly, it was just underwhelming to me and I didn’t eat too much. The spread at the cross country meet was so much better. We had to walk past it on our way back to the car — which we actually managed to find without getting lost — I was really super tempted to stop and grab stuff, but I was good and didn’t.
- Pretty course.
- I got to see more of the park than I’d seen before.
- Real bathrooms (at least afterwards, for us).
- A well marked and well directed course.
- Plenty of food even for the BOTPers.
- Nice long sleeved tech shirt.
- The entry includes a free raffle ticket — unfortunately I wasn’t able to use mine due to our whole parking/start line snafu.
- Running with friends.
Of course no race is perfect. The downsides:
- There absolutely needs to be more & better signage.
- Volunteers need to be better informed too (they could have told us there was closer parking lots than where we were parking).
- Plenty of post race food, but nothing really all that appetizing.
What I learned
Never trust a volunteer? Rubberneckers exist in races, too?
Seriously, sometimes you just have to get lost — and that can help with your warmup (if not with your anxiety).
And as I wrote about in the Friday Five, always have a snack for after the race — just in case the race offerings aren’t what you really want/crave. I did have something in my pocket, but it was chocolate covered, and yeah, it melted and got all over my hands because it was mixed in with my Saltstick chews and my Honeystinger chews.
So also keep the chocolate separate just in case . . .