When I originally signed up for this race, I was hoping to break my PR. As the day of the race drew closer, I knew it would be unlikely. My 10k PR right now is 58:xx; it's a time I earned through hard, dedicated training. I know I won't break that PR on a whim.
So there were some things going against me this year. For one, after taking necessary time off for travel and surgery, I allowed myself to completely stop training. I also had a wedding to attend the night before and indulged in a few glasses of wine and some food that's not usually part of my diet. (My stomach absolutely hated me Saturday morning.) Those two factors are completely on me.
The 94% humidity and blazing heat, however, was not something I could control.
|Yeah, 94% humidity. Thanks, Florida. (I wish I could see the "feels like" temperature! It was not 73!)|
Despite the race selling out before Kristin could sign up, she decided to go with me to cheer me on anyway. That's not a normal expectation I have of my friends, and I realize how incredibly lucky I am that she wanted to drive up to the race at 5:15 on a Saturday!
Last year, Matt and I arrived just in time for packet pickup and a bathroom break; this year, I had plenty of time to use the bathroom, get my bib, and get situated.
Although I knew Sean and two teachers from work were running this one, I didn't see them pre-race. (I saw them all at the end, though.) I started off on my own and stayed that way the entire time.
|I didn't see him, but Kristin caught Sean's start.|
I had no expectations for this 10k. I just wanted to use every bit of the experience as a reminder about why shirking my training is stupid; laziness doesn't pay off. Don't get me wrong, this race wasn't a punishment, but it was a lesson. I knew it wouldn't be easy, but I was determined to learn something from it.
The first couple miles were fine, but I lost steam early on. I had my breakfast around 5:30 and my stomach was too upset to eat a Gu pre-race, so I didn't have much in the way of fuel by the time the race began at 7:15. I dumped water on my head at the water stations, but it was so humid that it just sat there...no evaporation means no cooling action.
|A huge bonus of this race was that they used a local photographer, so prints were only $2! Here I am at the start.|
When I got to the sidewalk that I recalled from last year as the last straight shot before the finish, I thought, "Okay, two more miles; I can do this." But those last two were the worst of the race; there was no shade at all and I could feel myself hitting the wall with each step.
|The road along the beach was blissfully shady...|
|...But shade didn't last long.|
I was able to avoid walking - my one real goal - by slowing my pace. I acknowledged that I was suffering from lack of training, questionable choices the night before, and the heat; I let myself learn that lesson, but I still enjoyed the struggle and the challenge. I guess there's something to be said for the masochistic aspect of running.
|Mile 5.5...I managed to smile!|
Kristin was there at the finish line cheering me on! She had found Sean, too; he was two minutes slower than last year but came in 3rd in his AG, up from 4th last year. So that gives you an idea about performance and the heat this year. Everyone agreed it was hotter than last.
|Not great, but good enough to earn me 13/30 AG.|
|My official time was around 1:09 but honestly, I barely paid attention. I was just glad to finish!|
After the race, we went out to breakfast and enjoyed an easy ride home; I guess snowbirds are finally going back up north!
|Don't be fooled by the Mother Runner headband; I forgot one and Kristin let me borrow it!|
|Eggs, grits, and bacon is my favorite post-race breakfast!|
One thing I really like about this race is that the course is shaped like a shark's tooth! The nerd in me finds that simply fantastic!
All in all, the race was as difficult as I expected, but rewarding as well. I was so grateful to have Kristin there; knowing she was at the finish line really did keep me moving forward, and this was one day I really needed that motivation!