Wednesday, October 8, 2014

BCS 5K/10K Race Recap!

This year's race shirt.

On Saturday, I ran in the BCS 5K/10K race - I did the 10K, which is 6.2 miles.  We had this race on our training schedule, and a lot of our members also participated.
 USAFit BCS - wearing our new shirts!

The start/finish of the race was at the George Bush Presidential Library, so Jeff and I did our warm up walk on the grounds - here's a shot of me in front of some pieces of the Berlin Wall - and horses, because it's Texas:
 It was cool enough and a bit windy, so I got to wear my new jacket!
Jeff and I pre-race - ready to run!

A cool front blew in the day before the race and we lucked out with temps in the 50s.  It was 57 degrees at 8:00 am when the race started - what a treat!  It was a very relaxed atmosphere beforehand - we were just hanging around, chatting, and I didn't feel nervous at all.  What?  Me, about to do a race with no race anxiety??  Could it be possible???  As it turns out, yes, it was possible.  I never felt it.  I cannot begin to tell you how nice that was!

While I originally planned on running this race with Loretta, that didn't happen due to her hip stress fracture:
Jeff brought the camp chair with the footstool just for Loretta.  It was her birthday, too - we sang to her before we ran.

I started the race running with Amy and Becky:
 So glad I grabbed my sunglasses at the last minute - the sun was rising and it was bright!

 Jeff ran with CC and Love; also in this picture are Jarvis, Julia and Scott.
Becky, me and Amy starting out!  Diane is in the back - you can really pick us out of a crowd with our green shirts!

We took off, doing our 1:30/1 intervals.  The race route goes through the Texas A&M campus, and I'm not real familiar with it, so I figured I'd just follow the crowd and the route markers and it would get me to the finish.  As it turned out, there weren't a whole lot of route markers, but we followed the right crowd..and yes, there is a story to tell about that later on in this post.  While the first mile felt slow because I was still warming up, we ended up having a pretty decent pace.  By mile two, I was feeling good and felt like I was running strong.  Mile three?  Zipping right along!  That was where Amy dropped back - she was having a hard time keeping up with me and Becky, so we went on ahead without her.  I took a GU at mile three, and while I was carrying my handheld water bottle with me, I was getting low on water and wondered where the aid station was.

We finally found it at mile four, which was crazy - the first aid station four miles into a 10K?  We got to the table and discovered that they were completely out of cups.  Not a huge issue for Becky and I, since we could refill our handhelds, but there were a lot of runners with us who were pretty upset.  An older woman kept pace with us for the next two miles, and she just kept saying how this race was "bullsh*t" and she was composing a letter to the race director as she ran.  Another man was also expressing his dissatisfaction at the water/cup situation quite loudly as he ran.

Mile five went by in a blur, and before I knew it, we were turning onto the long, winding, hilly drive toward the finish line.  It's a mean way to route runners, having an uphill finish like that, but there isn't another option at this location.  We saw CC, another runner from our group, waiting for us and she yelled some encouraging things and ran us up the rest of the hill.  We turned the corner and saw Becky's husband and kids (her daughter, Love, ran with Jeff and CC and finished in just over one hour) - they were cheering, and then we saw the rest of our running club cheering us on as well!  Jeff got a couple of pictures:
I don't know who the man in the white shirt was, but he was very happy that we were finishing!
  Running it in - we look strong here!
 You are looking at one happy finisher here!

The race has a 1:30 cut off time for finishing.  I knew it would be close - I ran six miles in California last month in 1:24, but when I ran the Blerch virtual race a couple of weeks ago, my time was 1:31.  Our finish time for this race was 1:24 - woohoo!!!  I was happy about that.

Afterward, we had a cookie cake!  Loretta's partner brought it to celebrate Loretta's birthday, and our first group race:
Yes, we made the birthday girl pass out the slices!
Loretta also brought a treat for everyone - chocolate milk!!  Plus, she put a funny tag on the bottles - it said "You know you're a runner when, you pay to run in a race located in a place where you can run for free any other day" - so true, so true.

Here's Jarvis, the only person who ended up completing our new Fit 5 program.  He trained for and ran his first 5K - we were so happy for him!
Here's Diane, who is new to our program and had a great race, too!
Sisters Cristy and Cary - I'm going to sound like a broken record, but they, too, had a great race!

Overall, I had a great time.  My running went well, and I got to hang out with my running club peeps - they are such a fun group of people and they make life more enjoyable.  No one takes themselves too seriously, and even with particular running goals, there's a lot of good-natured joking going around.  But as for the race itself, well, there were problems.  Due to a lack of route markers, everyone ended up following the group in front of them.  When I said that we followed the right crowd, that wasn't a joke - our race ended up being a true 10K - my Garmin read 6.18 miles when I finished.  However, the majority of the 10K runners ended up running 6.6 miles - nearly half a mile extra!  Jeff was trying to break one hour for his 10K, and when he finished and saw his time of 1:02, he was bummed.  But then he looked at his Garmin and saw the distance as 6.6 miles - so he really did hit his goal, but it was weird.  Everyone was talking about the extra distance that they ran, and it made the awards seem a little wonky - like, did this person run 6.2 or 6.6 miles?

The race director apologized for the mess up, but the whole thing felt sloppy, from the lack of aid stations earlier in the race (they said there was one at mile 2 but most runners didn't see it - was it inside a building??), to running out of cups at the only aid station (they posted that they had 650 participants - wouldn't that be a clue as to how many cups you might need??), to the route not being marked very well.  Yes, I had a great time, but I wouldn't recommend this race...and I'm wondering how the next one in the race series will go.  I'll find out in a month!

25 comments:

  1. Congrats on completing another race! Sounds like you could teach those race directors a thing or two. That sounds really awful not having enough water cups at a race, and not having a water station until 4 miles in. Just goes to show you must be prepared to take of yourself on your own.

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    1. You know, I advised our runners in our newsletter to carry their handheld bottles at the race just because it's nice to have water whenever you want vs. when you come across it at an aid station. I got a lot of "thank yous" from our runners afterward, because as it turned out, it helped more than we originally realized.

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  2. What a happy race report, I loved reading it so much. It has happiness all over it. So happy for you you had such a good race.

    Remember back in the days that I tried a half marathon and had a DNF because of the heat? Well one of the reasons I had to stop was that I was out of my own water and the first aid station had no water left. Since I was in the back I was the "lucky" one who couldn't get water. I think these services are very important in a race: always make sure there is enough and make adjustments if it's going to be warmer than expected.

    Well done Shelley, great race!

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    1. Thanks, Fran! It was so nice to have a good race, FINALLY!!!

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  3. Congratulations on having a most excellent race - even though the race wasn't well organized!

    Water/aid stops every 1.5-2 miles is standard for all lengths of races (well, except maybe a 1 miler lol) and they certainly failed there. I hope many of the participants write the race director and point out all the bullsh*t!

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    1. Thanks! :)

      Yeah, I was pretty sure that there should have been another water stop (and I still don't believe that they had one at two miles - NO ONE I've talked to saw it). As for writing the race directors, I did, and I hope others did as well.

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  4. That's a nice race shirt. Is it gray, or is it the photo?

    So happy you had such a nice race experience! Do you think it was because it was on your regular club training day and you had so many members there it seemed like your regular time? It would be nice if you knew so you could re-create that for all your races!

    So no Blue Baker afterwards? But cookie cake? Mmmm mmmm!! And no food provided by the race? Hmmmm….

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    1. The shirt is a soft gray. :)

      I don't know why everything went so well for me, but I hope it happens again with my next few races, that's for sure!

      I hear they had bananas, bagels, Nutella and beer after the race - I got a (warm) bottle of water and a cup of beer for Jeff. After we dismantled the canopy, a group of us went to breakfast at Fuego's, which has breakfast tacos. It was fun, but I missed my cinnamon twist (and better coffee).

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  5. This whole post is just a big boatload of AWESOME!!!!!!!

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  6. I love the new shirts! Such a cute design. Who came up with that one? Love it!!

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    1. OH! And congrats on no race anxiety!! Crossing fingers that you will feel the EXACT same way in Houston!!

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    2. The shirts are cute, right? We saw a version of them at the organizer's conference in Utah, and Amy worked with the USAFit designer to come up with ours. Plus the silver is sparkly, which makes them extra fun!

      P.S. I hope you are correct regarding Houston! :)

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  7. Hi, Congrats on your race, you should feel proud. I am running my first 5k on Saturday and I just had a question. When you run your 10k races, are the first 3 miles easy? I want to continue running and work my way up to a 10k, but I've only been running for 2 months and I am now able to run 2.9 miles, but it is difficult; not a struggle but it does seem like work.

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    1. For me, the first mile is usually where I'm working out the stiffness in my legs, ankles and feet, and it doesn't feel easy, even if I've done a warm up walk. Then things feel good (usually). But when I'm running a distance longer than 3 or 4 miles, it becomes about pacing myself to get through to the end. I think it's normal to feel like running is difficult - you're asking your body to do some pretty strenuous exertion. And in a race, I tend to get caught up in the excitement and run a bit faster than I usually do. I bet you'll be just fine at your race - please let me know how it turn out! :)

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  8. I love that picture of you at the end and that you didn't have race anxiety this race - maybe because mentally it was all part of your marathon training mileage?! And thank God for those temps too! :D

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    1. It all came together for this race, thankfully! :)

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  9. I've never been to your blog before but I am a runner too so it caught my eye. Congrats on your race! Well done! Just think, you beat every person who stayed home and sat on the couch!

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    1. Well, when you look at it THAT way... :)

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  10. Would you mind explaining the 1/1:30 intervals? I'm not an experienced runner, just a beginner. :) I can't believe they ran out of cups, I would be mad too! Glad you had fun anyways.

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    1. The intervals are what you run and walk. So for this race I ran for 1 minute 30 seconds, and then walked for one minute. Repeat for 6.2 miles. :) Doing intervals works for me because I don't seem to hurt as badly, and hopefully it will stave off injuries.

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    2. That's what I thought, thanks. I do the same thing, but lately I have been running one tenth of a mile and then walking one tenth of a mile etc. but just for two miles so far.

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  11. Great recap and a great race! I do like those green shirts!

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  12. Yay for happy running! I assume you orderd a copy of that shot of you crossing the finish line?

    Maybe you could get a job hiring yourself out as a race coordinator.

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  13. Yikes! Congrats on finishing but hopefully the next race will be more organized.

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