Shalane Flanagan, Molly Huddle, Kara Goucher, Michelle Knopp.
What do all those names have in common? All these women are elit…Just kidding 😉 All of these women have had bad races. Yep, even those elite ladies have had bad races. We can officially add the Riverdogs race to my list of horrible, regrettable, don’t want to talk about it races. No matter who you are, you will eventually have bad races. Yep, you heard me right, I said races…as in multiple. So many factors go into having a good race. The weather, the food you ate, hydration, your digestive system, the course, and stress outside of running. The list can go on and on but there is something to be said about bad races.
- You can learn from them
- They keep you humble
- You can still have fun
I could just chalk this post up to about 2 sentences and move on from this bad race but I think it helps other people when they hear that they aren’t the only ones with a bad race experience. Plus I like to look at what I could have done better by talking it out. Plus, two sentences makes for a pretty boring blog post.
I’ve done this race 3 years now in a row. This year I had the pleasure of my in-laws being in town to race it with me. It seems like every time they race with me, it’s one of the hottest and most humid days of the year. Two years ago they sweltered with me at the Mom’s run and last year they melted with me on the half marathon course in New York. This jinx means that the Harborfest 10k is likely going to brutal! So the race doesn’t start until 4pm so like most of my evening races, my food intake has to be monitored closely throughout the day as well as my hydration. I knew it was going to be super hot so I really focused on getting in extra electrolites from my favorite nuun tablets. Other than that, I had lunch around 11:30 and then had a piece of peanut butter toast around 2pm.
When we arrived at the stadium, I used the restroom, got a drink of water, and headed out to warm up. This is where I started to feel the heat. If we were in the shade it didn’t feel as bad but I was positive there were parts of the course that were unshaded. After warming up, Reyna met up with me and we chatted before the start. I made a point to mention how much I hate being 4th female overall and I was hoping to take top 3 for once at this race. Two years ago I missed placing top 3 by 3 seconds. Again though, it’s all about who does or doesn’t come out to these races. But having a goal like that in mind can help push you when you see that you’ve fallen from the top 3.
So I took the starting line with Ashley and we joked about how I always start my runs with Britney Spears and end them with Beyonce. My first song on my playlist is “Work it Bitch” and it ends with “Run the world (girls)” I wouldn’t have it any other way! I looked around to see if there were any familiar faces I could pace off of but I honestly didn’t see anyone I knew that was going to aim for my pace. In a perfect world I was aiming for 6:55-7:00 pace but I knew that heat was going to bear down on me. I give props to any runner who can maintain their speed in this weather.
Mile 1: 6:44 Woo look at me go. Honestly, I knew I would crash because this is too fast for me to go out at. I let adrenaline get to me, I see females pass me, I’ve got Britney Spears yelling in my ear to work it. Of course I pumped out a mile faster than I should have. The first mile didn’t feel to hot to me either, so I was pleasantly surprised. I was rocking as the 5th female for this mile. I had two girls close to me though so I wanted to hold off and wait till mile 3 to try and rabbit hunt.
Mile 2: 7:24 Yeah, I’m a fool. A fool who thought that she could maintain that kind of speed in this heat. I was crashing and crashing hard. After 1.5 miles it was all sun beaming down on my 5’1″ frame chugging along the roads wondering why in the hell I do this to myself for fun. I literally pay people so that I can go run until I feel like death. and the worst part is, when I don’t feel like death, I scream at myself for not pushing as hard as I could. Crazy, Right?
Mile 3: 7:53 Crash, burn, curl into a ball and just let me die. That’s my easy long run pace. I couldn’t even manage 3 stupid miles faster than my long run slow pace?! At this point I hear Beyonce telling me “Who run the world?” and I’m screaming back at her “I WANT TO SEE YOU GET YOUR BOOTYLICIOUS ASS OUT HERE AND RUN THIS COURSE” I did manage to pass by one female at this point to put myself where I am all the time, 4th female. I wont go into all the curse words I said as I crossed the finish line.
Here is what I learned:
- PR Season is gone and that is okay. You can’t go out to every single race and expect to get better with every consecutive one. It’s just not realistic. Knowing that the heat & humidity is here to stay allows me to accept it and move on. My next PR goal race for the 5k is going to be the reindeer run. From here on out, it’s about having fun, drinking beer, pushing myself in the heat, and hoping to train myself well enough to do better in the cooler temperatures in the fall.
- Nothing tastes as good as a beer shake at the end of a race. My beer shake was the only redeeming quality of this race. It sucked, I sucked, but that beer was AMAZING.
- I love racing with my family. Having Kathy and Kevin racing with me just makes it so much better. I love cheering for them, I love sharing these moments with them. I love that we have this fun activity in common that we can moan and groan about together.
After the race we hung out and had our free dinner. This years dinneBr was really good. I had a delicious veggie wrap that came with an apple and a bag of chips. We got lots of free beer and just hung out. Fiona got some ice cream, us adults had beer shakes, and we relaxed a bit. Kevin and Kathy had to leave at 2am so we headed home instead of staying for the game. It was approaching the girls bedtime so once awards were done we took off. I took 1st in my age group and my mother-in-law took 2nd in her age group.
I will say that it seems like the race went a little cheaper on the awards this year. Last two years the age group awards have been super cool. I got a huge wooden plaque one year and last year I got a pink baseball bat. This year it was just a small medal. They also didn’t do a great job coordinating with the photographer this year. Last year we took pictures with Charlie the mascot with our awards and this year it seems like they were rushing the awards as fast as possible.
The positives of this year was that the course was actually a full course. Previous years the course has always been extremely short. They added a small bit to it that was perfect to bring it to a full course. The food was much better this year as well! All in all, it’s a great race. Your race entry fee includes a t-shirt, a ticket to the baseball game, dinner, and beer.