Double Race Recap: Back to Back 5K and 10K
So this weekend, for the first time, I ran two races: a 5K on Saturday, and a 10K on Sunday. And while I was a little nervous when I planned that out a few weeks ago, by now in my half training it is actually significantly less than I am supposed to be doing on a Saturday and Sunday (should be 5 and then 10 miles this weekend so I am down by about six miles, which I intend to make up Tuesday or Wednesday).
DAWS Wag Your Tail 5K
This is the second year I took part in this. It is a fundraiser for the local animal shelter where we got our dog. When I first started running, Gizmo was my constant companion on my runs. Now that I’m going for longer distances, he doesn’t always join me, but I still couldn’t skip this race.
It had been rainy right up until the start of the race, so when we started, inside a parking garage, it was a challenge. First of all, my dog was wanting to run ten miles an hour to my five, and he wanted to chase all of the other dogs. My first ten minutes was spent trying not to slip on the water and telling my dog to heel.
The first mile was mostly downhill out of the parking garage, which felt great. Totally picked up the pace and cruised along, enjoying the flow. Until we turned the corner.
A long, slow uphill greeted us there, and pretty much we were running either uphill or downhill for the rest of the race. The sun had come out and the humidity from the rain that had fallen previously kicked in, and the going got a lot rougher. I finally had to slow to a walk on some of the hills because they were pretty serious.
I stopped at the one water stop, grateful that I didn’t have to drop a poop bag in the trash there (they gave you bags at the start but I had packed my own too) and caught my breath.
It didn’t matter. The hills honestly got steeper and steeper. I resigned myself to running them until I thought I would die, and then walking to the summit, and trying to pick up speed on the downhills. Which is what I did all the way to the end.
Last year, somehow, I ran this course in under 33 minutes. I have never, ever run a 5K that fast and I was in worse shape last year. I realized that the course must have been short. Sure enough, this year, they added a bit to the course (another $#@%$ hill!) to make it a full 5K. Which was why when I heard RunKeeper chime off 35 minutes in my ear, I was neither surprised or cared much. Definitely not a PR course by any stretch, but that isn’t why I ran it.
Finally crossed the final pedestrian bridge (so cruel to put a hill at mile 2.9 on a 3.1 mile course) and plodded towards the finish. There would be no sprint to the end today. I was absolutely spent, after only a 5K. That’s how hilly and hot it was.
I only was smiling here because I knew my husband was taking pictures. I finished in 37:15, which I was not happy about, but I had to remind myself that not that long ago, that was a good time for me, so I am dealing with it. They did give us a cute finisher’s medal, which was nice.
I will say that the after party food was amazing. Plentiful fruit, sandwiches and large bottles of water, so I hydrated up before we packed me and my super muddy dog back into the SUV for the ride home. 🙂
Norwalk Mother’s Day 10K
This is another race I ran last year, and I really wanted to run it again to gauge my progress with training. I didn’t love this race last year, so I really wanted to redeem myself.
The race starts smartly at 8am, which is smart because Mother’s Day can be warm sometimes. Last year the race started out with a light drizzle but ended with 70+ degrees and sun, so the early start makes sense. It starts and ends at a beach on Long Island Sound (I type this a lot…I like beach races), so I got to the race site by 7:15.
Of course I took a pre race selfie on the beach. It was gorgeous out there!
Lots of race day registrations so the race started a bit late. I spent the time chatting with a woman who was wearing the shirt from the last 10K I ran two weeks ago. She was irritated that that race hadn’t given race age group awards. I didn’t even know that; obviously when you finish third from last, you don’t really worry about trophies. I told her my only competition was myself. I don’t know if she thought that was admirable or stupid.
Anyway, I positioned myself in the back of the pack as we went out. This course is billed as “fast and flat” so I was hoping to beat my time from two weeks ago, where the course had a few hills I’d had to walk.
The first few miles were fine. I found my pace easily. I knew it was going to be sunny and warm so I added a new piece of equipment to my race gear today: a hat. Normally I think hats make me hotter, but I bought a hat last week that is for running with lots of ventilation and air holes. I knew keeping the sun off my face would help me feel cooler, even if my head was a bit covered. I definitely was glad I’d done it, because most of the course was in full sun.
I passed probably six or seven people which made me feel good, and didn’t lose the herd until nearly the third mile, which also made me feel good. But I could definitely tell the heat was catching up with me. I made sure to stop at the second water stop, because by that time I was sweating so much that my hat was dripping (took me a while to figure out that it was my sweat, I thought I was running under drips!).
I noticed after the second water stop that I felt a bit better. I definitely was getting dehydrated with the temperatures and the sun. I found a woman who seemed to be running about the same pace as me and decided to follow her for a bit. I almost passed her around mile 4.5, but then we had to go over an overpass to I 95. I decided I’d better just run a little slowly and stick with her to be sure I didn’t run out of energy on the course.
This was the part of the race that I hated last year, miles 4-6. The sun had been strong that day too and I just ran out of steam. I walked a lot, even in the flat parts then. But this year I felt much better. I could tell a huge difference in my stamina, even though the weather was pretty much the same. It spurred me on. I took a bit more water at the last water stop near mile 5. I couldn’t believe it, but another burst of energy kicked in about half a mile later. I passed the girl I had been pacing with. I was tired at this point, but knew the rest of the course was completely flat and tried to kick it up a notch to the end.
I finally saw the clock just as it was turning over to 75 minutes. I was a little bummed, because it meant that I wasn’t going to beat my time from two weeks ago. Still, I saw my family waiting for me, so I pushed on and ran as fast as I could to the finish.
Again, I’m only smiling because I knew my husband was taking this photo. Still, it’s got to be one of my all time favorite photos of me running. It really shows the story of this race. I felt so much better heading into the finish line this year.
I crossed at 1:15:15. I had really wanted to get in under 1:15. Still, since they don’t do chip timing on this race and I was in the back of the herd, I probably am close to it. And if it had been the same weather as I’d had two weeks ago for my other 10K, I think I would have beat that time. Either way, it’s still a solid four minutes faster than last year, and I’ll take that. To be honest, I think the 10K overall felt easier than the 5K yesterday because it was a flat course. It was longer, and hotter, but I never had that feeling like I just wanted to stop. I could have kept going if I’d needed to today, and that felt really, really great.
One thing I have to say is that the after party for this race really was a fail. I wasn’t the last at all; I saw someone come in a full fifteen minutes after me. And still, there was no fruit left when I came through, no Gatorade and the only water they had was in big, nasty, muddy jugs that had clearly been left out overnight in the storms. There were no plastic bags lining the fruit and bagel bins either so it felt super unsanitary. It was a shame because I like the course and the water stations were well manned but if there’s nothing left for you to fuel up with after a race, it gives you a bad feeling. I had a sudden pang about five minutes after I finished the race, knowing if I didn’t have some food in my stomach I might be sick. And there was very, very slim pickings by then. I felt really bad for those who finished after me (again, not many, but also not one or two either).
At this point I am not sure if I am going to do any more races until the Half Marathon on June 22. If I do, it’ll be a 5K with a friend or something once. I need to really be sticking with my training plan and getting in the longer runs, and I really have to acclimate to the heat. I want to be sure I’m doing everything I can to be ready. While I love races, I think at this point I’m going to need to really focus on training until the Big Day.
Happy Mother’s Day!