Monday, April 18, 2011

St. Charles Run Festival

What a crappy freaking day!!

I headed down to Cindy's house Friday evening after a great Caps playoff win, and arrived just a little after 11.  Cindy was nice enough to give me her bed for the night and I got a good night sleep until the alarm went off at 6:00 - ugh.  It wasn't raining yet, so Cindy offered to drive me to the race (had it been raining I'd have driven myself so I could sit in the jeep waiting for start time).  After a quick breakfast stop at Wawa (iced tea and nutri-grain bar), we got to the Regency Furniture stadium and I grabbed my bib and timing chip.  There was still about an hour before race start so Cindy offered to drive the race route just for kicks.. I think we missed part of the course, and we drove it in reverse, but I noticed that the "flat" route did include a couple decent-sized hills.. though I'm much more concerned with hills on the bike than the run.  Cindy dropped me off back at the stadium and headed off to her yoga class.  After a little standing around it was time to head to the start... a half mile down the road!

This race was a lot smaller than I'd expected, though I'm sure plenty of people dropped out at the last minute because of the weather predictions.  I was wearing shorts and a long sleeve shirt, but decided at the last minute to throw on my Caps wind breaker, and as such was able to carry my cell phone so that I could get in touch with Cindy after the race.  It was 8:02 when they sent us on our way, as I know from glancing at my cell phone... good thing too because I wasn't wearing a watch.  This was my first race without a watch and it was weird not monitoring my time as I went.  First mile done, and no rain.. sadly this was the last mile marker I'd be able to say this.  The rain was light through mile 2 and 3, and that's when I started feeling what I feared was a huge blister on my left foot.  For me, the first couple miles of any run are pretty painful, trying to get my body adjusted, so I was happy to pass that third mile marker... except that's when the rain started picking up, so what should have been me getting comfortable, I was getting wet instead.

We must have passed pretty close to the stadium at this point because I could hear the announcer, likely welcoming in all the 5K'ers.. 6 more miles to go, and the rain was picking up.  I must say that each of the water stations were very well stocked, even assuming they were planning for more people, I think they would have been fine.  As a back of the packer, this is important race data as there are plenty of events that run out by the time the last athletes are making their way through.  Only once did I get a "Let's Go Caps!" chant, which was surprising.

Somewhere between miles 5 and 6 I started smelling something really really bad.  I started looking around for whatever was dead and producing that horrid odor but saw nothing.. must have been the rain mixed with the fertilizer or something?  It definitely made me pick up my pace!  I did spend most of this race walking, running when I could.. but my back has been bad lately and I'm pretty sure I'll be walking most of the Disney race also.. oh well, not much I can do about that except take it easy and try to heal my back. 

Finally it seemed like this journey was winding down.. passed mile marker 7 and then mile marker 8, and I knew I'd be done in half an hour!  It was really coming down hard at this point and it was getting pretty miserable.  My feet were swishing around in my shoes, my jacket was soaked and very heavy.. we were going down one lane roads and the passing cars and trucks were spashing water all over me.. finally passed mile 9 and really picked up my pace, jogging into the stadium.. there was a huge van parked in the middle of the entrance to the stadium, and then I rounded the corner and saw that they had taken down the finish line.  SERIOUSLY?!  There was no advertised time limit on this race and I was definitely not the last person coming in, this was ridiculous.. totally ruined the whole race, that was already pretty miserable with the weather.  So disappointing.

Luckily I had checked my phone when I crossed the start line, and then checked it again when I was done, so I have an approximate time, but still... ruined what could have been a really great race.  The shirt we got was nice, but wasn't enough to overcome the damper of not having an official time.  Cindy had been there and said that quite a few people who came in before me were also really mad the finish line was gone.  We went to breakfast at a local diner and then I made my way home in the rain and the traffic, finally getting a shower around 2:00.. ugh.

I am feeling OK about the run mileage for the Disney race though.. getting in these 10 miles was key for me.  Now I just need to focus on the bike training and I think I can do this!!