This was my second year participating in the Hooters 2 Hooters 10k. I’d been following an intermediate 10k training plan, incorporating more speedwork and tempo runs in an attempt to get a faster time on my race this year. Being that September can see many different types of weather in Florida, I was just hoping for some cool weather. Last year, the sun was beating down on us throughout the last three miles of the course, which made for some difficult running.
I arrived at the check in at 6:30 to pick up my packet and get ready for the race. The race start time is at 7:30 (I think it should be a little earlier, due to the heat) and they typically don’t do pre-race packet pick ups since it’s such a small event. I really wanted to get a picture with the giant owl mascot that walks around, but he didn’t show up until minutes before the start time, and by then we were lining up ready to run.
We started at 7:30 as planned; I modified my race plan slightly because I’d been having allergy issues and some back pain this weekend and I didn’t want to overdo it. Originally I’d planned to use the virtual pacer feature on my new Garmin Forerunner 25 but I decided to go with a 1:30/30 run/walk interval instead. As soon as I got out of the car today my nose stuffed up a bit, so this was a good decision because it helped my breathing immensely.
The first mile was challenging because I didn’t feel very warmed up- ironically it ended up being one of my fastest miles, but it didn’t feel like it! I started to feel better during miles 2-3 and was getting used to the intervals I had set for myself. I was trying to count my cadence so I could run faster without expending as much effort; I think that worked well for me as I was consistently running under 10 minute miles during the run portion.
One of the reasons I like this race is because the course is really pretty- it runs through a shaded portion of the Ream Wilson trail area and portions of it are on boardwalks in the marshlands around the park. It makes for a nice change compared to some of the all road courses I’ve run. Miles 3-4 were an out and back along the trails and over a bridge that passed over McMullen Booth road. I was really glad it was overcast the entire time because, despite the high temps of 77 degrees, the clouds made for nice cover and a slight breeze was with us for pretty much the entire course.
Coming into mile 5 I was getting tired and my allergies were acting up a bit more. I could tell my body was overheating as I was starting to get a pain in the side of my neck (artery) that I typically get when my heart rate gets too high. I kept repeating different mantras to myself to keep me from walking more.
“You’ve run double this distance before, you can do it.”
“The best pace is a suicide pace and today is a good day to die.” -Steve Prefontaine
“You only have two miles left!”
At the water stops between mile 3-4 and mile 5-6 I took some water and sipped it but dumped the rest over my head to try to cool myself down some. I had my Nathan hydration bottle filled with Nuun water with me, so I was using that a good portion of the time to drink. My favorite part came between miles 5-6, entering the marshy area/boardwalk portion of the course…
I seriously want to know who tried to “molest” a gator. That cracks me up.
Once we crossed the street and turned back onto the main road back to the Hooters restaurant, I abandoned my intervals and ran the rest of the way in. When I saw the clock by the finish line I knew I could come in just under an hour and 9 minutes, so I sprinted to the finish line. My finish time ended up being 1:08:58. Considering how hot it was outside, my allergies and the fact that it was a course PR for me (last year I ran the same race in 1:12:21) I’m doing my best to think good thoughts about this finish. It does get me a little, however, considering that it’s only a minute more than my overall personal best at the 10k distance. I can’t help but think that if I hadn’t stopped to walk the extra interval in between miles 4-5 that I would have been able to have an overall PR.
We didn’t get medals for this, as it’s a small race where the proceeds go mainly to charity (Alegria’s Kickin for Kids– an organization that helps families who are in need purchase clothing/shoes for their children). I was excited to get my “Hoot on a Stick” though. Overall, I like this race- I just wish they would start a bit earlier, and that it wouldn’t be so damn hot outside!!