As soon as I started the 10k Saturday morning I knew it wasn’t going to be a great race for me. The part of my foot/ankle where they connect was feeling really crampy. Plus I was also stuck behind a large group of walkers that were taking up the entire roadway, so I ended up running along the grass for a majority of the first mile to try to weave around all the walkers. After the first mile passed the cramps eased slightly but they didn’t let up entirely until mile 3 of the race, and my pacing wasn’t that great the first three miles. I spent those miles basically focusing on keeping up with Krystal from the Runner Within who was pacing with me and using the 10k as a training run.
Originally I had hoped to have a good race for the 10k because if I did I would be able to use it as proof of time for my Disney half marathons and get better corral placing, but it wasn’t meant to be this time. After I was able to get into a rhythm with the 10k pacing, I pushed myself in the last three miles and ended up being able to salvage the race. The final miles I felt pretty good actually. Too bad it couldn’t have been that way for the whole race! Does anyone else feel that when the weather is overcast they don’t run as well? I’m not going to say that’s the sole reason I didn’t have a good race, but I definitely think it’s a contributing factor. It seems as if every time the weather is overcast I don’t run as well and when the weather is sunny and beautiful I run better.
The last mile I really kicked it into high gear because I realized I could finish with a small PR, regardless of having a crappy first half, if I pushed myself. I ended up coming in at 1:06:13, which was 9 seconds off my prior personal best. While it won’t get me better corral placement at Disney, I’m glad I was able to salvage the race and finish strong! I’m glad my pacing strategy worked well too because that’s the pacing I intend to use for the Gasparilla races. My pace was 10:40/mile according to the official race results, and 10:37/mile according to my Garmin. Either way, that’s a pretty solid pace for me in a 10k currently.
After the 10k we took a few photos with friends at the finish line and then went over to the Camp Gladiator tent where we had left our stuff. Krystal is a member of CG and the trainer in charge of manning the tent told us we could leave our stuff there during the race instead of worrying about bag checking it. I put my sweatshirt back on in between races because it was chilly and windy. We went to the food tent and grabbed a few snacks to hold us over between races- we had about an hour to spare before we had to line up for the 5k. We also walked around the festival area and checked out all the merch tents and vendors. I had heard Dunkin Donuts was supposed to be there but I didn’t see them and I was kind of disappointed by that. Eventually it was time to go back over to the start and line up for the 5k.
One thing that really gets me is when people keep talking during the National Anthem…it’s just disrespectful and annoying. This time around I even said “Everyone shut up it’s the National Anthem!” when people around me were still talking after it started playing. After they sang the Anthem it was time to start the 5k. I felt much better at this point and even though I wasn’t intending to PR the 5k I wanted to run a strong race. My pacing was pretty on point the entire race. I even ended up having negative splits for this one! It was slightly more challenging running with the sun fully up but I still had a really good race!
At the finish line I pushed myself into high gear and ran faster, trying to catch up to people in front of me. I heard someone cheering for me and turned to find one of our fun runners, Lisa, waving and cheering at the finish line! She was there with her group of friends who were running the half marathon but she did manage to get a few pictures of me at the end!
After the 5k ended we went back to the CG tent to collect our belongings and got in line to grab our challenge medals. Then we took a few pictures by the water before heading to the Starbucks across the street.
This was a solid day for me- I felt strong a majority of the time and despite a rough start I managed to finish with negative splits and a strong performance. I’m pretty happy with the results of this event and will definitely run another challenge event with Best Damn Race in the future. They always put on a really great race! I didn’t get a chance to partake in any of the post race festivities though because we went to meet a friend of ours who was in from out of state for lunch.
I’m glad I chose to participate in the challenge this year. I was able to practice pacing and what it would feel like to run a back to back race. I think it gave me confidence for race day at Gasparilla. It was also nice to get some medals for what was supposed to be a “training” run!
Do you ever do races as a training run? Have you ever done a back to back challenge race?