Monday, June 01, 2009

Zooma 10k Race Annapolis MD May 31, 2009

5 am wake up call! This was an early race with a scheduled 7am start. With the possibility of it being warm in late May, the early start was fine with me. Plus I can get back home at a reasonable time. However, I bet the early start had more to do with city and county issues with the race then heat concerns. More on that later.

Well, it wasn't hot, but rather rainy with some rolls of thunder. I was nervous they would call the race. Arrived by 6:10 or so. Car line to get into the stadium was long for the main gate, so I cut around to the back one and was able to get in more quickly. Love being local.

At about 6:30 I left the car for my warmup. One of only a handful of the 3,000 runners actually warming up. Most ladies (and a few guys) huddled under small areas of cover trying to stay dry. One mile, some dynamic stretches, strides, pit stop and I was as ready as I was going to be. My shoes were already soaked. Not the ideal way to start a race, but what can you do?

The ladies that had parked next to me actually left the race after sitting in their car for half an hour. I tried to talk them into staying, but they said it wasn't worth it. I do not understand that type of thinking. For me, if I get up out of bed, I am doing the darn race! Part of the excitement of racing is dealing with the conditions the running gods throw at you that given day.

The announcer kept us enthusiastically informed of the start time and they certainly started on time. Many people were still in potty lines and there were still quite a few still trying to park or get to the starting line. I am not sure if that was their own fault (arriving too late) or too congested (big backups on the road and potty line).

The start area was pretty slim consider the number that would pass through. Maybe 10-15 people wide. Orange cones were set up right in the middle to help people avoid one of the bigger puddles that had developed. So the starting line was sort of split. I stayed on the left a few people deep. As we headed out, it was one giant puddle after another and by the time we exited the Navy Stadium parking lot, I am sure everyone's feet had gained a couple pounds.

I hit mile one in 7:26. No surprises. Familiar with that area and ran it before (Annapolis Olympic Triathlon). I was pleased with the split and had hoped to stay in the 7:30-35 range for the race. Missed the 2nd mile marker. I hate that. It was somewhere before the base of the bridge. I was mentally prepared for the bridge and have crossed it's pain before. I knew it would be hard, and it was. Holy Schnikey, was it hard. Tried to make up for my major slow up on the down side by letting gravity have it's way with me.
On a side note: That is one thing I really need to work on. Hills. Despite running them all the time in Crofton, I still have issues with how to successfully conquer those boogers.

Covered miles 2 to 3 at a 7:50 pace. Let me tell you "why" I slowed. Past the bridge, I assumed we would hit some more favorable terrain. I was not mentally prepared for the massive rolling course that lay ahead. Call me a wimpy, but it appears more people than not had the same issues. And considering how I placed overall (and the winner's time) my guess is that everyone suffered a little and were certainly slowed by the course. Plus it was still raining. (No excuses though.)

Mile 4: 7:48. Mile 5: 7:57. Mile 6: right around 8min/m. A slow and rapid decline in pace. Positive splits are never a good sign. I did take advantage of the 200 meter downhill to the finish and picked it up to a 6:24 pace (according to the garmin).

Final results: 6.3 miles in 48:50 which works out to be a 7:45 average. I like using the garmin distance here b/c it makes me feel better about the effort (vs. 6.2 miles). :) This is one of the slowest 10ks in memory, but I am not upset.

After the race I made some new friends (two fellow Annapolis striders) and jogged the mile and half back to the start with them. The bridge was no fun on the cooldown either. Ouch! I finished 27th overall (out of 1267 10kers), 23rd female (not a lot of guys in this one), and 4th in my age group. That's a top 2% overall finish. I am pleased with that.

I did love the fact that a woman won both the 10k and half outright.

We waited what seemed like forever for the results. Initially they were supposed to be available at 8:45 but we waited another hour after that. I passed some of the time with Strider and Coach Evan Thomas. I had assumed that awards would go 3 deep in each age group (not that that would have ultimately helped me). Only the first in each age group was awarded. They never posted the results up anywhere for the runners to view. So, at the time I had no clue how I had done.

We did all get cute silver necklaces with a round charm that had the date and race name engraved. I personally like that better then medals, which end up in a pile in my closet (except my marathon ones). :)

Luckily the weather turned for the better and it was beautiful as I waited for results. I was actually the very first to get a massage. A perk to running the 10k and finishing ahead of most. And jogging back (instead of taking the bus from Jonas Park back to the stadium) helped too. After the massage, which was wonderful, I headed to the wine area and, during my wait, tried each of the three varieties a couple times. First time since my college days that I can say I was a little tipsy by 9am.

A local bakery offered mini cupcakes. I snagged a couple extra for my kids. They also had a really good band playing (not sure who it was) and offered boxed lunches, bottled water, and other vendor goodies. I stopped by Arbonne and got rubbed down with some muscle relaxing creme and am now signed up to host a spa party. I am such a sucker, especially after some wine and cupcakes.

Regarding the course: I actually spoke with one of the race coordinators . She said that the course wasn't exactly what they envisioned. I know it is easy to blame the directors for a bad race course, but I have learned that it can be difficult to negotiate all the city & county red tape. Annapolis is know for being difficult with events like this. Most recently the Annapolis Tri was axed b/c they were denied bike course permits. A couple years ago the Cherry Pit 10 miler had similar issues and had to re-route to some awful muddy path/trail (more like a cut through). I ran that and it was crazy.

I would say overall I enjoyed this race a lot. Being it's second year, I am sure there will be improvements made in the years to come. I'll be more ready for the hills next year!

One thing I did learn about myself, is that I have lost a little of my drive. My competitiveness. I don't mind putting myself in a position of pain, and in fact look to put myself there. But, I hit a certain level of push and I just don't feel like pushing anymore. A good example is that I used to always try to reel in the runners ahead of me and I would try to fight off anyone who tried passing me. I just don't give a poop today about that.

I certainly want to finish a race with a feeling that I tried. But I don't know if I want to lay it all out there, at least not right now. I think this will change again at some point. I want to try to be a locally competitive master's runner in a couple years.

I have also felt frustrated with various issues that have certainly slowed me down in the last 4 years. But, isn't running for the sake of running the whole point? Does it really matter how fast I am? Everyone of course will say "No, it doesn't matter if you finish last, as long as you are out there." But, it does matter to me. Maybe that's why I am holding back right now. Maybe I am scared of the results, or lack of results, I will get with a full on effort. I don't have expectations to run like I did 10 years ago. My lungs, ankle, etc.. (not necessarily my age) just don't make that possible. Or maybe I am still just mentally still distancing myself from the Boston Marathon.

Okay, enough of that. Next up is the Dawson's 10k which Addie will also be running. I have no clue about the course, but I have my fingers crossed that it won't be quite as hilly as this one.