We ran the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure 10k on Saturday morning in our beloved downtown St. Petersburg, Florida.
This race was a last minute decision for Ginger and I, but it holds a special place in my running history. Seven years ago, we ran this 5k together. It was my first 5k ever – my longest distance ever – and we ran it together.
(Pardon my lack of time to dig through 7 years of photos to find that one morning – but we definitely have photographic proof somewhere.)
So, now as we’re training for our first marathon, we thought it’d be fun to hit a quick 10k (my first ever!) on this stepback week’s long run day.
We didn’t actually decide to do the run until the day before, so I had to head over to the race start to register and get our packets. Of course, it’s just a couple blocks away from my office so it was convenient.
Sign up was quick and painless. At $40, it’s about average for the distance I think. I grabbed our packets that included our numbers with the timing chip and a fairly crappy t-shirt. Now, I don’t run for the shirt … but a 100% cotton men’s tshirt for a race that’s about 80% women? No bueno. I’ll probably just cut mine up for rags anyway.
We parked at my office but when we did (at 6:00 am), there was still plenty of street parking open. We started from the car and ran 2ish miles north to the park, then turned and ran back to get a 4.5 mile warmup run in before our 7:30 start time.
The sun was rising and it was absolutely gorgeous along the waterfront.
As we made our way to the start chute, we were seriously confused by which direction the race would start. The chute was so sparsely filled, we thought maybe those were just folks standing around waiting for something else to happen. Nope.
Look how empty the entire field is – and this is just 10 minutes before race start!
Turns out the 10k field was pretty small, and despite our predicted 9:45/minute pace, we started just 20 feet back from the line – with all kinds of space around us. We chatted a bit with other runners and wiped sweat from our already dripping bodies. It was warm and humid, as usual this time of year.
The gun fired at exactly 7:30 with very little fanfare. Apparently, the 5k is where it’s at for this race.
So we fire out of the start pretty fast, as usual. The course ran south to the Pier – one of our usual routes. We had no idea what our pacing was – my Nike+ app on my iPhone is never very accurate, and Ginger’s Garmin was in locked mode with no sign of opening up for us. So we just ran where we felt comfortable.
We looped around the pier, south toward the Dali, then a long out and back on 1st Ave North. At nowhere along the route did we see a mile marker to indicate where in the race we were. Not a single timeclock to let us know how we were pacing. I was trying to subtract our original 4.46 miles from the total mileage on my app as we ran, but am pretty sure we were off quite a bit. Frustrating.
I had expected Gatorade or something with a little sugar somewhere along the route too, but all we were offered was tepid water. Better than nothing, I suppose.
I knew we were pushing our pace a bit but we’d set a goal to finish under 1 hour, so knew we wanted to hover around 9:30. I had no idea how close or far from that goal we were, but around the last mile (or what I think was the last mile), I started to feel the fatigue of the first 9 miles – and the lack of energy left in my body. I started talking myself through each block: “You can walk at the next corner.” ”There’s a turn up ahead. If you don’t see the finish line up there, you can walk.” I had myself convinced I was going to have to walk at some point – and without any knowledge of how far off the finish line was, I had to keep fooling myself into it being around the next corner.
Whatever I told myself worked, because all of a sudden the finish line was just around the corner for real! I actually pushed myself through that last block pretty quickly and finished strong, excited to see my time … but the time clock was BROKEN! Seriously. It was there, but black. I was so disappointed.
Volunteers were handing out medals at the finish line for breast cancer survivors – which was pretty cool but very confusing as it wasn’t clear that they weren’t for everyone. We walked past the first round of water bottles and headed for the refueling line to grab some ice cold bottles, half a banana and see what else we could find.
We spent a few minutes walking around the “race village”, but headed toward the car as soon as the 5k runners started coming in. The 5k was clearly much more crowded than the 10k, but nowhere near what I remember from 7 years ago – when we could hardly walk through the park at all.
Overall, I was quite disappointed in this race. For $40, I expect some decent route support – and mile markers at the very least (they did have markers out for the 5k, but the 10k was on a totally different course so they didn’t match up at all). Gatorade and time clocks are would have been awesome. With so much competition for our racing dollars, I probably won’t be back to this one again next year.
My final finish time was published online later in the day: 1:00:16 – and it infuriarated me. 16 seconds past my goal? Had I known, I could’ve EASILY made that up on the route.
I did finish well in my class and age brackets though, so that was good. 25th our of 89 women in my age category? And 120th of 475 total women? I’ll take it – and improve next time.