I spent the morning of Memorial Day at the Wounded Veteran Run 10k race in Folsom. The company that I’m currently working at (that my company is contracted under) is the main corporate sponsor, and after seeing about a million signs all over the place, I decided I should run it. The race benefits the Wounded Warrior Project as well, which is pretty cool. This was only the race’s second year, so I was a little hesitant, but Folsom is basically in my backyard and my other option would have required much more driving time.
The only other 10k I’ve run was a Valentine’s Day race in February of 2010 (also known as: The Last Race My Husband Ever Ran With Me). We finished at exactly a 9:00 pace, so I was sure that I’d PR this time. I was hoping that I could run a 42:00 (6:45 pace) since I ran a 10 miler at a 7:06 pace and I’ve been dutifully running fast every Tuesday since.
With last week’s mystery virus and my generally bad attitude of late, I wasn’t feeling too optimistic about the 10k in the days prior. I was even considering skipping the race, but I had already registered and I hate to waste money so I just complained about it a lot instead. My preparation for the race was pretty crappy (with the exception of taking 2 rest days): I had half of a pan of cinnamon rolls for lunch on Sunday, didn’t drink nearly enough water, and wasn’t mentally into it.
Monday morning, I did the usual pre-race stuff, and drove out to the start location. The first thing I noticed was that there were a TON of people. As it turns out, the race grew by about 10x since last year, which I think was a surprise to everyone involved. With all the people, it was a little crazy, but I was able to get my bib and shirt relatively quickly and still squeeze in a little bit of a warm-up. When I started to jog, my knees and ankles were pretty unhappy with me, but luckily I felt better as I warmed up.
The race started just a couple of minutes late, after some Marines presented their colors and the National Anthem was sung. We started out across a field that was both dead and un-mowed, which was weird, but luckily we got onto a paved path right away. The crowd also spread out pretty quickly, and I only saw one woman in front of me. My first mile felt surprisingly good (6:50), but I knew I was working too hard for having most of the race ahead of me. The second and third miles came in at 6:57 and 7:09, and I knew a 42:00 wasn’t going to happen- all I wanted to do was hang on at that point. During mile 4, the 10k course combined with the 5k course, which made life a lot more difficult since I had to run through a lot of walkers. That mile came in at 7:01. Miles 5 and 6 were also crowded and took 7:17 (ouch) and 7:10. The last little bit was run at a 6:41 pace.
Official Time: 42:16
The course was short based on my Garmin results. It’s possible that my watch was incorrect, but generally my watch says I run more than the official race distance, especially when running in crowds, so I’m assuming the course was actually short. I extrapolated my true 10k time given my average pace (nerd alert!), which came out to 43:38. While a ways off from my original goal time, I still managed a 12+ minute PR so I really can’t complain too much.
My time was also good enough to get me 1st place in the 20-29 age group, and 3rd woman overall.
If I’m still living in the area next year, I’ll definitely run the race again, but mostly because it’s for a good cause. Had the race been put on by a for-profit company, I don’t think I would. I’m pretty sure the course was not the correct distance, and merging the 10k and 5k races the way they did made everything a little messy. The timing company had a “glitch” where they weren’t recording times for about 15 minutes, and so the official results + awards didn’t happen until nearly 11:30 (1:45 after most award winners had finished). This wouldn’t have been so bad if there was post-race food… I got a water at the finish line, and then after cooling down I scrounged up an energy drink and a piece of sheet cake, but I probably shouldn’t have. Sugar + caffeine + empty stomach = 😦
Despite the issues, though, the race was fun and the directors/volunteers were all amazingly nice. You could tell they were a bit overwhelmed by the number of people who signed up at the last minute, but they managed to pull it off surprisingly well. I’ve paid 3x as much for a race put on by experienced companies that were much less organized. Hopefully they are able to work out some of the glitches for next year and continue to grow!
Next on my plate: Women’s Fitness Festival 5k in downtown Sacramento this coming Sunday. It’ll be my first “raced” 5k… my running buddies say that racing a 5k is equally scary as racing a marathon, and that I should be prepared to be ready to die for 3.1 miles straight. I’m obviously looking forward to it.