This morning was the 2nd annual Bands on the Run. I passed on it last year, for some reason that I cannot remember, so I was looking forward to it this year. The premise is a 5K/10K/half marathon run mostly on the beach with music along the way. I had originally planned on running the half but made the smart decision to run the 10K. I was tired when I made the decision a few weeks ago and May truly kicked my butt. As I mentioned in my last post, I felt completely unprepared for today’s race. To compound matters, I broke one of my own rules last night and ate pizza for dinner and I mean I ate pizza. Bad move! Never before a race!
I picked up my packet yesterday and other than not being sure where to go, it was a breeze. They had everything ready to go and packaged, even the safety pins. As I got ready this morning, I felt predictably a little ill- my own fault- but I was trying to pump myself up. So out came the bright green and pink compression socks. The shorts I had wanted to wear were dirty-oops- so I randomly chose another pair. I was flying solo this race, so I had an available passenger seat. They make a great staging area. Please tell me someone else has done this?
After I arrived and parked, I was using the extra time to apply a little body glide. I saw movement out of the corner of my eye and a runner was getting something out of his passenger seat right next to me. A little awkward but we’re all runners right? He then sat on the curb to work on his feet and asked which race I was doing. Me, being my usual smart ass self said that I was lazy and running the 10k. Then he told me he was running the 10K, too. Open mouth, insert foot. 😦 I then slunk off to the starting line in shame. Fail!
I knew that the chances of this being a PR race were slim to nil but I went in with 2 goals. Of course the first, the impossible goal was to PR. That would have meant 55:00 and below. The second more realistic goal was to finish under an hour. There were the usual pre-race announcements and a little music played and then it was go time. The 10K and the half started at 8:30. Somehow, I found myself near the front of the pack. Oops.
The race course started in the football stadium of a nearby high school before heading out to the beach. We crossed the starting line and ran about a 1/3 of the track before heading towards the parking lot. From there it was onto a side path that turned into a trail through a tunnel of cypress trees. 3/4 of a mile in, we hit the first band- the high school drum line. I admit I love drum lines so it was cool running through them. Then was the first patch of soft sand. Ugh. It was only about 150 yards so I ran slowly through it. However to get to the beach, you had to go through the dunes. I tried to run, I really did but I just kept sinking, so finally I starting walking and tried to flat foot it across. I had so much sand in shoes. After finally making it to the hard pack, we had 2 miles out and 2 miles back. This is also where the 5K runners went right and the 10K and half runners went left. As we split up we were serenaded by hula dancers. That’s not the right word, but what would it be?
I love running on the hard pack, but I just could not seem to pick up the pace. I was getting frustrated with myself. Mile 2 ran us past 2 guys with guitars. Coming up on mile 3, I still hadn’t seen the leaders pass me on the way back so I was trying to tell myself I could pick up the pace. Then they passed. I think there was a band of some sort at the turn around but I can’t remember. 😦 Turning around I was still kind of cranky but soon had to snap out of it. This was the friendliest race I have run. Everyone was smiling and waving to each other and shouting out props as the runners ran back to the start. How can you be cranky with that? Plus there was this-
I was tiring on the way back and I knew I still had the dunes to go across again. Dune sand sucks. Literally and figuratively. It pulls your feet down and leaves you with sand in shoes as a parting gift. Once again, I walked most of it. I felt goal B slipping away around mile 5 and I became irritated with myself again. I pushed on back through the cypress tunnel and the side path and I was finally back at the school. I took a short walk break before rounding the corner to the football field and running the last 2/3 of the track to the finish line. I honestly hadn’t been paying attention to my watch other than mile splits, so when I rounded the track to the finish line I saw that the clock said 59:00. Seriously?! Run!!! I hauled butt down to the line. Official time- 59:28.
I walked a bit of the track cooling down before heading to the grass to stretch out. I also wanted to lose the 5 pounds of sand in my shoes. While I was dumping the shoe sand into the trash, a guy came up and asked what time I had finished in. Apparently he had used me to pace himself through the race. Really? That’s a first. I think my socks made me easy to spot. 🙂 I was thinking about my time while stretching and I think this is my second slowest 10K. 🙂 I headed over to check the race stats just to see before heading home. Ummm, what? I placed 2nd in my age group. Sweet! I hung around a little longer before heading home. The wind was picking up and I was a little chilled.
A few things I loved about this race- the volunteers all wore shirts that said “I’m with the Band”. Any spot in the trail sections that might trip you up, a branch, a root, a rock, etc. was spray painted fluorescent orange. Thanks for looking out! The drum line- seriously, I got to run through it twice. The start was well organized and the volunteers very helpful. The giant timing clock rocked-
I’ve had time to think about it and I could have run faster. I know I said I felt like I couldn’t but I felt fine after the race, a little too fine. There was more left in the tank, I just need to utilize it better. The difference between me and the woman who placed first in our age group was less than 2 minutes. It is ok to get a little winded in a race, I think I forgot about that.
Overall, goal 2 was accomplished and it was a good race. The weather was great and the course amazing. It will definitely be on my list of races to run again.
Thoughts on running through dune sand?
What about drum lines?