Race Day, Recap, Run!, Slacker

2015 Bands on the Run 10K- Recap

Saturday I ran the third annual Bands on the Run 10k.   This race did nothing to disabuse me of the notion that 10K’s are hard.   Maybe reinforced it; that said it was a fun race.IMG_0462I managed to run away from work for a few minutes on Friday afternoon for packet pickup.    For a small local race, they are very organized.  I was impressed last year and this year was more of the same.   Last year, I though it was really cool that the volunteer shirts all said “I’m with the band” instead of just the usual “volunteer”.  So this year I was very excited to see that the race shirts said “I ran with the band” on the back.   I also like that for a smaller race, only in their 3rd year, they design their own bibs.  There’s nothing wrong with the Road ID ones, I just like the extra touch that the personalized bibs gives.  The race is a fundraiser for the high school music department.   Start and finish are the high school track and a band performs through out race morning.   They also have a bag drop table which for a small race is virtually unheard of.

Pre-race shiver
Pre-race shiver

IMG_0491The weather here has been very odd for May and with the race being predominantly on the beach, I knew it was likely to be cold, windy and more humid than I would like.    I wore pants, a tank and a long sleeve layer for the race and I was still cold.   My 25K in January was run in shorts and a tank and it hit 80.  Get it together, California!    Race start for the 10K and half marathon was 9:00 with the 5K starting at 9:15.    Some of the local races like to have a warm up/ fitness routine before them.  This was like a full on Zumba class.    I don’t think I could pull off those moves on a normal day let alone right before a race!!  I just observed.  🙂   Following the Pledge of Allegiance and the National Anthem, we headed to the start line.    Having been so far back in the pack at my last 2 races, I made sure to move up to the front this time.    I had placed 2nd in my Age Group in 2014 but the crowd looked bigger this year and I felt out of shape so I was just aiming for a steady race.   After some confusion about the starting horn, we were off!

This slogan made me laugh
This slogan made me laugh
Very hard to see Zumba warm up
Very hard to see Zumba warm up

The course is very scenic for this race.  It starts on the high school track before heading through the parking lot to a paved walking path before turning in the Cypress Tunnel.  The tunnel is a dirt trail that comes out a street before turning right and heading across the dunes and down to the shoreline.  That’s all in the first 1.2 miles.  From there to mile 3.1 you run along the water then turn around to go back the way you came.  It’s one of the few out and back races I like.     A half mile in, I felt like I was huffing and puffing already and that wasn’t a good sign.   I had used my inhaler 3 times over the course of the morning, so I thought that would help.  Then I checked my pace- 8:15.  Oh yeah, that explains it.   Oops!   I knew I was hitting a dune sand patch – in the tunnel- and would slow down so I just kept running.   Then we hit 20-30 yards of sand and we all slowed.  The upside though is that this is where the drum line was and it’s kind of awesome running past a drum line.   🙂

I lied to myself after last years’ race.  I really believed there was only about 20 yards of soft, dune sand total through out the race.  Yeah, no.   There was 20-30 yards in the tunnel and then a freakin’ football field worth to get to the water line.  I tried to run it, but knew walking was more efficient.    Now that my pace had been reigned in, I was breathing much better too.  🙂      From there I just kept a steady pace to the turn around and back.   There were hula dancers at the right before the water line and 2 guitar players along the beach providing the on course entertainment.   Once turning around, I notice that the clouds, the beach, the rock and the stacks at the old plant looked kind of awesome but I wouldn’t let myself stop to take a picture.   Particularly when I had to pause to tie my shoe that had come undone.   I was beginning think I had a good shot at breaking an hour and didn’t want to miss it.   I had forgotten how hard beach running is but I thought I would be close.  IMG_0514 IMG_0473

I finally made it back to the hula dancers and had that dang football field of sand to deal with again.  I tried running it once more but my calves and quads were feeling the burn.   So walking again.  A woman came running up next to me and mentioned that I was zig-zagging.  Oops, but I was just trying to get through it.  We paced each other for the remainder of the dunes discussing how much we hate sand.    Once through that, I felt exhausted and all I wanted to do was walk but I could hear the drums so I pushed on.   Past the drum line again, through the tunnel one more time and back into the parking lot towards the track.  I knew I might just miss an hour.   Once hitting the track, I tried to push it but I felt like I had nothing left.   Rounding the last corner, I could see the clock and knew I just had to hang on.   Finish- 59:37IMG_0499This was one of those cross the finish line gasping kind of races.   Some of the pictures my mother took are hilarious, I look beat, like I am going to fall over.    I stretched a bit and then began the process of getting the 5+ pounds of sand out of my shoes.    I was very happy that I finished under an hour.  It was about the only real goal I had for this race.    I also realized just how tough this course is, maybe I hadn’t phoned it in last year after all.    I felt like I was passed by more than a few people on the way out and only managed to pass a few on the way back so I figured an age group place was unlikely.  I wanted to check my finishing time though, so once we figured out where the board was this year, we headed over.   Times hadn’t been updated yet so we waited a short moment while a volunteer hung new pages.   At which point I laughed out loud.   I’d finished 1st in my age group. How?  Sweet!   IMG_0500IMG_0503Last year, my only complaint about the race was the lack of communication about how the awards were going to happen.   Even when they did start, things were announced in an order I still don’t understand.  This year, there was little fan fare- you just walked over to the awards table, gave them your name and they handed you your ribbon.  So much smoother than last year.   And since I was cold, the ease of it was awesome.

Overall, I am still impressed with this race.  It is very organized and the volunteers are great.  The course is tough but pretty and I look forward to running it next year.  When it is sunny and hopefully a little warmer.   🙂

Do you like smaller races?  Or larger ones?

Ever run a race with a drum line?

Race Day, Recap, Run!

Bands on the Run- Recap

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!IMG_4841

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?

Did I think I was running a marathon?
Did I think I was running a marathon?

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!

no talent for an action shot during the race but how about one while I walk?
no talent for an action shot during the race but how about one while I walk?

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-IMG_4867 IMG_4870

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.

Can you see me?
Can you see me?

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-

There was an official clock too.
There was an official clock too.

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?