Sunday, May 1, 2011

Get in Gear 10K Race Review

Summary: Sometimes you get the bear.  Sometimes the bear gets you.

Okay, you probably wanted a little more detail than that.  Fine.

The Get in Gear 10K is actually a whole lot more than just a 10K.  Sure, the 10K is the main event and has the most racers, but there's also a 2K fun run, a 5K and a half-marathon.  There were a little over 3100 runners registered in my race, 1800 in the 5K and 1000 troopers in the half-marathon. So, at any given time during the race there were close to 6000 people out on the course.

It's kind of a big deal.

The Wife and I woke to some gloomy weather.  It had been raining most of the night and the forecast said that it wasn't going to clear up any time soon. I suppose it wasn't that big of a deal.  Last year was rainy too, so it wasn't something that either of us couldn't handle.

We each ate a bagel with some peanut butter and snarfed down a banana before hopping in the car to head to the course.  After about 10 minutes on the road, I realized that I had made my first mistake of the day and left my bib number back at the house.  Crap.  So, after a little bit of lead-footed driving and a little bit more cursing, we swung back home, grabbed the missing gear and got back on the highway.

Lesson Learned: Get your act together the night before the race. C'mon, you've done this before.

The Wife's mom lives about a mile from the start line, so we met at her place and strolled over to Minnehaha Park.  Our friends Ike and Maggie (and their baby, Ruth) were there too.  Heck, even my mom made it this year.  She was always there to cheer for me back in high school, so it was cool to see her today.

Even with all the rain, there was still a fairly intense crowd at the start.  One of the hardest parts of a race this size is picking a good place in the crowd to start.  If you start too far forward, you end up getting trampled by speedy folks.  Start too far back and you'll be running zig-zags around the slower runners. 

By the time my chunk of the crowd reached the start line, approximately 4 1/2 minutes had gone by.  It was pretty jumbled up, but at least everyone was running off the start.  Adrenaline kicked in and I did the best that I could getting to my goal race pace of just over 8:00 per mile.  At the same time, I was playing a game of human Frogger and probably ran a couple of extra blocks going side-to-side to move up in the pack.  So, my second mistake of the day was starting way way waaaaaay too far back in the pack.

Mile 1: 8:09
Lesson Learned: Be more careful when seeding yourself at the start line.

The next couple of miles were frustrating..  By miles 2 and 3, I was starting to overheat.  As it turns out, I didn't need long sleeves after all and would have been better off with just a tri-top and lightweight gloves.  Also (and I don't know if overheating had anything to do with it) I just couldn't get a good rhythm going.  I knew that I could run faster, but every time I pushed a little harder, I just couldn't maintain the pace I wanted.

Mile 2: 8:34
Mile 3: 8:54
Lesson Learned: It's better to be cold at the beginning of the race than to be hot in the middle.

After stumbling through mile 3, I started to get angry with myself.  I mean, for crying out loud, I've averaged 8:54 in easy workouts before.  I tried to run with better form, focusing on mid-foot striking and leaning slightly forward with good posture.  It seemed to help a little bit as my splits started to get a little better, but still weren't anywhere near my goal pace.

Mile 4: 8:43
Mile 5: 8:29
Lesson Learned: I had better start to work more on my running form.
Lesson Learned: A little rage while running isn't always a bad thing.

For the last mile and change, I tried to force every last bit of energy I had into forward momentum, but it just wasn't happening.  Usually, I get an adrenaline rush that helps me finish strong.  This time: no rush, just more frustration. On a positive note, I heard my mom yelling my name as I headed towards the finish chute.  It took me back to cross country races back in high school.  It was pretty cool.

Mile 6: 8:25
Mile 6.3: 2:12 (Remember all that zig-zagging?  Well, it added another .1 miles onto the run.  No biggie.
Total Time: 53:29, 8:31/mile.
Goals Reached: None.  Not even my 'Meh' goal of 52:30
HOWEVER:  I DID break my previous 10K record by over 3 minutes.  So, um, yay!

Lesson Learned: Suck it up buttercup.  Sometimes a strong performance just ain't in the cards.
Lesson Learned: Moms that always cheer for you are awesome.  Plus, they don't care how crappy you think you did, which is awesome-er.  AND, I had 2of them there for me yesterday.  So, I suppose that's doubly-awesome.

After finishing, I stumbled around looking for where all those cheers came from.  In the process, I ran into The Wife, who had just finished her race.  I gave her a squeeze and slapped her on the booty in a 'good game' kind of way.  I'm glad I saw her first after the race.  Then we met up with the rest of our crew and made our way back to the cars.

As a special treat, Ike, Maggie, The Wife and I went to the 5-8 Club and treated ourselves to Juicy Lucy's.
Nothing says 'Sorry about the crummy race' like cheese wrapped in meat.

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