I wanted my first race (of the year) to be challenging, yet low key. I also didn’t want to shell out a huge amount of cash so I opted to register for some 10ks (before the early bird deadlines…).
Over winter break, I registered for two races, both of which were taking place in the fitness-crazed Nor Cal city of Davis. My kick-off race for 2013 was the Davis Stampede…and for me? It was an overall success.
The race took place on Sunday, February 3rd at 8:00am. I recruited my Dad to come along to watch and support, despite it being Super Bowl morning…and a Sunday morning nonetheless. I wake up very early anyways (6:00am, sometimes 5:00am on weekdays and 7:00am on weekends) so I was not intimidated by the early start time.
When I ran my first race last year (a 5k Turkey Trot), I fueled with some toast and PB but I didn’t feel like munching on anything before the run. Instead, I chose to start my morning with a piping hot cup of coconut milk masala tea, sweetened with stevia. I also admired the race shirt, but wore one of my older workout t-shirts and a pair of black Reebok shorts (despite it being 40/low-50 something degrees!!) for the race instead.
The cup of tea woke me up, and soon we were off in the car. I wasn’t as anxious as I was for my first race…actually, I was looking forward to finishing the race since I wasn’t really in the mood to run. It was a cold, foggy morning…not my ideal running weather. I was also coming off a week where I lacked motivation to run, and consequently had not run for five consecutive days…
I was about 15 minutes early, so I found my spot with 10:00/mi group, and observed my surroundings.
It was a local race, so a lot of the runners already knew eachother and were in obvious cliques chatting up a storm. There were even sororities running together, sisters/friends in Valentine’s (or 49ers?) themed tutus, and runner moms catching up with other runner moms.
The faster runners warmed up right at the start of the line.
About 5 min prior to starting, the crowd began to conglomerate…especially within the 10:00/mi pack. Once the race (officially) started, a lot of us were shuffling to the “real” start line and when we all had enough leg room, we adjusted our paces.
The first half of the race had us run on a broad path near train tracks and through semi-dense fog. I was going at my normal pace, and wasn’t feeling any soreness/tightness. The boredom was starting to creep in, so I tried to think of the prized fuel at the end (Powerbars!) and that “accomplished” feeling I know I would relish when I reached the finish line.
The 10K runners and half marathoners parted ways at about the half way point for the 10k (3 mile mark or so), and us 10k-ers made the ascent over a highway bridge. I remembered the hints about running hills (man-made or natural) from the books/magazines I’ve read so far: conserve on the way up, and speed up with the decline. I tried to do just that without pounding my calves straight into the ground…I guess you could say I was somewhat successful? I only had some minor tightness in my calves for the rest of the race…
After running through a neighborhood park, the fog began to clear a bit and the sun began to shine through. They had us running through a paved trail with bunches of trees. Peaceful? Yes. Stimulating? Uhh, not so much. By Mile 4, I was dying of boredom. At least I didn’t have an injury to accompany it!
By the time I saw the “Mile 5″ A-frame, I did not hesitate to stop at the rehydration table and gulp down water/gatorade…I was so close to the finish, and began my mental countdown!
My final time was 1:00:44 at a ~ 9:45/mi pace (according to my Garmin). This is my fastest 10k time to date, so I was definitely happy with this time. To celebrate breaking my lack-of-motivation streak/middle-of-the-race boredom, I was ready to participate in the post-race festivities (basically walking around, picking up samples, people watching).
Plenty of post-race fuelage happened:
Also, plenty of PowerBar samples were being handed out (unpictured), and I definitely got my share of chocolate powerbars, chocolate energy gels, and vanilla energy gels. I actually plan to review these in a future post, but don’t have pictures of the stall since I made three trips (!!) to the tent and after the girl made eye contact with me during my third round, I decided 8 bars and 10 energy gels were enough to walk away with (hey, I like to think I’m getting my money’s worth!).
Overall, this race was a nice way to get started on my racing for this year, and I’m glad I didn’t have any major soreness or injuries to deal with. The biggest obstacle for me was overcoming the boredom, which I think will be my biggest obstacle when I run longer for the half marathon in June.
Even though the start was foggy and cold, it was great being able to run and watch the sun rise. By the time we left for home, it was a nice (but chilly) sunny day outside. I spent the rest of the day indoors ofcourse (studying for my cell bio lab class exam) but I managed to enjoy a PowerBar or two to keep my post-race spirits up !
Have you run your first race of the year yet?
What do you do to stay motivated during a race?