Friday, March 25, 2016

Another race, and a few Runfessions


OOPS! I did it again.

Recently, the husband and myself had a mini vacay in Florida (to support our son and his team at the NJCAA national swim meet, hosted by Indian River State College in Fort Pierce). I did a little bit of research and found a race (MFI's Race the Runway) in the exact same city. Coincidence? An act of fate? Or was it just meant to be?

None the less, it was a no-brainer. I hit "submit" and found myself registered for my first-ever race in the Sunshine State.

Although the swim meet (and this race) took place in Fort Pierce, we were staying an hour away, in Melbourne (due the lack of available lodging), so we had to rise and shine pretty early (4:15AM) to be on the road, make the drive, and get checked in prior to the 6:30AM race start.

Another beautiful Floridian sunrise
The weather on race day was ideal....temps in the low 60's at sunrise, with the minimalist of wind. As you can guess, this event (MFI's Race the Runway) took place on a runway. That called for an early start time to ensure all participants (the 10K runners/walkers started at 6:30 and 2-mile runners/walkers started at 8:00) would be finished by 10:00 so the runway could re-open and operate as usual.

Ready to roll....
Leading up to race day, I had a pretty low-mileage week in terms of running. I had kept active, though, by doing lots of beach walking and stair climbing (our hotel room was on the 9th floor and I had taken the 'vator only one time during the entire five days we were there).

As predicted, the course was pretty flat. It had a small loop right after the start line, then it took us on an out-and-back trek with another loop at the turn-around. Lots of volunteers and a couple of water stands along the route made for a great experience.

The first mile felt great. I noticed my split was 8:24, which immediately gave me hope of a potential new 10K PR. I'm not usually racing to set a new record, but I knew this would be an ideal opportunity given the course, weather conditions and my current (blissful) un-injured state of fitness.

All of the runners had spread out by the second mile mark. Since this was an inaugural event, there wasn't a large crowd of 10K runners, and not many of those runners were women. Prior to lining up, I had spotted a woman who appeared to be in my age group. I kept my eye on her, but by the third mile she had merged well ahead of me.

Looking good, feeling great
Overall, I felt great the entire race. I could tell my pace had slowed some during the third and fourth miles, but I never felt fatigued. It was one of those race races where I just let my body go, and it kept going on its own without much effort.

About halfway through the final mile, I could hear someone approaching from behind. It was a gal, and we hung together for a short ways before she gradually pulled away from me. I tried to catch her, but it wasn't meant to be....she broke into a dead sprint for the final stretch and finished six seconds ahead of me. I kid you not.

It's not everyday the finish line is framed by airplanes
My official finish time was 56:03. Initially, I was a little disheartened because I felt like I ran the race strong and consistent (and was really hoping for a 54:xx finish). My splits were 8:40, 9:11, 9:21, 9:16, 9:07, and 8:42 (hello! Negative 5K splits!!). The last ".2"of the 10K distance will remain an unknown because I didn't hit the button on my watch correctly...and didn't realize it until a few minutes later. Oops.
The 10K finisher medals  were cool!
I grabbed some water and waited for my husband to finish. I didn't know how he'd do since he hadn't really trained nor had he been in running shoes in several months. It turns out he was able to run the entire course, though he did admit to feeling pretty tired in the final miles.

Yes, a pic of me capturing the husband on my phone

After he finished, we checked the posted results. I didn't see my name anywhere. I searched a couple more times...then I spotted it...at the top. I had been named the Masters Champion. Say WHAT??? We looked a little further, and saw the husband had placed second in his age division, too!

We hung around awhile and waited for the awards ceremony...which didn't happen until all the 2-mile racers had finished. Like most events, they start off with the younger age groups and work their way to the older folks, so I didn't pay much attention.

The 10K racers received finisher medals, and they were also handing out medals for age group placings. They called my name, for being the Women's Masters Champion, and I walked forward...and they handed me a scarf. A scarf? Yes, a scarf.

Me and my aviator scarf (and nasty post-visor hair)
They went through all the men's winners, and the husband collected his first-ever age group medal. I was proud of him, and happy for him as well. I've done a lot of racing, and have seen a lot of competition. It always seems to be a lot more competitive for the men than it is for the women, so this was a pretty substantial victory for him.

So what am I runfessing? Several things, actually....

First of all, although I was proud of my strong race, I have to runfess my finish time was a bit disappointing. I had glanced at my watch periodically (mainly at the mile markers), and it kept showing I was just under a 9-minute pace...so I really was expecting to finish around 54 minutes (or less). Seeing the 56:03 at the finish line was a bit of a downer. What I forgot to acknowledge was the remaining ".2" after mile 6...which would, ultimately, add a bit of additional time to that perfect sub-9-minute pace (duh).

Also, I have not had many "overall" champion victories, so being awarded a scarf seemed like a joke (especially when all the age group winners received medals).  Granted, the scarf is reminiscent of pilots from years past, and it does have the event logo on it (which is pretty cool). Ask any of my friends, and they will tell you that I love scarves....but this is one I probably will never wear. Maybe I can tie it on the rack where all of my medals hang (?).

Lastly, I must runfess that I was humbled by the final stats. Remember that gal who passed me right at the finish line? It turns out she was also in my age group, as was the gal before her (who finished a couple minutes ahead of us...she was the gal I was following until the third mile or so)). The Overall Female Champion was 17 years old (finishing in 51:53), and the second and third place finishers were in my age group (which means they're also of "Masters Division age"). In other words, I was the fourth female finisher, but was designated "Masters Champion" by default because the other two (faster) gals qualified for "Top 3" fastest overall (which doesn't account for age division). They all received scarves, too. Interestingly, there were only six female runners in the "under 40" age categories, the rest of us were all in the Masters Division.  Seriously, I cannot make this stuff up.


Overall, though, this was a great event, and I am happy with how I finished. Really, I am. Even though I didn't finish as fast as I thought I was capable of, I felt strong and the entire 6.2 miles felt relatively effortless. This race was run in the early hours (in an earlier time zone) at the end of a busy week. I have no business complaining about any aspect of my performance. Every run is a blessing, and every finish line is a victory. But that scarf.....

Have you ever run what felt like a strong race, only to have a finish time that doesn't seem to match your effort? Ever received a unique award from placing?  

I'm linking up with Marcia, from Marcia's Healthy Slice, for the monthly Runfessions.....and I'm not the only one runfessing some stuff. Head over to the linkup and check out what everyone else is coming clean on...






37 comments:

  1. Congrats Kim! I have to say a scarf has to be one of the most unique prizes I've ever seen. I remember being disappointed the one time I finished 2nd overall female but was not recognized for an overall prize but rather an AG win.
    It's so early in the year. No doubt you're going to get faster. My times are always pretty soft early on and face it, the older AGs have some seriously fast runners. IMO that overall winning time is pretty soft for a 17 yo. Thanks for linking up!

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    1. I forgot to mention in the blog that I wasn't aware of all these stats until the results were published after we'd left the race site....talk about a buzzkill! I walked away feeling pretty "queen-like" only to later find out I'd actually placed third in the Masters LOL #humbledagain

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  2. Last year I ran a half where I placed 2d in my AG but actually was awarded 1st because the AG winner was the overall winner of the race. It just didn't feel right to claim that 1st place medal, but that's the rules. Still, I told people I came in 2d. I was still really proud of that!

    Great job!

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    1. It's frustrating how each race director/timing company has different rules on how they award the placings. There's a fun trail race I do each summer, and they award the 1st overall (male and female), but also keep those overall winners in the standings for their age groups...so they clean-up on the cash prizes AND hardware.

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  3. First, congratulations on your race! You look great in your pictures and I love the finish line photo with the airplanes in the background. Oh, and yes, it seems like you should have received a nicer reward than a scarf! Congrats to your husband too!

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    1. It was a fun event, and all the proceeds went to a worthwhile cause...but the scarf thing was a little strange. We did all get finisher medals (for the 10K...not that it matters), so I'm at peace with everything ;-)

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  4. It's always fun to do a race on vacation isn't it? WE have one of those runway races here but I've not done it yet. You look really strong congrats on a great finish!

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    1. I've never done a runway race before, and to do it while on vacay was pretty neat.

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  5. Congrats!! gotta love when those races just come together and you feel good the whole way. A scarf is a bit strange. I get the theme but not sure what I'd do with it, either. And yes, the Masters division is TOUGH. I've learned the hard way that registering Masters (35+ in road cycling) is often a tougher field than Cat 4 (which includes the young ladies). And I dread aging up to 40 next year because 40-44 seems to be a REALLY tough AG in triathlon, more so than 35-39.

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    1. Isn't that the truth? You'd think the age groups would get easier,but it's the opposite! The old ladies that stick around and keep racing are tough!

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    1. The scarf is actually a light-weight
      fashion" scarf...but yes, the top-placing (overall) men also received scarves.I'm pretty sure none of them are wearing the scarves either!

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  7. Wow isn't that something to get a scarf from a race in Florida! It's pretty funny if you ask me! Great job on your race that is an awesome finish time Kim and to have your husband join you too! Pretty cool! I'm glad you had such a nice time in FL!

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    1. Florida was fun! When they gave us the scarves, they were all folded up in packages, so I had no idea what they actually were. No mention of "aviator scarves" until they posted event pics on the event page, and mentioned aviator scarves LOL I totally get it, and think the scarves were a clever & unique prize...just not very practical.

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  8. congrats! That a great finish and a Florida finish you need to remember! :) but the scarf does have me wondering........hmmmm, really? strange!

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    1. Yes, the scarf had me wondering what it was until I took it out of the package ;-)

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  9. What a nice scarf haha! I won a BIG orange beach towel for winning an AG once

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    1. Well, a big orange beach towel might come in handy... ;-)

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  10. I think in those conditions you did a great job. Weather, time zone change, busy week... and hey, you ran on a run way. How many people can say they ran a race on a runway ? So cool !

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    1. The runway aspect was pretty cool! I thought it was neat how they had the finish line staged between the two planes.

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  11. What an awesome race. My hubby loves anything related to planes. I showed him your pics. He was almost interested. That's a bid step for him.

    Love the scarf - so different.

    I've won a hat, lunch bag, a pie...but mostly medals.

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    1. My husband has an avid interest in planes, too. He's retired from the Air Force (mostly reservist duties, but he did some active duty before I met him), and he has a private pilot's license (though he has not flown since I've known him (almost 28 years).

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  12. I really love that medal and I totally would have found a local race too! Don't feel guilty about that! The scarf... yeah...someday you'll probably find it after it being stuffed in a drawer for several years.

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    1. Yeah, not sure what to do with the scarf. It's still in its package because I don't want it to get dirty/dusty.

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  13. CONGRATS on the masters award and congrats to your husband's AG placement! That's so awesome!
    I felt like my last half marathon was strong, but my finish results were not at all! I felt great the whole race, but my pace ended up way slower than usual. bah!

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    1. I've had it both ways...running a race that felt almost too easy (but wound up slower than I realized), and then tough races where I just felt so defeated the entire course (only to realize I ran it with a much faster pace than expected).

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  14. Congrats to you both! My favorite award is a mug I won at a Florida 5K. I like awards that I can use that remind me of the race.

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    1. I agree, it's nice to have something "useful." I also have a mug from a race I did in California a few months ago...currently being used as a pen/pencil holder ;-)

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  15. That is a cool finish on the runway!

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    1. I thought the finish line set-up was very cool...it made for a great scenic back drop for the finish line photos ;-)

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  16. That medal is super cute!
    I think it would be neat to run on a runway, but I also think it would just seem so loooooong.

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    1. The run was fun...but it was long and flat (#boring at times). There were a few turns, and volunteers along the route so it wasn't as bad as it could have been.

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  17. I don't think I've ever seen a scarf handed out at a race! That's a funny story to share and a fun piece to have in the house to spark conversations. It's always interesting to see how the stats all shake out with who falls where but a big congrats to you and your hubby.

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    1. I've done a lot of races...and this is the first scarf I've ever seen at a race. AS much as I love scarves, I just can't see myself wearing this one ;-)

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  18. What a cool race! I love the unique medal!

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    1. I thought the medal was pretty cool, too! I forgot to post a pic of the race shirt...but they were red (tech fabric) with the logo; colorful and fun!

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  19. You are a great couple! So motivational and inspirational runners, Kim!

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