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|
|Ready to roll....|
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|
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|
|The 10K finisher medals were cool!|
|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)|
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...