Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Two Races in Four Days...Why Not?


Ever run two (unrelated and unplanned) races in the span of four days?

Just recently, I said, "Why not?" and gave it a go.  

Although both races, the Sully Freedom Fun Run 5K and the Lake Red Rock Balloon Fest 10K, were a lot of fun, both had rather unique and challenging circumstances. We don't grow by cowering within our comfort zones, right? Why not be adventurous and try new things? 

Let me set the scene by doing a little compare and contrast...

With last year's unexpected surgery (and subsequent 3-month running sabbatical), the Sully Freedom Fun Run was one of the races I had to DNS last summer. It's an awesome small town 4th of July celebration (about 15 miles from my town) that I have run for the past several years. It's a flat and pretty fast course, and draws a lot of area runners (especially high school track/cross country athletes).
I always dress in red, white and blue on the 4th of July. Always.
The Lake Red Rock Balloon Fest 10K is a race that I had a never heard of before. While at the Sully race, we saw a flyer advertising the Lake Red Rock race and thought it sounded appealing. It was to take place three days later (on Saturday,July 7th) in another nearby town, Pella (approximately 45-minutes away). Since it offered a 10K (there also was a 5K), we thought, "Why not?" Wouldn't you do the same?
Did someone say Balloons?
When I say "we," I'm referring to myself and my main running partner-in-crime, Barb. We do the bulk of our training together, and carpool to most of our races together as well. We don't usually "race" side-by-side (Barb has gotten to be quite a bit faster than me), but we're always neck & neck at the start line.


We tend to wear a lot of colorful headbands on race day, too
Prior to the Sully race, I had done a rather intense HIIT workout the previous morning. The workout didn't seem that daunting until the next morning...you, know the morning of the Sully race (can you say, "DOMS???"). Since the Sully course is pretty flat, I wasn't too concerned with hills wreaking havoc on my achy body. I spent the majority of the car ride to the race rolling out my hamstrings in a effort to loosen things up. I also did a 1-mile warm-up run before the start line in hopes that would help.

The temps, though, were the game-changer. It was in the high-70's, and the humidity was sky high. I'm no stranger to the Iowa heat/humidity, but I don't typically try to be a hero in it. That said, I was hoping to make this 5K my speedwork for the week. Not necessarily an all-out "in-it-to-win-it" endeavor, but definitely not an easy stroll for 3.1 miles either.
Image may contain: 2 people, people standing, sunglasses and outdoor
Rounding the last corner, approaching the finish line...
This course involves two laps around the perimeter of the town, ending with an extra lap around the town square (I told you it was a small town LOL). For the first mile, it didn't seem like I was running that fast, but when I passed the 1-mile mark, my watch showed an 8:03 split ((gulp)). Major #oops. That's pretty speedy for me, especially on a rather balmy morning with somewhat compromised body parts (#DOMS).

As predicted, my mojo tanked in the second mile. It wasn't a total crash and burn, but definitely enough to slow down my too-fast pace. I eventually waved the white flag about half way through the third mile and walked for a good 15-20 seconds because it was just so hot and I was exhausted. I did manage to rally back and cross the finish line in 26:57; definitely not even close to a PR, but I'm happy with it given the circumstances. Surprisingly, I was fast enough to finally break my long-standing streak of 2nd place finishes. It especially meant a lot since I wasn't able to run this race last year. Redemption, anyone?


The hubby was able to race again (he'd been sidelined for almost four months with a knee injury)
Now, the Lake Red Rock race had a completely different set of challenges waiting for me. The temps had dropped, so we were greeted with low/mid-60's on race morning. We arrived at the lake in time to see a bunch of hot air balloons overhead. Barb and I did an easy-paced warm-up mile before heading to the start line.

The 10K started promptly at 8:00 (and the 5K started at 8:10), and our first mile involved a loop with grassy trails over several rolling hills and around several sharp curves. The grass was still pretty damp with dew, so that not only made the course a bit slippery, but also got our shoes immediately wet. Once we were "out of the woods," several of the 5K runners were already catching up to us (they ran straight on the paved trail, and didn't have to do the grassy loop).

The temps were very comfortable, and we had a great deal of shade. The route was beautiful with lots of trees and a couple of wooden bridges to cross. The hills, though! Oh my, the hills were non-stop. None of the hills were especially steep, but there were a few that were pretty long (like the one just before the turn-around).

I never felt like stopping, but my entire body was exhausted upon crossing the finish line. I am no stranger to hills, either, but I typically do not run them for six continuous miles at a time. Thankfully, all of the DOMS (from the workout earlier in the week) had vacated!
Not my fastest 10K, but probably my hilliest
Despite the challenging hills (and slippery grassy trail in the first mile), this was a neat event! It's always fun finding a new-to-me event, especially when it offers a race distance that is not all that common in my immediate area. The only complaint I have (and it's not really that big of deal) is the spread of age divisions....I think they were in 10-year increments, but everyone above age 40 was clustered into one group, the Master's Division. So...Barb placed 6th and I placed 10th (out of all the "old" gals). Oh well.
post-10K, glad to be done with all those hills!
So, that's my experience running two different events within a few days of each other. Although my finish times don't reflect any PR's, they do reflect my best efforts on those given days with the race day circumstances. Considering I was hobbling around in a post-surgery state of recovery a year ago, I'm quite content with how both of these races played out. Every race (and every run) is a gift.

Have you ever spontaneously registered for a "new" race that was only a few days away? Ever done two different (unrelated) events within days of each other? What would you consider more challenging...extreme heat or non-stop hills?

**I'm linking up with Marcia and Patty and Erika for Tuesdays on the Run.



**I'm also linking this with Debbie and Rachel and Marc and Lora for the Running Coaches' Corner

Running Coaches Corner Logo


35 comments:

  1. Redemption indeed! It's fun to jump into a race last minute like that bc it takes a lot of the stress away. I have not done back to back races in a while so next weekend should be interesting!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Next weekend is simply gonna be a blast. I'm excited!!

      Delete
  2. I once ran a 10k 4 days after a marathon. That was not a very smart idea! (I didnt know much back then...) Congrats on both of your races!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Lisa! The 10K was fun...I think the spontaneity of it just added to its charm.

      Delete
  3. 2 races in 4 days? You are a warrior! Congrats!!! Loved reading about your spontaneity.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. These two races were fun! I think spontaneity is key to survival and livelihood ;-)

      Delete
  4. Congrats x 2! Other than remixes like RnR and Gasparilla I don't think I've run 2 races that close together. You did amazing despite that HIIT DOMS.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was a fun little "experiment" to see if I could swing it LOL

      Delete
  5. Congrats on two strong races! I would definitely choose hills over heat...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha ha! I don't know what I'd pick...I can tolerate both (in small quantities) ;-)

      Delete
  6. I've run Goofy so that's two races in two days.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I did the Chicago ReMix in 2014...but I've nevr done two unrelated races this close. Fun ;-)

      Delete
  7. I don't think I've run any races that close together but I could see that happening at an RnR remix! Nice work!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was a fun thing to try LOL A runner's gotta do what a runner's gotta do, right? ;-)

      Delete
  8. Hooray for redemption! I've done a lot of the Remix challenges for Rock n Roll which is two races in two days, but I usually only run them for fun. I did the Runner's World race challenge a few years back which was a 5K/10K on the same day, followed by a half marathon the next day..I had DOMS for a week!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Redemption does feel good ;-) I bet those DOMS were killer!

      Delete
  9. non stop hills for sure! I can't say that I have ever signed up for a race a few days before. Probably because I know pricing goes up and theres a possibility of saving a few extra bucks haha.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, this race was only $35...not too much damage to the bank account ;-)

      Delete
  10. I haven't jumped into a race like that. If I have goal race, I register early and focus on that race. I'm definitely a planner.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have a spontaneous streak, now and then ;-)

      Delete
  11. If I had to pick, I'd say the heat is more tiring to me (not that i'm completely in love with hills, either). For someone who thinks they're not speedy, you're plenty speedy to me!

    I do find racing tiring (although fun, of course, too, or I wouldn't do it). I don't think I've ever signed up for 2 races so close together, but come Fall, that's when I usually do all the racing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, as we all know, speed is relative ;-) I hate to brag about "speed," because I know there are MANY others who are much faster. I'm a strong believer is keeping it humble ;-)

      Delete
  12. What fun that you and Barb not only train together, but can carpool and run these races together! I absolutely hate hills. Maybe some day they will get easier for me!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, I live on a hill, so every run either starts (or ends) on an incline LOL Most of my routes have hills in them somewhere as well #unavoidable

      Delete
  13. I would have gone anywhere that hot air balloons were a theme! And I totally support doing back to back races like that. After all, they are "training runs." Right?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The balloons were so cool! I've never seen that many at once...there were probably 30 of them.

      Delete
  14. That sounds like fun! I don't know if I've ever done two races in four days but I have done a back to back 5k and 10k a couple times. I wouldn't like those age categories either You should (nicely) let the race director know I'll bet if a few people do that they will change them. My husband puts on a Turkey Trot every year and we added a couple older age groups to accommodate runners. What was once 70+ is now 80+.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think the age groups were that way because the bulk of runners did the 5K...they probably knew better than to take on all those hills for 6.2 miles LOL

      Delete
  15. Great job with both races! I've done back to back races at Disney three times now, and while those challenges are a ton of fun I don't ever run Disney races with a focus on a fast finish time. So kudos to you for pushing yourself at both races.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Whew!! 2 races in 4 days?! Great job (and hooray for redemption)! I'm glad the DOMs has vacated!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Great job on both races!!! *high five* I'd say redemption is definitely an accurate word! I've never done back to back races, or even races within a few days of each other so I can only imagine how that, plus all of the other things, can really tax your body. You are simply amazing! And, I probably would have signed up for the 10k, too because it does sound fun! We don't have a lot of 10ks around here either and I'm not a huge fan of the 5k because I don't like to run that fast. haha! Actually, I do the same thing and go out too fast my first mile and then, pfffttt, the air lets out of my balloon and I have to push the pause button. LOL

    As for challenging, I'm going to go with extreme heat. I think hills are more manageable in that you can control how fast you go up and down. You can't change the heat - although wouldn't that be nice? :)

    ReplyDelete
  18. I am sure I have. I ran a 3.5 miler and 2 days later a half marathon this past May. I have run a 5k and the half the next day (RnR LV) and have run a 5k two days in a row.

    racing to me is fun. If you tack your races, you just have to re-adjust the goals and expections.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Great job! I've done this before (on back to back days, eeek!) and faired quite well actually. Hope you had fun at both your races!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Some of the absolute best memories come from "why not?"
    Congrats on two good races. That is definitely one small town

    ReplyDelete
  21. Congratulations on the accomplishment, especially with how far you've come since last summer! I've run races on consecutive days but they were always planned. I do love a spur of the moment race, though!

    ReplyDelete