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).
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?
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.
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.
|I always dress in red, white and blue on the 4th of July. Always.
|Did someone say Balloons?
|We tend to wear a lot of colorful headbands on race day, too
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.
|Rounding the last corner, approaching the finish line...
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)
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
|post-10K, glad to be done with all those hills!
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