12 April, 2014

Riverside Dash 15K Recap

Boy, I guess I let my recap duties get away from me a bit this week!  That's a shame, because I've probably already started forgetting fun details about the Riverside Dash.

I decided to sign up for this race because I hadn't yet done a 15K.  In my half marathon experience, the last 5K usually kills me, so I figured a race that's "only" 9 miles should be great!  I also figured that I'd end up having trouble with the temperature, and the forecast indicated this would be the hottest day of the year so far.  So who knew what would happen for the actual race?

Jackie was running as well, and we figured we'd start out together and see how things went.  She's been working on her speed, so I know I'm not going to be able to keep up with her much longer.  Even in this race I know she was holding back to stay with me, but she stuck with me anyway!

There were only around 400 people running this race, which was a huge surprise to me.  It seemed more crowded at the start, but that might be because there were about the same number of people running in the 5K.  Once we started running though, there was almost no crowd around.  It was really nice to not trip over other runners!  We also started out running about the same pace as three girls doing 30-30 intervals and another woman who didn't have her interval timer and decided to just stick with us.  Oh, and she was a chatty one!

Another major selling point of this race for me was that most of it was along the St. John's River.  While Sanford has some unsavory areas, this particular stretch of a normally busy highway is picturesque and downright lovely.  We were lucky to enjoy a pretty sunrise, and then those low clouds kept the sun out of our eyes and the temperature reasonable through at least the first 2/3 of the race.  I saw an alligator and lots of birds, but those are things that an iPhone camera wouldn't have done justice.

Much like my experience down in Sarasota, my stamina is still not quite up full-strength with my new intervals.  Around mile 6.5, I started to get whiny.  Jackie and our race-buddy-for-the-day tried to keep me motivated, but I basically turned into a human Snickers commercial.  Jackie and I have done enough races together now that we can poke at each other and know where the line is, and frankly her taunting and my subsequent desire to punch her in the throat really did keep me going.  And I like to think that my surliness was at least somewhat amusing.

During my cranky phase, I had two memorable bursts of speed.  One was a random sprint, where I passed both of my "coaches," who were quite confused by what the heck I was up to.  Honestly, I don't even know what the heck I was doing, but it seemed a good idea at the time!  The second was when we were approaching a race photographer.  I think my exact words were something like, "ok girls, we're going to start running when we get to that tree, and smile for the camera like we don't hate the world!"  It totally worked.  Can you tell how much I hated the world at that moment?

I love this picture, not only because of the cheesy smile and the thumbs-up, but because that's most definitely an "I'm running" ponytail.  You don't get motion like that just standing still!

Right about mile 9, Jackie's boyfriend Paul backtracked to find us.  She asked him to stay with me so that she could run in to the finish, and despite my protests that he should run with her, he did exactly that.  I kept my intervals going for the rest of the race, and he told me that the last tenth of a mile was downhill and shaded.  And he wasn't lying.  The end of the race was lovely.  I was certainly thankful for Jackie, and then Paul, keeping me from just walking in the last mile or two.  She kept me from getting into that horrible head space I was in at the end of the Sarasota Half, and kept me going towards my time goal as well...which I hit!

My Race Stats:
Chip Time: 2:06:28 **PR** (because it's my first 15K)
Pace: 13:34 min/mile
Overall Place: 391/418

Gender/Age Place: 41/46

My Splits (according to RunKeeper):
mile 1: 12:34 min/mi
mile 2: 12:57 min/mi
mile 3: 12:48 min/mi
mile 4: 13:02 min/mi
mile 5: 13:27 min/mi
mile 6: 13:26 min/mi
mile 7: 14:06 min/mi
mile 8: 14:05 min/mi
mile 9: 14:09 min/mi
mile 10: 13:08 min/mi (the last 1/3 mile)

Overall, I really enjoyed this race and I think I can see it becoming an annual end-of-season event for me.  The course is flat and beautiful, and there are plenty of water stops.  On the downside, there was no sports drink available at the water stops.  They also ran out of beer at the post-race party a while before I finished.  Since I normally don't bother with the post-race beer I don't know how often this occurs at other races, but it annoyed the crap out of me.  The race bibs had those little tear-off tags at the bottom for both beer and food, and they knew how many participants there were, so why couldn't they have planned better?

But at least the pancakes were tasty and plentiful! And Walgreens was there handing out bags with random stuff like hand sanitizer and pedometers.  Who doesn't love free stuff??

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