I signed up for this race based solely on the concept behind the registration. I read about it last summer on Meghann’s blog and had it marked down to sign up the day registration opened. The first 19 people who signed up for any of the races (5k, 10k or half) got their registration for $1. The price increased based on how many people registered. The promoters had done a great job of getting the word out and when registration opened, the site had to be shut down (temporarily) because of the amount of traffic. I was frustrated when it happened, but when I finally completed my registration, the price for the 10k was up to $35 – still a great price for a 10k in my book, especially one promising to be the “best damn race”.
I planned on picking up my running in January to prepare for this race. It was going to be my first for 2013 and I really wanted to get a new PR. Well, if you have seen my workout recaps then you saw how little I actually ran in January. The few runs I did go on felt good though and I have stayed consistent with Crossfit so I knew I would get through the race just fine. My goal was under an hour and in the back of my mind I really wanted under 55 minutes, but knew that was probably out of the question since I had slacked off so much on my training.
I picked up my race packet on Thursday at the Sports Authority which was super convenient since I work right around the corner. They were quick and efficient and I was in and out in under 3 minutes.
I planned on driving myself on race morning even though I knew a ton of people going. Unfortunately my car broke down on Friday afternoon and put a damper in my plans. With no car and the hubs out of town, I was now in desperate need of a ride and I needed it from someone also doing the 10k. You see that races all had different start times and the 10k was first with a start time of 6:30 AM. Most of the people I knew participating were doing the half which didn’t start until 7:15 AM. It’s kind of hard to get a ride when you have to ask the person to pick you up and have you at the start so much earlier than they need to be there.
After a few failed attempts at getting a ride, I put it out there on Facebook – and guess what? I got a text, from a friend at Crossfit who offered to take me. Awesome!! Even more awesome, she wasn’t even running. Have I ever mentioned how amazing the Crossfit community is? This friend was offering to pick me up at my house at 5:15 AM, drive me to a race that was over 45 minutes away, one that she was not participating in, wait while I ran and then take me back home. I felt bad accepting – it was just such a huge, selfless thing for someone to offer and it reminded me of how lucky I am that I have good people in my life. *Thank you April and Luis for your selfless act of kindness!
My friends dropped me off with plenty of time for me to hit up the porta potty and be at the start line with time to spare. The race was a little late getting started which is frustrating in itself, but even more so when it’s so dang cold outside! After a few announcements that none of us (as in the people around me) could really understand or hear, the national anthem was sung (beautifully – whoever it was that sang) and we were off.
The first few miles were a little tricky because of the amount of people and that it was still dark out, but surprisingly I kept a good pace. One thing that was really frustrating within the first 2 miles was that it was an out and back on a narrow residential road. So as you were heading down this narrow street, less than a mile into the race, the speedsters very quickly were heading back the other way. I am sure it was even more frustrating to those speedsters than it was to me because people didn’t really realize we were sharing the road until you had people running back at you. And as I got to the turn around and started heading back up this shared road, things got even more crowded. You now had mid-packers going both ways sharing this road. Needless to say, you kind of had to stick to your line and there was no room for getting by anyone. Once we got off that road, around 2.5 miles in, things widened out and it was much better.
I was keeping a great pace for me and feeling really good. I actually had to slow myself down a few times for fear of going out too fast. I just kept peaking at my pace and calculating in my head if my ultimate goal of under 55 minutes might actually be possible and there were times that I thought it was. With a little under 2 miles to go, I realized that I was going to have to be happy with under an hour. But with less than a mile to go, I knew I was going to be over. I needed a push – I was really wishing I had someone running with me at this point. Instead of beating myself up, I just kept my pace and told myself to just be happy I was going to get a PR, especially considering I hadn’t been running.
As I neared the finish line, you could see the halfers on the other side of the road. It was encouraging to see a few friends and hear some shouts of encouragement as I finished. I crossed the finish line at 1:01:11 (funny that my Garmin time and official time were identical – that never happens).
I was very happy with the PR (previous PR was 1:05:42). I felt great and was surprised with how well I did considering the lack of running lately. But then I started beating myself up in my head: “really? you couldn’t have made up 1 minute and 11 seconds somewhere?” Had I actually got in some more running, ran with a pacing partner, or pushed myself a little more (mental toughness when running is NOT my thing), I really could have made under an hour and very possibly could have made that 55 minutes I wanted. So, this means a little more running in February, a rematch with a 10k in March!
For an inaugural event, I was very pleased with the Best Damn Race. Other than a few issues with the course at the beginning, overall it was very nice and I really enjoyed it. Safety Harbor is a beautiful area to run. The volunteers were fantastic and the hydration stations were well placed. Great Job, Best Damn Race – can’t wait for next year!