Saturday, July 17, 2010

Bastille Day 15K Race Report

Today I ran the Bastille Day 15K in beautiful and hilly Fenton, MI, along with my friend Shaina. The race website said the course is "hilly and challenging" and they were not kidding!

I arrived at packet pick-up around 6:45am and Shaina showed up a few minutes later. Not a huge crowd, not even a line at the porta potty so I was able to make use of it before it became disgusting. :) I think the porta potty company could have chosen a better name than Poopie's Potties. Come on now, we all know what the potty is for, let's not feel the need to include that in the company name!

Anyway, we picked up our packets, stowed our t-shirts in our cars and headed for the start line. We noticed that the race started on a slight uphill - just a taste of things to come! We noticed a woman with a race bib, holding the leash of a cute dachshund. I wondered if the dog would be running the race and the answer was yes; we saw them running along a little while after the start. I don't know if the dog actually ran the whole thing. That seems awfully far for a little stubby-legged dog, especially in the heat and humidity we were dealing with. But I saw them again after we were finished, and the dog seemed fine. I don't know, maybe she carried him part of the way or handed him off to someone. Or he's just a little running maniac!

Shaina and I had agreed that we would each run our own race and not feel obliged to stay together, but we did stick together for the first half of the race, where I started to pull ahead a little bit and Shaina told me to go. She told me later that the pace for that first half was faster than she was comfortable with, but I am really proud of her for pushing herself and testing her limits.

The course was full of rolling hills. I took advantage of the downhills to pick up some speed and did my best to run strong on the uphills. I'm terrible with remembering what happened when, but I can tell you that there was a GIANT uphill between miles 7 and 8 that lasted at least half a mile. That one certainly made an impression. Everyone I saw was walking that sucker (including me) and when I reviewed my split times, I was not surprised to see that was my slowest mile by far.

God bless the race organizers, though, because after mile 8 the rest of the course was substantially downhill. That rocked! I never felt so strong at the end of a race before. It was a fun feeling. First time my last mile of a race was ever my fastest. (Yeah, I have always dreamed of negative splits, but I have a bad tendency to go out to fast and then fall apart at the end.)

I had a time goal in my head that was my "I'll be so happy if I achieve this time on a hilly course" goal. Well, I shocked myself by beating that time by 5 minutes! I have to say, something has happened to me lately and I'm starting to embrace and enjoy the tough stuff. It's a great feeling of accomplishment to tackle something difficult and exceed your own expectations. Shaina experienced the same thing, because she beat her expected time by quite a bit. She doesn't give herself enough credit for how tough she is.

The race was sponsored by a bakery, so we all received a giant baguette at the end. Delicious!

Embarrassing moment of the day: after I finished and went to wait for Shaina, someone was waving his arms at me only I didn't realize he was waving at me. Turns out it was Jim from the Your Pace or Mine running club. I'd met him last Saturday but totally blanked out and forgot his name. So embarrassing but he was completely nice about it. Met a couple of the other club members. Seems like a great group. I like it that everyone hung out at the finish and waited until all the club members were done with the race.

Overall, the race was a terrific experience. I actually had fun BECAUSE of the challenge, not in spite of it. Super cool. Hope that lasts through the rest of my races this year!


desertrunnergirl said...

Awesome race report! I'm so glad you had a great experience with this race, Cathy.

I always worry about people running with dogs too - I worry it's too much for the dogs but I guess the owners know their dogs better than I do. And dogs do love to go for runs and walks!

Was there a medal?

Cathy said...

No medal, except for the people who placed in the top of their age group. You know how it is, it is rare to get a medal for a race that's shorter than a half marathon.