Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Run for the Dream Race Report

The Spoiled Brat vs. The Depressed Fool
My family will no longer accompany me on any trip to any of my major races. Why? Because I didn't get what I wanted during this weekend's race. Actually, make that this weekend overall. Does that make me a spoiled brat for not getting what I wanted or does that just make me a practical runner that leaves the baggage at home and takes a mini-vacation from life? Or does that make me some sort of depressed fool that can blame everything on a chemical imbalance? Who the hell knows. But I do know that this weekend, as a whole, was not fun. Sure, there were moments of fun, but overall, it wasn't fun. At all.

Pre-Race Race
Friday afternoon the family loaded up into the SUV and headed south. We took the interstate instead of the usual Route 17 but it all worked out the same in my book. It was faster, just more boring. Once in Williamsburg, we headed straight to the expo for packet pick-up. Like last year, the expo was, in a word, weak. Very boring, very small, and very limited. The volunteers were helpful and things were a bit more organized than last year. It was easier to find your way around, go through the steps needed to get your stuff, and generally much better than last year. So kind of a mixed bag. My wife got her race info, I got mine, and my daughter got registered for her first ever 8k. Meanwhile my son did pretty good not freaking out too much on the stairs.

After the expo, we headed to the hotel, checked in, unloaded the car, headed back to the expo to clarify some last minute questions, then headed to dinner. At Panera. And while I completely understand the need to choose something safe, it was a bit boring. But as we say in our house, boring is good. No sense having anybody get sick before (or during) their race.

Saturday's race was an 8k for my wife and daughter. My wife has done just a few at this distance and my daughter hasn't done any. So with plenty of coaching beforehand, my son and I dropped the ladies off for the start of their race. We parked way over in the Visitor Center lot, hoofed it back to the predetermined viewing area, and waited patiently. The girls came by just after Mile 1 in the race when we saw them the first time. The second time they were at about Mile 2.5. Both times we had a blast cheering for them. The third time we managed to catch them just after Mile 3. I was surprised to see them just ahead of us coming out of a side-street. I scooped up my son and did my best to run half a block to catch them. We ran about 5 strides with them before I couldn't take the massive weight in my arms and had to stop. We swung around and went into the stadium where the finish line was and watched both finish. I'm not sure how excited my son was but I was pretty stoked for both of them.

The rest of Saturday was spent cleaning up then heading back to Williamsburg where we walked around, checked out the sites, and generally had a good time. One side note though, we went to The Trellis for lunch and while the service there was great, the food was average. Don't spend all that extra money on the mediocre food. Instead, head over to Retros for better quality and much cheaper prices.

The Race
Race day started out like any other. An early wake-up call, quick shower, getting dressed, and then I was off to the races. The biggest difference was I ran/walked to the start from the hotel. Just shy of 2 miles. No big deal since I had planned for it and didn't really expect it to be a problem. I made it to the start, went to the bathroom, and chilled in the corral. Seeing nobody that I knew, I just fell into my podcasts and zoned out.

Race start was pretty uneventful as were many of the first few miles. Although, the early stages of the race are the best. You see the old parts of Williamsburg and there are even a few people there to cheer you on. By Mile 2, you're on your own and on a boring road. Only random volunteers, some stoic police officers, and the aid station workers are there for you. Just after Mile 4 is a short stretch of gravel. I don't remember it being labeled last year but it was this year. It's pretty short though and no big deal. By this time my coffee is kicking in and I'm actively thinking about using a tree or looking for an outhouse to drop my load in. Lucky for me, there's outhouses available shortly and, despite the nerve-wracking angle of the hill, I was able to do my doodie and move on. This section is also slightly different than last year's as we run around behind a shopping center. A wee bit lame in my mind.

After this is the first major climb of the course where we hoof it up a long hill. I was able to run the entire thing and feel good about it by the top. Tired, but good. After this hill we enter the Colonial Parkway for an out and beck section. From Mile 6 to Mile 11, we are on the Parkway dealing with rollers, cross-winds, and the painful river rock set in concrete. I was expecting this foot-eating monster and dealt with it fairly well. The hills weren't a problem until right around Mile 11 when I started to get tired. The winds weren't that bad and actually felt nice from time to time. And I ran in the grass periodically to help save my feet.

The final miles were run more in the newer part of Williamsburg and were so-so. There were more crowds there to cheer you on but it was about as exciting as any college campus is on an early Sunday morning. The finish was great. You come into the stadium and run about 300 yards/meters around the track to the finish. The last 200 I ran a bit faster but not my usual all out sprint to the end. I just didn't feel it and I wasn't near any sort of PR. After the finish I snagged my medal, a water, and headed to the post-race bash. Once there I grabbed some more fluids and food before hauling it back to the hotel a good 2 miles away.

After the Race
After the race I downed some food, cleaned up, and made myself semi-pretty. The weather was turning a bit (I had a few light sprinkles during the race) but we stayed pretty dry. We hit the mini-golf area, headed to Jamestown Settlement, and generally tried to squeeze in some sight-seeing. Jamestown was wildly different than I remember. But it's been a few decades. At the end of our tour there, we were facing some heavier rains on the return trip to the hotel. But we got lucky and again, stayed pretty dry.

Back Home
Monday we headed home with a detour to the outlet mall. I don't know what made me think of it, but I vaguely recall seeing a news report about how outlet malls aren't really that good of a place for finding cheap prices so I paid extra attention to the cost of things and noticed that most of what I wanted I could have gotten online or in any local store for the same or less.

Bottom Line
Aside from not getting what I wanted, I did have a few moments of fun. I have yet to decide if I want to run this race next year. The course isn't as much fun as the Marine Corps Historic Half (granted, this race is only 2 years old while MCHH is 5 years old). The race organizers didn't advertise the Patriot's Challenge very well (the option to run the 8k on Saturday and the half on Sunday to get a special third medal for doing both). I like Williamsburg, Jamestown, and Yorktown, but rarely have I had the time to go see what I wanted, when I wanted, and at the pace I wanted. So I'm still undecided for next year. Maybe I need to do it in a costume or something.

Temps were a nice 60F to 65F. overcast skies. Humidity was a bit  high and eventually I'd feel some light sprinkles near the end of the race. Winds were pretty light but noticeable around Miles 7 through 9.

Fluids and Fuel:
Breakfast was half a bagel and a small amount of coffee. During the race I had two handheld bottles. One with Hammer Perpeteum and one with Hammer Fizz. I refilled my Fizz bottle at least 3 times. I also grabbed some ice around Mile 9 for my bottle. I took a Hammer Gel around Mile 8 and another around Mile 11. After the race I grabbed more water and then headed back to the hotel. Recovery was Hammer Recoverite followed by a breakfast of eggs, bacon, potatoes, oatmeal, and coffee.

Aches and Pains:
Right knee started to hurt around Mile 10. Feet began to hurt around Mile 7 but that was mostly because of the road surface. My left outside calf hurt the day before the race but a few minutes in the hot tub seems to have helped.

Nothing really special. I did listen to some podcasts on my iPod which may account for some of my fouler moods and slower speeds.

Codename - Coke Depression
I think I've mentioned it before, but I've noticed that Coke sends me into a 48 hour depression. This weekend added further proof and continued to show my why I need to avoid that stuff at all costs. I had a Coke every day if not more than once a day while in Williamsburg. Not at all within my normal diet and it showed. From the outset I was in a bad mood and things still haven't improved much.

One final note. These photos were of the helicopter that hovered over our heads as we crossed the bridge around Mile 7. By far the most awesome thing of the race.

Start - 1:13 (took me this long to cross the start line)
Mile 1 - 11:15
Mile 2 - 12:17
Mile 3 - 10:52
Mile 4 - 11:19
Mile 5 - 14:04 (includes my bathroom break)
Mile 6 - 10:55
Mile 7 - 12:17
Mile 8 - 9:43 (course flattens out here)
Mile 9 - 13:30
Mile 10 - 11:56
Mile 11 - 12:30
Mile 12 - 11:22
Mile 13 - 10:45
Finish - 2:33:51

1 comment:

Lauren said...

I can't drag my family along to races. There are a couple that I can get them to, but they just aren't interested. You are lucky! I hate going to races alone when I have to spend the night. Oh well, it is a break. Congrats on another finished race!