Tuesday, August 9, 2011

On the Run: Allen Park 10K 2011

I lived in Allen Park for 13 years and this was the first time I ran in the Allen Park 5K/10K.  In fact, on Saturday I ran more miles in Allen Park than I did in all the time I lived there!  Anyway, I felt the time had come and sort of at the last minute Katie and I decided to do this race.  It had been a while since our last race so we felt ready to take on another.  Plus, Allen Park is so close and we could park at my mom and dad's, use their bathroom instead of gross Port-a-Potties, and walk three blocks to the starting line.  It was also a small race so there wouldn't be any hassle with crowds.  And it was only a 10K.  Easy, right?

Wrong.  I mean, we were right about all the logistics of the race but one thing we failed to take into consideration was the weather.  Specifically the heat.  More specifically the humidity.  Remember the horror that was the Dexter-Ann Arbor 1/2 Marathon?  Yeah, it was that all over again but thankfully this was only 6.2 miles.  Only 6.2 miles, however, was still about 3.2 miles more than I was comfortable with.  But let's start at the beginning.

The weather seemed nice when I first went outside.  A little warm but not too bad.  By the time the race started at 9:00, however, the temperature was definitely starting to creep up.  I planned to start out slow so I didn't overexert myself too early and had a playlist designed to set that beginning pace and slowly build as I ran.  And then I realized that I didn't properly sync my iPod so I didn't have that playlist.  I wasn't in the mood for one of my others so I did something I've never done at a race: I hit "shuffle."  Fortunately, this is my old Nano and because I use it exclusively for working out, everything on there is fine for running.  Except that some are slower warm-up songs, some are faster mid-run songs, and some are those power-pumping, drag-your-butt to the finish line songs when all you want to do is flag down the nearest emergency vehicle for a ride to Starbucks.  I like being able to plan out at which point in the race certain songs come on but I decided to take my chances.  

Anyway, the playlist wasn't the problem.  If only.  I started out a little faster than I should have but not by much.  Under normal circumstances that wouldn't have been a big deal.  But back to that humidity. All too soon I realized that I should have worn a tank top instead of the tee shirt I chose at the last minute.  Mistake #1.  I also should have stopped for a drink sooner than I did.  Mistake #2.  When I stopped for a drink, I should have made sure it was water and not Gatorade.  Mistake #3.  I only had a sip or two and when I got to what I knew was definitely a water station (manned by a cute little old couple), I made sure to stop.  It was too late, though.  The Gatorade on a nearly empty stomach just made me want to throw up.  Plus my heart rate was at a steady 200, which is way too high.  

A rare moment of running near the end.

So I did what I hate to do the most.  I walked.  I had no other choice.  So from mile 4.5 to the end, I alternated between running and walking; running til I couldn't stand it anymore, then walking til my heart rate dropped to 190, then running again.  At this point I didn't care about my time or pace.  I just wanted to get to the end without collapsing on the streets of Allen Park.  Somehow I managed to keep going and Katie finished just after me.  

Photo finish:

What is UP with that weird leaning-back stride thing I've got going on?

 And after the race - a photo I'm particularly proud to show you:

Look to the finish line - it's Katie!

So, I think I've learned my lesson about running in the humidity.  I shouldn't do it!  Well, for races, at least.  Until I do a better job acclimating, my body clearly won't be able to handle it.  

All in all, though, it wasn't the worst race.  (That prize goes to Dexter-Ann Arbor.)  As I mentioned, it was close, easy to get to, and not crowded.  The course was through residential neighborhoods with plenty of shade and lots of people out to show support.  A 9:00 start time is a little late for an August 10K, though, and the goodie bag, tee shirt, and post-race food wasn't much to speak of.  (Though you'd think an event sponsored by the Detroit Lions might have a little more to offer than a plastic key chain, a pen, and a pencil.)

The best part of the race?  (Yes - surprise! - there was something good about it.)  The best part was having my mom and dad there to cheer me on.  This was the first time they'd seen me in a race and I was really proud to be able to run past them and see them clapping and waving.  They were stationed about half a mile before the finish and they stayed out until Katie and I had passed them both times (for the 10K you had to do the same loop twice - another downside).  Brian was with them the first time and then moved to the end to see us finish.

See how excited I was to see Brian and my parents?  [Note: This was during the first loop so I was still in good shape.]

So, would I do this race again?  My first thought was "Never again!"; however, a small-town race with a great friend and my family on the sidelines definitely has appeal.  I'll just be sure to check the weather forecast before signing up for it next year.  



Toasted Nuts and Cranberry Luna Bar, banana

iPod set to "shuffle"

1 comment:

  1. We definitely enjoyed ourselves! Looking forward to watching you run again soon....