As we headed up to the Adirondacks last Saturday, we passed through one last little “town” about 15 miles outside of Timberlock. I happened to notice a sign for a 10k the next morning. Hmmm, I always love to race on vacations–the new locale, the new faces, the whole experience. Should I do it?
I quickly plugged in the URL to my phone before I lost connectivity and found the details. The race would be two days after an 18-mile run in a glycogen depleted state (more on this soon, I promise), and one day after a 4:30 a.m. brick followed by eight hours in the car. Probably not the best formula for race success, but so what? I wasn’t there to win the race, just to have a different race experience.
The race was scheduled to start at 10 a.m., with a 9 a.m. registration time posted. On top of not being in any sort of rested state for the race, I decided I’d still gorge myself on the fantastic breakfast at camp that morning. They serve it at 8 a.m. each day, and if you miss it, well that’s it until lunch. Plus I love their breakfasts–there’s always a hot cereal, fruit, and some sort of cooked entry as well. I wasn’t going to miss out!
So off I went, full belly, tired legs and all, to find the race start. About that–always know where it is. I figured the town was so tiny I’d find it easily. Wrong. It took some driving around, asking around, and fumbling around before I arrived at the right place at 9:45. I quickly signed up and then jumped on the waiting school bus that took us out to the start. Yes, there was a bus I had to catch and of course, I didn’t know it before hand!
I plopped down on the bus only to have my fellow athletes start asking if I had done this one before. To my response of “no,” I was immediately hit with smiles and laughter and comments about how it was “the hardest 10k in the state” and other fun, encouraging words. Excellent! One more strike against me.
It was all good, though–time was the last thing on my mind. We got to the start line with five minutes to spare. I quickly jogged around to ensure I didn’t pull a muscle with my misguided idea to run a race and then we were off. Let’s just say it–holy hills! Remember, this was in the Adirondack MOUNTAINS. The billing from my bus riding friends was pretty spot on.
However, this was a small race–maybe about 100 people. By mile one, I was in about fifth or sixth place among the women. By mile two, I had moved up to fourth, and by the half-way point, I had moved into third. I could see the second and first women off in the distance, but knew catching them was going to be out of the question. So my focus became ensuring I held onto third.
About a million hills later and I crossed the finish line in third place on what turned out to be a very rainy morning. My time was hideous, but then again, so was the winning male’s, so I didn’t allow that to bother me. It was a hard course, I was totally unprepared to race, and I enjoyed it. What more can you ask?
The next day we set off for a long hike with the kids (about 4 1/2 hours long). I can tell you, the cumulative effect of the last few days’ efforts really caught up to me. As we headed back down the mountain, my only thoughts were of a nap! All worth it.
Have you ever run an unplanned race? Do you like to race on vacation?