Sunday, August 16, 2015

Race Recap: Burn Rubber 10k

The Burn Rubber 10k/Half Marathon is the second race of the Rubber City Series.  I wasn't able to go to the first race in the series, so I had no idea what to expect.  Being sick enough to take Amoxicillin this week, and noticing a decrease in my strength and pace, I was a bit nervous about running any race at all.

The race was scheduled at 6:30 AM, and the race-day communications suggested runners arrive before 5:30, when roads would start to close.  I live less than fifteen minutes away, so I left my house at 5:00 and got there in plenty of time. . . sort of.  I arrived at the ONLY OPEN ROAD to the parking lot around 5:15 and waited in a huge traffic jam to move less than a mile into the parking lot, where there were plenty of spaces, by the way.  I didn't even get into the lot until 5:40, which set off my grumpiness and irritability.  I was lucky.  Anyone who was behind me had an even longer wait, and checking the Facebook site for the race, I saw that traffic was backed up onto the expressway.  This was definitely a fail on the part of the race director, but he made it right by delaying the start time by fifteen minutes and sending police out to the off-ramp to direct traffic.  This is the inaugural year for the Burn Rubber, so I am willing to give this mistake a pass because I am certain it won't be a problem next year.

I found my peeps from The Ohio Runners Network, and we took a cool picture in front of the start line:

The picture isn't blurry; we are.  It's early!

Then I found Shelby in the corral, and we took a selfie:

This is EXACTLY how I look before I find out there is a fifteen minute delay.
The gun went off, and away we ran, only to stop abruptly to get around the pace car, a Goodyear race car that had stalled in front of the start line.  It wasn't funny at the time, but when I saw the video of the driver and race director trying to get it started, I laughed out loud.  I can't even imagine what words were coming out of the driver's mouth as he kept trying to turn over the engine.

I went out fast in my first two miles, which seems to be my MO, but usually I feel great in the first two miles of a race, and I have to calm myself down.  This time I was still going fast, but I felt awful; I could tell that I would be racing the struggle-bus the whole time, and I was grateful that I chose the 10k rather than the Half-Mary.

By Mile 3, I was super hot, and I decided I would walk through every water stop on the course, drinking a cup and dumping a cup over my head.  This lost me a lot of time, but it was my choice not to carry my own water, and I did think about it, so I can't be too angry.  My body was telling me that I was still not 100%, so I'm glad I made a conscious choice to slow things down a bit.

The Goodyear Blimp followed us the whole race.  I never get tired of seeing the blimp.
Around Mile 4-ish, I was running just behind a guy who was really having fun with the race: he was telling corny jokes to anyone who would listen, he high-fived people on the route, and he thanked every volunteer.  I decided that I had to relax and try to be more like him, so I changed my mantra to "Relax-er, Runner, Relax-er, Runner," which coincided with my breathing.   Yes, I know "relax-er" isn't a word, but I read about it in Runner's World, so I decided to try it.  When I felt like a mantra was too complicated, I simply chanted my breathing method: "In, in, in, out, out.  In, in, in, out, out." This was surprisingly relaxing and helpful to me, so I stuck with it.

We headed into the Goodyear Proving Grounds for the last mile and change of the race, and boy, was that cool!  I have never seen a race track up close, let alone run on one, and I really enjoyed it, as well as the DJ and loud music parked in there.  At this point I started getting excited again, and I actually felt pretty good (Really???  It took me almost FIVE MILES to feel good?), so I shaved thirty seconds off that mile, but I still didn't push it until I got to the chute.

Waiting for me in the chute were a super-sweet medal, water, chocolate milk, a banana, and the best part was a towel from TruMoo soaking in ice water that a volunteer draped around my neck.  It was so hot, and I really appreciated that towel.

Then the fun started.  I had two food tickets and a beer ticket to cash in while listening to a great band sing my favorite songs.  There were food trucks from Swensons, Eddie's Cheesesteaks, and Strickland's Custard, all Akron institutions.  And there was great beer: Shock Top, Goose Island, and Bud Lite.  I'm so happy that many race directors are moving away from crappy Michelob Ultra beer; runners love good beer.

8:00 AM: Strickland's Custard and a Shock Top beer.  Missing:  the Galley Boy from Swensons that I just devoured.
This race was a PR for me, even though I was sick and it was nowhere near the pace I should have run.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that I came in tenth in my Age Group!  And no, there weren't only ten people in my age group.  Shelby fulfilled her goal of a sub-2 hour half marathon, and I am so happy for her!  She has trained really hard for this, and she earned that time with every step.

Way to go, Shelby! What a badass!
Overall, I think this race is a winner, and I will definitely sign up again for the series next year.  This was a really fun event, and I think that the race director will fix the road access problem for next time.  I really appreciated the Akron-ness of the event; this is a great way to celebrate all things Akron.  Plus, I got a great medal and t-shirt:

Until next time: Run happy, Peeps!

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