Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Race Recap: Cleveland YMCA Firecracker 10k

All runners know that Independence Day isn't complete without a Firecracker race.  I usually avoid those races because the weather is too hot, but the YMCA Firecracker 10k had a 7:30 start, and my friends were already running it and had offered to drive to Cleveland, so I thought, "What the heck? I'll give it a go."

Sheila and Shelby picked me up at 6:00 AM, and I had already risen at 4:00 AM, not only to fuel properly, but because I kept waking up in panic because I was CERTAIN that I had put my heart rate monitor in the washing machine.  Of course I didn't, but that didn't stop me from thinking I did. It was a comfort to ride instead of driving to Cleveland.

Sheila, Shelby, and I take our pre-race selfie.
I was a little worried about this race because of the epic fail I had when I ran the Hop for Hope around Easter.  This time I wore my heart monitor, and I discussed race strategy with Shelby.  She and I are capable of running the same pace when we want to (although Shelby is actually faster and more experienced than I am), and we reminded each other not to go out too fast, which is my classic mistake in most races.

Before the race but after the three of us took a quick running warmup, there was a group warm up set to music.  I was going to skip it, but Shelby joined in so I had to also, and it was fun.  We did some dynamic stretching to music, and then it was time to line up.  The race is small, there couldn't have been more than 250 people there, so there was plenty of time to hit the bathroom (a real bathroom inside the Galleria food court).

I tried to remain true to the plan Shelby and I had discussed, but by mile 2 Shelby was feeling her oats, and she left me in the dust.  I wanted to play it conservatively because I felt so hot.  Every so often I would pour water from my bottle over my head, and that helped a lot.  Nevertheless, I started to lose my grip around mile 5. . .somewhere I dropped a whole minute messing around.  Shelby also ran more slowly for mile 5, so we think there were a few hills there. I regrouped for the last mile, and--joy of joys--I found it in me to sprint to the finish line.  I love finishing with a kick.

Here is the lowdown of the race:

The Good:  The course was great!  I loved running around Cleveland in the morning, especially the stadium.  The small hills were nice; they were never too bad even in the heat, and there was always a downhill for every uphill.

A nice surprise was seeing Josh Cribbs at the race.  He stood at the corner before the finish line and high-fived every runner.  When I came back to his corner so I could cheer for other runners, I heard him yelling encouragement to everyone.  What a nice guy!

Of course, I couldn't pass up a chance at a selfie!

The Bad:  The course was short by at least 1/4 mile.  My Garmin said 5.91, and it was pretty consistent with other runners' watches.  That's a significant error.  I still liked the course, but it bothers me that I don't really have an accurate 10k time.

Back to More Good:  The after-party was great--lots of fresh fruit (not just bananas) and hot dogs!  I'm not going to turn down a hot dog at 8:30 in the morning.

Also, the goody bags actually had goodies in them!  Most races have resorted to stuffing the bags with advertisements, but these bags had cookies and pop and bracelets and stuff.

Even better was the shirt.  Normally I don't like cotton shirts for races, but this shirt was SuhWeet!

I wore it to the parade later.
Overall, I really liked this race. The price was right ($25!!!), and the event was well-run.  I hope the race directors fix the distance because I would love to run it again next year.  I would also like to know if I'll be able to place in my AG in a real 10k.

Congratulations to Shelby on her first place AG award!

And I got second place in our AG!
This Sunday I'll be running 15 miles to train for the Akron Marathon.  It will be my longest distance ever.  Will I melt down?  Will I make it?  Stay tuned to find out.  Until then, run happy, Peeps!

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