Monday, October 29, 2012

Snohomish River Run: Race Re-Cap

Since being injured, I have had to adjust my running, and racing, expectations. Since DNSing a half and full marathon I decided to start embracing shorter race distances. Hello, 10K, you saucy minx!

Everyone and their blogger buddy was writing up the inaugural Snohomish River Run a couple of months ago, so I hopped on the bandwagon. I knew I could be in decent enough shape to run the 10K (there was also the more-popular half-marathon choice) and after giving it about two seconds of thought, I decided to make a 50:00 10K my goal for the race. The race was being touted as "flat and fast", so that had to be good, right?

I talked two friends in to joining me, but in the end it was just Michael and I who, well, managed to sign up before the race sold out. 

On Saturday morning I woke up well before dawn to pouring rain. As a  Seattleite I am more than happy to run a race in the rain. It's all of the standing around and waiting in the (very cold) rain before the race that I wasn't looking forward to. I picked up Michael and as we drove closer to Everett, the rain slowed to a halt. YES! 

I decided to deconstruct the race as the good, the bad and the ugly (each list in no particular order):

The Good
  • The shuttles. (see also: the bad). To say I was pissed that the race organizers announced that onsite parking was limited and only available via a pre-purchased parking pass and that they were organizing shuttle buses from area parking lots, after I already registered for the race, is an understatement. However, when all was said and done, the shuttles worked really well for us. We got on from the Everett Park and Ride about ten minutes after we parked and caught the shuttle back from the race even more quickly. Easy peasy.  
  • The course wasn't crowded. AT ALL. Almost to a fault. It was really, really, non-crowded (is that a word?). Before the race I was super worried I wouldn't hit my goal since the 10K racers were starting 15 minutes after the half-marathoners and I thought there would be lots of weaving involved trying to get around the slower racers. There was some weaving, but it didn't affect my race time. 
  • The on-site massage therapists. When Michael and I finished we walked past the massage tent and there was no one on the tables. Oh, my. I immediately asked if they were taking people and they said yes and Michael and I each hopped on a table! DIVINE. 
  • The food. Admittedly, all I tried was one cup of soup, a piece of bread and a chunk of banana. But the spread was amazing. One of the best I have ever seen! 
  • The race medals. They are super awesome and were for the runners of both distances! My only peeve is that we were handed a bubble-wrapped medal. How so anti-climactic. My wish is that the volunteers were putting them on racers, or at the very least handing them out ready to be put on ourselves. 
  • The race shirts. A good color (red!) and a great style (women's cut!). WELL DONE. It is amazing how many races give out god-awful shirts that immediately donate.
  • The gear check. The volunteers at gear check were super well-organized. 
  • The AG awards. The top three finishers in each age group won an award, which was a glass mug (apparently the higher you placed, the bigger your mug!).
  • The volunteers. They were all super awesome, just being there, being kind and lending a hand. 

The Bad
  • Not enough porta-potties. Dear race organizers of every race, ever: use whatever logarithm you need to to figure out how many porta-potties you need for the number of attendees, and double it. You're welcome. 
  • The shuttles. (see also: the good). 
  • Not enough shelter or heaters. Rain was in the forecast for quite a while before race day. I was surprised there weren't tents set up for people to hang out under. There were maybe two small heaters set up, there should have been many more.
  • Dis-organization. This wasn't awful, but I did notice a few things other than what I already mentioned. Like, as I crossed the finish line the first thing I was handed was a red ticket and told I could use it to enter a drawing because I was wearing a skirt(?). I asked a couple of people working the race what I was supposed to do with the ticket and no one knew! I never turned it in. Also, the AG awards were being passed out kind of randomly as people went and asked for them. I have to say, I was so glad (spoiler alert!) they gave Michael and I ours, as we were ready to leave, but it sounded like maybe there was supposed to be an awards ceremony at some point. 

The Ugly
  • The start times of the half-marathon and 10K. This, more than anything, made me really annoyed. The website said the races were going to start at 8:30 and 8:45, respectively. While we were waiting for the race to begin they announced they would start at 8:45 and 9:00. The half-marathon started maybe 8:47 or so. Once those runners were off the crowd cleared out considerably so Michael and I went to take off our coats and check our gear then use the porta-potties again. As we emerged from the porta-potties we heard them counting down the 10K start and the then the gun went off. I looked at my watch, it was 8:54. I took off running for the start line, freaking out. If you want to run fast in a race, starting at the tail end of the crowd is the worse place to be. I started jumping through through the crowd and luckily that worked out okay. My heart rate sky-rocketed. I immediately lost Michael, despite hoping we could run together, but my PR was my primary focus. I knew my friend Alma was running the 10K at a similar pace so I kept my eyes peeled for her. About a mile in I heard someone calling my name from behind and it was Alma! So happy to see her. She was at her car when the gun went off and had to sprint to the start, but seemed to be managing just fine by that point. 

Overall, I am super happy overall with the race. Right when Michael and I got there I saw some friendly faces and got to finally meet an online friend who I have interacted with for a while, so that was great. The course was flat, just as advertised!, and the river was pretty. We ran a bit on the road and a bit on a paved trail, which was great to have the course change a bit. I have to admit that hills in a race (SMALL hills) are a nice distraction from pain, oh dear god the pain just flat, flat, flat. It was such a fun surprise to get to run with Alma for some of the race. I loved that she chatted a bunch with me and seemed to know, like, half the people we passed. At one point she told me to go on ahead while she dropped back a bit, and then she ran with me again and then, poof!, left me in her dust at about mile 4, finishing 2nd in our age group.

I ran fast, and it really hurt. I was having flash-backs to the RnR half and all of that pain and kept telling myself that if I missed my goal I would only have to try again and start over. No, no, no, I did NOT want to do that! My mind started going all over the place and in hindsight I wished I had just hyper-focused on my form. Though Alma mentioned my form looked good in the beginning of the race, I am no so sure it held up when I was dying running that last mile. I think this race photo right before the finish line looks promising, though. I don't see a heel strike, score!

Photo by Hovde Productions.
I titled this one "DOMINATING IT!" 
The big reveal is that I beat my goal by 30 seconds, coming in at 49:30. I was 3rd in my age group, too! My first ever AG award.  That was pretty cool. I finished 8th (of 187) of women, and 22nd (of 248) overall for the 10K. I worked hard for that! Seriously, it hurt.

The big winners! 

After finishing and catching my breath I wandered over to grab some of the hot soup the race was serving. It was quite tasty. If Michael and I weren't planning on heading to brunch right after the race, I would have tried more of the goodies. I was in a fog and wondering what I missing at the finish line and it was the chocolate milk! I am not sure if they didn't have any or I didn't see it, but I like to re-fuel immediately with coconut water or chocolate milk. I also wished I had been given a bottle of water, it sucks to try and replenish fluids with a dixie cup of water. 

Before heading out, Michael and I got a massage from Experience Momentum Therapy, which was blissful. I mean, as blissful as a sweaty, post-race, fully-clothed massage can be. The massage therapist was nice and knowledgeable and worked a bit on my legs, paying special attention to my IT band. What a perfect way to end a race! 

All in all, I am happy about the race. I hit my goal, I had fun and the weather held up. Success!

ETA: I also managed to win a free Team Sparkle skirt for wearing my skirt "on the podium" (so to speak). If you race in a Team Sparkle skirt and win an award, Team Sparkle will send you a free skirt! 


  1. I think for the first race they ever put on it wasn't bad, but I agree there were some things that need to be worked out w/ parking being number one!

    1. I will be curious to see how they do next year. Definitely can be a great race with a few kinks worked out!

  2. YEAH SYBIL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Love that you rocked your goal, got your first AG award, AND topped it all off with a massage. SO COOL! I hope we run together again soon.

    1. Thanks Alma! We should definitely run together, but I will be slowing down for a while, haha!

  3. Sybil, that's a great picture of you running. Your form looks great and your blog of how hard you fought for that PR is inspiring. I look forward to the next event we can do together. I had a great time and maybe next year it'll be the half marathon!


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