Location: Minto Brown park, Salem, OR - 10/9/2010
Fee: 20$ on race day, cheaper a week ahead.
I came into Salem Friday afternoon and was able to sneak over to the park with my brother-in-law while my SIL watched the boys for me. Hoped to see the course or find a map of the actual race, since the Internet map was for directions there, not of the course itself.
I couldn't figure out which path the course would take, but got to see the grounds. There were plenty of paved paths- eight miles of them!
It's western Oregon: fields, trees and blackberry bushes, all on a nice flat island in the middle of busy Salem. If I hadn't gotten the tour, I am pretty certain I would have not been able to find it- or would have assumed that I was on the wrong road to get there.
The night before the race I slept on the floor (sofa cushions) in the room with my kids at the SIL/BIL's house (my oldest is a sleepwalker). Got a few hours of sleep and discovered it was still raining since the night before! (uh-oh) SIL worked on getting the boys fed (such a great hostess and wonderful aunt to the boys) while I had a hot shower and ate oatmeal, drank coffee around 7 AM.
When I got to the race, I registered and made a small donation- not enough for a Tshirt, but something. I don't usually race for any causes, but this one has special meaning to me. I pinned on my bib and after a stop at the port-a-pot line, I warmed up.
I was SO nervous. It's weird, but I think I am getting progressively more nervous at the start with every race I do! :/
I tried to pray; I listened to a song or two during my mile or so + strides. The music didn't help my nerves and I didn't want to miss an announcement, so I took off the ipod and hid it at the pavilion with my long shirt and hat. It was a wet, rainy, warm day.
After the 10K started, I lined up at the front. I still can't believe that's really where I belong in any race!!! I whispered and asked a high school age girl her 5k time (also in front) she said 23 minutes, so I stayed. :)
With the start of the 5K, I took off at a fast pace. I only wear a digital watch and run by feel. I hit what seemed close to my usual tempo pace, or maybe a bit quicker.
We rounded a corner and there were 3 or 4 men ahead of me, then 2 passed me. I was OK with that and expected it. I had been surprised there weren't more men ahead of me, truthfully.
At a half mile, we were offered water (haha!) and everyone sped past. At nearly a mile, there was a white sign for mile 1. My watch said 5:xx and I thought "there is NO way that's right". And I was right. The next sign was for an orange 1, and that was the right one- but I can't remember the time. I want to say 6:30.
The next two miles were a big blur. Mile 2 went through some trees and the paved path was wet with lots of wet leaves, making me a bit uneasy about slipping. Also, I was in new shoes which still seem to feel a bit slippery and have that new-gloss look on the soles. I didn't want to injure myself and hoped not to go sliding.
The course was pretty flat, rising at first, with a few small short down slopes on the way back. The only surprises (which weren't much), were a few large puddles that had a single track in the mud if you wanted to go around, and a section where shallow mud went across the path (I went through both). It really wasn't bad, just leafy and wet.
As I approached the third mile marker, I was almost fooled again with 10K signs, but picked up the pace which may have slowed a bit. I passed a man only to have him catch me in the last 50 yards to go! I just didn't have the turnover and he had saved too much back, in my view.
I saw the clock and knew to subtract 10 minutes from the 10k start time. It was past 20 minutes, which was my best-day-ever goal. Honestly, I was a little disappointed, but only temporarily. When I crossed, my watch said 20:23 (Official time not yet available), making me either the 5th or 6th finisher overall.
I know I can go faster because I DIDN'T puke.
We received a water and a goodie bag. The organizers were very friendly and helpful. They seemed to be well orchestrated, but this is a new race. New races have their quirks.
I may have earned a gift certificate too, but that is still to be determined. The announcers were unsure who earned the gift certificates and will mail it if I earned one. Nothing was mentioned in the flyer about prizes for winning!
(Photo by Darcey a 10K racer)