Monday, November 12, 2012

Race Recap: Wicked 10K

Yesterday, I had one of my worst runs ever. I was cleared by my chiropractor on Thursday to “jump back into it,” and I took his word for all it was worth – yesterday Suz & I decided to do seven miles, easily my longest run in months. We are officially signed up for our half-marathon on December 9, meaning we are just over a month away, and we (I) have got to get back into training mode and get back into shape. So, off we went. And it was awful. We were doing an out-and-back, and the out actually felt really good. Nothing was hurting too badly, my breathing was ok, the temperature was good. Once we turned around, though, it was all downhill from there (except it was mostly uphill… issues). My legs were tired, I couldn’t breathe, my back hurt. I actually slowed down to walk up a few hills because my body was just saying no. Suz was fantastic, as usual (you’re the best, friend!), pep-talking me and staying slow with me and encouraging me to lay down on the path and stretch like a maniac. We finished a little over seven miles in a little over an hour, and I proved to myself that my endurance is shoddy and my body is in desperate need of some conditioning before December 9. Eeeeek. Previous goal: half in under two hours. New goal: finish half. Blerg. My body feels awful today – everything is sore. Back to Square One.

So, since yesterday was so horrible, I figured that it was as good a time as any to write my Race Recap for the Wicked 10k! (Also, because the race was weeks ago, and as I have another race this weekend, I’m about to be miserably behind. But that is neither here nor there.) The best way to come off a horrible run is to remember a great one, right?...

Race Recap

I can easily say that the Wicked 10k was one of my favorite,  favorite, favorite races/runs to-date. It was my first J & A race, and I was blown away by how organized everything was, how simple it was, and how generous they were. I don’t think I have one single complaint about this race!

My sister and I headed to Virginia Beach on Friday night, amidst many warnings about the impending hurricane that was due to make landfall that weekend. Hurricane, schmurricane – we had a race to run! Nat & I signed up for the Wicked 10K in the early summer – we had been looking forward to it for months, and nothing was going to stand in our way! Key note: this race was sponsored by Blue Moon, and one of the incentives was free beer for all finishers. Done and done. Not even my old-woman back… my doctor had recommended that I take it very easy, listen to my body, and not push myself. As badly as I wanted to race this one, I knew that I couldn’t. I had to make the healthy choice. And so I headed into the weekend resigned to that fact.

Nat and I got to VB 15 minutes before the expo closed and raced in to pick up our packets. It was actually a breeze (insert hurricane jokes, starting immediately…), and we got our numbers, tech tees, and “I’m 21 so I can drink beer after the race” wristbands in just a few minutes. We met up with Nat’s OUR (better, Lush??) friend, Lauren, and chowed down on pizza (pre-race fuel! Or that’s how we justified it) before crashing for the night at our rather-sketchy hotel. 

Waking up on Saturday morning was actually easy – we all got ready pretty quick and were feeling good. The Wicked 10k is a Halloween-themed race, and costumes are encouraged. We had no idea how seriously people take this – we saw some AMAZING costumes… that must have been hell to run in. It’s a big deal, though, and we were wishing we’d been more prepared! Nat brought the mouse ears that she’d made for another costume, and we painted whiskers on our face, dressed in black and grey, and went as mice. It didn’t work out too well, though, because the gale-force winds (hurricane, remember?) kept knocking the ears off our heads, long before the race even started. So the ears went into the backpack, and we looked like normal runners… with whiskers. Don’t judge.

Pre-Race Mice
The start of the race was so smooth – corrals were released every 90 seconds, and it put a good distance between groups so that everyone wasn’t right on top of each other at the beginning. We actually ran over the starting line, and we felt good.

Lost the ears already... oh well. Ready to go!

The original idea was to run two miles, walk two, and run the last two, and then alter the plan depending on how I/we felt. We ended up just running and slowing to walk whenever we needed a break, and I didn’t really keep track, but I think we probably ran 2/3 and walked 1/3, just not as specifically as we’d originally intended. We went at a nice, slow place, enjoying the live music along the race path, interacting with spectators (special shout-out to the people we got paper cups of Natty Light from… they were amazing), and not trying to push ourselves at all. Honestly, I don’t even think I got out of breath during this race. The course was completely flat (being at the beach will do that) and it was such an easy run. The only hard part was, again, the gale-force winds. The wind actually slowed up to a walk at some points, because it was blowing so strong against us! The really bad part was when we were actually on the boardwalk – the wind was blowing the sand around, and it was hitting our faces, legs, and arms. Any skin that wasn’t covered was being exfoliated – who knew there were spa benefits to this race? HA.

Angry ocean mid-run... hurricane on the way!
Still a beautiful backdrop for a run... even if the sand was scraping my skin off!
Action shot!
Gorgeous. Calm before the storm.

We picked up the pace a bit as we neared the finish line, and all three of us crossed together. Even the finish line was organized – there were so many volunteers, and they had everyone lined up handing out water, bananas, power bars, and medals. There was no mad rush for tents of food or anything – you just kept walking down the boardwalk, taking things as they were handed to you. SO EASY. Loved it.

I went straight to the medical tent to get iced and wrapped, and Nat and Lauren went and picked up our backpack. It took about five minutes to get taken care of in the med tent, and I’m really thankful for that – I know that being able to get ice on my back so quickly definitely helped with how good I felt afterwards. I was a little bit sore, but it was more about being sore from running than actual pain in my back. Hooray!

The three of us made our way back to the Convention Center, where the “After Party” was being held. Originally, it was supposed to be under big tents on the beach, but due to the impending hurricane, J & A made the decision to move the party indoors well in advance. I will say, that was another thing that I thought was fantastic about this race – the communication was excellent. There were regular emails before the race with information and emails the day before discussing how the weather was going to affect the race. I didn’t have to search for info or wonder what was going on – J & A was completely upfront and connected the whole time. So great! I'm looking into the other J & A races, because there is really something to be said for a well-organized race. It was such a nice event overall that I'd really love to do another of their races - my experience this time definitely bodes well for the future.
At the Convention Center, we cashed in our tickets for bread bowls of chili and those coveted Blue Moons… beers never tasted so good! 

Done! 10k Finishers

Feeling so good! Happy to be done & pain-free
Me and my big little sister <3
Little lush finished, too
We ate and enjoyed the warmth and the music for a bit before going back to the hotel for showers and cleaning up. Natalie and I were on the road home by about 12:30 PM, full, tired, and happy. A stop at Chipotle right before we got home was possibly the best decision of the entire weekend. We’d had an absolute blast, and couldn’t stop talking about how much fun we’d had and what a great race it was. 

We will definitely be signing up for the 2013 Wicked 10k, and we’re already brainstorming costume ideas. Now that we know how seriously people take that part of it, we are determined to do better! And, obviously, we are hoping for some better weather next year… We are very glad that Hurricane Sandy didn’t interfere with our fun at all (especially given what happened in the next few days).  I had so much fun with Nat and Lauren, I had a great (slow) race, I finished my first official 10k, and I got my first race medal! I loved doing this race with my sister, too. She is my original run buddy, my original racing partner; we have so much fun together when we do things like that, and I was glad that we got to experience this one together. As I said before… not sure I have one single complaint about that race. Can’t wait for 2013!

Pretty sweet, no? Love it!

1 comment :

Caitlin said...

Great recap! I have a 1/2 on December 8th... ummmm yes need to get into my long runs asap! Body Pump will carry me through 13.1 miles right? crap. haha :) I am glad that your doc cleared you though! :)