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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Gopher the Gold 10k Race Recap

  Another month, another race to add to my list! July was a tough one to plan. Lots going on this month, and for some reason, people just didn't want to schedule a whole lot of races, let alone 10Ks, in July! 
I chose this race for it's charity support and community feel...also it was the only Saturday I had free this month! The 9th annual Gopher the Gold was held in River Bends Park in Shelby Township, MI.  It had poured rain the day/night before, so I showed up not quite knowing what to expect. The drive was relatively fast and we pulled up to a parking lot full of cars and a lot of people. Registration and packet/shirt pickup was located in a park pavilion and took 2 minutes, cause there was no line for the 10k pickup. 
There was a DJ playing the best of the 90's (if you like cheesy 90's music like I do), and lots of people milling about getting ready to run. The race announcer kept saying that he hoped we were wearing our old running shoes today because the trail was muddy. I wasn't, but stayed optimistic. How bad could it be? I knew the first half of the race was paved, so that didn't worry me at all. But the 2nd half was mostly a dirt trail though the woods. That was the bad part, apparently. Everyone lined up to start and after the national anthem played over the loud speakers, we were off! 
Slow start. I didn't want to have a painful race like the last time. I had been running about 5 miles on average leading up to this so I wasn't too worried. Just decided to take my time on this one.
Not even a mile into the paved trail, there were puddles. First, small ones that you could pick your way through, then 6 inch deep ones that there was no possible way around. I wasn't thrilled about getting my feet wet, but I soldiered on. After the puddles were hills, then after the hills, there was a not so shady field. The only good thing about the sun, was that it made my feet feel dryer. By the time I got around the field, I realized that the course went back down those hills and through those puddles before I would even hit the dirt. I felt like I was doing alright this time and just had to channel my time working at summer camp to keep my spirits up. Puddle Jumping and Playing in mud. Yes. At about mile 4 my Nike app let me know I was actually making some pretty good time. I entered the wooded trail and hoped for the best. I had started to see some people from the 5k headed back toward me. I was really hoping that I didn't have to turn around and do it all again. The mud wasn't great. It was deep and wet and slippery. I have a habit of slipping and falling on wet things, so to avoid mess and injury I ended up walking on the edges of the mud where I could, holding on to trees and branches. Some people ran right by me, but I really stuck to my guns about taking it slow. I ran between the puddles, and when I finally got back on the concrete I took off.

A little while later, I hit the open field again. Passed a few people that got ahead of me through the mud and crossed the finish line. The last mile really wore me out, but I was no where near as exhausted as I was at the end of the last 10k I ran. It was hot and my feet were dirty and soggy, but it was easier. I'm pretty sure if it wasn't for the fact that I had to walk a lot more of it than I wanted, I would have gotten a better time. I officially finished at 1:07:54 which is about 4 minutes slower than the last. I finished 10th in my age group and 115th overall.

I really did enjoy the atmosphere of the race. The course wasn't my favorite, but maybe it was because I wasn't prepared for the hills and the sun beating down on me, as I'm used to running in residential areas. At the finish line, they had cold water and cold wet towels...which I grabbed with an enthusiastic "YES PLEASE!" and they had lots of food (Watermelon, bagels, bananas, powerade etc.) and also were giving out jars of Biscoff spread...which I had heard of, but had never tried, so we grabbed a couple of those before we left (for the record...YUM!).

This race seemed a lot more like a small community race with a lot of people (more people in the 5k [345] than the 10k [152]). The proceeds from the race went to the special Olympics, which is always a good cause! It was probably the most inexpensive race I've done this year and it was well worth it. I could see myself doing this again next year!

Speaking of doing another race....I have officially registered myself for the Crim Festival of Races that will be taking place on August 23rd and 24th in Flint, MI. These races are apparently kind of a big deal, so I'm quite excited to be a part of them. On the 23rd there will be a short 1 mile run on Friday night followed by a 10 mile race on Saturday morning. Although I'm excited, I'm a bit terrified. But I figured this would be good to add to my list so I can get my mileage up before I get to the Half Marathon I'm planning on running in October!  

Have you ever done something that was exciting but scary at the same time?
Will I see you at the Crim races?
What colors should I wear for my half marathon?





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