October 1, 2012

Rotary's Run Around the Pier 5K, Sept. 29, St. Petersburg, Florida: race recap

I thought a Saturday evening 5K was the ideal race for me ... well, besides it being a 5K. Perhaps it would be ideal if I didn’t spend the whole day running around getting a car loan and starting the car-buying process (and not drinking enough or eating properly). And, if I didn’t rush to the race with 10 minutes to spare. And, if it wasn’t 87 degrees at race time (my potential new car has a spiffy temperature display in it). 

Fortunately, I already picked up my race packet. Handy that they had packet pickup at my running group location on a running group night. 

So, all I had to do was find a restroom (a real restroom – hooray!), find my coach (who was pacing me) and run this thing.

I immediately saw people in my running group (and my coach), so I signaled I was heading to the restroom. I managed to meet them in time for the national anthem and start of the race. Whew!

The race started right on time. My coach’s plan for me:

  • Mile 1: tell her a story
  • Mile 2: have a conversation
  • Mile 3: she’ll tell me a story 
The idea: start off easy and run harder throughout the race.

So, I started off telling her the story of my day. I told her how painful it is to buy a car, how I was kind of sad I’d be saying goodbye to my old car, and how I ran around all day long (bank, car dealer, lunch, back to car dealer, airport to pick up lost luggage, home for 10 minutes before heading to race).

Even though I was talking almost all of mile 1, I knew I was going a little fast for me (especially in the heat). But, being the stubborn, competitive person that I am, I kept going.

When my coach picked up the pace in mile 2, I knew I was in trouble. When she asked about the pace, I admitted that I needed to back off a little. So, we slowed a little, but not much. The main problem: the heat. This course was sunny. I’ve run into problems with the Pier before, and I was again. It’s long and hot and miserable. 

We finally hit a water stop about halfway through the course. Normally, I don’t even use water stops in a 5K. I had to this race. I was looking for it, and I was so relieved to see it. I slowed down to drink what I could while still running and then dumped the rest over my head.

The rest of the race, I just kept thinking, “It’s miserable now, but as soon as you cross the finish line, you’ll feel better.” I really don’t remember the last half of the race besides remembering I wanted it to be over. I also remember my coach talking a lot (in a good way … I needed a distraction).

As I made the final push at the end, I felt fuzzy and wobbly. But, I kept thinking, “Just finish, and you’ll feel better as soon as you cross the finish line.”

Fuzzy and wobbly, but almost to the finish line
It's about to get better, right?

As I crossed the finish line, I still felt fuzzy and wobbly (Man, I lied to myself the whole race! I was supposed to feel better now). I do remember getting asked if I wanted my towel (part of the race goodies), so I grabbed that. Then, I remember more wobbling and my coach taking me to sit down.

I don’t remember much after that. I know I sat down for awhile, and then I decided to move away from people because I felt nauseous. I made it to an area with less people, and then sat down again. I tried drinking water, but that made me more nauseous.

The race had food and beer, so my coach graciously offered to grab me some food, thinking it might make me feel better. She came back with a roll (she said the food line was out of control, so she grabbed the only thing she could). I nibbled on it, and eventually I felt better.

We said our goodbyes, and I apologized numerous times for a rather dramatic 5K. 

Finally feeling well enough to stand

Why did this happen? I have some theories:

  • It was hot.
  • I didn’t drink enough water during the day.
  • I didn’t eat enough during the day (because of the whole car-buying extravaganza, I only ate one meal around 1:30 p.m. – not smart).
  • The whole day was a rush.
  • It was a combination of all of the above (probably most likely).

What I do know is I don’t want it to happen again … even if it does result in a PR. Yep, a personal record! My time: 33:20, a nice 1 minute and 12 seconds faster than my personal best (thanks to pacing by my wonderful, patient, caring, kind coach). OK, maybe it was worth it. Or it at least made it better.

I did get faster for the first two miles (as the plan called for), but that last 1.1 was a little slower (due to the wobbles).

As for the race itself, the parts I were able to participate in were great. The packet pickup was easy. The race started on time and started in a nice location with real restrooms. The problems didn’t start until after the race (or so I heard). I can’t verify this personally because I was sitting on a bench trying not to puke. But, I did hear from reliable sources that they ran out of T-shirts, and they were in the process of running out of food and beer (part of the advertised draw of the race). Oops.

Shirt and towel (I think Gateway Radiology was a sponsor)

Would I run this again? I wouldn’t rule it out. I’d give the organizers a chance to fix the issues of running out of food and beer; it was an inaugural race, and I think they can work that out. But, I think it would be a race-time decision. I’d wait and see if the weather wanted to cooperate and was a few degrees cooler. The Pier, running, hot weather and I just don’t get along that well.


  1. congrats on getting a shiny new PR!! sorry it was at the expense of you feeling so crappy though :(

    1. Thanks! Now that I'm recovered, I think it was definitely worth it. Kind of scary at the time, though.

  2. Sorry it wasn't a great race :( I did an evening race once and really hated it even though I always work out after work so you wouldn't think it would be a big deal. Congrats on your PR :D!!!

    1. Thanks! I thought I'd love the evening race. I'm so not a morning person and always workout in the evening (except when forced on Sunday mornings with my running group). It really seemed like it would rock ...

  3. Congrats on the PR!!! Sorry that it came at the expense of you not feeling well. Running in heat is tricky and you did a great job. I do not think I would have made it to the race with all that you did before it. NO way.

    1. Thank you! I highly dislike the heat (my parents taught me not to use the word "hate," but I really want to use it).

  4. Wahoooo!! Congrats on the PR!! Sorry you felt so awful though. Boo! That is so, so, SO hot to be running so hard. Amazing job! And congrats on the new car too! :)

    1. Thank you! I'm over the heat at this point. It's October, Florida!


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