Surprise! I ran another race. I signed up for this one about a week ago with the goal of doing another speed check-in before 3M in 2 weeks.
The Rogue Distance Festival is comprised of 3 races: a 10K, a half marathon, and a 30K, with probably the greatest emphasis on the 30K. All the races run on overlapping courses with different twists and turns, which is why when I ran the 10K last year, most of the 10K runners (myself included) made some wrong turns and had to stop twice to figure out where on earth we were supposed to go. It was a mess, and Rogue ended up giving everyone $40 gift certificates afterwards.
I pretty much swore off running this race again until last week when, as I mentioned, I had a desire to run another short race prior to 3M. There are some things I like about this race:
- The start and finish are at Cedar Park High School, where there is ample free parking.
- The school is open during the race, which is really nice given that both years I’ve run this race it’s been quite cold outside.
- Dunkin Donuts coffee inside yessssss best cheap coffee ever my favorite oh god I miss walking by 3 Dunkin Donuts on my way to work like I did in Philly
- Nice race tees:
I didn’t really do anything in terms of race prep beyond drinking a lower alcohol content beer with dinner last night and waking up at the ass crack of dawn (i.e. 4:30) so I could make toast before driving up to Cedar Park in time for a 7:15 race start. We’ve had rain and temperatures hovering above freezing this week, so there was some drama on the Rogue Facebook page regarding whether the races would actually happen. True to their word, the Rogue staff updated the page at 4:30 this morning with an announcement that the races were definitely happening, which I appreciated. I did not appreciate driving with white knuckles on the highway in the rain and in the dark but I can’t blame Rogue for my driving paranoia. Nor can I blame Rogue for the 20 minute start delay to due a fire truck blocking part of the race route (though it was still annoying to have to sit around when I just wanted to start running and get the pain over with already).
My Garmin had some trouble getting a signal at the start and the timing didn’t kick in until I was slightly past the start line. This didn’t bother me too much since I figured I could adjust it when I hit the first mile marker (lol). Also, I knew my PR of 45:34 was likely out of reach but aiming for sub-47:00 (roughly 7:30-7:35 pace) was doable, so I relied on the Garmin during the race to see what pace I was running and ignored the cumulative time.
The race is mostly flat with some gradual uphills and downhills. I tried to stick to my target pace but let myself speed up to 7:05-7:10 on the downhills. Rogue had volunteers at most of the turns and splits, so as far as I know no one went off course like last year. Hooray! What got confusing, however, was the fact that there were no mile markers for the 10K course. And since my Garmin wasn’t exactly right, I never really had a good idea of how far I’d run.
It became even more confusing at the finish.
I didn’t even look at my Garmin time at first because I figured it would be off. Instead, I made a beeline for the table inside where they were processing the finish data in real time to look up my semi-official time which was 44:09 (and 5th female/1st 30-34 female). “That’s really good!” said one of the volunteers. I thanked her and added that it seemed surprisingly fast. After a brief cool down jog to my car to grab my phone and a dry jacket, I sat down and crunched some numbers on my cellphone. A 44:09 10K is 7:06 min/mile, which is a faster pace than my fastest 5K time. While the last few months have gone well running-wise, my stress fracture recovery hasn’t been that amazing, and looking at the mile splits on my Garmin confirmed that. Finally, I overhead a number of other runners after the race mentioning that their GPS devices indicated that the course was around 6 miles. (I found out later that this was the result of a last minute detour due an emergency at a nearby house. So not Rogue’s fault at all but the lack of mile markers was still confusing).
The times currently posted online are even more mystifying.
The chip times for the fastest runners suggest that world records were broken multiple times today, right here in Texas!
While it’s annoying to have course and timing issues again at this race (fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me…), I’m still glad I did it for the following reasons:
- My pace was more or less the same as last year and it shows that I’m in better shape than I thought I was. This leads me to conclude that a sub-1:40 time at 3M is within reach and that I might even be able to PR.
- I want to actually run a sub-45:00 10K now, and I’m tentatively making that the focus of my running following 3M.
I probably won’t do this 10K again (though I said the same thing last year and, well, here we are). Even though the course change this year wasn’t Rogue’s fault, I feel like the 10K plays second fiddle to the longer distances, as evidenced by the fact that the 10K course is on is on their course with their mile markers. But I might do the half marathon or 30K next year if it fits in with whatever else I want to run in January.
In the meantime, this is what the rest of today looks like: