Well the weekend is just about over, so I figured it was a good time for me to review my experience with the 2013 Gate River Run 15K.
Right around the beginning of the year, I had no less than five people tell me how AWESOME running in the Gate River Run would be. I was really looking forward to a long run, something to push me and test me, but with fewer miles than a half. I have been focusing on a different type of fitness lately, which has not allowed for the proper time to train for a PR. Considering my last 15K was in Utica, NY and I ran it with about two weeks of preparation AND had never run more than 4 miles at one given time, I knew that the Gate would be a real self esteem boost, just like a shopping trip to Walmart.
As Dan and I were driving to the Everbank Field on Saturday morning, we were able to pass some of the volunteers as they were setting up some speakers on the Hart Bridge. It then occurred to me that this was the small, and relatively flat-appearing bridge that was outlined as part of the course’s map.
Now it was time to panic.
By the time we actually parked the car and I found the location for the gray/Wave 2 runners, I had calmed myself down. I had all of my essential running embellishments: fully loaded running playlist on my iPhone and holder, headphones, water bottle with energy gels tucked away in the tiny pouch, and the knowledge that after the run was over I would be able to eat just about anything my heart desired.
Throughout the course, I felt great. My legs never felt a bit fatigued, and my lungs were very cooperative and didn’t begin to burn, even if I hadn’t run outdoors in over four months. The weather cooperated, and because of my personal water bottle, I didn’t have to stop at any of the very convenient watering stations I would have appreciated had I the need for them. And the best part was that even on the ascension of the Hart Bridge, I never once stopped running, never stopped putting one foot in front of the other.
How did the race officially turn out for me? Not too darn tootin’ bad!
And Sophie couldn’t have been more supportive of me.
But since this is life and life can’t be all sunshine and roses, I do have two complaints that I hope are addressed in the future for the 2014 Gate River Run.
1. After the race was over, there were dozens of volunteers passing out water bottles, which was fantastic. However, my heart was set on a banana or some sort of edible treat that a race of over 17,000 people would surely have provided. I suppose they were there, but Dan said that the refueling station was about a mile away from the finish line. This complaint dives right into the my next suggestion for next year.
2. I can understand why the organizers decided NOT to put the food and after-party near the finish line. There was just no freakin’ room!
Ya catch my drift?? There were reports that over 17,000 runners participated during the day’s events, and when you add in any family or friends that were there for support, we’re talking WAY too many people in one location. Even on the course I could tell IMMEDIATELY that they should have capped the race about 5,000 fewer participants. There was only about 5 minutes of my 96 minutes of running where I felt like I wasn’t slowing down because of the shoulder-to-shoulder atmosphere on the road. I wasn’t the only one who felt that there were too many runners on such a narrow route; other runners at the finish line and at Tijuana Flats agreed that they felt as if they couldn’t run at their full potential because of so many people.
Speaking of Tijuana Flats and indulging in some post-race caloric commemoration, check out what I celebrated with: