1. Small course changes made records possible, drawing a deep elite field.
2. Since the race is always Easter Saturday, this year's early holiday meant possibly cooler weather than usual (too many races have been in the 80's in years past!)
3. The race is under new management and FINALLY featured seeded corrals. The last few times I've run the Classic I did so as a jogger/occasional racer (actually I think the last time I ran it I was in full Cowgirl regalia, denim included) and even then, I was slowed and frustrated by the huge crowds of walkers and moms pushing strollers in front of me. This year was a big change: Runners under 45 minutes (proof required) were seeded in 3 front corrals, with additional corrals set up by self-reported time. There was a large walkers corral and even a stroller corral!
After racing last week, I felt confident that I could PR at this race. The 10k last week felt easy at 6:40 pace, so I thought I could take between 30 and 60 seconds off that time today. Well, things don't always go quite as planned.
Varsity Sports invited 30 of their most loyal members to ride in vans from the finish to the start (it is a point-to-point). After the first van left, David and I waited with some other runners for almost half an hour: no van. By now it was 7:20, we were 6.2 miles from the start, and the race started at 8:00! Another runner offered us rides, and we accepted. Luckily traffic was light and we parked 1/2 a mile from the start, but we barely made it to the corrals in time. I did not get a real warm up OR a bathroom break. As it turns out, I could have run to the potty: the race started a full 15 minutes late. But once I was in the corral it was too late - how could I know it would be delayed?
|One of the Varsity runners sat this race out and took some great pictures of the group and many of the elites.|
Then the race started, and I didn't race this one well. I forgot all about the 10-minute segment trick I used last race, my Garmin had terrible spotty reception (always happens downtown!), my ipod never worked at all, and I was on vomit-alert the whole time. I really wanted to throw up within the first minute and the feeling never went away.
But hey, that's racing. I had some too-fast miles and some too-slow miles, including one in which I was in the middle of a log-jam of runners colliding when someone in front stopped abruptly to puke (I very nearly joined him). The weather was low 70's, high humidity, sunny - not bad. I didn't have any idea what my pace was when I crossed the finish in 40:58 - a painful PR and not really what I wanted. Ok, but not great. This is the first race that I really had to mentally force myself to finish, I was so nauseated. I don't know if it was my late meal last night or the stress getting to the start, but pushing through discomfort is always good training, so I will take it.
The CCC has a great tradition of offering event posters to the top 500 finishers each year. This year is the first time I've gotten a poster - the cut-off time was right at 43 minutes (about 20,000 runners participate in this race, but it is overall a slow field with lots of costumes and walkers). Now that I have a CCC poster I feel like a real New Orleans runner! David said it makes him nostalgic for his childhood: a neighbor he thought was "so weird" for being the only guy in on the street out running always had the most recent poster in his kitchen.
Loose end tie-up:
- Van driver Andrew Lilly had an "elite runner crisis" and sent out a message that it was every man for himself...to a bunch of people who did not have phones with them.
- Nausea, like it does, went away when I stopped running. Stupid. I hate that so much. I didn't throw up and my stomach settled once I ate some rice at the finish.
- David ran a 47:03!!! This man ran over an hour in a 10k last year!
- My ipod may finally be history. This is the ipod nano 3 we resurrected last year but now it keep failing me.
- I have a much, much better post-race story than race recap, but this is getting long - so I'll post that later!