October 28, 2014

Surfing Madonna 5k Race Recap

The Surfing Madonna 5k/10k is a run that benefits the "Save the Ocean"project. I'd never done this race before, but was intrigued by the course, which is all on the beach.  I signed up months ago to do this run with my son, but only a week before found out that he had testing for his next karate belt at the same time (he is now a first degree brown belt---the next belt he tests for will be junior black belt!).  I asked my good friend Kelly to take his spot, and the race coordinators easily transferred his name to hers at no cost.

I've been injured lately (what's new, right), this time with capsulitis in my little toe, and coupled with my other injuries I had no illusions about a PR for this race. I ran simply for the joy of having a beautiful run along the ocean.  The race did NOT disappoint in this regard.

Although I've been running and doing races since 1998, I made a rookie mistake for this 5k.  I didn't read the website carefully.  Normally a few days before a race I receive an email with instructions for packet pick-up, race day parking, etc.  An email never came.  On Friday morning (the day before the race) I decided to look at the website for packet pickup info.  I had assumed that I would be able to pick up my packet on race day, which is typical for most local 5ks.  I was shocked to read that there was mandatory pickup on Thursday and Friday----at Road Runner Sports in Carlsbad, which is over half hour away!  The site also said there would be race day pick up until noon at the latest (the races started at 2:00) but didn't say where.  Ugh!  So I had to drive straight to Carlsbad after my kids got out of school. Heading north in Friday rush hour traffic is never fun, especially with two cranky kids who did NOT want to go to a packet pickup!  Once there, I easily got my bib and t-shirt (and was able to get Kelly's as well).  In a Facebook exchange with one of the race directors she pointed out that emails were sent out earlier. I checked---and yes indeed emails were sent out, but the latest one was on September 30!  As the race was October 25, that email was not on my mind.  I suggested to her that next year emails be sent out closer to the race date.  And, lesson learned for me---always, always read the website carefully.  You'd think with all the races I've done I would know that, but apparently I didn't.

sign on the course
Race day was weird for me, as I'm used to running most races first thing in the morning. I've done a few at night, but never in the afternoon. Because this race is run on the beach, it started at 2:20, which was low tide.   I wasn't sure what to eat all day, so I settled on a light breakfast and lunch. I picked Kelly up and we headed north to Encinitas, where we found parking on a side street without too much trouble.  I was really impressed with the festivities set up there--tons of booths, especially aimed at keeping the ocean clean; lots of people; and great music filled the air.  Kelly and I got in line for the bathrooms (real ones, not port-o-potties) then headed down to the staging area.  We had thought the race started at 2:00, but again, having not read the website carefully, I didn't realize they started to line people up at 2:00; the race itself would start at 2:20.  We settled in for a long wait. I was already regretting my decision not to bring my handheld with me, as it was hot and I was thirsty!  Yet ANOTHER rookie mistake!

start line

Finally the race got under way.  We started out running north. I began my new run/walk ratio, which is run 2 minutes and walk 30 seconds. I've found that this ratio really helps me run better and stave off the pain.  The race was entirely on the sand, mostly hard packed, as it was low tide.  There was only one spot (for the 5k, at least) where there was a large stream of water that was unavoidable to step in, but even that didn't really get my shoes wet.  I was expecting to run out a mile and a half and then turn back, so I was surprised at a 5k turn around just over a mile into the race (the 10k runners kept going, and I'm unfamiliar with their route).  I made the turn and ran back south.  Here I grabbed water at the water station, something I don't often do in a 5k but man, it was hot. Again, I was regretting not bringing my handheld.

on the course

a race doesn't get more beautiful than this

Soon I was passing the finish line area, because the course went south of that.  We went maybe half a mile south, then made another u-turn north.  In this area was a second water station (odd, because most 5ks that I do only have one water station, but this was much needed and appreciated as it was hot!)  Just before the finish line, the course got hard, as the sand turned loose and it was uphill, so that made me trudge rather than run.  I finally crossed the finish line, got my medal, and immediately went in search of more water! I found Kelly soon after, and we headed home.

seen at the finish line

A fun race for a great cause. And many lessons learned for this seasoned runner---make sure to read the website carefully, and if it's hot outside, it's better to be safe than sorry in terms of hydration!