Monday, May 25, 2015

Vista Strawberry Festival 10K Race Recap

Yesterday morning Ryan and I ran the Vista Strawberry Festival 10K. Can you believe it? This is the FOURTH YEAR I have run in this race! It was one of my very first races in 2012 when I started running (I consider the Disneyland Half in 2012 my "anniversary race" because it was my first "distance" race, but I did do a couple 5Ks prior to that and THIS was one of them). I have been lucky enough to run it with my hubby every single time!

2012 - Vista Strawberry Festival 5K
2013 - Vista Strawberry Festival 10K
2014 - Vista Strawberry Festival 10K

Quick preface I need to notate - Ryan and I were given these bibs from the good people over at the Vista Chamber of Commerce. Having said this, our opinions are still 100% ours and honest (ain't nobody got time for fibbin' around here!).

I wasn't sure what I wanted to wear for the race. I was thinking I wanted to go strawberry themed, but thought red and green might come across as Christmas-y. I still had a couple plain tanks that I used for Ragnar, so I figured I'd try and doll them up a bit for the race. Thankfully I still had some of the iron-on letters I used for my Eugene Marathon tank that I thought would work perfectly. (I was limited on my letter choice though, so I had to work with that I had and figure out a saying from there.)

I might not be "crafty", but I can hold my own when it comes to a hot glue gun.

My #FlatCarlee! Neon pink specialty skirt from Sparkle Athletic, #HeatherFresh heather pink marathon socks from Pro Compression, Green Wrist ID Sport RoadID, Pink Momentum Jewelry Wrap, Purple (because that's the only "girl" color the watch comes in) Garmin Forerunner 220, Sparkle apple green wide Sparkly Soul headband, Gettin' Lucky Green Handful sports bra, Brooks Ghost 6 (with a pair of vivid pink Lock Laces and a Momentum Jewelry FootNote on them).

They held packet pick-up on Saturday from 1-4. I had to work from 12-4, so we figured we would just grab our bibs and goodies before the race on Sunday morning (I do appreciate race day pick-up!).  We ended up leaving out place around 5:50am. The race started at 6:45, it takes us about 15 minutes to get over, and because there was no gear-check we would have to walk our goodies to the car and then get back to the start line before the race began.

Early to bed and early to rise...

Well, when we left Oceanside it was a bit cloudy (which is what the weather man was calling for), but the closer we got to Vista, the wetter my windshield got... WHAT THE CRAP IS UP WITH THAT?! There was no rain in the forecast... So what is this wetness falling from the sky?!

Packet pick-up was pain-free, although they didn't have near enough volunteers so the lines started getting pretty long. I don't know if some volunteers didn't come out due to the weather or they just weren't expecting the number of runners to wait until race-day to pick up their stuff, but I would suggest more for the future.

Bibs - CHECK! Goodie bags - CHECK!

We jogged over to the car, attached our bibs, dropped off our outer ware, and made our way back to the starting area. The course was different than year's past, so I think signs would have definitely been helpful (will talk more about this when it comes to the beer garden as well...). Downtown Vista holds a big street fair for the Strawberry Festival, so the streets are lined with vendors, so just because there are people heading in one direction it does NOT mean that is the way to the start... #LessonLearned

Setting up the starting line

Although the race was supposed to start at 6:45am, I think it was probably closer to 6:50am or so when it actually kicked off. I was surprised at how few people were running this race. Sure there is a pretty brutal hill around mile 3 of the 10K, but I guess personally I find 10Ks easier than 5Ks (less all out sprinting), so figured this would be the more popular race of the morning. With the small crowds there was no reason for corrals, we all just sort of milled about until the National Anthem and then turned around for the start. (I do think that if the race grows larger in the future there may be a need for corrals with the streets being lined with vendors and pretty tight through the starting area.)

I was BERRY excited for this shot!

Runners turned away from the starting line to face the flag

Even if there was rain, at least there was no wind
(as you can tell from the flag ;) )

Alrighty, it's almost GO TIME!

But first, let's take a selfie...

On your mark, get set....

3... 2... 1.... GO!

And we were off! As I mentioned earlier, I was running this race with the hubby, so we were going to stick with his pace. He said he was hoping to run it in around 10:15/mile pace. I told him I might stop a couple times to grab pictures, but I'd catch up to him. I would rather run with the hubby and give up any type of time goal ANY DAY (although I did look at the leader board after the race and if I would have been "racing" I would have taken second in my age group...).

Much of the course seemed to be a gradual slope...

Like I said at the beginning, this course was different than prior years (I am not sure if it was due to the road construction or what the reasoning was). Ryan said he liked it more this year (it seemed like the frequent turns were towards the beginning, which he appreciated and then had more of a straight shot to the end instead of it being flopped in previous races). The emails and website touted that it was a certified course, so I was expecting it to be "legit". We could all tell (at least those running around us) after the first mile that this was NOT the case.

We hit mile 1 (on our watches or trackers) and no mile markers in sight... It seemed as though there were NO signs or even volunteers to tell us where to turn on the first street (there was a little out and back portion at the beginning) so I don't know if the lead biker went too far or maybe the front pack got too far away from the next group and they didn't know when to flip around or what... Well, from them on it seemed as though the course was at least .4 mile long. (For me, this wasn't a huge deal since I was just doing it for fun with the hubby, but I know it seemed to make some runners around us pretty upset.)


Ryan was doing great with keeping his pace (even with the sprinkles and high humidity {at times it felt like the humidity was radiating up from the wet ground, it was pretty gross}). The first mile was just under ten minutes (I normally have a heck of a time trying to keep my pace at the beginning of a race because of my fresh legs, adrenaline, etc) which was right where we wanted to be! Even with the course being a bit different, we knew we had a MONDO hill around mile 3, so we wanted to conserve some energy for that (if you know the area, we end up running UP through Brengal Terrace). I reminded Ry that we EAT HILLS FOR BREAKFAST so were going to run the whole thing!

I wish there was a GROSS-ness index... It would have
been PRETTY DARN HIGH at this point...

Going up, up, up!

We saw the hill and CONQUERED it! Ryan told me I could run ahead so I could get a couple pictures, so that's what I did. I know the hill might not look that crazy, but it is a pretty constant uphill for at least a half mile, which can get to even the stronger runners.

Ryan powering up the hill! 

You think it's done, but you have to turn and keep climbing...

Don't get me wrong, I MUCH APPRECIATE all of the volunteers (if you've ever run with me or even near me, you will know I try and thank every one of them that I can - not to mention give out as many high fives as possible), but the water stations were BAD this year (at least in my opinion). This has NOTHING to do with the folks staffing them - they were great! It has everything to do with LOCATION.

There were two water stops on the course. One right after the big portion of the Brengal Terrace hill (I think this is a BAD idea because first, people are struggling to even catch their breath at this point so they have a hard time drinking and second, they start gulping the water down - drinking more than they should and with lots of air). The second one was actually in the middle of another hill. I realize when you are running a hilly course it is hard to place aid stations, but having to "stop" for water in the middle of an uphill really hurts your momentum. (Just something to think about for future years.)

Ryan powering up more of that darn Brengal Terrace hill
and I was rousing the volunteers to smile for me ;)

The course isn't super beautiful - most of it is on roads (some of which are closed completely and some you are running in the bike lane or far right lane), but there is a portion through the park which I love. (At one point there was a rouge car driving on the course, but the volunteers tried to stop that right away - thanks guys for keeping us safe!) Running through the trees makes me feel like I could someday be a trail runner (but my fear of snakes and lack of decent balance tells me otherwise).

Look at that strong runner!

I was even able to keep Ryan smiling through the majority of the race (he has been known to tell me to "stop talking" towards the end of races so he can focus). I think I will consider that a win in my book!

I really need to take some "mid-run selfie" lessons
from Dani... Maybe this weekend at the RnRSD I will
take a class or two from her ;)

I looked at my watch when we hit the 6.2 mile mark (a "normal" 10K distance) and we were at 1:02:40 - just about where Ryan wanted to be! My Garmin ended up having us at 6.62 miles when we finished, so the last half mile or so took us about 4 minutes. When we were crossing the finish line I heard the announcer say something like "Give these folks a big round of applause, they just ran an extra half mile with this morning's 10K" so it sounds like they were well aware of the issue (not to mention the results had a note about it as well).

Ryan wanted to "walk it out" a bit after we sprinted across the finish, so while he was walking I took a quick selfie with my medal and the finish line.

I found Ry and we went to collect our water, strawberries, banana, and chocolate milk... And MORE PICTURES! Come on now, if you don't record it via pictures it's like it didn't happen, right?!

My Garmin had us right at 10 minute miles! GO US!


We both rocked new Pro Compression socks from our recent
grab bags
- Ry wore the new design and I busted out the
heather pink which I didn't get the first go-around!

Me and my loot back at the starting line.

After we hydrated a bit, it was time to get Ryan his FREE BEER (I don't drink beer {I think it tastes like pee, if I were to have ever tasted it before, which I HAVE NOT!}, so Ryan lucks out and normally gets two beers after races since I give him mine). The last couple years the beer garden has been right next to the finish line. This year we had to ask about 5 people how to get there. It was sort of like they didn't want you getting your free beer. I think something like chalk on the ground or signage would have been very helpful! We got over to the beer area (after about 20 minutes of wandering), but they weren't starting to pour until 8:30am (yes, I know it seems super early, but the race started before 7 so people wanted their free beers ;)). In the meantime we took some berry pictures and tried to stay dry (and warm).


I even let Ryan have one of my strawberries for the photo opt
(he ate all of his on the walk over) - now THAT is love!

While we were waiting I saw this HUGE bug thing walking down the street. Well, you know me and my character stops.... I ran out of the beer garden (thankfully I took my ID with me or they wouldn't have let me back in) and found "Teddy The Termite" waddling down the road! WHAT THE CRAP?! He might have been a bit scary...

Excuse the crazy face... The man taking the picture wasn't sure
about how to take it, but I think it works perfectly with the bug!

They finally started pouring beer so Ryan got his two and enjoyed them thoroughly! He really appreciated the larger variety of breweries (we have TONS around us, so love that they are supporting local!). If the weather was nicer we would have hung out and listened to the bands that were going to play.

Booze Brothers sticker!

Belching Beaver

Ryan runs for beer!

The crowd hadn't gathered yet... I think mostly because no
one knew how to get there... Or maybe because it was 8:30am :)

On the way out we watched the Kid's 1-mile race. Man those kids are speedy. I love that the wee-ones are getting involved (and enjoying themselves!). Maybe one day I will grow up to be quick like them :)

This boy was rockin' denim and still FLYING!


Overall Ryan and I did great! He felt strong the whole race and we walked away with another race under our belt! Official results are below (but the overall pace is figured based on our chip times and 6.7 miles instead of the standard 6.2 of a 10K).

I wasn't lying about the hills ;)

You can see the big hill came during mile 3 ;)

Oh yeah, and our goodie bags... They really jammed them full this year. We even got full size KIND bars and a bag of gluten free "chips". I'm a little sad that the shirts aren't tech-tees this year (they have been for the last two year... you can even see Ryan wore his from last year for this race), but mine normally goes into my "to be made into a quilt" pile anyway so I guess it doesn't matter that much.

The Dr. Bronner's soap might have made Ryan squeal for joy when he saw it!

All-in-all, I really enjoy this race. The hill of the 10K (it isn't on the 5K course in case you would prefer to opt out of the challenge) adds a little extra difficulty, but I enjoy it (makes me feel stronger knowing I can ROCK it!). Next year I might try and race this one (since this year my normal 10K time would have gotten me second in my division, although who knows what next year will hold), but I love that it is local and welcoming to everyone!

Did you race this weekend?


Kc said...

Great job! I love that you two run races together. SO CUTE!!

Anonymous said...

Awesome Carlee :)