Race Recap: Tour de Pain 2011

Really long weekend of racing = really long race recap

My first Tour de Pain went off without a hitch. [phew…]

Friday: Tour de Pain – 4 Mile Beach Run

Friday was a full day of nerves. I’m always anxious about a race before it starts. I fear getting a major side stitch, runners trots, weather, you name it.

Speaking of weather… earlier in the day, I saw this on weather.com. Someone please tell me why I thought it would be a good idea to sign up for a race in August? 96 Degrees out? Feels like 107??? WTH!

Friday I was mentally preparing for the first leg of the Tour de Pain race. Friday’s race was a four mile beach run (beach runs can really suck) starting at the Jacksonville Beach lifeguard station, running two miles SOUTH, then turning around and running back two miles.

We drove to the race with Jason.  Riding to the race together was a great plan.  We mentally prepared on the way there by listening to the Gladiator soundtrack – Jason’s official race day soundtrack. He has a whole system.. Pearl Jam the night before.. Gladiator the day of.. Braveheart between races..(You think I’m kidding.. I’m not!) Riding together also made finding parking easier because we only had to find one parking spot. Plus, it generally just made me less jittery. Major thanks to Jason!!

Right when we parked, we ran into Mike & Maureen who were running the race. Maureen was busy cursing Mike for signing them up for the races. We all walked the half mile to the starting line together. (I wished I was more prepared for the blog! I would have taken a pre-race photo with everyone!)

Adam and I took off on a one mile warm up run on the beach. Even though Adam wasn’t running the races, he came out to cheer me on & be official race photographer. This was nice because I didn’t need to run with my camera which can be annoying midrace sometimes.

For some reason, all the sand on the beach was REALLY green. We tried to get a photo of it. Just imagine this but even greener.

While we were warming up, we ran past Marta who was on our MS Mud Run team this year. Again, another failed photo opportunity.

We also realized it was HOT! There was thankfully a breeze coming from the south. One good thought was at least the I’d have the wind to my back on the last two miles. This sounds good, right? Wind to your back would be a good thing, no? I found out later this really isn’t the case…

So the start of the race was really informal. There was just a grouping of all the runners in a general swarm around the starting line. No one was really lined up or anything, which was really unusual and informal from all other races I’ve done (starting corrals, anyone?). The announcer (I wish I knew his name, he announces almost all the 1stPlaceSports races and does a great job) let everyone know about the headwind. He also advised that everyone stay cool and get plenty of water. There were water stations at Mile 1, Mile 2 (turnaround) and Mile 3. He stressed that the second mile was worse than the first and that we risked overheating because we wouldn’t have the wind to cool us down. Uh… yikes.

They sang the national anthem. I was surprised to look around and see all the spectators and beach walkers stop and pause for this moment. Many took off their hats and put their hand on their chest. There was absolutely no one walking. That was pretty cool to see.

Then they started the race. The cannon didn’t work, so the announcer-guy just had to say ‘go’ which was funny. While the race was chip timed, there was no starting mat. What this means is that your race starting time starts when the announcer says “go”. If there is a starting line mat, then your chip wouldn’t actually start counting until you passed the starting line. I’ve had some races where its taken me fifteen minutes just to get from where I was lined up to the starting line. Thankfully, this race wasn’t that way; although if it was, I’d have a better excuse for my finish time. lol It took me maybe 30 seconds to go from where I was and cross the starting line, so it wasn’t a big deal that it wasn’t fully chip timed. (I’m sure there’s actual race lingo for all this, but I don’t know it..)

Thankfully I did notice that the sun had set some since we’d warmed up, which meant the sun had dipped a bit below a lot of the buildings, and I think it had cooled down a lot. It was probably 85 at this point.

Running the race, I saw the first water stop but skipped it. I was feeling fairly well at this time. My goal for the race was to keep a 12 minute pace, and when I glanced at my Garmin 405, I saw I was running an 11 minute mile pace. (Nice!)  Plus, it would be abnormal for me to actually get water one mile into a run.  I also noticed a LOT of people stopping and walking for water, which would mean I’d have to run around people which would probably slow me down and distract me.  SKIP!

Just a few minutes after passing the first water station, I saw the first and second guy coming towards me. This means, that in the time it took me just to get past the first water station, they’d already run to the second mile and were on their way back. Wow. It was really awesome to see them. I cheered as I ran by. My friend Jason is superfast, so I was curious how close to the front of the pack he was. I actually started counting people as they passed by. I saw the first girl and cheered. Shortly after I saw Jason, and he was in the front 30 people or so. Pretty good, I’d say!

About 1.5 miles in, I was surprised to see a bocci ball set right in the middle of the course. People were running and jumping over the balls. Off to the side there were four guys standing w/ solo cups in their hand just standing around chatting and laughing. Why in the world they didn’t think to go grab the balls and move them out of the way is beyond me. Or at least stand in front of them so no one steps on them. Sometimes you’re running so close in a group, you don’t really see things in front of you until its too late. (TIP: don’t follow people too closely in a race!!) My guess is they were happily playing, saw a stampede of people coming towards them, panicked, and ran out of the way…leaving the game there.

In addition to the bocci ball set, there was an occasional surfboard or sandals that would be in the middle of the course. My guess is something similar happened to the owners of those items as well. They probably set their stuff down and went into the water – only for our huge race group to come along and surprise them!

Continuing on. I finally made it to the turnaround point and the second water stop. I was soo glad to see this water stop. I grabbed two cups and jogged to the side out of the way so I could walk for a few seconds. I took a few sips out of the first cup and poured the rest on my head. I then dumped the second cup on my head as well.

I walked for about :10 seconds then started back up running again. I noticed immediately how much hotter it was on the second mile. No wind in your face means no cooling action! It was HOT. My face felt like it was suddenly burning! I managed to stick it out until the end and kick it in for a sprint at the end.

Adam was a great photographer and even got a finishing shot of me!

And also of my friend, aKap SuperStar, Jason!

We all managed to find each other really quickly at the finish line where he handed me a cup of water and a banana right away! He’s so sweet!! Awwww

There were several booths giving away cool goodies. Before we headed out, I swung by each booth to try and stock up.

The Ragnar booth was on-site promoting their Miami to Key West Run. They were handing out free Clif Shot Bloks and small flasks. The race looks like a lot of fun (and hard work). Anybody else doing this one?

There was also a booth giving away chia cookies from Life’s Healthy Pleasures!! If you haven’t heard about chia and how good it is for you, then you’re missing out. I learned about Chia from one of Adam’s coworkers, and now I try and incorporate it into my diet whenever I can.

Then we headed towards the street and back home. That’s when I learned the hardest part of this race – walking across all the soft sand after finishing to get off the beach!!  My legs were shot!

Overall I was pretty happy with my finishing time. I mean, I wish I ran it faster, but given my current fitness state and the whole past year, this was pretty decent.  When we warmed up, I was averaging about 10:30 pace. My goal pace for this race was 12 minutes. As I went along through the race, I let my pace rise and fall as long as it stayed below 12 minutes. My goal was to finish the race under 50 minutes. I ended up with a time of 48:04. Exactly 12 minute pace. Two minutes below my goal time. Yah!

Time: 48:04
Pace: 12:01

Saturday Morning: Tour de Pain – 5k Race

I woke up Saturday morning about 5:30am. My alarm went off at 5:30am. I continued to hit snooze until about 6:10am. The race started at 7am. Thankfully I had set out all my stuff the night before. I just grabbed everything and took off. Really surprised I wasn’t really that sore. I purposely parked 0.5 a mile away from the start line to force myself to do somewhat of a warm up and a cool down.

Before the race, I ran into my friend Susan and her daughter Jordan who was also running the race.

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So another anthem, another starting gun. It was pretty much a normal race. It wasn’t too crowded, and it was fairly flat.

About halfway through the race I came across Susan’s daughter! There she is running on the left hand side.

Race completed. Was really glad to be done.

Chip Time: 35:58
Gun Time: 36:22
Pace: 11:36

Saturday Evening: Tour de Pain – 1 Mile Sizzlah

Whew this race was HOT.. thankfully it was just one mile. When we got there, we parked at the street parking in front of CSX. Many people don’t realize you can typically park here on the weekends for races.  Sure enough, plenty of parking AND our car was even still there when we were done. BONUS!

We walked over and met up with Brian, Sarah, and Jason.

Sarah, me, n Brian

I warmed up running back and forth down the sidewalk in front of the Times-Union Center.  I was sore, but not ridiculously sore.  If the race had been longer than a mile, I may have been concerned.

They were doing this race in heats because there were so many people signed up. A Masters Mens, Regular Mens, Masters Womens, and Regular womens. Masters sounds really fancy, but its actually just anyone over 40 years of age.

I found this to be the most exciting race of the three. There were tons of people crowded on the sidewalks waiting to watch the races. The race course started with the starting line then wrapped around a city block. Runners would actually run two circles around the city block and then cross the finish line.

Since the race was setup this way, pretty much everyone was able to watch the runners circle past twice, plus the start and finish of the race, all without moving. With the race length so short, it was only a few minutes before the racers were either looping back around or crossing the finish line.

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Soon enough it was my time to run. I lined up and we took off. I was hoping to run under a 12 minute mile. I started the race with a 10 minute pace. I felt fairly good and the length of the race was so short, I stuck with it.  Just towards the end of the first loop, I saw what I think was a 10 year old girl – and she was passing me!  ugh!

I still was maintaining a good pace halfway through the second lap so I picked up the pace to about 9 minutes.  I passed a bunch of people that had started walking.  They must have gone out too fast.  Thank god I didn’t do that.  I managed to hang onto this and even kick it in for a sprint at the finish!

Finishing time:  9:51.3

Wow!!  Under 10 minute mile – I couldn’t believe it!!

Overall – this was an awesome race weekend!!  I always thought this race was badass.  I’ve wanted to do it for 3 years, but I’ve wimped out twice because I didn’t think I was strong enough.  Boy was I wrong!!  I totally could have done this race sooner.

Now that I’ve accomplished this – what races do I think are badass now?

Publix Supermarkets Gasparilla Distance Classic – Pfft, that race isn’t bad – its this GROUPING CHALLENGE of the race that looks insane!!

Michelob Ultra Challenge
The Michelob Ultra Challenge consists of running the 15K, 5K, Half Marathon and 5+3K.  ALL IN TWO DAYS!

Becks Light Challenge
The Becks Light Challenge consists of running the 15K, 5K and Half-Marathon ALL IN TWO DAYS

Ragnar Relay Florida Keys
A 199 mile relay running event from Miami to Key West for me and 11 friends – sign me up please!

What race have you always wanted to complete that just looks absolutely badass??
Did you run the Tour de Pain?  What’d you think?
Leave  me a comment!!

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