Just call it the Gasp-itol 10K.
It was 70 degrees and humid when we got out of the car to walk over to the start of the Capitol 10K. Not exactly ideal conditions. I had slept reasonably well, but my occasional spasms of barking coughs told me it was going to be a tough race.
Race organizers did something new this year. Again. They used to have strict fenced corrals based on bib color/predicted finishing time. The last couple of years it’s been more of a self-seeding situation, but I guess people really suck at that because this year they had about six corrals, and they sent them off in waves of two corrals every 15 minutes. Instead of one massive, impressive group running up Congress Avenue, it was several smaller contingents. Originally our corral was scheduled to leave 30 minutes after the elites–quite disappointing. But in the end they sent us at about 8:15, so it wasn’t too bad.And it didn’t even change anything for the better. Before I even made it all the way across the bridge, I encountered people walking right down the middle of the road. One walker was wearing jeans. Why oh why did she start in front of runners? I mean really, I’m slow and at the moment I’m coughing like a TB patient. If I’m passing you the first half-mile, you started too close to the front.
The first mile up Congress went reasonably well other than that. But the fog was so thick, I couldn’t see the Capitol dome even from the street in front of it.We made the turn onto 12th Street and I had to walk up the hill until the turn onto San Jacinto. A mile in, and I couldn’t catch my breath. Heading down the San Jacinto hill, I worried that the wet street would be slippery, but I managed to avoid mishap. We turned left onto 15th Street and began the long trek up and down the most difficult of the hills, made more difficult by my inability to breathe well.
I simply could.not.run up those hills. The humidity made me feel like I was trying to breathe through a sock. Or one of those coffee-stirrers. So I walked up the hills and ran down them, trying not to slip on the wet pavement. Near the top of the last part of the hilly section, I saw a guy holding a sign that said “Nap 10K” with an arrow pointing to the house behind him. You have no idea how tempted I was to stop and take that nap.
The last three miles, I ran when I could and walked when I had to. My breathing was ragged and uneven, and each burst of exertion brought more wheezing and coughing. To add insult to injury, around mile four a live band was playing “You’re No Good” when we ran by. A somewhat dispiriting song selection. And when I could run I had to weave around people who were walking as many as 12 side by side.
I saw some Rogues just past the mile five marker–I enjoyed my personal cheerleaders! And I ran most of that last mile. It wasn’t fast and it wasn’t easy, but I was ready to be done. We reached the finish line and my friends were waiting–they’d finished a few minutes earlier and had snagged water for us. So grateful I didn’t have to make my way through the maze that was the finish area.
For some reason my quads were really sore, like I’d run much further than 6.2 miles. I guess because I wasn’t breathing well, I wasn’t getting oxygen to my extremities efficiently enough to compensate for running? I don’t know–I may have made that up. 😉
This race is normally one I enjoy–last year’s race is still my 10K PR. But the staggered start combined with my breathing issues and the disorganization at the end disappointed me all the way around.
And now, that Nap 10K.