My first race recap: #K2C 2013. Spoiler: I had a blast, but only ate one donut. I felt like bizarro Lance Armstrong racing the second half of the challenge on an empty stomach- while everyone else was hobbled by their PDD’s (Performance Detracting Drugs or Dozen Donuts) I had no worries.
I picked up my packet Thursday evening at CapitalRunWalk in Cameron Village. Didn’t really have to wait to pick up my bib number & shirt. I did take advantage of their 20% discount (to race registrants) and pick up a Gel-Ready Race Number FuelBelt, mostly for the upcoming Tobacco Trail Marathon.
By Friday I had more or less decided to eschew the challenge, and just run an easy 5 miles with a donut stop on the way. Kid Chris is still arguing the decision, but I didn’t want to wreck my diet or a planned long run on Sunday. Nonetheless, still felt a little prerace jitters though.
Robert had a different plan- get to the donuts as fast as possible, eat all 12, and complete the challenge. Based on his strategy and mine, I figured that a few feet past the start line would be the last I’d see of Bob.
Race start was 8:30am. “Let’s leave here by 7 Robert, ok?” “Sure, sounds good.”
I got downstairs at 7- only to have to wake Robert up. Fortunately for my sanity he didn’t take that long to get ready, and we were out the door. I was ready for the cold, so the frost on the windshield didn’t surprise me.
We arrived on campus around 7:30, and had no problem finding a parking spot beside the Coliseum parking deck. We arrived at the Belltower around 7:45 or so- plenty of time to spare. By 8 we found our way to our starting spot, probably about 30 feet back of the starting line- not too bad. Temperature was around 36; I was dressed with gloves, running pants & a pullover. Bob had on… shorts and a tech tee. And there were folks with less on than him (most of them costumed as Spartans or some such). On the other hand, there were folks with much more on than me. Like the bears.
Someday I will make a costume, and potentially race with it. But that’s a post for another day.
The starting gun went off on time, and the crowd surged forward through the starting RFID gates. Immediately the course traverses a roundabout; by the time we got to the other side Bob and I were wondering “where did all of these people in front of us come from?” And that was the last I saw of Bob. Mentally I tried to tell myself to settle into a slower 9 min mile pace, but the excitement from my first race, the crowds and running in the streets of Raleigh propelled me along a fair amount faster. [Note to self: Figure out how to come out slower, or at least how to not hurt yourself on an endurance race from a fast start.]
Fueling on this race, of course, consists of a dozen krispy kreme donuts handed out to the participants halfway through the race. During the first 1.5 miles it felt like a ton of people were passing me. As we passed under Capital Blvd and started up an incline I felt like the race was coming back to me, so to speak- some of the early sprinters were petering out. I kept on trucking.
Approaching Krispy Kreme from Person St., there were a number of donut-filled tables flanking the road. I grabbed a box early on, perhaps the third table or so, and slowed to a walk. A few second later my box was open, and I started on my first (and only) donut. I kept walking on Person St., deciding to skip the water and the Krispy Kreme parking lot. Evidently some runners were confused about where the race course actually left Krispy Kreme, but from some hyper-studious attention to the race packet I knew the course continued up Person to Pace. I finished my donut, closed the box and took a few pictures of the race. Since I was running to enjoy myself more than secure a time (much less win a challenge) I wasn’t too stressed out about slowing down to take some pictures.
Gearing up for my jog back with donuts in hand I was really happy to be interrupted by my wife & kids, who found a great spot to watch the race a few feet up from Krispy Kreme, on the east side of Person. I gave them a big smile- and my box of the 11 remaining donuts- and made the wide turn onto Pace, avoiding the Challenger chute.
Suddenly there were much fewer runners on the road for the next two blocks- an eerie & almost immediate transition from the hoards that seemed to swallow up & pass me for the previous 20 minutes. That didn’t last long, since I rounded Blount to turn onto Peace and immediately caught site of the rest of the race, still approaching Krispy Kreme on their first leg. Seeing all of those people gave me a another jolt of energy, and I was all smiles on my way back to campus.
I think it was somewhere along the hill up St. Mary’s that the (male) runner costumed as a bride breezed right by me. I was pretty sure he had polished off his 12 donuts, and a tad ashamed… for both of us really. Despite my energy & good spirits I decided not to chase him down since pushing too hard might simply risk injury.
Another surprise came about 1/2 mile from the finish line- some good friends of mine (and Noah’s godparents) were cheering on racers by the side of the road, and yelled to me. About that time I started to pick racers nearby that I wanted to beat to the line. About that “conserve my energy don’t blow it and get hurt” strategy? Yeah. Out the window. I sped up the last few hundred yards on Hillsborough St, crossed the finish line and…
…kept on going. Garmin says I only did 4.9 miles? Screw that! I am getting in at least 5. I jogged for a few more minutes, and eventually turned around to return to the belltower for a bottle of water. Strava says I ran 5.6 miles at an 8:30 pace; my official race time clocked in at 42:21.
Even though I wimped out and skipped the challenge, I had a great time. A big reason was getting to see my family- going to the race with Bob, and seeing Katie and the kids at Krispy Kreme. The glaze on top of the donut was seeing the Crottys close to the finish line.
For the rest of the weekend Noah ran around the house “racing” and carrying a box of donuts.