On Saturday morning, I ran the Inaugural Tampa Lucky Run 5K.
Reasons I ran this race:
1.) Close to my house
2.) Holiday race
3.) Discount through Orange Theory and we had a “team” running
4.) I had been dying for a 5K PR and thought I was ready.
I really didn’t do much “research” on the race, but realized it may be a bit disorganized when the only thing we were told about packet pickup was that it was Friday at New Balance at the Outlet mall (race was also at the outlet mall). I emailed AND posted on Facebook asking if we could get our bibs Saturday morning…crickets. Finally the afternoon before the race I got an answer. Yes we could.
Saturday morning we had very unusual weather for Tampa, as in it was 46 when we got to the outlet mall! I wasn’t mad about it though, I much prefer running in the cold so I knew it made my chances better for a PR. We parked the car, and walked over to where everyone was gathered. I looked for a table to get my bib…and was told they hadn’t arrived yet. Apparently New Balance was supposed to bring them and they hadn’t shown up yet and were not answering their phones. #Fail. This is also when I learned this was an inaugural race. Dang it. I usually avoid those like the plague because of, well…this. I did feel bad for the race director though he was really trying to make the best out of the situation and was apologizing to everyone.
I took this waiting time to find the bathroom. One huge plus of the race was we had access to the “regular” (nice and clean) outlet mall bathrooms, yay!
So then the bibs came but they had no safety pins. I told Bobby I probably had some old ones in the car from past races and he went back to look. I guess this is the one time I can be happy my car is filthy and never gets cleaned out? So in the meantime they were duct taping bibs on to people. Duct tape. Bless it. About the time Bobby came back with four pins (he also told me I may get tetanus because they were very rusty and gross) pins arrived so no duct tape bib for me.
Then the race shirts arrived and it was a hot mess trying to get in line to get those. I had pre-registered so was waiting for my small and they couldn’t find any. About that time everyone was lining up and the race was about to start! I told Bobby to get my shirt and I ran over to the start line. I was frantically trying to untangle my headphones (shocker) and get my GPS to get satellite and it did just before the race started, so no time to warm up or stretch, but oh well.
Oh, one more thing. I had said that I didn’t really research the race (totally my fault) and as I was cursing my headphones in their huge wad of hatred and knots, I heard them say we were making two laps around the parking lot. Say what? This is what happens when Heather assumes. I assumed the race would run out on the road then maybe wind through the outdoor corridors where the shops are. Nope. We were literally running 3.1 miles in the mall parking lot. Two laps.
Not only was it two laps, but I would come to learn it was two laps full of very sharp cutting left turns up and down rows in the parking lot. My right knew is bad so I literally had to stop running and turn because I can’t twist my knee like that when running quickly so it messed up my cadence terribly. Again, totally my bad for not checking it out, but really? A parking lot?
Ok I can do this. I really wanted that PR. So I started out on the first lap with a goal of keeping my pace under 8:30. I stayed between 8:00 and 8:20 for the first mile and a half/lap. I however got a little discouraged going around doing the same thing AGAIN. When I got to about mile 2.5 I started to really struggle and I looked up and saw Bobby!
He didn’t have my child with him which was super confusing but I literally didn’t have the energy to ask him where she was so I just kept running. #MomofTheYear
I was however a little confused when I saw that my watch said 2.53 and I kind of calculated in my head where we were on the course, which was not that far from the finish. I thought oh well…math has never been my strong suit, so I pressed on, and turned the final corner and could see the finish line.
So my eyes are bad, but I knew I saw a 23 on the clock and knew something wasn’t right. I KNEW I had not run paces in the 7:00’s the whole time. It all (slowly) started to click that the course was short. NNNOOOO! I crossed at 23:47, and after recovering for a second saw that the course was about two tenths short. Sad times!
However, I did some quick calculations based on my average pace and what distance I needed to make it a 5K, and I still got a killer PR of 25:30! (Previous PR was 27:13)
Bobby and Emma Kate even missed me finishing because he had started a timer when I started running so he would know when to circle back to the finish to watch me, and he also knew I couldn’t run a 23:45. He was just starting to walk up when I crossed, hence why I have no finish line photos.
Oh, I also found out that Emma Kate was playing on the (within sight) mall playground when Bobby came out back to film me. Apparently she didn’t want to watch me run by so he just left her there (seriously he was like 100 feet away. I really don’t need hate emails about child neglect k thanks.) He even said “I thought you would ask where she was when you passed” and I told him I had no energy to even speak ha!
So while I love holiday races on cool mornings close to my house with good bathrooms that I get at a discount, I do NOT like running laps zig zagging around mall parking lots with duct taped bibs and late starts and no communication. Oy. They did try hard and I hope they now can do better next year. The money went to a good cause so I hope they don’t give up. Oh, and while I was running Bobby DID manage to snag me a shirt in the right size. So all was not lost. Heh. I am now the happy owner of a shiny new PR, and a funny experience to share with you all.