I spent my 4th of July morning celebrating America in the best way I know how – by running 9.3 miles with my best friend and fiance in crazy patriotic pants!
My intentions for this race were to have fun and not worry about much other than that. Funny pants, no training plan, wearing all new clothes, no idea what the course was and I even tried a new fuel in my water bottle (from my Kona Kase- more on that later). I didn’t do a shake-out run on Tuesday and I didn’t even think about what I was making for my pre-race dinner. I had planned to make a beans and rice crock-pot recipe and eat it with Brussels sprouts so that’s what I did. Fiber be damned!
And I didn’t wear my Garmin OR listen to music. Who am I!?!?
This was my first time racing the Coronado Independence Day 15k (also has a 5k). It’s a small race put on by Kathy Loper events. We were able to pick up our bibs and t-shirts the morning of the race so there was no required expo, the race map was hand drawn and they set up the start and finish line literally 15 minutes before the gun was supposed to go off. We got there nice and early (5:40 ish) after hearing that there was limited parking and found a super close spot and breezed through check in. We had over an hour to kill so clearly we spent it taking photos of ourselves.
I had found these awesome American flag leggings at a local surf shop and I thought it’d be a great way to show our patriotism and have a little fun by wearing them at the race. After my impulse buy I convinced Asia to also buy them and then we both began to worry about running 9.3 miles in cotton pants, fearing chaffing and overheating. But, as many girls do, we put fashion over comfort and went with it. I also ended up purchasing the Oiselle Origami top in white last week which went perfectly with the rest of my outfit. It’s insanely adorable!
Asia and I planned to run together and chat rather than listen to music. The start got held up due to not getting police clearance and after 15 minutes of waiting the announcer told us we had 5 more, so Asia and I ran to the porto-potties for one last stop. As I was squatting I heard the gun go off – not even close to 5 minutes after the announcement! Asia and I finished up and jogged back to the start and then started our race at the back of the pack.
We spent the entire first mile weaving through the crowd, the majority of which was on a very narrow bike/pedestrian path. At times its was literally impossible to get around people so we were forced to slowly jog behind the crowd. It wasn’t bothering me too much since I had thrown any intentions of PRing at this race out the window weeks ago, knowing I wasn’t in the same running shape that I was at the Hot Chocolate 15k in March. We were also enjoying the feedback we were getting from our pants – spectators and fellow racers complimented us throughout the race and we always cheered back with some version of “America! Yeah!!!”
Mile 2 had portions that were more open so we were able to run a bit faster but we also spent a lot of time weaving. By Mile 3 we were in a rhythm but around mile 4 is when I noticed that Asia kept lagging behind. She was out of town last week and was sick for part of it and took time off of working out and in general wasn’t feeling her best that day. I kept trying to chat her up like we had planned but she wasn’t very talkative and at one point told me she was having a hard time keeping up.
Around this point (or maybe sooner!?) is when we saw the leader of the race coming back. The course is an out and back so it was cool because we were able to see the leaders, Mike, Monika, one of our sorority sisters, and one of my co-workers on the course. I cheered for all the female lead runners and said hi to all the familiar faces. I was feeling good, my legs a tiny bit heavy but overall the pace we were running at was very comfortable. Around mile 5.5 I suggested to Asia that we pick it up at mile 6 and she told me she nicely couldn’t and that I should just go. Although we had planned to run together, I think we both thought we’d be naturally running a more similar pace.
After saying goodbye I took off. This is the point I wish I had my Garmin so I knew how fast I was running but by feel I would have guessed it was in the high 7s. Based on my final results, I think this was accurate since the first two miles (they were calling off splits based on gun time at each mile off stop watches) were in the low 9s/high 8s. Asia and I had already spent the first 5.5 miles passing people left and right and now that I was speeding up, I continued to pass people. I think possibly only one person passed me from this point on and it was pretty fun to just pick people off as I continued.
While I had still been running with Asia we saw a woman pushing a stroller and running who was a head of us and I joked to her that even the woman with the stroller was beating us. When I was coming down the final part of the bike path before we went under the bridge, I saw the woman with the stroller ahead of me. I made it my mission at this point to beat that woman (this isn’t because she’s a mom, it’s because she’s hardcore for running so fast with what would have to be a 20-40 pound stroller and baby!). I know I said it was a “fun run” but to me, competition is fun! Since I knew I couldn’t beat my own PR at least I could beat her. I pushed it hard for that last half mile or so and finally passed her just as we ran onto the grass for the last stretch to the finish line (yes I’m aware pushing a stroller on grass is harder and this woman had no idea we were racing…. but I still won!).
I barely took note of my time other than it was sub 1:20. I already knew I wasn’t even close to my Hot Chocolate time of 1:11 something but I was glad that I pushed myself for those last few miles and at least got a good tempo workout in. And I beat stroller lady.
Official Time: 1:17:48 ~ 8:21 pace ~ 11/74 age group
When I was finished I found Mike and we watched Asia finish then chatted with various friends we saw at the finish before taking off and heading home for breakfast, the beach and relaxation time by Asia’s community pool which overlooks the beach in Encinitas. It was a great day!
Have you ever dressed up in a funny outfit that was not run friendly? How’d it turn out?