Last Sunday I ran the Hot Buttered Run 10k. I originally signed up for this race not anticipating it being in the middle of marathon training (as I thought I was running Mountains to Beach in May, not Phoenix on March 1), but it was. My coach, Maria, warned me when we started working together that I wouldn’t be able to actually rest and “race” all three races I had signed up for between now and March 1, and I was fine with that.
The Hot Buttered Run has a start time of 10 a.m. to promote the idea that it is a “fun run.” The race is in its second year and is held at Paradise Point, a beautiful resort on Mission Bay (where our wedding venue is as well!). Festive apparel is encouraged, Christmas decor is everywhere, and hot buttered rum is served at the finish line. Fun run, indeed.
This 10 a.m. start time worked out VERY well once I received the news that I was to run 1 hour 40 minutes (in heart rate zones Zone 1 and 2) prior to the race. Maria told me that I could leave some time between the run and the race so ultimately what I did was ran from 6-7:40 a.m., ate a big bowl of oatmeal, a banana, coffee and LOTS of water, and then headed down to Mission Bay with my good friend Allison, her husband and Mike in time to check in, lounge around, warm up and be at the start line at 10 a.m. Busy morning!
Despite the 10 mile warm-up, I felt good going into the race. It was an absolutely beautiful morning – sunny and in the high 60s at the start. I was excited to be racing with my good friend Allison who ran my first marathon with me and then semi-retired from running since then. We run together on Friday mornings but she typically doesn’t race, so it was fun to have her there! Mike also was running the race and Allison’s husband cheered us on.
I wasn’t very nervous for this race since I had low expectations. In my head, my A goal was to go under 48 minutes and my B goal was under 50 minutes. The A goal was based on a 10k time trial I did in 48:38 last year around the same time while training for the Surf City Half. In the end, I didn’t expect much considering there was no taper and I had just run 10 miles.
I felt great during the first mile. Allison, Mike and I all stayed together. My heart rate was still in low zone 4 and I felt great. My legs were light, breathing easy. I was a little surprised when the first mile ticked off 7:19 but decided to just go with it. I was feeling good! Right around this point is when a 11 year old girl and her dad passed us. Ironically, on my long run that morning a girl around the same age also smoked me with her dad. These kid are machines!
Mile two slowed down a bit as we made our way around the bay and then up and over a bridge. I still felt great but tried to keep my heart rate under control. As soon as we got up on the bridge there was a headwind and it continued as we rounded around the east side of the bay. The scenery was beautiful and you honestly couldn’t ask for a better race course. Mile 3 ticked off 7:42 which was where I wanted it to be and soon after I noted that I had hit the 5k mark with a slight PR (my 5k PR is very old). However, a minute later, we saw the 3 mile marker – my watch said 3.25. I groaned, not sure if the course was mis-marked or if our tangent running was really that bad.
Speaking of we, Mike was still running with me at this point. Allison had dropped off some point during Mile 2 and I was surprised that Mike hadn’t gone ahead. Mike and I NEVER run races together. In fact, the only other race we’ve run together/finished together was our post-wedding 5k, most of which was on the same course as this 10k. I was so happy that we were running together and Mike told me he planned to stay with me, if he could keep up (he has been strength training lately with less focus on endurance)! I think he was joking but we’ll ever know!
Mile 4 included a steep incline as we climbed up from the boardwalk onto the street and back over the bridge we had climbed earlier. The headwind was back and I was feeling it. Again, the mile marker was about .25 off. When I went up the hill I tried to focus on keeping heart rate down. The mile beeped off at 8:04. Not great but I’d take it.
Knowing I only had 2 miles to go got my energy back up and I busted out a 7:34 minute mile for mile 5. The headwind was gone and we were in the home stretch. Mike was pumping me up telling me we were on our way home. I passed by a few children holding their hands out for high fives somewhere around this point and it boosted my spirits. I pushed harder for Mile 6 and was very relieved when we hit the mile 6 marker at the same time as my Garmin beeped 6 miles – clearly the other mile markers were misplaced. Mile 6 – 7:34!
Mike encouraged me to kick it to the finish. We passed a guy who was blocking us and sprinted to the finish, high fiving each other as we crossed. I was very happy with my final time – 47:06! Even better, Mike and I finished the race together. I later realized this was our 3rd race as husband and wife, and 3rd race we crossed the finish line together! First was our post-wedding 5k, second was Ragnar Trail Vail Lake, and now this!
Allison finished shortly after and once we caught our breath we checked the results and I was happy to see I place 5th in my age group! No award for 5th place but I was happy with it. We headed over for our free delicious hot buttered rum and then went to one of my old favorite brunch spots in Pacific Beach for an early birthday celebration.
I’d definitely recommend this race to anyone looking for a fun and beautiful 10k in San Diego around the holidays! It was festive and fun!