Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Scrumpy Skedaddle 10K Recap

  I hope everyone is ready for a blast from the past, as my middle school band teacher would say. I put off this recap for so long that I gave up on doing it for awhile. However, my OCD can't handle having this race sticking out like a sore thumb on my recap page, so here we go - three months later.

Readers, please don't tell me if it's the second one.
Over this past summer, my coworker/friend started really getting into running. She started upping her distance when she discovered running outside is infinitely better than the treadmill. We even ran together quite a bit, which was a nice change of pace.

I did feel bad because she decided to start when we had an awful heat wave, so it was truly a trial by fire. But she kept it up regardless, which I give her major props for. (By the way, I don't know if she wants her name shared on my blog, so I will now refer to her as L, so I don't have to awkwardly use pronouns for this whole recap!)

L has done two 5Ks (apparently I never recapped the one we did together...so I can't link to it), and she was now interested in stepping up to the 10K. I think we had only one overlapping weekend free before winter, and there was one 10K being offered - the Scrumpy Skedaddle 10K.

But here's a picture proving it happened!
The Scrumpy Skedaddle was put on by Running Fit, which is the running store chain near where I grew up, so I knew it would be well-organized and a good first 10K. The race was about an hour away from us, but it didn't start until 10:30, so we didn't even have to get up stupid early.

L's brother joined us, and we caravaned down to Flushing. The drive wasn't too far, which just had a long-ish stretch on country roads to get to the apple orchard where the race was being held. There was only one entrance, so there was quite a backup getting in to park. L thought I was being way too anal retentive with our departure time, but we ended up having only about 15 minutes to spare.

After parking in a field (and getting our shoes completely soaked), we headed to packet pick-up. You could pick up for other people, so I ended up getting all three packets, while L and her brother got spots in the bathroom line. There weren't nearly enough port-a-potties, so this strategy worked out well. It didn't take overly long to get the packets, but we still had a bit of wait for the bathrooms by the time I returned.

We returned to the cars to drop off our stuff (L's brother had keyless entry, so I just put my keys in their car, which was a lifesaver!), and we all had to make our game time clothing decisions. It was in the mid-40s but very windy. But since I knew the course went through the orchards, I figured a lot of the time the wind would be blocked by the trees. I opted to keep my hat and gloves but stripped down to a t-shirt. Waiting for the gun was freezing cold, but I was very comfortable once we started running.

You can how bundled up lots of people were.
Now here's where it gets interesting. The race did start just about on time, but despite all our collective puzzling over the course map, we couldn't figure out where exactly we were going. Turns out, it didn't really matter, because the course had changed last minute. The county decided to redo the bridge we needed, so the course had to be re-routed (and ended up being a tad bit short).

I wish the race had let us know, and I also wish they had let us know ahead of time it would be a cross-country style course. Since everything was so so muddy, I would've worn an old pair of shoes that could've just been thrown out afterwards. I think my new shoes were coated in mud for a good month after this race!

In any case, we were off through the apple orchards. I normally despise running on grass with a terrible passion, but I guess the rain had softened everything enough that my Achilles didn't feel like they were about to explode with every step. I'm as surprised as anyone, but I really enjoyed the course and would be interested in doing more cross-country style races in the future.

My secret goal for the race was to beat L. I knew my legs were very tired from the Monument Marathon the week before, and I was way out of shape. My plan was to keep her in sight and wait for her to positive split and pass her then. I thought the fact L would positive split was a given since it was her first 10K (not trying to put her down, it's just very common!), but as the race continued, we were the same distance apart.

I was still surprising myself with how well I was running, turning in 9:30 min/miles, which was a lot faster than my expectations. I had my normal mental struggles between the fourth and fifth mile mark, but I now expect this in 10Ks and basically ignored it. By the time I hit mile five, I realized I had a big decision to make.

L had started increasing the gap at this point, and I had to decide whether to catch her or let her go. Usually I'm very much about competing with just myself at races, but for some reason (maybe because I thought I had a real chance), I decided to go for it. I think I frightened the other racers as I suddenly took off like a bat out of hell trying to catch her. I did so almost in fartlek fashion - making up ground and then maintaining for a bit to catch my breath.

I also knew the key at this point was not to actually pass L until the very last possible moment. I'm convinced I honestly have about zero fast-twitch fibers in my body. Just about anyone can beat me in a sprint. Even simply thinking about having to suddenly explode and keep up the pace makes me a little queasy.

Somehow I ran that last mile 40 seconds faster than I had been averaging, in 8:49(!!). I felt like I was dying, but at this point I was hanging right off L's shoulder and knew I couldn't give up everything I worked for. It was so tempting, but I knew I would be terribly disappointed in myself if I had killed myself for that great split and then didn't convert it into anything.

The race finished with a final turn before the last .1-ish miles. The plan was to pass L about 50% of the way down to give me enough space to make my move but not enough time for her to react. (I later found out L thought anoter lady running off her other shoulder was me, and that's why she ran such a killer pace at the end.) I was really excited at this point that I was about to beat someone by executing a real race plan.

Spoiler alert - it was all for naught. The 5K and 10K merged near the end, so we were caught up with the 5K walkers, who were honestly not being very respectful of the 10K runners. Right before the turn, L almost got squashed between the walkers and a construction barricade and had to turn sidewise. Of course she turned in my direction, realized it was me, and took off. I chased as hard as I could (and the last bit of the race was at a sub-8 pace), but I just couldn't catch her. L beat me by a few seconds.

Time: 57:38

I thought I would be disappointed with how the race ended, but I honestly wasn't. I had pushed myself so hard, far harder than I thought I could, and had a solid race plan that was only foiled by a freak incident. I also found I wasn't jealous of L at all, and I was genuinely excited for her finish time. This will make me sound like a terrible person, but it took me months to go sub-60 in a 10K, and she did it her first try. I honestly expected to feel pretty upset about that (so petty, I know), but I didn't.

After finding L's brother, we went back to our cars to get our jackets to wait in line for the finishers' breakfast and cider. Apparently the pancake company promised Running Fit lines no longer than 15 minutes, but I think we waited over an hour. The race was a little pricey because it included the breakfast, so I wanted to make sure I didn't miss out.

The pancakes were really good, as was the cider. I opted for the soft cider since I'm allergic to hard cider. But I was really excited to learn after studying the bottle L's brother bought, that apparently organic hard cider is sulfite-free, meaning I can enjoy one of my favorite adult beverages! I just have to act like a hippie to do it. There was also a bluegrass band playing, and that was fun to listen to while we waited and ate.

I love long-sleeve cotton shirts! I wear this one all the time.
I also really like the mugs!
There were quite a few problems with this race, but Running Fit actually sent an email out a few days later apologizing and outlining what they would change the following year. The email addressed pretty much every problem we encountered (a lot of which weren't the RD's fault, like the bridge closng), and I know RF is a reputable company and put on a lot of great races, so I wouldn't hesitate to run this one again. I better start getting my speed back now!


  1. ohhh, i hate when they merge races at the finish! sounds like you did awesome anyways -- especially considering a course change ON RACE DAY! that's nuts.

    1. One of the things they promised was to eliminate the merge next year! I felt so bad for the RDs, that they showed up and the bridge they needed was just gone. They did a really good job adapting given all the wacky circumstances.

  2. The late race merge is no fun. Sounds like you had a good time even with the not so great parts. It's nice that they emailed you all after the race about the issues and their goals for the future.

    1. Yes, I really appreciated that they addressed the issues so quickly! They're big enough I think they easily could've let it slide. The race was a lot of fun, I'm sure next year if they can use their planned route, it will be even better.