With the weather in Charlotte dipping into the twenties and maybe even the teens, heading south for a few days of sun and surf sounded like a great idea. Even better, after a few Google searches, I found a timely 10k in Clearwater, Florida that fit perfectly into my plans.
From what I can tell the Say No Drugs 10K/5K races are a pretty big deal in the area. The regular draw for the event is between 2 and 3 thousand runners, and the event appears to have been around for several years now.
Since the cost to register for the events was the same $29 whether I opted for the 10K or the 5K so I said “let’s go big and do the 10k”.
After founding a hotel room just a few miles away, I was all set. I perfect little get away.
So Friday, I drove 10 hours down to Clearwater Beach. I settled in to my hotel room around 10 PM. However, I didn’t sleep much since I was anticipating racing the next morning.
During my shakeout warm up, the setting for 10 hours was playing havoc with me legs. They felt weighed down and lethargic.
Waiting for the start, I was mildly amused with seeing so many runners wearing long sleeve shirts and gloves. Race time temperature was expected to be 72 degrees. I even had thoughts of not wearing my Hoka/CRC jersey but opted for it.
Both the 5K and 10k races started at the same time. I didn’t want to get pulled out by the faster runners when I was going twice the distance so I held back on the gas pedal.
The lethargic feeling in my legs was slowly dissipating but it was being replaced by heat and sweat not to mention a more than healthy dose of lactic acid.
At the mile, my jersey was soaked. At the first water stop, I took two cups of water. One was for drinking, and the other cup got dumped over my head.
As I was climbing up the bridge, I thought back to what I heard two runners discussing before the race. This was toughest race in Clearwater because it included the only two hills in Clearwater. The first hill was climbing up and over the bridge on the way out to Clearwater Beach, and the reverse coming back. Yes, this hill was long but it was not bad. Go run the Charleston Distance run where there is a 2 ½ mile hill, and it twice as steep as either of these hills.
Anyway, back to my recap, once I was off the bridge, it was pretty much a straight shot for the next mile. Then, we took a right at the round-about and went another mile to the U-turn point.
Sweat was flowing pretty well at this point. At every water stop, I dumped at least one cup over my head. The trouble was – it didn’t seem to be having any effect.
Coming back to the bridge, we were running into the wind which helped a bit if it hadn’t been counter acted by force of the wind pushing me back.
Starting up the bridge, one guy caught me, and then, we caught another guy who was walking up the bridge. Those two started racing together when we hit the descending spiral walk way. The 10k runners were on the left side of the walkway while the 5k runners were on the right. My entire time descending, I was leaning hard to right. Both guys got a gap on me that I couldn’t close over the final half mile.
I finished in 39:53 which placed me 10th overall and 2nd in my age group.
Afterwards, the race supplied all runners with a pancake breakfast. I walked away with a couple of nice medals for my efforts and pretty cool experience of running a spiral walkway.
I might just have to make this an annual thing but stay a bit longer next time. As for the weather, I might not like 72 degrees for racing, but it is quite nice for a training run.
Cool Down Runner