Saturday, Bobby and I ran the St. Patrick’s Day 5k in Biloxi, MS for the second year in a row. It is a flat course, so I was really looking forward to it this year in hopes for a PR. My hopes were dashed when a few key things went very very wrong.
First of all, the race didn’t start until 9:30. I had hoped the weather would still be cool enough we would be ok…but no such luck. Seriously, this is south MS, this race should have started no later than 8:00. So we get there at 9:00, thinking thirty minutes early was plenty of time to get our bibs and t-shirts, go put them in the car, warm up and run. We walked to the table and noticed the line for race day registration was really long. Luckily, we didn’t have to stand in it and easily got out bibs. Then, we walked to the t-shirt table and were told that the only sizes left were large and extra large. I was infuriated. So they were giving away t-shirt to people who signed up on race day before the pre-registered people had a chance to get their shirts!! What is the perk of pre-registering then?!? They did agree to “mail us a shirt later” so we will see what happens.
Them as we are walking back to the car to put our things away, we heard them say over the megaphone that they were pushing back the race start by fifteen minutes. Wwwhhaatt? I was already sweating just standing there, and now they were pushing it back until 9:45 at the earliest? right then I knew I had lost my chances for a PR. The real feel was already 80 degrees and it was humid and sunny.
The race started about 9:48 by my watch, and we were off and running. I am so glad I had my sunglasses, it was very bright and there was little to no shade. There were almost 500 people on the course, so the beginning was very crowded. It took a couple minutes to get into a place where I could run without tripping on someone’s heels, but once I did I had no problems with room the rest of the race.
Just like last year, I saw the water stop on the way out but decided to wait and stop on the way back I was feeling really good and surprisingly keeping a decent pace despite the heat. I finished mile one in 8:44 and was still feeling good. I kept up my pace, and saw Bobby right before the turn around. Just like last year, I was only about a minute behind him. When I started my heading back, I realized I was having a harder time holding pace, and the heat was really starting to get to me. It was really the sun, it just felt like it was baking my skin, and all I wanted was to run in some shade. I hit the water stop and grabbed two cups. I drank one and pored the other one on my head/back and it felt fabulous. I walked for about twenty seconds to wipe my face, sweat was pouring into my eyes and burning.
When I headed into my third mile, it all fell apart. I had run the second mile in 9:08, and in order to PR I needed to run mile three at a 9:00 mile, and that was not happening in this heat. I felt like I was swimming in the humidity, and all I wanted was some water or Gatorade. I kept saying to myself “just one more mile and you can drink all the water you want, just one more mile.” I had to stop and walk twice more because I got really lightheaded. I hit mile 2.8 and told myself I was going to finish strong and ran it on home. When I realized I wasn’t going to PR, I decided to not kill myself. I ran faster, but I didn’t do the nausea-inducing kick that I usually do at the end of a race. I finished in 28:56 Garmin time. (It wasn’t chip timed and I started middle of the pack).
I handed over the bottom of my bib for race placement, and headed to the nearest water table only to discover…no water. I went to the Gatorade table…no Gatorade. WHAT IN THE WORLD?!? About this time, Bobby found me and told me he finished in 25:10, and when he finished they were out of water even then! I. was. livid. I was literally about to collapse from the heat (and probably dehydration) and there was no water for the finishers. We went to the car and headed home. We usually like to stick around and chat with other runners and wait for the awards but I had no desire to stick around any longer.
Hands off ladies, he’s mine.
Unfortunately, Bobby came home with a fun souvenir, a sunburn. He had on a green shirt for the race, but before we started he realized how hot it was going to be and decided to run without it….so he obviously didn’t have sunscreen on, hence the burn.
I know you can’t really tell but the poor boys’ back and shoulders were red as a lobster.
In the races defense, they had a lot more people than they were expecting. This could have easily been avoided, but the price for pre registering is only a couple bucks cheaper than the price to register on race day, so there really isn’t an incentive. Also, as soon as they saw how many people were waiting in line to register that morning, they should have immediately sent a volunteer to get more water. I also will not do this race again unless they move the time back to at least 8:30. Running at 9:30 (almost ten this year!) is just not fun in south Mississippi in mid March.
I had an A goal and a B goal going into this race. Of course my A goal was to PR, and my B goal was to run faster than I ran this race last year, which I did, so I am happy about that at least.
I had a great time last year, so we were disappointed this year with the way it all went down. I hope the Gulf Coast running club will make some changes for next year!
QOTD: Have you ever run a race that ended up being a disaster?
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