St. Patrick’s Day 5k 2012


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.

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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.

2012-03-17 09.00.43

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.

2012-03-17 09.05.34

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.

2012-03-17 10.19.11

Hands off ladies, he’s mine.

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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.

2012-03-17 17.14.09

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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20 Responses to St. Patrick’s Day 5k 2012

  1. 1

    Cute outfit. Bummer on it being so hot, and that is crazy they ran out of Gatorade and water especially since it was so hot out. Great job pushing through and finishing.

  2. 2

    Oof! =( No fun. I have yet to have a race become a total disaster. Not looking forward to that day.

  3. 3
    Megan says:

    Yuck. Races that are unprepared are no fun! I can’t believe they ran out of WATER! Since 5K season will be starting up soon here, I almost always make sure I have some water with me – because these little races sometimes forget the essentials. Sad, but true. And tell Bobby we got sunburned this weekend too – so we (literally) feel his pain :)

  4. 4
    Amy Lauren says:

    Honestly, *many* races around here do things like that with the shirts. I don’t know what it is, but a lot of people here just don’t know how to operate a race. One of my friends ran into the same problem at a race we did with the shirts when they were giving them out to race day registrants first and she had preregistered, so just like you guys she didn’t get there super early thinking she was guaranteed a shirt.

    The heat is serious stuff. If you don’t run early in the morning, your run is going to be slower, be a complete disaster, etc. I’m pretty fast and I still have to take walk breaks because of how killer this heat is (and early!).

    Hope Bobby’s sunburn gets better soon. I don’t blame you to not do this race next year, sounds like almost everything went wrong! But your pics are pretty cute, I love your outfit.

  5. 5

    Ugh… that sounds like a tough day.

    And yes, I’ve had a diaster race… an early summer 10k, when temps normally are 70ish, instead it was closer to 90ish. On a trail with way too many people. I was annoyed, so I ran faster than normal because I wanted it to be over! Around mile 4, my foot started hurting (the one with the most accident injuries) I didn’t take my own advice of listening to one’s body, instead I kept going. By the finish line, I was hobbling. Nothing was broken, just badly bruised and I ended up on crutches and in a walking boot for a few weeks :(

  6. 6
    Christina says:

    That doesn’t sound like fun at all!

    I haven’t had any total disasters yet, but this weekend I did a St. Patrick’s Day 10K that was pretty rough. I guess the main problem is that it’s in Wisconsin, and they’re used to it being around 30 degrees…NOT this year. It was in the 70s and very sunny. (Not like where you’re at, but for here…scorching!) They didn’t have enough water stops, and although I was on pace for a good PR, I blew up after about three miles because I started to overheat so badly! I was within 1 minute of my PR, so I guess I salvaged it somewhat, but had conditions been better, I would have been so much happier. (Note to self – carry water next time even if it’s “only” a 10K…) And at the finish line they ran out of bottled water. Thankfully, some volunteers went to fetch some more water, so we at least got little cups of water, but it was NOT good. I cut the organizers some slack because 1-the race sold out at the very last minute, and it seems liek they really weren’t expecting it to and 2-the surprise heat wave caught them really off guard. Oh well!

    Great job on hanging in there in less than ideal conditions. And I love your outfit!

  7. 7
    Carissa says:

    Ummmmm no water! That’s seriously dangerous! I would be so angry and I’d write them a letter. That’s just ridic to not prepare better. Water is kind of essential!

    You looked great though~

  8. 8

    I hate that the race went so bad. It is highly unusual for GCRC to have a fail like that. I’m sure they will take all of the problems into account for next year. Still a great finishing time for the weather!

  9. 9
    Jen says:

    No excuse for giving away your shirt or running out of water. None. I did an olympic tri in JULY a couple of years ago and they ran out of water there too. I was livid.
    I’m sorry you missed your PR but you still did great and looked cute :)

  10. 10

    Wow, that sounds absolutely terrible! I can’t believe there was any thought that starting at 9:30 would be a good idea. Is this a race they do every year? Running out of water is just unacceptable. Maybe they need to cut out the race day registration next time.

    I did the NOTC’s Turkey Day race in New Orleans this past Thanksgiving, and it was similar in that there were so many people picking up their packets on race morning, they had to push back the starting time about 15 minutes. Holiday races are just so popular! Race organizers have to be prepared for the large numbers they’ll see for those special races.

  11. 11
    Kayla says:

    That really stinks about the race starting later especially in this heat and that it ran out of water. I have been in one race like that and I have not ran it again since. Maybe in a few years. haha

  12. 12

    Ooph! Sounds like your Lucky Day race was about as lucky as mine was! But, I think you looked adorable so at least there is that! 😉

  13. 13

    Its so discouraging when you try to support a more local smaller race and it just pans out like that. What a bummer race experience!

  14. 14

    sorry it was such a tough race! that really sucks about the water. hope the next one is better!!

  15. 15
    sarah says:

    Heather, thanks for your email. I talked with Michelle and she honored the running st. pattys day sale! You rock! Thanks so much! You continue to inspire me to run further!

  16. 16

    I ran a race last year like that – 1200 runners and THREE porto-johns. They delayed the race start by 45 minutes because of the line at the portos. Really? Ugh.

  17. 17

    Ugh, I’m so sorry about your race! I would have been so upset about there being no water and the late start time! Me and heat do not get alone when it comes to running haha

  18. 18
    Laura says:

    Ugh, I am so sorry! Running in the heat is no joke… especially when it comes out of nowhere in March and we’ve had no chance to acclimate to it. Congrats on making your B goal, despite those conditions!

  19. 19
    Leslie says:

    So sorry to hear about that. That is insane to wait that late to start a race! UGH! It’s a hazard to the runners and not having enough water/gatorade is completely unacceptable.

    I ran the Hot Chocolate 15k just outside DC this year. It was the most horrible experience of my life.

  20. 20
    Becca says:

    Ohhh… It looks HOT! I would be really annoyed about the late start not to mention the fact that they ran out of water. You are def right that they should have sent someone to pick up some extra cases. However congrats to you on a great run!

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