Sunday, January 19, 2014

Race Report: Foster City 10 Miler and 5K (January 12, 2014)

Or, "Dead Last Finish" Trumps "Did Not Start!"

I was feeling really great about running after the Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Run last fall.  I'd finished my Couch to 5K program (I used, and enjoyed, the podcast series to train).  I went for a run one morning about a month after the race, full of plans to gradually keep improving my 5K racing time, then *TWONG*!  Something tweaked in my lower leg about halfway through my run.  I thought walking it out might help, but no, when I tried running again, the pain came back.  I limped home, feeling rather discouraged. I needed to keep my legs healthy for hula, so I ended up resting it in between rehearsals for our holiday show.

Fortunately, after a week or so of rest, I could dance and walk and could still stationary those I did.  I did a "Turkey Strut" in lieu of a Turkey Trot, and ushered in the new year with a nice blufftop walk/jog.  Still, I hadn't been running regularly, so when I signed up for the Foster City 10 Miler and 5K (so excited to have a race that was within a half hour of home!), I knew I'd be walking most of it.

The Foster City 10 Miler and 5K is the first race in the new Northern California 10 Miler Series.  The next two are in Marin (May 25) and Santa Clara (August 24).  The series creator is Corrigan Sports, which also produces the Oakland Running Festival.

Given that I'm in walking mode lately, not to mention more interested in 3 miles than 10, why would I do this race?  Location, location, location!  It's nice and close to home, with lots of parking in the area.  Not to mention I needed the good feelings that doing a fitness event bring.

On race day, I was up bright and early - I wasn't sure how popular the series would be, and I wanted to leave myself plenty of time to park (especially with street closures for the race) and to pick up my race bib.  There was a packet pickup on Saturday, but it was such a rainy, mellow day, I didn't really feel like going to the shopping center. 
Great Day for a 5K!
Sunrise over Leo Ryan Park in Foster City
Still, even after parking and pick-up, I had an hour to wait for the race to begin.  Fortunately, the community center of the park was open, it was warm inside, and there were benches.  I ate my banana and some peanuts...something missing...something...oh yeah.  Coffee.  Ugh.

"Well, there are more ways to wake up and get warm than coffee," I sighed to myself, and I headed outside to warm up.  A brisk walk out along the lagoon, then a jog back...wait a minute?!?  What to my wondering eyes should appear, but a coffee-serving mini van, Get Goes Coffee Cafe!  I got a small coffee, which they individually brewed.  It was delicious! With 5 minutes before the race start, I was also glad that it brewed quickly!
Another plus side about walking a race?
The 10 milers and 5K-ers had the same start, so I got in back behind the strollers and surged forward with the rest when the starting horn sounded.  One unique thing about this race - which is not unique to triathlon events - was the headphone restriction.  That is, no music during the race.  I was a little worried about it, because I've come to enjoy walking and running to music.  But it ended up being a nice thing - the race was more social, and I was able to chat with a group of friendly fellow walkers at the back of the pack.

The course was billed as "scenic," but sadly, with the starting point being where it was, this applied only to the 10 mile course, which continued along the bay after the 5K turn-around.  I knew the 5k out-and-back would be going through business parks and over the freeway, but they blocked the streets for the course and it was a pleasant walk. 

Before I knew it, we were at the turn-around and headed back.  Had to do a little more sidewalk walking on the way back, because the police were starting to clear the course.  We spotted the finishing arch and kept a good pace...then as we got closer, the announcer directed us to not go through the arch, but to cross over to the other side of the street and go down to the 5K turnaround and then loop back. What a tease that finish was!  But I'm glad he told us, because there were about 6 people who went through the arch and didn't have an official finish recorded. I think an improvement for next time would be to have clearer signage at the intersection of Shell and Hillsdale for the returning 5K participants, maybe even some directional arrows in chalk?

On our way down to the last turnaround, the first 10 miler and the pace bike passed us!  That was exciting!  Another minute or two, and it was our turn to cross the finish line.  I appreciated that they called out our names as we strode under the arch - that was a really nice touch!  Results were posted quickly - by the time I picked up my race shirt, the 5K results were posted around the race area, and my finish time was on there already.

How'd I do?  I was 86/91 and the last finisher that had an official time (56:23).  After a lot of PR chasing over the years, I felt it was rather a hoot to add the PR of "First Last Place Finish" to my record book.
Nice race shirt!
(But I don't quite grok beer at a morning race...maybe free coffee vouchers next time, guys?)
Overall, I really enjoyed this race and would do it again...I could see this series becoming very popular, so I might have a bit more trouble finding parking next time around! (I think they would have had even more participation if the Hot Chocolate 5K and 15K hadn't been happening in San Francisco on the same day - that sounded like a fun one, too!)  I was impressed by the friendly volunteers and professional race staff - thanks for a great time!

(In case you were wondering: No, this was not a sponsored post.  I bought my own coffee and paid my own race fees.  It's simply that I've been to enough events to really appreciate a well-run one, and I would love for more races to be held on the SF Bay Peninsula!)


debby said...

As always, a great race review. I especially liked your coffee find! How could you race without coffee???

Unknown said...

WAY TO GO!!! you still lapped everyone on the couch!! :)

Brooke said...

gorgeous sunrise, morning coffee, and a memorable place finish? sounds like a win! :)

Val said...

I got off the couch & race-walked my 1st 5K in 3 yrs right before Xmas (the JingleBell 5K)... My jog is so slow, I average better time just walking briskly.
(followed you over from Crabby's; I can relate to poor balance issues w/squats & lunges but I guess ya gotta start somewhere!)