Race Recap: Women’s Fitness Festival, 10k

I didn’t realize it’s been F O U R years since I’ve run this race.

I literally thought I ran it two years ago. But, NO! I think I remember why. I actually love the reason this race exists. Women ONLY race in my favorite city, Sacramento. That’s pretty rad. Empowering. All of the good that running does for our community and for women all rolled into one event for our city.

10k Course

That being said. A few things I remember why I don’t generally run this race anymore. In fact, that last time I ran this race they offered the half marathon distance, back in 2014. One reason is this race is always preceded by the San Jose Giant Race, which Lil and I usually do. Which means I drive to Livermore on Friday night, San Jose early Sat AM for the race, and we both head back to Sac that day. Sunday AM we head to this race and I usually have a soccer game after. It was a lot of logistics to manage and miles to drive, so I stopped running this race and opted for the Giant Race series instead. Also, I didn’t remember that the 10k option was just a second loop of the 5k distance. If you’ve read any of my previous race recaps, you’ll find I hate this. I realized post-race the only reason I signed us up for the 10k distance is that it is the SAME price as the 5k! Baller-on-a-budget fail, cause we both didn’t really want to run the second loop, come race day!

All that being said, this year we chose to run SJ virtual, which meant I could actually run this race. I was happy. I do enjoy this race and all the camaraderie of the women in town. It’s a great event. However, I did choose to run the SJ virtual race on the actual day, which meant I logged 5 miles + a Midtown Strength workout the day before this race. I did use the 10s unit for my knee and I also rested my leg, up against the wall for over 30 minutes, in preparation for the Sunday race. My body was beaten up, but I was going to run as best I could on Sunday.

On Friday, I swung by our local Fleet Feet to grab our shirts, bibs, and free mimosa bracelets. They decorated the back hallway super cute and festive for the race. I went at a great time, there was no line for packet pick-up and I was in and out in less than five minutes. Even though the wall of beautiful Balega socks was calling my name AND on sale, I didn’t indulge! They did have some cute displays and things to buy, but I resisted temptation. Team Simplify, these days. I headed to Midtown for my regularly scheduled lifting session.

Just to reiterate my hesitation prior to Sunday’s run, was due to Saturday’s activities of running 5 miles and half of a Saturday Milo’ conditioner at Midtown. I was actually proud of myself for only doing half the workout plus 100 sit-ups, so I wouldn’t completely destroy my body for the race. My lower back was already really tight from the Friday evening deadlifts and my knee is STILL sore from the soccer tourney two weekends ago. Overall, I probably have been doing too much physically, but it’s a great distraction through a break-up. Can I even say that 7 weeks post break-up 😉I know I brag about them here a ton. But I freakin’ love the Parentals! Shell came into town Saturday evening and my parents asked if we wanted to ‘carb up?” For so many reasons I love this: They know we need to carb load pre-race and they go out of their way to make sure they support us in any way possible in all athletic endeavors! Although we knew they couldn’t be there to cheer us on, they still went out of their way to support us. So, we all grabbed dinner at Spaghetti Factory, where we laughed over copious amounts of carbs. I seriously never get sick of these three humans. We parted ways and Shell actually came over and stayed with me at my new spot, since we had an early race start.

Race day! No jitters, but up at 6 AM for some coffee and to take my time getting ready. Feeling rushed is never a great way to start a race morning. I say ‘race’ like I actually intended to PR or something, but really I say race because I paid for it. I tend to say run when no transaction is involved. I think this truly just occurred to me. Like a mini AH HA moment while recapping the race. That being said, I quickly picked out my outfit and snapped a few (or seven) flat runner pics. Again, I was taking this race as low key as possible. I didn’t pick out my outfit days in advance, my race day and post-race fuel were not set aside already. Everything was just done at the moment. I didn’t have any expectations, but I just wanted to run strong and see how my body would react to so many miles in one weekend when running hasn’t been happening much.

We left a little later than we had anticipated, but still with plenty of time to walk to the start. Lucky for us, Sacramento parking meters are free on Sunday’s. So we scored with some free parking only a couple blocks away from the race start. I guess you could say our walk to the race was our warm-up 😉 We got there with some time to spare, so I made/asked the Lil to snap my traditional pre-race jumping pic. I always think these are a great idea until I have to land the jump and my knee hates me. As you can see in the progression shots, I did not trust my left knee and almost buckled in the end. Thank goodness for the ‘burst’ mode on the iPhone, to capture my semi-sweet jump though! We asked a nice woman to take a Sissy’ pic, snagged a selfie, then we headed to the correct side of the start line. The national anthem was sung, the countdown began…

It never fails, walkers love to start at the front. We know this, from years of running this race, so it shouldn’t phase us. But it does. We complain about it for at least the first 0.2 mi of the race. The tangents are off the hook! Anywho, we got into our groove and stayed consistent. I should mention, Shell got trucked in our game last weekend and has been ‘hurt’ ever since. She said she might not be able to run, let alone do a 10k, but she wouldn’t back out. So, I told her we’d do whatever she wanted. OF COURSE, she is full of shit and I was trying to stay on pace with her. I attribute it to me letting her borrow one of my CEP compression sleeves for her hurt leg 😉 Needless to say, she kept us consistent for the entire race. I was essentially trying to keep up with her. My breath was steady, my legs were hanging in there. They felt strong most of the run, but my right quad was really tight and pulling most of the run. Conversely, my left Achilles was also hurting with each stride — which has been an ongoing issue. My knee was totally okay through the run, but after the run is when I knew I’d feel the effects of the run.

This race as way too many twists and turns. I knew this. Again, which could be another reason I haven’t run it in awhile. You take a very scenic route around the capital and all through the maze of the Grid and loopback. It was definitely warm the entire run and the shaded spots were graciously appreciated. There was a water station around mile 2, which I skipped on the first go. As you make your back to the Capitol, down L street they separate the 5k and 10k runners with a Fleet Feet employee using a bullhorn and some chalk on the ground. It wasn’t an issue, but signage might have been worth investing in for the race organizers (tip for next year). I laughed as I told Lil I felt a little PTSD coming on from running CIM because both races have essentially the same ending. Counting down the street numbers until you get to turn left to finish, or in our case start your second loop of the 5k. We laughed and kept running.

All, the race photos. California Family Fitness comp’d them for runners, but you had to link your FB to their app and let them post them. They posted sandwich board signs strategically around the race that alerted you that 50 meters ahead was a photog waiting for you, so smile! We tried our hardest to keep smiling the entire time. But of course, you know they post the worst ones of us. Seriously, it never fails! We cannot see the entire album until seven days post race, so for now, here is a pic they so graciously gave us 😉

I digressed to the second loop part of the recap. But mile 4 felt really hard for some reason, come to see we pushed the pace for some ridiculous reason. Shell said it was cause we ran by all the spectators and she likes to look fast near them. HAHA! I ate my race fuel at mile 2 and planned to get water at mile 4, then take my last chew. Yes, it’s a 10k and I was eating my Pro Bar chews. Anything to give me a little boost! I stuck with that plan and it seemed to work well for me. I don’t remember when, but I started to feel a little shin pain with my strides, but it eventually went away. It felt like we were keeping a steady pace. Again, as we made that last left turn down L street I knew we were in the homestretch. As I was starting to smile at the thought of being done soon, some lady tapped me and said, “In case you start to speed up, thank you for pacing me the entire race.” Lil and I looked at her, smiled, and replied “no problem.” We told her she was doing great and then we both kicked it up a notch. Not to be mean or rude, but I think her little word of encouragement gave us a boost. Those ugly race photos I talked about, happened in this last stretch to the finish. Lil was even annoyed and said, I bet he got me digging in my shorts. HAHA, she was so right!

There were a lot of the 5k walkers finishing, but they all stayed in their lane for most of the last part down L street. However, when we turned left onto 9th street the lanes converged and we had to dodge ladies. I told Shell we should finish strong and she took off like a bat out of Hell. Hurt, my ass! HAHA! I didn’t quite sprint, but I went fast and passed the one lady I really wanted too (yeah for the final kill)! It was still a little too much for me, but of course, I had to stick with it, since Lil did. Instead of jogging it out, we essentially stopped and tried to gather our breaths. They weren’t handing out medals at the end of the 10k shoot we ran into. So we asked a nice lady to take our pic. She did, and her and her friend even let us borrow their medals for the finisher pic. They were extremely kind, as was everyone at this race! We thanked them and wandered off to find our medals and get some water.

Mile 1 – 9:31.24
Mile 2 – 9:23.25
Mile 3  – 9:15.49
Mile 4 – 8:58.55
Mile 5 – 9:29.86
Mile 6 – 9:13.14
Mile 7 –1:59.15
Total Time – 57:50.7
Total Distance – 6.25 Miles
Average Pace –  9.15 Min/Mile
Official Result – 57:52, 25th in Age Group, 83rd Overall

Medal in hand, we walked toward the post-race fun, but not before we took a must pic in front of the Capitol. Again, trading picture opportunities are the way to go with other racers! I saw the cutest little sunscreen/protection stand and I was completely smitten with it. Such a great idea, more races should have these for runners. I wish I saw it before the race, not after. This is also about where I realized I didn’t remember to sign us up for the ‘Sister’ category for the race! UGH! I’m so pissed! We totally should have done it. We laughed when the Lil reminded us that we accidentally won it one year. Some awful bracelets, but winners nonetheless. Ugh, I’m still annoyed I didn’t sign us up!

We decided to get our free mimosa before we did anything else. The line was a little long, but it didn’t take too much time. I like they trusted we were 21 and gave the bracelets prior to the finish of the race. Who carries their ID when running race? The mimosa was surprisingly refreshing. We stayed in the mimosa garden, found a friend, and drank the tasty beverage. Pics were taken of course 😉

Lil really wanted a Nugget reusable bag, so we made our way the Nugget food lines. They were offering granola, almond milk or greek yogurt, fruit, and NO bags! HAHA, they ran out. She was bummed and I just laughed! I also snagged a Vega sample, which made all the line waiting worth it. Becuase, you know I generally don’t stay for post-race activities. We wandered around for a few minutes but decided to head out. We called the Parentals to meet us for coffee and bagels before they left for their day date in the City.

It was the perfect post-race relaxation that I needed. More carbs and laughs with my favorite humans. We sat outside and hung out for a decent amount of time, enjoying each other’s company. As all of our physical endeavors go, the Parentals are always either there to support us or make sure we know they support us if they cannot physically attend. It is such a surreal feeling to be so supported by them all these years. Only more recently, as a real adult, have I appreciated how involved and supportive they are in our lives still. They don’t have to be, but they want to be.

I cannot leave this space without also admitting, I romanticized that Juan and Lisette would be at the finish line surprising us as we finished. I know this is absolutely ridiculous! Besides the fact that we’ve been broken up for almost two months, mostly because when we were in a relationship he only came when I asked him to come, and most of the time it was begrudgingly. I think the idea of seeing them supporting me doing something I love (okay, like) is what I always craved and wanted. I guess I still crave these things and still hold onto some weird, misplaced hope. If it didn’t even happen in the relationship, I don’t know why it would happen not in a relationship? I didn’t allow myself to stay in this weird, romanticized idea, but it did float through my mind and stayed there for a bit. I tried not to be hard on myself for having these feelings because it’ll take awhile to stop romanticizing what I always hoped for…even though I know the reality of what it was. But I feel like I’ve been transparent about it all, so pretending that I didn’t have these feelings would be a disservice.

None of that took away from the great time I had with Lil, the time spent with the fam, and all the delicious carbs consumed! I’m pretty stoked Lil kept it to an average 9:15 min/mile pace. I figured we’d run at a 10 min/mile pace, so that was a plus I hadn’t expected! If you need to feel uplifted or want to be surrounded by all your Sacramentan lady friends, this is the race for you. It’s always a great run, but I’d say have fun and do the 5k. The 10k isn’t awful at all, but just a friendly suggestion!

It’s hard not to feel fierce with all these awesome ladies killin’ it with each stride!

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