The Sunshine Run. This is the second year that it has been the Sunshine Run, but the 10K course has been around at least one year before under the guise of the Schlotzsky’s Bun Run. For whatever reason, the Bun Run decided it wanted to be just a 5K and wanted to take on a different charity, so it gave up its springtime time slot, course and benefitting charity to the Sunshine Run in 2014. So, this is my second year running the Sunshine Run but my third year running this course in the springtime. My original 10K PR was on this course in 2013 when it was still the Bun Run. I beat that PR at the Capital 10K last month. When I was running the Capital 10K, I was trying to finish in under an hour and would have had I not gotten held back and held up by a few different circumstances. When I registered for the Sunshine Run 10K, I registered with the full intention of finishing in under an hour.
Alright, packet pickup. The Sunshine Run is partnered with Noodles & Company. Noodles & Company is a great little restaurant that serves numerous noodle bowls, salads, and sandwiches and they are all delicious. If you have one near you and haven’t tried them out, I highly recommend them. Anyway, packet pickup last year and this year was at the Westlake Noodles & Company location. For some reason, they like to route you through the restaurant to get to the patio dining area in order to pick up your packet. You go out the door to the patio area and an employee is standing there with a tray that has side dish sized samples of some of their amazing food. When I arrived, they were offering one of their salads, their mac n cheese and their mac n cheese with sriracha. I got the mac n cheese with sriracha. It was awesome! I would totally eat it again.
After I got my sample and ate it waiting my turn to get my packet, I got my bib and my participant shirt. The shirt is regular t-shirt that is made for wearing during activity. Does that make sense? It’s not a TECH tee, but it’s not just a regular cotton tee either.
I had a little difficulty deciding what I wanted to wear to run in. I ended up wearing a whole new outfit (I have worn the same brands and cuts before, just not these particular items) and I think my choices are fun!
I had a little trouble getting to sleep Saturday night, so the alarm went off way too early Sunday morning. I hit the snooze button a few times, but was up by 5:55am. The race starts at 7:30, but it’s not a huge race, so close-in free parking is still easy to find no matter how close to the start you arrive. I had packed my race morning necessities into one of my drawstring backpacks as usual the night before, so I just needed to get dressed, grab my bag and go.
I got to my free parking spot by 6:30am. A full hour before the start. As I mentioned, this is a somewhat smaller race, so there’s no need to get to the start area 45 minutes to an hour before the anthem is sung in order to get a decent position in the corral. I started making my way toward the start area around 7 and went straight to the port-a-potties and only had to wait like 20 seconds before one opened up…no line. Told you it was smaller. I then started wandering around the start/finish festival area and discovered a photo op display. It was the letters S-H-N-E. There was a space left between the H and the N where you could stand and make yourself the I to spell SHINE. Yes please. So of course I did. A nice lady in line behind me took my picture for me.
I then made my way closer to the start corral where I did my warm ups (leg swings, calf raises and calf stretches). I then went into the start corral just in time for the anthem. I love the singing of the anthem. Always brings tears to my eyes. After the anthem, off we went!
I knew when I woke up that morning that it was going to be an “off” run day for me. What I mean by that is that I woke up and my legs just didn’t feel fully into the run I was going to do and I was a little bit sure that I wouldn’t be able to hit my goal of finishing in under an hour, but I sure was still going to give it my best try.
I kept trying to find my groove during the whole run. Every now and then, very briefly, I would find my groove, but then it would be gone again. The course isn’t hilly at all. There is one hill as you make your way to Lake Austin Blvd to turn left and run toward the turnaround point, but that’s really it. Coming back up Cesar Chavez, making our way toward the finish, it is a little uphill, but not a hill.
After I turned onto Lake Austin Blvd, I quickly saw my friend Ben. This is an out-and-back course for the most part, so you get to see the front runners as they make their way closer to the finish. He was within the first probably 30 or so runners. He ended up getting 4th in his age group. A little after that, I saw my friend Kirsten (the one that gives me loads of running advice) and she looked great! She ended up getting 3rd in her new age group (50-54) and was quite happy with that result. When I was almost to the turnaround spot, my friend Bill caught up to me and paced next to me. He asked how I was doing and I pointed to my Polar (it has my finish time estimator on it) and said “so far, so good.” He said, “well, you’re keeping up with me!” Haha…nice try Bill. More like you were keeping up with me! For a moment anyway. I sped off shortly after that and left him in the dust. I had intended to wait for him at the finish to poke fun at him that he got chicked (aka: passed by a girl), but Ben found me and we started talking about the run and wandered away from the finish.
After Ben left, I decided to check the results table. I knew I hadn’t run SUPER fast, but that I had run kinda fast and I was curious to see my placement. Just before I got in the line to check results, I noticed I had a text message. I forgot I had signed up to receive a text when I crossed the finish line. The text said I finished 243rd with a chip time of 1:00:50. I figured with a 243rd overall finish that I would be in the front third, maybe even front quarter of the pack. I compared the text to the results on the table that said the same finish time but that I had finished 244th. Big whoop. The results table said I was 18 out of 30 in my division. Not exactly front anything. More like mid-pack. Wah wah. When I got home, I checked the web results. Again, 244th overall place, but apparently there was more women in AG because I was now 18 out of 36. That’s a little better. Ha!
After finishing there were some freebie handouts. KIND bar was handing out granola bars. CLEAN water was giving out bottles of water. And Noodles & Company was giving out water bottles. Usually, I skip the free water bottle, but this bottle was different. Instead of one of those (for lack of a better term) nipples that slide in and out so you can drink, it’s got a flip top. And the lid and flip top both seem to have a pretty good seal. I will actually use this bottle.
When I posted my results on my Facebook page after the race, my friend Kirsten offered to pace me at my next 10K to a sub-1 hour finish, if I can find a cheap one. Sadly, though, I’ve looked and there are no 10Ks in central Texas in the coming months except for a trail 10K. I’m not going to attempt a 10K PR on a trail race. That just spells disaster to me. So, I will have to wait until the fall for my next 10K PR attempt. Phooey. Just gives me more time to do speedwork and make myself faster on my own. I know I can run a sub-1 hour 10K. I know I can. I could have at the Sunshine Run, but it just wasn’t my day. But I also know that if I have Kirsten pacing me that I will run even faster than I thought possible. Why? Because I always run faster with other people and it seems effortless as opposed to running just a fast-for-me pace being a bit of an effort with labored breathing.
I look forward to running this race again next year. It’ll be the 3rd year as the Sunshine Run, but my 4th race on this course. My goal for this race next year is 55 minutes or faster.
|it's simple, but i really like it. the background page is awesome|