April 9th was the Blue Bell Fun Run 1mile walk, 5K run/walk and 10k run. This is the 38th year of this race and overall I had a great time. Would I do it again, maybe. You can read about my goals here but spoiler alert…I GOT A 4 MINUTE PR!!!!
Alarm went off at 6am. Wow what a change from Disney races when that alarm goes off at 3am! We got up, got ready, grabbed the dogs and headed out. On the way to the race I had a banana with almond butter. Simple carbs in the system with some protein, I had this a few times pre race during the detox and it worked well so I decided to go with it again this morning. It took us about and hour and twenty minutes to get to the race and get parked. I headed into packet pick-up, got my bib, got my shirt (softest race t-shirt I have ever gotten!) then headed to the bathrooms. The race was a lot larger than I thought! I have no idea how many people were there but more than the few hundred I expected. There was a water and gatorade station, porta potties, a DJ, the ice cream station, some vendors and plenty of puppies! I was actually having some digestive issues this morning and had to pop in a bathrooms a few times. TMI I know but hey that’s what was happening this morning. Im sorry I am a horrible person an took these photos without paying…I have no excuse here…dont judge me too harshly.
By the time I got through all of that it was 15 minutes until the race start so I took my honey stinger gel with water and headed over to the start line. There were a few volunteers holding banners with projected pace times to try and space out the runners. I thought this was a great idea and got in around the 9min mile pace group. Around 8:35 the race got started (only 5 minutes late, not bad) and we were off for the first of many evil hills. I’m going to break this down into halves…..
(pre-race…before the evil hills)
The first half of the race was fine, the hills were too steep some pretty solid downhills and water stations at each mile with the high school athletes doing a great job of handing out water. I got water at each water station starting at mile 2. I was doing a great job on the times, 8:46 (mostly downhill), 9:43 (mostly uphill), 9:06 (pretty even) then the evil horrible hills hit my legs with a vengeance. Around 3.5 there was a hill that was a slight incline but was about a half a mile long then a very little decline then a steep uphill and corner. It was rough. My heartrate was going crazy and I wanted to quit so bad. Then came the second half of the race.
(I look happy…but ugh! Pretty scenery though right!)
I was all set to make a great and I mean great time (54 something) but the hills took me down and I had to walk. I didn’t stop, as much as I wanted to I didn’t stop, but I did walk for about 30 seconds to get my breathing under control. Then another monster hill came up and I walked up it. Mile 4 ended with a 10:40 pace because of the walking. Mile 5 was a little better with a 10:11 pace but it was pretty much a constant gradual incline with a few flat spots thrown in. Mile 6 came and went and we rounded the corner to the finish line, that corner happened to be a super steep incline so I powered up it but got winded. I walked for about 20 seconds then started my final run in. The last .4 miles was all down hill thank goodness and I powered down it. I was soooo freaking close to getting a sub hour 10k it was stupid but my tank was empty and I ended 18 seconds short of a sub hour. My final time was 1:00:17 which is 4 minutes faster than my last 10k PR (a year and a half ago at Houston 10k).
(coming in strong, bad arm form and totally not happy face lol)
I almost ran down a few people at the finish line because to be honest it was a cluster. The 10k, 5k walk and 5k run all ended in the same place but the race starts weren’t spaced out enough so that there were walkers finishing while 10k runners (people actually running) were coming through the shoot. I think if there had been better spacing of the races I might have been able to get a lot closer to my time. Weaving in and out of people at the last dreg does take precious seconds off your time. Powering through the finish line there was a mess of people standing around and in the way…yeah I had to yell at people to move so I wouldn’t knock them down. Finished, got my medal now its time for water right?! Wrong! They had ran out of Gatorade and didn’t have any water ready to grab but instead had to wait in line for a half full cup of water. Yeah so that stunk, I ended up getting my water cup refilled from a hose at the puppy station. Not my proudest moment but I needed water. Overall this is my biggest gripe of the whole race, finish line not with-standing. Runners need copious amounts of water people! I also grabbed a few orange halves to get some fluids then headed over to get my ice cream.
As some of you may know Blue Bell had a listeria scare last year and just recently began production again. The ice cream this year was just vanilla or chocolate cups but it was as much as you wanted so I grabbed 3. 1 for me, 1 for Joe and another to share. I wish they had ice cream bars but I’m not sure they are making those again or not. I grabbed a picture in-front of the ice cream truck then we headed back to the car. On our way out we stopped by the actual Blue Bell factory and took a few pictures because why not! After that we headed home, showered then hosted a thanksgiving in April for the family!
Overall, I’m by no means upset with my time because I ran a solid race with almost no hill training and still got a 4 minute PR. 4 minutes with a short distance is a great improvement to me and I know for a flat course I could do a 55 minute time. I think the race was well put together and the course simple. Knowing Brenham I knew there were going to be hills but I’m annoyed that my coach didn’t listen to me about more hill work. I told her 3 months ago I needed more hill work and in that time we only had 1 session for hills. I think I would do this race again but not for a PR goal.
CHIME IN!!! How do hills treat you? What are some of your finish line nightmares? Do you like Blue Bell ice cream?