Sunday, February 12, 2012

Cupid's Dash 10k / 5k 2012 Race Review

I ran the Cupid's Dash 10k up in Highland Park this morning.  The race had rented out the Highland Park movie theater as a warming center:
 Inside the theater:

I warmed up by running two miles wearing 5 layers of clothes.  After my warmup, I waited in my car.  Unbeknownst to me at the time,  I had parked right near the start line, so I was able to relax in my car and sip coffee.  Once the announcer gave the 30 seconds until start warning, I was able to put my coffee down, take off 2 layers (I was really comfortable from my warmup run) put my mittens on, lock the door and walk 10 yards to the start!  It was about 14 degrees at the time the race started, but as you can see, the sun was out, which always makes things seem warmer:
The start corral in downtown Highland Park.  Took these pic from my car seconds before the race started...
The horn sounded and we were off! This is the same race I ran last year where the lead van took a wrong turn and we ended up running a 9k instead of a 10k.  They said it wouldn't happen again.  Well, the lead van went the wrong way about 800 yards into the race!  Luckily, there was a volunteer at the spot waving the 10k runners in the correct direction, but it was too late for the van.  By the time the van realized that it had gone the wrong way, the van could no longer back up and go the correct route.  Anyway, we soldiered on without the van, running up and down some pretty serious hills (for this part of the Midwest, anyway) along Sheridan Road.  I may have started a little fast, a typical rookie mistake, but I can't seem to help myself.  I am used to training in this kind of weather, but not racing, and it takes my lungs a few miles to get acclimated to the dryness and the cold when running that fast, but I managed.

At about mile 3, one runner next to me tried to yell "Happy Valentine's Day" to a volunteer and it came out as "Habby Wawentines Day", since his face was semi-frozen.  We both laughed.  The water at the second aid station was mostly ice, but I got a tiny bit of water out of the cup!  Then, before you knew what hit you, the race ended.

Somehow, my Garmin only measured 6.10 miles, not 6.20 miles.  Usually at the end of the race my Garmin is a little bit over in the mileage say 6.25 miles.  This overage occurs because is nearly impossible to run the tangents completely straight due to things like having to weave around people.  I don't know if they shortened the course by .15 miles for some reason, or if they lead us the wrong way again. In any case, something seems to be a little off on the course distance.  On top of that, I heard some 5k runners complaining that they had run 3.6 miles instead of 3.1 miles!  I think some of them were lead down the wrong way, running a few additional blocks!   I noticed about a mile from the finish that the 5k runners were merging with the 10k runners at two different intersections!  One group had definitely run the wrong route! Anyone know anything about that?

Here are my splits: 1) 6:38 2) 6:35 3) 6:31 4) 6:52 5) 6:53 6) 6:36 6.1) 5:55.  Using the pace calculator for 6.1 miles with a time of 40:41, I get a predicted marathon time of 3:14:30.  Not bad at this stage.  I should get faster over the next 2 months.  But if not, I would be very happy to go sub 3:15. Picture of me after the race:

Here's a video I took near the finish line:
Final evaluation:  Pros: Great to be running a 10k in the middle of February.  Nice facilities, beautiful course near the lake with rolling hills.
Con:  Second year in a row with (possibly) incorrect mileage, and a lead van that got lost.  Some auto traffic mixed in with the runners.


  1. Awesome job, speedy!

    I cannot believe the van messed up AGAIN! I remember hearing last year that the course distances are messed up too. Normally I trust the course and not my Garmin, but when they mess it up over and over... it's hard not to wonder :)

    1. Yes, unfortunately it did happen again. The race director just sent out an e-mail confirming that about half of the 5k runners ran too far. They claim there was a water main break and the last minute route change caused the lead biker to go the wrong route.
      I am 99% certain the 10k course was short and not just because of my Garmin. After looking at the winning 10k runner's time and comparing it to his previous runs this year, his pace in the Cupid's Dash 10k is considerably faster. That means that either he ran out of his shoes in this race or the distance was too short. I would say if they can't get enough volunteers to man every turn, they need to mark the turns with big, big arrows. I may give the race one more chance to get it together, but if another 10k pops up in February, I may try that one instead.