Lost Dutchman 10k Race Report, Sun., Feb. 19, 2006, Apache Junction, Arizona.
This will be the third time trying to post this report. My home computer has a way of waiting until you get almost all the way done on a post before it freezes and you have to start over. So here goes AGAIN!
The Lost Dutchman 10k was part of a series of races, with a marathon, half, 10k, 8k trail run, and a 2 mile family run.
I had considered doing the half when Don and I started looking at races, which for Don have become an annual thing around this time of year (his birthday). I guess he figures its a great way to celebrate a birthday (if you're into pain that is :)). But I decided to be realistic and signed up for the 10k.
The Lost Dutchman race was a top consideration because (1) we knew people who had done it and raved about it, and (2) a lot of my family live in the Apache Junction area. Apache Junction is about 35 miles from Phoenix. We ended up finding an extended stay place in Mesa to stay, where they have kitchenette suites, and the price couldn't be beat: $63.99 a night. While I wouldn't want to stay in Mesa again, it was convenient enough. The whole Phoenix area is busy. Traffic is insane. Getting outside the city into Apache Junction was a whole different world. From concrete to desert. Quieter, less traffic, beautiful scenery.
The day of the race started at 4 am. The start of the marathon was at 7 am, but you had to drive to a shuttle area for the start of the race. The start of the marathon was actually about 6.5 miles out in the desert, and it was a point-to-point race, so it was wise to have a vehicle either at the finish or the drop point area. My race started at the finish of the marathon in Prospector Park. It was a very nice park with soccer fields, playground equipment, picnic areas, and the mountains in the background and the desert all around. Strange for me to see grass that wasn't green at all, just a sort of dried out look to it. Then there were the Saguaros surrounding the baseball diamond and the perimeter of the park, reminding you that you were indeed in the desert. It was still hard for me to believe I was actually there!
My race started at 8 am, so I sat in the cold car until it got light out and then decided to look for Ellie. I didn't see her and needed to get back in the portajohn line, so by the time I saw her, she had actually found me at the start area for the race. She was doing the half marathon and had on her new black running shoes. I wondered to her if her feet might get hot in the black, but she didn't seem to think so. I had been cold and actually had a lightweight jacket on and gloves and headband. Ellie was dressed in her traditional cutoffs and a short sleeved shirt with gloves. I thought I would keep the coat on most of the way, but once the gun went off and we were moving, I actually did warm up quite quickly. (I was way too used to Michigan weather, where it does not warm up just because the sun might be out.) I would say that the temperature felt like it had gone up 10 degrees from the start of the race to the first mile.
At this piont, Ellie decided she wanted to pick up the pace, and I decided I needed to get rid of the coat and gloves. So off she went. I was surprised when I actually got to the first mile marker that it was around 11:10, and more surprisingly that this was my average pace for the race.
I had wanted to keep under 12 min. miles, because all my treadmill miles were about this pace. I felt like I was running into the wind for the first 5k and slightly uphill. Later looking at the elevation chart, it did indicate probably a 1-2% upgrade for the first half. When the pavement ended, we were headed into the desert, with the cactus, sand, and dusty trails. At about the 5k turnaround, there was a fake brick wall, about mile 23 for the marathoners, so they could get their pictures taken going "through the wall." Some of the 10k people ran through too, but I didn't know if we were supposed to. This was also at the top of a steep hill. I wanted to walk and started to, but decided I could make it up. And the guy with the camera kept me going, since I didn't want to have my picture walking.
On my way back, at about mile 4, I started having a low bloodsugar moment and wished for some Gatorade. They had none at that water stop so it was almost mile 5 before I was able to get any. I had to take some walk breaks to get the wooziness over. I noticed too that my hands were swelling, so maybe I needed more fluids and salt. By the time I was able to get water and Gatorade, I was getting the typical stomach cramping I get with lack of fluids. There was a portajohn here thankfully, but it was pretty much just wasted time, since I didn't have to go but thought I might.
By this time too I knew my chances of getting one of the 200 10k finishing medals was a lost cause. I wish I hadn't known about this. It really bugged me that I wasn't going to get one, even though I ran the same race as the first 200. They should just have eliminated medals for the races other than the marathon or half.
Also at this time, there was a guy "running" the race backwards. I had seen him in one of the Detroit area races (maybe the Detroit half) a few years back. He passed me at this point, but I kept him in my sights. I tried not to walk in the last mile, but I'm telling you, I was getting tired, my stomach hurt, and my foot was numb. There were 2 people slightly ahead of me and then the guy running backwards as we approached the 6 mile mark. I walked for about 15 seconds and then started picking up the pace. By the straight away to the finish, I decided I could sprint and maybe overtake the couple in front of me. I did and they didn't respond, so I finished ahead of someone at least. I wasn't even remotely close to last, but still gave me a little thrill to hear my name and city called out.
Finish time was 1:09. I had thought if I could finish in 1:15 I would be happy so this was a surprise. No medal though.
Waited around for a while, met up with Ellie, who finished way before I expected her to (2:09), and then waited for Don, who finished way after I expected him to (4:09--3rd in AG though).
Had some pictures taken with the "Prospector" and his donkey and dog, got something to eat, and left soon after to go to my aunt's and hit the pool and hot tub.
My foot held out pretty well but was touchy for about a day. Nothing sore (didn't run hard enough anyway) except the heel, so felt good.
Got back home Wednesday and Thursday had a lovely snow storm to take my mind off the desert for now.