I’m about halfway through an 18-week training plan for the Indy Monumental Marathon, and between the building mileage and coping with a ridiculously hot and humid summer, it’s turned into a grind at times. I’ve found myself dreading my Tuesday speed sessions and Thursday marathon pace runs. Trying to hit the appropriate paces isn’t always reasonable when there are heat advisories and temps in the 90s. I’ve really had to drag myself to get out there many weeknights this summer. Construction everywhere has added 20-30 minutes to my evening commute, and sitting in stop-and-go traffic for an hour or more doesn’t leave me too energized either.
When I browsed through races on RunMichigan.com, I added the Romeo Peach Festival 5K/10K to my list. Running a race on a weeknight would be a first for me, but it could fit well into my training schedule. I waited until the week of the race and signed up when it looked like the weather would be perfect. It was due to be sunny, and the temps were actually going to drop to the 70s. After battling the 90s most nights, it sounded ideal to me.
Thursday, August 30th was the date of the race and I opted to do the 10K. I didn’t do speedwork on Tuesday because it was too hot, so this race would make up for it. The race started at 6:45 and I had to figure out what would work eating-wise before the race. I wasn’t going to try to eat dinner first, but I’m typically hungry every hour once the afternoon rolls around. I ate a Honey Stinger waffle right before I left work and was starving by the time I got home. I ate a Clif Bar at home and thought I’d be all set, but I got hungry again during my drive to the race. I ate a Picky Bar and that helped tide me over, but then I ate a couple of Clif Shot Bloks just before the race for good measure. I realize this makes me sound like I’m The Very Hungry Caterpillar, haha. Eating before an evening race was tricky for me to figure out, especially while I’m in marathon training mode and always hungry.
The race started at Romeo High School and I got there about 45 minutes early. The first parking lot was full, so I went to the next one and found a bunch of spots that had been painted. I hoped it was okay to park there because I didn’t know where else to go.
I realized that some people were still painting, and it must have been seniors who got to personalize their own parking spots. The one below stood out to me, of course.
I went to the packet pickup area to collect my stuff. I didn’t expect a shirt since I waited until the last minute to sign up. Races typically warn you that you’re not guaranteed a shirt unless you sign up by a certain date. They didn’t have any smalls left so I received a medium, but I’ll probably end up donating it because it’s too big…and because I have too many race shirts anyway.
After getting my stuff, I noticed that only two porta-potties were set up. I saw people checking doors to the school and they all appeared to be locked, so I don’t think there were any other options. The porta-potties had long lines that continued to grow, so I was thankful that I didn’t really have to use one. Two was not enough for a race with over 400 participants.
I did a warm up jog of just under a mile, figuring I’d get seven miles in for the day. The 10K started 10 minutes before the 5K, so I lined up with my group. After a few failed attempts with the starting gun, we were off!
I didn’t know anything about the race course. The website said that it was a challenging course so I was curious what I was in for. After a short stretch along a couple of paved roads, we ended up on rolling dirt roads for the majority of the race. That was a pleasant surprise because I enjoy running on dirt roads and don’t do it often enough. I kept myself distracted for a good chunk of the race as I looked for smooth and packed down sections of the roads for the best traction.
It was peaceful, pretty, and I enjoyed looking at the nice houses and the golf course that we passed. I snapped back to reality at one point when I saw a car fly off of a side street. From my viewpoint, it seemed like the driver got awfully close to hitting the runner in front of me. Although there wasn’t much traffic, it was an open course and we didn’t have people along the course to warn traffic that we were out there. I realized I should be more cautious and be on the lookout whenever passing a side street.
85 people ran the 10K, and although I always had someone up ahead in sight, the crowd spaced out and I was on my own at times. Eventually our route met up with the 5K people, so that kept me distracted for a bit as I weaved around them. The 10K looped around a stretch of neighborhood that the 5K did not follow, but then our routes joined up again through the finish. It was no joke that this was a challenging course. There were plenty of rolling hills that kept me working hard, but luckily downhill stretches helped me recover. The race finished on a downhill stretch. I was excited until I realized it was steep enough that I had to slow down a little bit so I wouldn’t wipe out!
I didn’t have a real goal in mind, but kind of hoped I’d finish in 45-something. My official time was 45:36, so I was definitely happy. My watch came up short on the distance, but I don’t know how much to trust my watch these days. Maybe I did a good job of running the tangents?
I went to look for the post-race food, and wasn’t too thrilled when this is all that I found:
Only bananas. At the Peach Festival. They didn’t have any kind of peach treats! It’s not that I was really craving peaches, but still. Aside from that, I was bummed by the general lack of food. It’s pretty standard to find bagels, granola bars, etc. at the end of a race. Since I hadn’t eaten a real dinner yet and had just run six miles, I’d hoped for something more than bananas and water. I only paid $20 for this race, which is on the cheap end for races these days, so that made me feel a little better. I’ve learned to bring food with me in case the post-race selection is a disappointment like this, so I headed back to the car to refuel. The race finished by a community center that was a short walk away from the start. Since I was sweaty and it was cool outside, I needed a jacket at that point anyway.
I had placed first in my age group, so I stuck around for the awards. I was happy about the age group win, but even happier that I appeared to be the third woman overall!
The race didn’t have finisher medals, but I received a medal as an age group prize.
I enjoyed the beautiful sunset before heading out.
When I told Matt about the lack of food, he told me I should hit Dairy Queen. I thought that was a good idea, so I went to the DQ in downtown Romeo before heading home.
Although there are a few things that could use work, I enjoyed the actual race experience. It was a nice course and I wouldn’t mind running it again. This race was a nice way to break up the daily grind of training on the same routes doing similar workouts week after week. Instead of trying to run the fast pace on my own that night, it was good to get out in the race environment where it comes more naturally. If I do this race again in the future, I’ll know that I shouldn’t expect any peaches.