Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Ukrop's 10k 2017 Recap (Tuesdays on the Run Edition)

On Saturday I ran the Ukrop's 10k.  This is a race that I have done almost every year for the last 10 years, even before I started running.  Some years are good, some are not such great races, but all have been fun.  This year it was a good run.

The expo was on Thursday and Friday.  We usually go on Thursday night and go out to dinner after, but this year schedules did not work out.  So I went Friday afternoon after running errands.  It was chilly and rained most of the day.  Glad the rain got out of the way as race day was nice and dry.  On the way there, I got caught behind all the port-a-potties being put into place on Broad Street.

The expo was at the Author Ashe Center as usual.  The setup is the same as it has been since I started participating.

As always bib pickup was efficient.  I also bought my wristband for the shuttle on race day.

They have a small section for official merchandise.  I didn't get anything this year.  They have a lot of nice items, not only for the race, but for 'Run RVA'.

Once through the official merchandise you head around to the other side of the building to pick up the shirt.

I walked around the expo some, but didn't buy anything.  I did find some of my shoes on sale, but I already have 3 waiting for me to wear (I buy when I see them on sale), so I decided against another pair.  I stopped by the VCU Bookstore booth as I realized I didn't really have any shirts or jackets but nothing called out for me.  Will have to tell my mom that would be some good items for my birthday.

I left with I only the reusable grocery bag that they always give out with the shirts, the shirt, my bib, and my wristband for the shuttle.

Saturday I woke up in plenty of time to get up and get ready without rushing.  I really wasn't too nervous as I knew where to go and what time I had to be places.  I met up with my running friends at City Stadium, which is were we meet every Saturday for runs.  We got on the bus and headed to down to the start line.

We usually stop at the coffee place on the way to the start line to use the bathroom, but they were closed.  That threw us off a little, but we made our way up to the bag check.  This year the park where the after party usually is is fenced off for construction.  We did find port-a-potties that were for the after party and there was absolutely no line.  We jumped at the chance.  We then wondered around trying to find our way to the start line but ended up at the finish.  The first racers had already started over 8 minutes before - and we still had 20 some minutes to get to our corrals.

With the construction and the finish line being between us and the start, we had to go all the way back to the bag check to find a way to the start line.  All of us were in different corrals but we all ended up starting in the same one.

The start was smooth and each corral kept going on one right after the other.  

Top: Corrals in front of us.  Bottom: Corrals behind us.
I kept looking around for the water station that they said would be out there, but I didn't see it.  I knew this wasn't good as I was thirsty even before the race started.  Before I knew it, we were off.

The first mile was hard.  It felt like it took forever to see that first mile marker.  Usually for this race it's the second mile marker that feels like forever.  I knew I was going out fast like I always do at races, but I kept trudging on with my walk/runs.

The rain from Friday was totally gone and the clouds were parting to a nice sunny day.  There were a lot of people coming out to cheer us on.  There was a party stop or band almost every block.  The route is an up and back and it's fun to watch the people on the other side of the median.  I brought my music, but I didn't put it in as there was a lot of things to watch and music on the course.
There is also a costume contest and there were a few neat ones out there.  There was a group that dressed as the Simpsons and a giraffe made of balloons.  I think they were supposed to be April the Giraffe that is a webcam sensation as everyone waits for her to give birth.  Someone told me after the race that there was a pregnant lady walking the race in a giraffe costume as well.

The second and third mile felt the same as the first.  I felt like I was putting it all out there and I was worried that I would crash at mile 4.  But I kept pushing knowing that if I crashed then I put in a good first few miles.  The crowds kept cheering us on to keep going.

Soon after mile 3 was the turn around.  While the race is advertised as a flat course, there is a little accent and decent (my watch shows 85 feet accent and 108 feet decent).  I felt like we did most of the accent in the first 3 miles so I was looking forward to some very small down hills.  But it really there wasn't any, so it was in my head.

We turned to start the other way and the sun was right in our faces.  For the next mile the temperatures went up a little and we had direct sunlight.  I could tell it was getting warmer but I felt like I was still putting everything into each mile.  Thankfully mile 5 had big trees that gave us some shade.  Even with it getting warmer, the 4th and 5th miles were faster then the first 3.  I was hopping to keep pushing it to the end.

During the 6th mile the big trees were gone and it really got a lot hotter.  I knew this last mile would be the hardest and probably the slowest.  And then I started to get a side stitch.  Even thought I drank at every water stop, I knew I was a bit dehydrated.  I kept up with my walk/run and breathed through the pain.  I knew if I kept up, I'd have a great time.  No where near a PR, but a good time.  The 6th mile was only a few seconds slower then the 4th and 5th.

Once I passed the 6th mile marker I ran it in.  I saw one lady in front of me that I wanted to pass before the finish.  I passed her really fast, so I kept my eye on one other lady.  She was keeping a good pace and even though I was catching her, I was having a hard time passing her.  At the very last bit, I passed her and crossed the finish line.

This was a tough race and I knew I put everything out on the course.  I was very proud of keeping up with each mile even though they were hard.  And looking back, I even did a negative split.  I was so proud as I never have a negative split at races and even at a race where it got much hotter the second half.  Everything was feeling good, even my skinned knees.  While this wasn't a PR, this is my new proof of time race.

I found my friends at the finish.  

I thought the medals were a little dinky and I didn't get the design.  Then I saw someone putting their medals together.  It turns out that there are magnets on the edges and the next 2 years we will get medals to connect to it.  That was actually very inventive and cool.

We collected our bags and headed to one of the local restaurants to have brunch.  We haven't done a brunch after our run in a long time, so it was great to catch up with everyone.

Have you run the Ukrop's 10k?  Do you do brunch after races? 


  1. This race is on my radar. I don't usually travel for short races, but Richmond isn't too far and I've heard good things about it.

    1. I'm with you about not bothering for the smaller races, but this one has such a great fun atmosphere. Hope you get a chance to do it one year.