Race Recap – Run Around the Rice 5k

Race Recap – Run Around the Rice 5k

I had debated for a few weeks whether I should participate in this race or not. I knew my dad would be in town, it was almost an hour drive away, and I had a 19 month old to plan around. My running friend Kelsey started telling me I needed to do it because she and her friend Katja were going. Then a few days later, I got a text from Stephanie (RunStrongRun) saying I should go because she was doing the 10k. I finally caved under the peer pressure 😀 I asked my dad if he’d like to attend and he said yes so I registered for the race. I did think it would be pretty cool for him to see me doing my thing 🙂

As usual, I had to do my ritual flat Christa photo the night before.

Setting these up is almost as fun as the race.

I went to bed early to get plenty of rest. I woke up and had my coffee and got ready. I had an English muffin, banana, and cherries for breakfast.

My dad and I made the drive out to Richvale, CA. It was just fields and fields of rice paddies which I find pretty and peaceful. We parked and started walking down the gravel road toward the event. We walked up right as the 10k runners were taking off! I saw Stephanie and Kelsey running away among the group.

It was a small event so there weren’t many booths so my dad and I just chatted, took photos, and waited for the 5k to start.

 About 10 minutes before run time, the 5k runners started getting in place at the starting line.

I shook out my legs, started my running playlist, and got my Nike+ running app ready to go.

8:30 A.M. came and it was 3…2…1… START!

Something I noticed almost immediately was how hot it was. I assumed a morning race would be nice and cool but that wasn’t the case.

The first half mile or so was on gravel road. I was concentrating on pacing myself and not taking off too fast at the beginning. This was especially important since we were obviously going to be running on unpaved terrain and it was going to be harder than a normal run. After a while, we turned right and started on a grass and dirt trail that lasted most of the race. The paddies around us were serene and I was enjoying the nature. It was a really pretty run!

Nike+ chimed in at mile 1 with my time of 10:39. I was surprised that I had gone that fast since I was trying to go slower but I guess the race adrenaline was making me speedy anyway. I was feeling good and this time had me excited that I might get another new PR.

But then came mile 2.

I had made a huge mistake. I had eaten that big breakfast instead of my usual Clif Bar. Stomach cramps hit me hard. I tried to power through them at first but it made them worse. I had to walk almost the whole second mile. I kept trying to run when it would subside but they would come right back. I was upset. I didn’t know if the cramps were going to stop, I hate walking during a race, and my chance at a PR was crushed. My morale went out the window.

Around the mile 3 starting point, there was a station of people cheering and one of them was holding a sign that said “Just keep running!” It gave me motivation to try to run again. The stomach cramps stayed at a minimum the rest of the race but now I was dealing with other issues. I was hot, worn out and my calves were burning from running on the trail. I was able to run a lot more of the third mile but I still had to take some walking breaks. My dad saw me struggling and texted me the sweetest thing!

I was mentally defeated, burning up, dehydrated, and my left foot was getting sharp pains if I landed on the rocks a certain way. Despite all this, once I saw the finish line, I wouldn’t let myself stop running.

Notice the heat blurs behind me

A big part of what kept me going was knowing my dad was watching. I found the strength to push through, keep running, and I even sprinted at the very end.

This was the hardest race I’ve run so I was just relieved that it was over! I paced around catching my breath and my dad led me to a literal trough filled with water bottles haha. I told him about all the trouble I was having and he told me he was proud of me 🙂 When I felt less like I was dying, I made it to the Results laptop to check my time. As expected, I hadn’t set a new PR but I was shocked to see that I had placed 2nd in the Female 30-39 group! I had never placed in a race before so I was really excited!

After that, we found Stephanie and said hello! She also placed 2nd in her age group for the 10k! We posed together with our finisher medals.

Then I heard “Christa Christa!” and Kelsey and her friend Katja had found us. This was Kelsey’s first 10k! Katja actually finished as the #1 female overall for the 5k. Great accomplishments all around!

Me, Kelsey, and Katja!

Instead of medals, they handed out goodie bags for all of the finishers. What was inside? Rice of course!

I mean…why WOULDN’T you win rice at the Run Around the Rice 5k/10k?

The day came to a close with a crop duster flying right over us!

In spite of how bad I felt during the race, overall it was a great time! I got some experience with challenges I hadn’t faced before so I can be more prepared in future events. I’m glad my friends talked me into it and that my dad got to be there! Every race just makes me want to participate in more. I love the challenge, the satisfaction of accomplishment, and most of all, the community and camaraderie! The people make it a hundred times more fun.

Be sure to take a look at my races page and furthermore, sign up for some and join me!

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