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2 Races in Less Than a Week: Knott's Berry Farm 10K and Wicked Wine Run!

Two races within one week. I definitely didn’t plan this but my boss offered me a free bib and I didn’t want to pass that up. And I’m in training for a half marathon anyway, so I would have been running regardless. And races are fun, so why wouldn’t I want to do two races within a week!

Knott’s Berry Farm 10K - Renegade Racing - March 8, 2015:

I was really excited for this race for multiple reasons: 1. The medal featured Snoopy and Woodstock, 2. Running through an amusement park is always a good time, and 3. Tyler agreed to run with me again and he always makes races fun. The race was a good time but I gotta say the volunteers could have stepped it up a little bit.

I went down to Buena Park a day early to pick up Tyler and my race bibs. The website clearly said in order to pick up a bib for another person I needed a signed waiver from the participant as well as a copy or photo of the participant’s ID. Turns out I didn’t need any of this. The packet pickup was littered with blank waivers and a list of all the participants and their bib number was posted on the wall. So when I went up to pick up the bibs and all the volunteer asked for was my name, bib number, and a signed waiver without asking for any form of ID, I was a little upset. Anyone could have walked up, picked a name and bib number off the wall, forged a signature on a waiver, and picked up as many bibs as they wanted.

The volunteers were also lackadaisical when it came to checking bags, noses in their phones until we got their attention. Also, the bags were marked with flimsy tape that could have easily fallen off. Also, and this has nothing to do with the volunteers but was still an annoyance, timing was done by chips that we had to twist tie to our shoes and return at the end of the race before we could get our medals. If we lost the chip, be would be charged for losing it. Now, most timing chips are attached to the bibs so it was a stressful that I might have to pay if I lost it. Tyler and I picked up a lost chip along the course so that runner wouldn’t have to pay the fee.

But enough of that, on to the good parts! Tyler and I were treated to free massages before the race, and lined up in our corral. We were somehow in two different corrals even though we submitted the same pace time at registration and even though I was in corral 5 I had to drop back to 7 to run with Tyler. Eventually the corrals got all smushed together and we had the chance to start with corral 6, but Tyler didn’t want to cheat and we hung back until corral 7 started.

The start was signaled by an old-timey Westerner who shot a shotgun up in the air and we went right into the park. The park was playing its usual park music, which was old-timey Western-y and highly featured a banjo. We ran through the coasters and soak city (which I wished was open so I could cool myself down in the water while making progress). It was fun and our energy was high. We even modified our intervals, running longer than three minutes before we took a walk break.

The course then took us on the roads of Buena Park which was nice though not anything too interesting. There was a strip of roads that I noticed that were named after the planets with the first row on the block called Planetary Road. The volunteers on the courses were great, putting their phones in the orange cones marking the course so that the music playing from them was amplified. They also gave out copious high fives. There was music at some points and Tyler discovered a song by The Cure that he enjoyed (“Close to Me”).

When we got to the six mile point, Tyler wanted to sprint the last .2 miles. I tried best I could but he was way faster than me. He did hang back and cross the finish line with me though and after we clipped our timing chips off our shoes we received our medals and got in a long line for the free boysenberry pie. The line went fast and we got our pie and sat and enjoyed it. We also enjoyed our free chocolate milks that we picked up at the expo before the race and Tyler carried during the whole run because I was worried all the free milk would be gone after the race (which it was). After getting some race photos, we took a stroll around the small expo and headed home.

It was a fun race, but I hope they tighten up the packet pick up. It wasn’t the cheapest race so it would really be a bummer if someone’s bib was picked up by another person. We had an incredible pace, 11:30/mile, and it felt really easy which gives me huge hope for improving my pace in the future and gaining some new PRs!

Wicked Wine Run 5K - Europa Village, Temecula, CA - March 14, 2015:

So my boss offered me her bib for this run because she couldn’t make it anymore. When I found out how far away Temecula was I was hesitant but hey, I wasn’t doing anything and it was a free race so the distance wasn’t that weighty of an excuse. I made my way southeast to Temecula, enjoyed the beautiful mountainous drive, and arrived at Europa Village.

After a pretty hefty $15 parking fee (though I couldn’t complain too much because again the race was free) I parked, picked up Jena’s bib and enjoyed the hour and a half before the race start. The car was close enough that I was able to walk back and forth to it, dropping off some freebies I picked up at the small booths they had there. There were food trucks but I wasn’t going to fill my stomach with heavy food before running.

I spent most of my time in the winery’s courtyard before the race. It was HOT (90 degrees) and I was searching for as much shade as I could get. There was plenty in the courtyard and they were also misting water which was a great relief. I picked out a spot and sat in the shade and mist, drinking two full water bottles before the race even started.

About 15 minutes before the race I headed to the start line. I grabbed what little shade I could there but immediately regretted not bringing some sunscreen. People were slow to arrive to the start line so I got a great spot right up front in the first wave. And honestly, I probably needed it.

See, my sister had run her first 5k that morning in Ohio and she had finished with a time faster

than any of the 5ks I had ever run. Granted, she is 14 and she’s got the more athletic genes, but still, I’m the runner in the family! I wanted to see if I could match or even beat her time. I wanted to increase my run/walk interval from 3 mins/1 min to 4 mins/1 min and I had a great time the previous week during the Knott’s 10K so I wanted to push myself.

This was NOT the course to do it on. There were nasty nasty hills, and hills set off my exertional asthma in the worst way. And even though I knew this, I pushed myself too hard on the very first hill and the rest of the race was super painful for me. I walked a LOT. There were numerous hills and even when there weren’t the heat and my asthma made running really hard. So not my best race. And I learned, once again, that I must WALK all hills. Otherwise, it makes for a terrible experience.

Luckily, the course was beautiful featuring expansive views of the mountain ranges while winding the the winery’s vineyards. I didn’t end up with too terrible a pace, 11:55/mile, and I did get a free glass of wine at the end, though I had to wait to cool down and catch my breath before I could drink it. The winery was a wonderful place to relax after the run; there was a live band playing and friends were enjoying bottles of wine (which made me start planning on coming back with friends in the future). I stayed and took it all in for about an hour after I finished before heading home. And after snapping a few pictures of the sunset, I bid ado to the pleasure and the pain that was the Wicked Wine Run.

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