A Tale of Two Races – Dog Days 5k and Prairie Dog Half Recaps

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As it turns out, I had already written these recaps! That’s the good part. The bad part is I never posted them…. I have no idea what is up with that! These two races took place, as you can see from the pictures, the weekend of July 26th and 27th. This means I’m finally done with July’s races as far as recaps go! But I still have August….oh boy!

The Dog Days 5K in Westminster, CO wasn’t really a planned race for me! This race is put on by a company called All-Out Multisport Productions. They are sort of 3W’s competition, but not really because in the racing world there’s not really competition, just lots of available races, and as far as I know they don’t share any event dates.

I originally got involved with this company because they hold a lot of their races in the Arvada area which is where the gym I used to work at is located. This particular race series has a “warm up” option led by a personal trainer before all of their races. Originally, one of my ex-co-workers was leading the warm-up (even though I was the running coach/trainer at that gym). The gym was a “sponsor” for some of the past races. Even though the gym barely did anything, the idea was to promote the gym and potentially get clients or at least new members.

Westminster City Park

Westminster City Park

Due to some changes with our pay rate and what we got paid for, the other trainer decided to drop out of doing the warm ups for these races. They next asked me if I would like to do it, as they probably should have in the beginning. Anyway, I agreed to do it, but got no help from ANYONE at the gym and I led the warm up for the Summer Breeze Race back in June. By the time the next race was to happen, this Dog Days race, the gym wasn’t even tracking All-Out Multisports anymore nor the fact that they had agreed to provide trainers. The new management could give a crap less about running, sad but true. Knowing the race company still wanted a trainer, and with contact directly to me, I still agreed to do it of course, not knowing if I would get paid by my gym or not. I had tried to ask my old manager to provide extra help (to maybe set up a booth) or even just guest passes to put in the goodie bags, but they ignored me.

DogDays4The first time I led the warm up, barely anyone participated. This time it went much better and I had a lot more people join me than that last race! I wish the photographers had gotten a picture! But, basically, I lead people through a warm up, track style! It’s actually pretty fun. It’s a unique concept for a race series considering most runners (especially longer distance people) have their own routine or, frankly, they don’t warm up. So, I was pleased at the crowd! I even ran into a lady that I used to coach at my old job, Camp MissFits, a bootcamp company! It was good to catch up with her and see that she is doing well! She was running the 5K and her husband was a half marathon runner.

Since I was already going to be there, I asked the volunteer coordinator is could just go ahead and run and she let me do the 5K. After the warm up was over and the 10K runners were getting ready, I myself got ready to run. Knowing I was going to do a half the next day (the Prairie Dog Half with 3W) I just wanted to do a “loosen up my legs” run, nice and easy.

Once the race started, I fell into a nice and comfortable pace. I didn’t push myself and I just followed the course. I felt like I was just out for my every day jog with my music in my ears. I smiled at people as they ran the opposite way and by the time I reached the turn around, I thought, “no way could we already be halfway!”

On the way back, I watched as the 10K people separate from the 5K people (the Half people being long gone by now) and I trudged up the trail. By the time I saw the finish line, I didn’t feel like I had run 3 miles and was questioning the accuracy of the course. I crossed the finish line and was greeted by other volunteers. The finish chute was divided into three sections: Half Marathon finishers on the right, 10K finishers in the middle and I aimed for the left. The volunteer gave me a medal, and I looked at him confused. Sure enough, all finishers got a medal, each with their respective distance printed on it.

DogDays1One of the things I liked best about this race was that they had a buckets full of ice water and towels! Perfect for a hot day race! I placed one on the back of my neck and went to sit down and stretch. Pretty shortly after I saw them post the results. I got up to go look. I honestly had no idea what my competition was or how many were in front of me (the 10k and 5K people started only 5 minutes apart so they were all mixed in).

Sure enough, I had placed 3rd overall female! I was so happy, and then felt a little guilty since I was a volunteer. But I ran fair and square. My time was nowhere near my PR, but I was happy to place overall! I even won a prize! First time ever!

Race Organization: 5/5

Very well-organized! Everything to a “t” and on time. Everything well labeled and marked. All-Out Multisports is always well-organized!

20140726_091653The Course: 4/5

The 5k was out and back and the 10k and Half were double out and backs. It felt relatively flat, even though the course profile says otherwise. The only hill I felt was the last one coming up to the finish line. It felt fast for me. It didn’t even feel like 3 miles by the time I was done.

The Price: 5/5

Starting at $35 and ending at $50 on race day, I’d say it’s worth the price (the half starts at $55 and ends at $70 by race day). Maybe not the race day price, but if you were to register in advance it would be worth it. I ran for free since I was a volunteer, but what you get with your registration is a t-shirt (I didn’t get one) finishers medals (for all distances), a cold towel with race logo at the end, food (there was breakfast burritos and the normal fruit stuff you see at races), prizes for overall and age groups (I won a $15 gift certificate to Road Id for 3rd place), and access to the sponsors.

20140726_091822Post-Race: 4/5

This race was to benefit the Colorado Canine Rescue (“Rescuing ‘next-in-line’ dogs of all breeds from overcrowded shelters”), so there was a booth of adoptable dogs. In addition to the puppies, there the other sponsors included Dave and Busters, a bootcamp company, a Farm to Produce company – Longmont Dairy Farm Inc. (with chocolate milk samples…mmmmm), and a few more that I can’t remember.

Overall: 5/5

From the perspective of a sort of “competing” company, I think this race is run pretty well! The organization is spot on and everyone is very friendly and nice! Oh and by the way, pictures are free! It’s pretty awesome.

GOOD NEWS: Since the Dog Days race, I no long work at the gym previously mentioned. I have also led the warm up for their latest event, Runapalooza in August. After speaking with both the volunteer coordinator and the race director/owner, I get to continue to lead the warm ups, basically as a volunteer. Occasionally I might run the 5k with the event after the warm up. From their perspective, they didn’t actually like the gym I was working with all that much; it was just a convenient way to find a warm up trainer. The extra good news: I have been debating just starting my own personal training/run coaching business, and if/when I do, I would be allowed to set up my own booth at the expo area! Which would be brilliant for me because runners are exactly my target market!

2014-KS-Page-Header-UpdatedAll-Out Multisport’s next event is the Kooky-Spooky 5k, 10k and Half Marathon on October 26th! It is at NAAC Stadium technically in Golden, CO but really close to Arvada! I will be doing the warm-up again, of course, and I think I might ask to run the 5k again! Come run! You can register HERE.

 

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The next day….

T9450258he Prairie Dog Half, 10k, 5k, and 1 mile fun run was held in Castle Rock, CO, just about 30 minutes south of Denver. Before I get too into the recap, I would just like to say that this race helped to benefit the Crisis Center: “The Crisis Center believes in the basic human right to live free of violence. They are dedicated to reducing domestic violence and family conflict through advocacy, empowerment, violence prevention and intervention, services and education” People brought donation items for this charity and part of the proceeds went to them as well!

Race time was 8am, but I needed to be there at 5:30am to help with set up with registration/packet pick up. I ended up waking up at 4:30! Which, wasn’t too bad, because I knew I was waking up for a race….. why is it that if I have to wake up that early for anything else, it’s the hardest thing in the world!?

20140801_203817-1As you saw, I ran the Dog Days the morning before but that night I also had to work a promo job (as a Jagermeister girl…don’t make fun), I meticulously got everything ready for the next day. I laid out my clothes, pinning my bib on my shirt and got my breakfast food packed so that all I would have to do is roll out of bed, get dressed and get in the car. But that job requires wearing heels. Heels + running in the morning = my feet was pretty sore the next day!

Pre-Race:

I joined the other volunteers as we began set up. We unloaded the truck, set up the booths, the start/finish line, and everything else that needed to be set up. Once that was going, the runner’s started arriving. Packet pick up was set to start at 7am, an hour before the race started. And boy was everyone on time! We had a long line waiting for us to grab packets! It was a little chaotic until we fell into a rhythm, then it went smoothly.

3W had everyone’s packets already made including goodie bag, t-shirt and bibs all in a bag with their name printed on it. So all we had to do was look for the bib number and hand over their bag.

Once the line was gone, and the race time drew near, I was relieved of my volunteer duties and decided to wait in the long port-a-potty line. I was feeling pretty pumped and ready to go even as Negative Nancy in front of my was complaining (she was upset that the race started at 8am in the summer rather than 6 or 7am – I just wanted to tell her, “you’re the one who registered for it!”)

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Amy and I, a couple of 3W Ambassadors, before the race!

The Race:

I stripped off my sweats and headed over to the starting line. I said hi to a few friends and got ready to race! I started off with a perfect pace, trying to keep it steady on the rolling hills. The downhills were fun and the uphills were challenging, but I was feeling good. There was two gentlemen that were running my pace the entire first half and it was nice to run with someone, even if we all didn’t talk.

At the half way point, I grabbed a GU, reached the turnaround, and checked my watch. I was running an average of 8:30 pace which was exactly what I was aiming for my first half in a long time. I felt fine energy wise and cardio wise. But then by mile 8, the pain started – in my knee. At first it was kinda dull, a feeling like the knee had to pop sort of.

By mile 9, it was sharper, I had lost the two gentleman, they kept their 8:30 pace while I slowed down a bit. By mile 10, I was in tears. Literally. I started to walk on and off. I was shooting for finishing between 1:45 and 1:50, and when I looked at my watch at mile 10, my goals changed to under 2 hours.

I got super sad when a handful of women passed me. For the first half I was the 4th or 5th female. After mile 10, I was pushed back a lot. Even more passed me within the last mile and a half. I really wanted to do well at this race, but the knee pain was hindering.

For the last three miles, I ran and walked on and off. It actually hurt worse on the downhills, so I was the oddball running the uphills and walking the downhills. The pain was so sharp! I didn’t understand! I haven’t had ANY knee pain since starting that  training cycle – why all of a sudden!? I’ve been doing all the right things: stretching, foam rolling, strength training, slowly increasing my mileage, etc, etc, etc.

What was most frustrating is I had the energy, I had the cardio strength, but my knee was holding me back. Both knees, actually. It was mainly the left, but towards the end, the right one started acting up as well.

With a half mile left, I could see the finish line across the river but we still had to run a hill and up and around to the finish line. It was torture hearing the music and seeing the finishers even though we were on the other side of a valley of sorts.

I ran the last half mile with a limp, trying to ignore the pain, and finally cross the finish line. The other volunteers, some 3W Ambassadors, handed my medal and pint glass.

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I immediately grabbed one of the ice-cold towels and put it on my knee. Feeling a tiny bit better, I changed out of my shoes into flip-flops, limped over to the muscle milk booth where they had foam rollers set up and rolled out my IT band. This offered immediate relief.

Post-Race:

Well, I wandered around, eating food, talking to people, and finally saw that results were posted. I had finished in 2:02:05. So, it was a little over two hours, nowhere near my PR, but it was a challenging course. With all the challenges, including my knee pain, I still somehow managed to place 2nd in my age group!

After getting my medal, I posed for a picture on the podium. I was pretty happy, even if my knee was still hurting.

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I waited around to help with tear down, so once the last two racers crossed the finished line (a mother/daughter duo that walked the 13.1 miles together!) we began loading up the truck and then we were all off, back up north to our respective homes!

Waiting for the last racers!

Waiting for the last racers!

Overall: 5/5!

Not that I would rate 3W race less than that, but as always, this race was put on very well. I like that it wasn’t that huge, it feels more like a community, family setting. Maybe that’s just me because I know all the volunteers and race directors, but everyone is always treated nicely and welcomed.

Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 9.29.05 AMThe Course: 3/5

Well, the only reason I rate this sorta low is because it was a fairly hard course! It was also the same course as the Area 13.1, just in reverse…think of a “M” instead of the “W” you see to your right. I had run this race BEFORE the Area 13.1 and after running the trail both directions, out and back, I think I prefer the direction of the Area 13.1.

Race Organization: 4/5

Since I literally helped set up this race and run packet pick up in the beginning, of course I’ll rate this high. It was a little discombobulated in the beginning with packet pick up, but we fixed it almost immediately.

The course had LOTS of water stations! Five total, but since it was out and back…that makes 10 total! Could have used that at the Area 13.1!!!

Cost: 4/5

With the half at $80, you get a goodie bag, t-shirt, medal, and a pint glass. Plus ice-cold towels at the end. Plus age group and overall prizes. Plus the organization and the after party with the sponsors. I think that’s well worth the cost!

Post Run: 5/5

Always a fun time! Ice cold towels, great sponsors (like Muscle Milk, Frundraise (Actually this is a friend of mine’s company. It’s a website to track fundraising for endurance type of events! Very cool – check it out!), Castle Pines Physical Therapy (I actually won a large ice pack from them at this race! Pretty convenient after this race), a nutritional supplement company, food (Nosa yogurt, celery and peanut butter, bananas, string cheese), shade tents and chairs, and hula hoops for the kids. There was a fun mile for family and kids. I was still running the half when this happened, but judging by pictures, it looked like the kids had a blast!

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And that was the story of me running two races in a row. I actually had never done that. I mean, obviously I run/practice two days in a row all the time, but RACED!? That’s a different story!

These two events were awhile ago, but they were still worth writing about! One of theses days I’ll be posting on time! Maybe…

3144067By the way, the next 3W Event is the K9 Canter on October 12th in Westminster, CO. Bring your doggie (or you family or friends) and come run! I will be volunteering all day. Click HERE For more information. And the code WHITNEYV15 gets you 15% off! Register HERE.

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One thought on “A Tale of Two Races – Dog Days 5k and Prairie Dog Half Recaps

  1. Pingback: July 23rd, Castle Rock Prairie Dog Half/10k/5k – Review/Discount Code | Racing & Wandering

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