Great Pumpkin Challenge 10K Race Recap


October 15, 2015 – 9:30 am Saratoga Springs. NY

Running a 10K a week after a half marathon? Crazy?

I did a easy run on Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday and rested Friday in hopes that my legs would not be cranky

I ran this race the last two years and really enjoyed it (even 2014 in the rain.)

My 10K PR is 57:03 and as you can see, I’ve gotten slower each year. But I was still on a PR “High” so I had no expectations for a fast time.

I was very tempted to switch to the 5k course which is flat. The 10k course continues from the 5k and there are several big hills.

I may have switched so I could try for a 5k PR but after running 13.1 miles less than a week ago, it seemed unlikely that this would happen.

The race takes place in Saratoga State Park which is a beautiful place to run especially in the fall.

map gpc

The weather in the Fall is very unpredictable.  It could be warm and then it could be cold.

Not knowing what the weather will do makes it hard to dress. I’m not ready to dress for winter. (I am wearing that skirt as long as I can stand it.)

I planned to wear that same orange race shirt, a skirt and compression socks and then wear sweat pants, a jacket and gloves to leave behind and put on after the race.

When I got up it was 30 degrees and frost on the ground!!!!!!!!!!! But I stuck to my guns and wore that outfit.

This is a very popular race. They usually get about 1500 runners. So I left for the race early in case I had to park where I needed to get a shuttle to the start. The race was to start at 9:30 and I got there at 8:30 am. I got a parking spot right next to the finish line and was thrilled. (Why does someone who runs 13 miles look for the closest parking space???)

As soon as I got out of my car, I realized how cold it was.  I decided to add a pair of capris under my skirt and another shirt under my jacket.


purple long sleeved tech shirt

I picked up my race a packet, entered my raffle ticket in one of the raffles and used the restroom. (Yes, there were real ones.) I also voted for my favorite in the pumpkin decorating contest.  It was tough to choose.

Then I hung out at the fire pit and chatted with the other runners. I didn’t find any of my friends but I did get to talk to and shiver with many of the runners that I see at local races – most of them are very speedy too.


Finally it was time for the race to start. It was cold but I decided to leave my jacket and pants at the bag check. I put my DIY arm warmers on under my shirt and kept on my gloves. Many of the runners were in costume.  I thought about it but it was too cold.


I may not look cold but I was.

I started not too far back because I was with those fast ladies. (and two of them were in my age group.)

This race for me can be divided into two parts: The first 5K and the second 5k.

Miles 1-3

9:58, 9:07, 9:02

Both the 5k and 10k runners start together and run the same course. So it was very crowded at first. Since I was near the front, everyone was passing me by. I was trying to run fast but my legs just wouldn’t go. Those ladies that I mentioned, they quickly left me in the dust.

The 5k had a few inclines but was basically flat. I didn’t even have to walk.


I love running in this park. It is so pretty. 

And the sun was shining brightly so I quickly warmed up.  I was happy that I had taken off my jacket and extra shirt.

The 5k ended and my time was 27:xx. Crazy! I didn’t feel like I was running fast.  It could have been a 5k PR!!

Of course, that exhausted me and we hadn’t hit the hills yet.

Miles 4-6.2

9:38, 9:52, 9:24, 8:31

At this point, I was too warm for those DIY arm sleeves.  But did you ever try to get arm sleeves off under a long sleeved shirt?  Yeah, pretty difficult.   But eventually I had to stop and I got them rolled down.

The rest of the course was filled with hills. I tried to run up them but was pretty unsuccessful. So I walked many times during the second half of the race …during every hill.

I didn’t stop at any of the water stops. I wasn’t thirsty.  But by mile 5, I was ravenous.  I usually take a GU every 4 miles of a race.  But without any water, I decided to see if I could get by on no fuel.

Well, by the end I had no all… and the biggest hill was 1/2 mile before the finish line…GRRR!!!

I really wasn’t paying attention to the time on my watch and I walked one last time on the last turn and was shocked to see that the clock said 57:xx!!

I booked it but it was too little, too late, I crossed at 57:28 (57:22 chip time).


My first thought was “Could I have PRed if I didn’t walk up all the hills?!”

Nevertheless, I was content that I ran the first half very well on tired legs and nothing was hurting!!! Besides it was course PR!

I quickly headed to get food. Priorities! The line was long but moved quickly. There was fruit, bagels, lots of delicious homemade goodies (cookies, apple, pumpkin, zucchini breads, etc.) and hot chocolate. Everything was so good!

It was getting late so I retrieved my checked bag and looked for the race results.

Though I was almost 2 minutes faster than last year when I won an AG award, this year I did not. (And they gave out insulated coffee travel mugs. Darn!)


I should have waited around for the awards ceremony but I didn’t because I wanted to get up to the lake. Today was going to be my last day there until next May 😦

Many of our friends had put their boats away for the season but one of our friends from NJ just got a new (bigger) boat and they were anxious to use it.

The weather was absolutely perfect.  And we spent a glorious day on one of the islands: wine, steaks, sunshine, good friends. What more could you ask for?

My hubby and our friends stayed overnight but I had to go home because I promised my friend AJH from VT that I would watch her race in a local duathlon.

This was my 5th time as a spectator and I always enjoy it.  The weather, however, wasn’t as nice as the day before. It was warmer but windy and cloudy so it felt colder.

While Andrea ran the first 2 mile leg, I had hot cider and a freshly made cider donut.  During her 17 mile bike leg, I ran the 2 mile course. By the second 2 mile leg, the sun finally came out. Andrea took off after the race (to hit Target and the outlets.  They don’t have Target in VT!!!) I stopped at Target too, then got my nails done and finally arrived at home to get all those things done that I don’t have time to do during the work week.

So a busy weekend has come to end. Another race done and another one coming next weekend (a 5k this time.)

Happy Running! Did you race this past weekend? Is it getting colder where you live? What fall activities do you enjoy?


14 thoughts on “Great Pumpkin Challenge 10K Race Recap

  1. Congrats on you race! I have run two marathons in a week before so I do not think running a 10k a week after a half is crazy at all:) I am not looking forward to the colder temps with frost in the am. Yuck! Those pumpkins are so cute! I can see where that would be a hard decision.


  2. Holy moly! You are running so strong right now 🙂 You are doing some amazing times! I really can not imagine pushing my self like that. I hope i get to where I can, but for now it is run long and not so fast lol
    The park you ran in look gorgeous. I can not imagine frost on the ground yet lol but f that happened for race day I would be ecstatic 🙂


    • 33 minutes is a good time.

      I am not the traditional runner so you probably shouldn’t listen to me.

      I am faster when I stop for a breather (esp when it is humid) once a mile. Just for a brief walk and usually at a walk stop.

      Some people use intervals and time their stops such as 4 min run, 1 min walk or many different combinations. The Galloway method.

      Sometimes I do run the whole thing but it is rare.

      Good luck. The longer you run, you get more confident and faster.


  3. Congrats on that speedy 10k! I love those races where you don’t feel like you’re going fast but then you see the time and it tells you otherwise 🙂 Those photos from the lake are gorgeous.


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