Great Pumpkin Challenge 10K Race Recap


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October 14, 2017 – 9:30 am Saratoga Springs. NY

I ran this race for the past three years and really enjoyed it (even 2014 in the rain.) Apparently I always wear the same shirt too.

My 10K PR is 57:03 and as you can see, I was close last year but not in 2015.  Who knew what would happen this year??

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 without any speed drills, it seemed unlikely that this would happen anyway.

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 a jacket to leave behind and put on after the race.

When I got up it was almost 60 so I changed to a tee shirt but almost tempted to wear a tank one last time (and should have  – it was humid!!!).

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 8:15 am.

I didn’t park in the parking lot near the finish line since it is always so congested.  Instead I parked in one where there were real restrooms and I had to walk to the start. I parked there last year.

As soon as I got out of my car, I realized how humid it was. I wished I had worn a tank.

long sleeved grey tech shirt

I picked up my race a packet, entered my raffle ticket in one of the raffles (this year they were not very tempting).  I also voted for my favorite in the pumpkin decorating contest.

bumping in Dr Tom 2 weeks in a row

Then I chatted with the other runners. There were so many runners that I knew – from other races, from running groups and even the ladies from Wineglass.

Finally it was time for the race to start. Many of the runners were in costume. I thought about it but I was too lazy ( but if I did I would  have looked like Christina above – Wonder Woman).

I lined up with Judith and my running group buddy Holly.  We started not too far back because although it is chip-timed, they give out awards by gun time. (Not that I was going to win one.  There were several runners in my age group at this race that I knew were faster!)

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

Miles 1-3

8:51, 9:17, 8:59

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 in my age group, they quickly left me in the dust.

pic from the Gazette

Right at the beginning of mile 2, I passed a young male runner who had collapsed and someone was administering CPR on him.  This really unnerved me.  I slowed down (see my split time above.) (It turns how that they got his heart started and he was taken to the hospital and will be ok.)

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

But it was humid so I stopped at the water stop and walked around mile 1.5.

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

The 5k ended and my time was just under 28 minutes!!. Crazy! I didn’t feel like I was running that fast.

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

Miles 4-6.2

9:40, 10:07, 9:34, 10:00 (.2)

At this point, I was sweating and 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 also stopped and walked at both water stops.

Well, by the end, I had no energy… at 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 58:09  (58:02 chip time).

Not a PR and not even a course PR.  Not a bad finish time but I ran the race poorly.  My 2nd half was over 2 minutes slower than the first. Yes, it was hillier but I was dragging and let it pull me down and walked more than I probably needed to.

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.

I came in 6th. Looking forward to turning 65 in May.

Though I was almost 2 minutes faster than two years ago when I won an AG award, this year I did not.

I waited around for the awards ceremony because both Holly (in the 5k) and Judith in the 10K got awards.

I also finally found Judy and we chatted for awhile. Jen, Jeri & Chris (the other Wineglass ladies) went out to breakfast.  Pretty tempting but remember I have a half marathon in a month.

So I walked back to my car, left over my stuff and headed out.
It was slow but very enjoyable.  I took photos and re-traced most of the race route as well as ran on some of the trails. My biggest problem (other than my tired body) was that there was a huge high school cross-country meet going on and I kept getting in the way of the runners.
In the end, I covered 4.8 more miles for an even 11 on the day. I deserved a root beer float and dinner out, right?
Race PS:
I woke up Sunday with a full blown cold. Headache, sore throat, stuffy nose.
That might explain my lack of energy the day before.
Happy Running! Did you race this past weekend? 
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13 thoughts on “Great Pumpkin Challenge 10K Race Recap

  1. Poor guy needing CPR. I don’t care who you are, it’s traumatic just to see.But I’m so glad that he survived.
    I hope that your cold gets better soon. There’s a lot going around here too and it’s yucky. Do you get flu jabs where you are?

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  2. It would be hard to keep running and stay focused after seeing someone getting CPR – dang, poor guy! Glad to hear he lived.

    Sounds like this race is getting more popular, which stinks for your AG award possibilities – but still, a fun race overall so how can you not do it?

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  3. Pingback: Running Update: 10.9.17-10.15.17 – My First 5K and More…

  4. Humid? Really? I thought it was actually chilly. I had a throwaway long sleeved throwaway tee in the beginning and I was happy I had it. Maybe you felt that way because you weren’t feeling well (or getting sick).

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