My friend Mel had registered for the 5K, and I had registered for the 10K. A few of my coworkers had also signed up. Linda and her husband were running the 5K, and Olivia and her sister, Monika were running the 10K. After work that Thursday, I picked Mel up at her place and we drove to the race together. It's just much easier to carpool because this race wasn't just a hop, skip and a jump away from where we lived, so having a travel buddy was great. We weren't sure what the parking situation was going to be like, and let's be honest, if we did get lost, at least we were together. Lucky for us, Linda's husband had picked up all of our packets on Wednesday, so we already had our bibs. One less thing to worry about.
We arrived in plenty of time. The 10K wasn't set to start until 6:30 pm, and the 5K at 6:45 pm. Mel and I hung out around my car for a bit while we pinned our bibs on, and made sure we had everything we needed (since we honestly weren't sure how far the start was from where we had parked). We decided to walk over to the tents where everything was set up, and we started searching for port-a-potties. None in sight. We finally overheard a woman talking about how the restrooms were over a hill in a small building. So we ventured that way. OF COURSE, the woman's line was out the door and onto the sidewalk leading to the building. Mel and I waited a good 20 minutes to use the restrooms. While waiting I told Mel that if I missed the 10K start, I would run the 5K with her. As we waited I noticed I had forgot to put my Sportwatch on, and was hoping that after I used the restroom I would still have time to run back to my car to get it.
Mel and I had finally made it into the small building, and between the men's and women's restrooms, there was a table of food set up. First off, gross! Second, the cut up onions for whatever they were serving were nauseating. Mel and I finally made it into the little women's room, and there were 4 stalls, strike that, 3 stalls, one was out of commission. There was a roll of toilet paper being passed around because some of the stalls were out, so I grabbed a handful and went into one of the stalls. I set my water bottle (filled with electrolyte) on the floor, and quickly used the restroom, so I could get out of there. I noticed the toilet kept bubbling, which was worrisome, but it still flushed... slowly. Just as I was about the leave, water was running into my stall on the floor from the stall next to me. I quickly picked up my water bottle, washed my hands and bolted.
Mel was already outside, so we quickly walked back to my vehicle so I could get my watch, and then back to the starting area (which wasn't very well marked). Mel and I kind of stood there and hoped I was in the right place. Shortly thereafter, Olivia and Monika came up from behind me. Mel and I wished each other good luck, and she stepped off into the grass next to the starting area. This was Olivia's first 10K, so she said she was just going to stay with me. I told her I had my watch set to 1:2 minute run/walk intervals, and she said she was okay with that. Before we knew it, we were off without any warning which I thought was weird.
Olivia and I had made it about a mile into the race, and we were dying it was so warm out! We passed a group of volunteers, and they asked us if we were having fun yet? I responded, "Sure, but I wish it was a little cooler!" Around mile 3 we reached a water stop (finally). The 10K course made its away around Sonnenberg Gardens, and then weaved in and out of the town of Canandaigua before eventually meeting back up with the 5K course around mile 4 of the 10K. Around mile 5 we had finally reached another water stop. Unfortunately, they had run out of water (see below). The race finished back at Sonnenberg Gardens just short of the starting line. The majority of the course was flat with a gradual hill that we had to run down and eventually back up. Olivia and I finished the race in 1:14:31, which is a P.R. for me! I grabbed a bottle of water and chugged it (probably not the best idea, but much needed).
Group shot with the ladies!
I met up with Mel, and walked to my car to put away my water bottle and other running gear that I didn't need for the after party. I also grabbed a long sleeve shirt because I figure once I started to cool down I would start to get cold. We met back up with Olivia, Monika, her friend and Linda and her husband. We made our way over to the drink tent and the line was backed up so far, but Linda and her husband reassured it moved fast (which it did). With our race registration we were given vouchers for 2 free drinks (great perk)!
Twilight after party
Once we got our drinks we all got in line for food which was equally as long. I grabbed a hot dog, and we all ventured to an open area in grass where we could sit, relax, eat and enjoy the entertainment. Monika had grabbed a small container of plums and brought it over to where we were sitting for us all to share. It started to get dark out, so after we all had finished eating we took a couple pictures, and decided to head out.
Great race with a great friend!
Hangin' with Liv!
I had to work early the next morning, and knew it would be late when I finally got home and into bed. Mel and I started walking back to the car just as they were starting to hand out awards. In all the commotion of getting food after the race, I had lost Linda, so I text her to tell her we were heading out, and to let me know if she had placed in her age group. She placed 2nd!
As a little side note: I just have to say, the drive to and from the race were equally as fun as the race itself. Having Mel as a co-pilot was great, and we always have so much to talk about. I wasn't even paying attention when we got close to Mel's place (as we were talking), that I missed when she said "turn right here," and I continued to drive right by her complex! (Sorry about that, Mel!)
Now for the Pros and Cons of this race:
Evening race - this is a lot of fun if you're into night races.
5K and 10K race - This offers something for everyone, runners and walkers alike.
Beautiful scenery - Sonnenberg Gardens and Mansion is beautiful, you also get to run around some of the residential areas of Canandaigua.
Free food and drink - Post race refreshments included free food (hot dogs, potato salad, fruit, etc), and beverages (water, gatorade, powerade), and 2 free alcoholic beverages with your race registration.
On course water shortage- This is a major complaint! It was very warm during this race, and the only water stops on the 10K course were at mile 3 and mile 5. Not only that, by the time Olivia and I got to the mile 5 water stop, they were out of water! This is most likely due to the fact that the mile 5 water stop for the 10K was also the mile 2 water stop for the 5K (we had merged on to the 5K course at this point). So every single runner hit this stop. I still had electrolyte in my water bottle, but that still doesn't excuse the fact that a majority of runners had nothing to keep them hydrated at this point, especially when it was still so warm out.
No Port-a-Potties- I get that they're gross, but the only restrooms available were the small restrooms in the visitors area on the Garden grounds (see above). It was extremely frustrating waiting in a line that was at least 20 minutes long to use a restroom before the race. I understand that they're trying to keep the grounds clean, however, when you're hosting a large race, port-a-potties are a necessity.
QOTD: Do you prefer to run in the evening or in the morning? Ever run into a shortage of on course "refreshments" (water, electrolyte, gus, etc)?