Beat The Blerch 10K Race Recap

Has it already been 2 weeks since I updated?! This month has been flying by. I remember back in, like, September planning out  the next couple of months and thinking, “Oh man, November is going to be busy…race weekend, bachelorette, Thanksgiving, wedding…” And then I blinked my eyes and I’m already prepping my liver self for some wine tasting this weekend for a college friend’s bachelorette 😉 (Hi Desene!)

Which means…race weekend has already come and gone! I’ll get into details from my race, which are really kinda fun because it was a much different race than any I’ve ever ran before. But first I wanted to check in on October’s running goals – which I mainly set to keep myself on track for my 10K!

A- 11 runs

You may remember that I have been setting three running goals every month, each increasing in difficulty. I got this idea from Becky, who likes to make three goals: one that is an achievable, minimum requirement; one that is challenging but still doable; and a last goal that is a lot more challenging, and would exceed expectations.

Here’s my MapMyRun breakdown:

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A – Do 12 runs: Check! Though I’ll admit I didn’t publish these goals until October 12th, when I already had 4 under my belt. I gave myself a reasonable goal for the rest of the month knowing I would skip a long run the weekend of the 24th, since we were away visiting Russell’s family. I did say this goal was supposed to be the easy one 😉

B – Hit a distance of 5 miles at least twice (Stretch goal=5.5 miles): Did it! Not only did I do a 4.5 miler and two 5+ milers, but my 5 milers were actually both 5.5! I will say that the 5.6 miler to end the month was insanely difficult. I had a side cramp for ALL 54 minutes of the run and had to stop to walk or to pause for a minute and stretch it out at least a dozen times. It was so bad I was convinced I had appendicitis. #hypochondriac

C – Hit 42 miles total: Just barely got it! It helped that the shortest runs I allowed myself were 2.5, and most other weekday runs were between 3.3-3.5. I guess those 5.5 milers helped too!

So hooray for sticking with my goals!

Now for the main event…the reason I even set these goals in the first place…a recap of the Beat The Blerch 10k race!

Pre-race

In case you missed my previous explanation…Beat the Blerch is a race based on this comic about running – one of my faves – titled, “The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances.” The premise of the comic is that The Blerch is a little fat cherub who follows you around when you run and tells you to stop, to slow down, to quit.

Another theme of the comic is that the author, The Oatmeal, runs long distances not as part of a totally wholesome healthy living regime, but mainly in order to justify the gluttonous amount of food that he eats.

And so Beat The Blerch was born – a race that promises good times, and rest stations with not just water and electrolytes, but cake and Nutella too, if you happen to have succumbed to The Blerch.

The fun started Friday night, when I went to pick up my packet:

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A Blerch was already on hand to pass out candy to people waiting, saying, “Anyone need need to carbo-load? Candy has fructose…AND sucrose!”

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I got my packet, then waited in line to have The Oatmeal himself sign my bib! Had a little fangirl moment and told him, “I don’t know why you picked Sacramento, but I’m glad you did!” He responded with a laugh and said, “I don’t know why, but everyone keeps saying that to me…” Apparently he knows we all have a self-loathing attitude about our city 😉

That night, Russell and I went out and ate pizza, salad, and beer, and I woke up in the morning and had some cheese and crackers. Overall, I was conflicted about how I should prep. I’m used to my races being half marathons, where the night-before and morning-of prep is so essential to how you perform. What did I need to do for “just” a 10K?

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Really, all you need is temporary tattoos.

The Race

For the first time since my very first 10K back in September 2013, I decided to ride my bike over to the start/finish line. So I biked the ~1.5 miles to the starting line, joined the herd and started stretching.

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Probably 2 of my favorite details of this race were: 1) The announcer releasing waves was dressed as a taco; and 2) When the race started, they blasted the Circle of Life (Lion King), followed by Part of that World (Little Mermaid). Aaahhhh-mazing.

Though my first half mile was kinda slow, it was smooth sailing after that. The DAY after my terrible last training run (on Halloween), it officially became fall in Sacramento and we have had the temperatures to prove it. With highs dropping from 85 to 55, as soon as it got cool outside and I started running in the 40s in the mornings, my average running pace shot up in speed!

As promised, there was cake at the aid stations:

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My overall takeaway from the race itself was that it was really a breath of fresh air to “treat myself” to a race that was shorter than a half marathon. From the time I hit the 5 mile mark, I pretty much sprinted to the finish line. In a half marathon, you have to be really careful about pacing yourself, but when you’ve only run 5 miles only have 1.2 miles left, why not just empty the tank?

I also noticed that this race was definitely geared toward beginner runners. I saw a lot of people taking walking breaks — it’s actually sometimes nice during a race to know your fellow runners are in fact human 😉

Post-race/results

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The race ended on the same baseball field as my first half marathon! Super fun way to finish a race.

My official time was 55:33…which was a new PR!

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P.S. How cool is it that Beat The Blerch provides race photos for FREE?! Also, how obnoxious cool are my Fabletics leggings?

I seriously doubted that I would even get close to PR’ing, I just hoped to get under 60 minutes. But I somehow managed to average 8:57/mile, which is a full 30 seconds faster than any of my long training runs, and my total time is a whopping 16 seconds faster than my fastest 10K race time 😉

I was also happy to see that all the goodies I had passed up on the course were available at the finish line….

NUTELLA SANDWICHES!

NUTELLA SANDWICHES!

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CAKE! POTATO CHIPS!

Overall, it was a fun race. I really love that the folks at Beat The Blerch promote some kind of balance between being active and indulging – not sure I could ever get behind chowing down on cake on mile 3 of a race, but I like the sentiment behind it. 🙂

Had to grab a picture with a Blerch!

Had to grab a picture with a Blerch!

Everything you could ever need to know about me is explained by this picture.

Everything you could ever need to know about me is explained by this picture.

Up next for me is a few similar distance races over the next month: Russell and I are most likely going to do the Run to Feed the Hungry (where I set my previous PR!) on Thanksgiving, and I’m running a leg of the California International Marathon a couple weeks after.

Though I’m not setting any running goals in stone this month, I am planning to continue doing my two weekday morning runs, bootcamp and weight training, hopefully conquer those two races, then re-assess in December and get a training plan nailed down for my epic return to the half marathon that started it all for me – the Shamrock’n Half!

What’s your favorite distance to run?

What has been your favorite post-race goodie handed out at a finish line?

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