I made my decision to officially sign up for this year’s Redneck Romp 10-miler in Wachapreague, Virginia, after I was on Facebook and saw some of the food that would be at the after-party.
Anyone that knows me probably knows my love of food. Facebook even put a post on my News Feed today, saying that Facebook thought I’d like to look back on a picture of some fries I ate last year (they were delicious, but it wasn’t something I necessarily needed to be reminded of).
The Redneck Romp was already a race I’d been interested in, and I loved the Run for the Animals earlier this year, which has at least one of the same people involved with organizing the race, from what I could tell.
I mailed in my registration with the early entry fee of $45, and on race day — today, Saturday, Nov. 28 — my friend Rick and I drove down from Salisbury together.
I liked the course and the small-town race atmosphere — Wachapreague’s population in 2010 was 232, according to Census data.
As I’ve noted previously in this blog, I’m not having a fast year compared with some of my previous race times. After my 9:24-per-mile pace at the Across the Bay 10K, I didn’t have high hopes as far as my time for this race.
I was hoping to at least come in under an hour and 30 minutes, but it ended up taking me 1:36:48 to tackle the 10 miles. That’s a 9:41 pace, from what I saw on the results sheet.
Although it’s my new slowest 10-mile race, it’s still faster than I would have run for a training run.
During the first half of the race, I was struggling with some shin pain. I stopped a few times to roll out my ankles and walk a little bit. That pain did end up going away — normally at about 4 miles or so it does — but then during the second half of the race, I felt like I was battling breathing issues.
I was trying to make it to certain points before walking, but ended up feeling like I had to walk at times, and I did.
While I wanted to feel good about my time — and I’m still not beating myself up about it — as I saw my mileage, I knew I wasn’t going to PR or even get under 1:30.
While in between mile markers 6 and 7, I decided I’d walk at Mile 8. But then, I saw on my watch that mile had been 9:54, which wasn’t very motivating, and I stopped to walk at that point.
I started out relatively fast. The 10-mile runners started out with those running the 5K, and with the crowd of runners ahead of me, I felt like I was near the back of the pack.
The first mile I ran in 8:26, according to my watch. I never even broke 9 minutes for a mile for any of the other miles.
Part of the course was a gravel road, but a lot of the other parts of the course had a seemingly steep camber/slant on the side of the road, so it was tough to run too far to the side. I ran closer to the middle when possible.
It was a very rural race, and for much of the course, I was near two other runners — we would pass each other at times. Near the end, I was by myself. I was happy when I saw the markings on the ground and the balloons that were there to mark turns to ensure I was going the right way, because I couldn’t see any runners in front of me.
The start line was scenic, and although the roads were not closed, there was hardly any traffic. The gravel road area went through the woods, and I think I even saw some hunters, which was fitting for the race’s name.
I also enjoyed the post-race food. I had chili — the meat version I had included venison from a young hunter — with shredded cheese and tortilla chips, peanut butter cookies, cornbread, a banana and a cup of craft beer.
I didn’t win anything for my age group, although I did end up coming in second — out of two runners — in the Female 25-29 age group.
The weather was beautiful for a late November day, and I ran in a short-sleeved shirt and shorts. I even got hot during the last mile or so.
I would definitely come back and run this race again. Maybe next year, I’ll be fast enough to win one of the unique awards.
Splits, according to my watch:
Mile 1: 8:26
Mile 2: 9:42
Mile 3: 9:46
Mile 4: 10:07
Mile 5: 9:26
Mile 6: 9:47
Mile 7: 9:54
Mile 8: 9:30
Mile 9: 10:24
Mile 10: 9:17
(My watch also tracked 51 seconds for .07 — I forgot to turn off my watch right away.)