Sunday, November 28, 2010

Race Recap: Run Wild For a Child 10k (2010)

Yeah, yeah... My 5-mile race on Thursday got the best of me over the long weekend. In between double helpings of mashed potatoes and mushroom gravy, I somehow talked myself into believing that I'd be able to run a sub-50-minute 10k based on that trail race alone. I thought I found a good race (ok, so it was just a "close to home" race) to try this goal on. And I knew I was plenty carbo-loaded.

I wasn't sure if I'd have a fast race due to lingering muscle pain from XC racing a couple days before + an 8-mile post-feast run, but at least there was to be one huge redeeming factor: This race promised more people in costumes.
Run Wild For a Child is a fundraising race held every Thanksgiving weekend in Golden Gate Park. Registrants are asked to bring a toy (or a donation), which is then given to the San Francisco Firefighters Toy Program. The toys are not only given to children in need during the holidays, they are also given throughout the year to shelters for abused women and children, inner-city schools, children's cancer wards, pediatric AIDS units, and to families who have lost their homes to fires, floods, or other disasters. I may not be the biggest fan of children, but I'm a big fan of things that are nice. This charity is very nice, and I knew that even if I didn't run well, I was supporting a great cause.

In light of the recent turkey-themed race I did on Thursday, this race also had a theme: TOYS! Participants were encouraged to dress up as their favorite toy and take part in the parade/judging afterward. Since I decided on doing this race the morning of, I didn't have time to scrape together a costume. I did have time to enjoy all the costumes around me, though.

Mile 1 (7:41):
It was chilly this morning while we were waiting for the race to start, and it certainly didn't help that we were waiting in the shadows of the de Young museum tower. I've never seen anything like this before, but an instructor actually led a warm-up to keep us all moving. The warm-up involved jogging in place, light stretching, and a whole lot of energy. I've never seen a group so big doing synchronized movements before a race. There were pace times posted near the start so people could line up in an appropriate order. I moved up to the 8 minute/mile group and took off with others in a similar bracket.

Some joker spacing out during the warm-up.

Mile 2 (7:37):
At mile 2 the 5k racers split off and this helped keep the road free. I was impressed at how well this race was set up so people knew where to start, where to go, and how open the roads were. I had no problem picking a few people to draft and hope that they'd pace me to the halfway point. I also had very little issues focusing on running some decent tangents.

Strawberry Shortcake looking a little lost.

Mile 3 (7:39):
During this mile, I was able to watch the last of the 5kers making their first loop around the Panhandle. It was there that I got to cheer on the best costumes I saw all morning: a family of bubbles! They were the last people running the 5k course, but for good reason. Not only is 3.1 miles a lot for two tiny children, it's a lot for anyone who's in a bubble! I even got to watch one of the little ones take a tumble -- it was only adorable because he laughed as he couldn't stand back up.

Cutest costumes ever!

Mile 4 (8:01):
This mile felt like a long, gradual uphill back into Golden Gate Park. As I learned from doing a lot of smaller (and larger) less-manned races, I brought my own water bottle so I wouldn't have to fight with the crowds at the one and only water stop. I was really glad to do have done this again.

My brother used to kick my ass at the Sorry! board game when we were growing up, so it was a fun trip down memory lane to see these pieces out on the course! Not sure what the dancing monkey with cymbals had to do with the game though.

Mile 5 (7:36):
This mile included the sharp-grade hill leading to Stow Lake and, frankly, I'm surprised it was my fastest mile. As soon as I got to the top of the hill, I ran to the side of the course and gagged. Nothing came up, so I continued to run. Then I gagged again. And again. I kept running, gagging two more times while in motion. Figuring that this was merely a reflex for "sprinting" up a long hill, I didn't get scared about losing my breakfast and booked it on the downhill. I have now deemed gagging as a "turbo power" and I will no longer be scared of puking during races.

Gingerbread Man, Ms. Pac-Man, and Inky

Mile 6 (8:03):
After a steep downhill from Stow Lake, there was only one more long climb up Lincoln Blvd. in Golden Gate Park before we could consider the hilliest parts of the race over. Convenient, since where the hills ended, the race ended.

G.I. Jooooeeeee
Mile .3 (2:00):
I heard the announcer shouting finishers names from around the corner and tried my hardest to sprint to the finish line. This was a challenge as we ended on an uphill through the tiniest finishers chute ever into the Music Concourse. I knew I was going to break my PR by more than a couple minutes, and I was ecstatic about that.

Pippy Longstocking dancing to some post-race music.
Am I seeing double?!
6.3-mile splits (48:42) -- a 2:06 PR!
1: 7:41
2: 7:37
3: 7:39
4: 8:01
5: 7:36
6: 8:03
.3: 2:00
Air Temp: 48F

Average Pace: 7:44 min/mile (7.7 mph)
Overall Place: 112 out of 619
Gender Place: 18 out of 320
Age/Gender Place: 6 out of 67


  1. Great job! What fun costumes! I do like the bubbles.

  2. I ran the 5K!

    Bummed I missed my PR by 9 seconds though....was having a really "off" running day and actually had to take a walk break. In the finish line pictures my friend's boyfriend took, I look like I was dying. Boo. =\

    I really LOVED the bubble family though! They were awesome!

  3. Holy moly, what a great race!! Congrats on a 2-minute PR, a spectacular accomplishment considering the gagging and picture-taking! Love that family of bubbles. Some of those costumes were very elaborate, I'm impressed.

  4. YOU freakin ruled this race... like RULED it.. Holy crap 13.1 here she comes!

  5. Awesome PR! And those costumes are sweet... great job getting pictures. I'm gonna have to steal some ideas.

  6. You are a MACHINE, woman! Congrats on another PR!

  7. Great race A - that is some speedy work. Congratulations on the PR? Did you go in costume?

  8. Awesome job girl! 10Ks are the most evil of all races and I would have barfed all over if I ran as fast as you! Love all the pictures!

  9. You’re officially too fast for me now.

    I’ll always cherish our 5K but not that half marathon because you left me in your dust at the start.

    Happy holidays,


  10. Hi A,
    You are freaking amazing!! Holy cow, that is one fast 10K:) You just kicked my PR in the butt! Nice job! Maybe I need to move to Cali and start running on those hills too! Then I could become a super stud runner like you:)

    Wowzer Lady, just think of what your times will be like next year!?! Congrats to you A, you are awesome!

  11. Great PR, well done! I haven't done a 10k race in two years now. What a fun race! Love the bubbles!

  12. People dressed as toys!

    Kick-ass PR, *especially* after Thanksgiving. Big congrats. I don't think I could have run even if I'd tried. And running through gagging? Officially crazyass hardcore.

    Next year though you do it in costume, right? ;-)

  13. The green army man was super cool.


  14. Okay, I'm finally catching up on your blog! You dis SO awesome! WOW! And you know, I've heard of this race but I never knew people dressed up like this. Fun! I may have to check it out next year.

    And now you know about Stow Lake! But we have to run to the top of Strawberry Hill one day.

    I've been to one other race with synchronized warm ups (See Jane Run event) and quite frankly, it scared me :)

  15. I feel like those costumes were too amazing. Really, your pictures captured some of the most badas$ race costumes I've ever laid eyes on.

    Really cool recap!

  16. You are unstoppable!! Love. love. LOVE Your blog!! Loving the photos from the post as well! Come stop by! Looking forward to reading up on your adventures :)

    You got some serious running MOJO!

  17. Congrats on the PR! What a great fundraising event, it's always nice when part of the race proceeds go to benefit people in the community. Love the costumes too, fun event!