June 29, 2013

Hot, Humid and Hilly: Esprit de She Race Recap!

On Thursday night, myself and 665 other women ran the inaugural Esprit de She race in Cary, North Carolina.  Two races were offered, a 5k or a 10k.  Since I had not run a 10k in over a year, I thought why not?  The majority of runners chose the 5k and they were lucky given the steamy night!

Tom and I drove over from Wilmington after I completed 9 holes of golf.  Sounds crazy, especially since I walked and carried my golf bag for two hours. However, we still arrived in Cary at about 2:00pm after a short stop to pick up sandwiches at Subway!  After a detour to our hotel and getting my gear, food and fuel ready we left for the event venue.   Packet pickup started at 4:00 pm and we arrived at the Koka Amphitheatre in time to be one of the first for pickup.  It was simple and after less than five minutes, I had a bright yellow nylon bag filled with goodies, my race bib and race shirt. We quickly returned to the hotel so I could rest, hydrate and eat prior to the race.
Great swag: nylon tote bag, race shirt, JR Watkins foot creme, Luna bar,
magazine, Athleta catalog, Arnica pain reliever

After an afternoon of relaxing and mostly watching TV and playing on my iPad, it was time to leave for the race.
Trying to smile, but not excited with the weather!
So after arriving a few minutes after 6:00pm, we made our way through the parking lot and amphitheatre to the starting line of the race.  Tom was the official photographer once I got behind the line and he managed very well!
A sea of women waiting to race and the sun came out!
We were off after the race announcer gave us a few final instructions and played the Star Spangled Banner.  It was a loosely run start with just a chip timing system and no corrals.  My first mile went fairly well, but it was obvious with the high temperature and humidity, not to mention the sun, that the race would be hard.  With my iPod playing my favorite tunes, I chugged along and enjoyed watching all the runners, especially the moms who brought their young daughters for the 5k.  As the miles ticked by, I questioned whether I could even keep 10 minute mile pace.  I struggled with the heat and at one water stop, one of the men dressed as a Greek warrior (sorry no pic) offered to throw me in the lake as he saw me dumping lots of water on my head.
Just past mile 3 and still smiling!
After the turnoff for the 5k runners, the 10k group went back onto the path that wove around the lake.  At the end, there was a hill and then a turnaround section that was not too bad.  But after that section came a huge long hill that was a killer in the heat.  At around mile four, I decided to revert to run/walk using a 4:1 ratio.  I still kept a pace of around 9:30, but it was tough.  Finally, at around 5.8 miles I started to walk and this wonderful woman came from behind, asked if I was a 10k runner and said "you are breaking 1 hour, come on!"  She gave me just the pep talk I needed to complete the race strong.  I struggled to keep up initially, but at 6 miles I let loose and ran the final distance with a pace on my Garmin of 7:10.  It was fun passing at least 8 people on my way to the finish line, although I know you are not supposed to count!
After race treats featured a champagne bar and many tapas
style sandwich choices...YUM!

Thrilled to be done!
While results have been posted, the 10k is only showing gun time, not chip time.  According to the computer printout on Thursday night, my time was 58.55 and I was 2nd (out of 7) in my age group and 52nd out of 195 overall.  Sadly they only gave prizes to the overall top three places.  This was the only slightly unhappy moment I had all evening!  This women's only race series has multiple events across the country so be sure to check out their site for a race near you.

Disclaimer:  While I have made many positive comments about this race series, I paid for my entry and was not compensated in any way by Esprit de She.

Have you done an all women race?  What do you think of the fun, feminine atmosphere?


  1. Congrats!!! And your outfit is just sooooo cute! I just LOVE that shirt!!!

    1. Thanks Mindy! I made the shirt, or rather decorated a Target C9 Champion shirt for the race!

  2. Congrats!

    I didn't think that I would want to do a race with all women because I enjoy running with my husband, but as I become more confident in my running ability, I do find myself wanting to run a race like this. I think if Esprit de She would have an event in Louisiana I would definitely look into it!

    1. Thanks Kira, Actually, the women's races are just as fun as mixed races. Who knows, maybe Esprit de She will add more races to their calendar next year For now, the closet to you would be Houston.

  3. Replies
    1. Thanks Monica....last race until Dumbo Challenge in California!

  4. great job despite the heat and humidity! This is exactly why i don't race in the summer, I hate it!