It’s been a while since I have laced up my sneakers to”race”. Looking back, my last race was the Solstice Sprint 5k in June. So when approached to run the 10k portion of the Roller Coaster Race over Labor Day weekend, I jumped at the chance.
I “jumped” not so much because I was planning on racing the 10k, especially with the Lehigh Valley Marathon on September 11, 2016, BUT because it’s been a long and somewhat lonely training cycle. Most of my summer has been focused on developing speed, endurance AND remaining injury free (not an easy task), so I have forgoed some of my favorite races.
So, with the blessing of Coach James to use this race as a workout, I signed up for the Roller Coaster Race 10k.
Up bright and early Sunday morning, Mark (whom I had coerced into running the 5k) and I headed to Lake Compounce. Packet pickup was a breeze. All I had to do was show my e-mail confirmation and ID (which I forgot in the car) and I was handed my bib along with a cute women’s tech shirt.
Labor Day weekend has a lot of races in Connecticut, so I was not sure how well attended the Roller Coaster Race would be, but I was surprised at the number of 5k and 10k participants at the start line.
The 5k and 10k courses were the same, with the 10k course looping around the park twice. I was expecting the race to be on a completely paved course, so when the course moved toward a gravel road, I was not happy. Dealing with some achilles and ankle issues the past couple of weeks AND running a marathon in less than a week, I treaded lightly.
The first part of the course took runners through the Camp Bear Creek, located next to Lake Compounce. Smells of bacon and campfires permeated the air but I plugged forward. Runners then looped back toward the park, through the start line, along an access road and finally into the Lake Compounce.
Running through an empty amusement park, which in the matter of hours would be filled with people, was a great experience.
After exiting the park – the 10k runners did a second loop of the course.
This part of the race was enjoyable, not because it was 3 more miles BUT because I was pretty much running solo at that point. I have a tendency to not believe I can run at marathon pace without the “push” of other runners around me. Nerves have been surfacing over the past week, mainly of how I would perform this coming weekend in Lehigh. There are approximately 2,500 marathon participants, and really how many of those runners would be running my exact pace.
So running solo, feeling comfortable, AND glancing at my watch to see that I was on pace was a confidence booster.
Post race refreshments were plentiful – but I held off from the chips, cookies and bagels and opted for some cold water and later a Yasso salted caramel yogurt bar.
I thought that Lake Compounce opened at 10:00AM but then it was announced that did not open until 11:00AM, so Mark and I hung out to see the awards ceremony.
It was a complete surprise when Mark checked the results on-line and figured out that we both placed in our age groups – Yeah for small races!
After picking up our awards, we quickly changed out of our running clothes (as best we could) and headed into Lake Compounce for a couple of hours of amusement park fun.
So what did I think of this race?
Thoughts of the Roller Coaster Race at Lake Compounce
- For a small race, the Roller Coaster Race was a well organized. Races that have all their ducks in a row get a huge thumbs up from me.
- I loved that the race shirt I received was female cut. I can’t tell you how many of my unisex race shirts have become night shirts.
- Good post-race refreshments. Yes, there were a lot of cookies and chips but also fruit and water. The Yasso Greek yogurt bars were a sweet (but not too sweet) treat.
- If you include the price of parking and the admission to Lake Compounce, the cost for the race was reasonable. Mark and I had a blast in the park once it opened, especially the bumper cars!
- I loved that there was an option for non-runners. There were many groups in the park wearing “runner” shirts and “rider” shirts. It’s a great way to bring the whole family, even if not everyone runs.
- Quick race results. I would say after about 30 minutes I received a “Congratulations” e-mail on finishing the race, and within the hour, my results were posted on line.
Mark and I had a lot of fun running and riding at the Roller Coaster race on Labor Day at Lake Compounce.
If you are interested in “Running and Riding” and are living in the Texas, Washington DC or California area, check out their website as there are still some Roller Coaster Races planned for 2016.
Disclaimer – I (but not my husband) was provided a race entry fee for my use and review. All opinions (and race times) are my own.