2010 was the year I ran three different 10Ks in three months: Midnight Run in Dunedin, Moss Park in Orlando and Ace of Clubs in Clearwater. Out of the three events my least favorite was the Ace of Clubs. The race course goes through the beautiful Ream Wilson trail, however I wasn't a big fan of the hills. I know what you are thinking, I live in Florida, there are no hills. Let me tell you, there are hills or at least 10% inclines throughout this trail. In addition, to start the Ace of Clubs you had to run on the Booth Mullen Road overpass. I was not a happy camper. As if that wasn't enough, in order to finish, you once again go over the Booth Mullen Road overpass and while to your right you could see the finish line, you were instructed to go left for what felt like 3 more miles. Maybe it was 1/2 mile, I don't remember. All I know is that I was so deflated after sprinting over that overpass only to be told I had some more miles to go. Again, I was not a happy camper.
Fast forward to a few months ago I found out about the Hooters 2 Hooters 10K. As I understood it, the race was supposed to be from the original Hooters location on Bay to Bay to another Hooters in Clearwater. The concept sounded interesting. The idea of eating chicken wings after the 10k was the extra push I needed to sign up. Little did I know, this was just the old Ace of Clubs 10k rebranded.
I must admit, I was a bit skeptical at first, but decided to go ahead and sign up. The Ream Wilson Trail is mostly shaded and it would be a change of pace from running around the lake at our community. I convinced a friend of mine to sign up and got my family to come cheer us bright and early on Sunday morning.
The drive to Clearwater wasn't too bad as there wasn't a lot of traffic at 6:00 am. There was a bit of a breeze so I was glad to have packed my Ego Girl hoodie, thanks Ericca! Just like any other race, there was the line for the packet pick up, a line for the chip and of course the potty line. I had planned on running with my camelbak and was debating whether I should keep it or not. So glad I listened to Leigh!
The race started about 5 minutes late, which wasn't too bad except my legs started to feel sore. One of the best things about going to races is the people watching. You get to see what other gear/shoes people are wearing. And of course there's always the people playing dress up. When we noticed these guys running around dressed up like Hooters Girls it was hard not to laugh.
Even though there were still some hills, this new course was much better. I'm not sure if I've become a better runner or just having run that course before helped me, but I got my first 10K PR of 59:41. Sure, I didn't win my age group, but I won my race. I went back to a course I hated, and I came back with a PR. Not bad for an early Sunday morning!
Have you or would you return to a race you didn't like the first time?