Pure elation. That’s the only way to describe how I felt winning today’s inaugural Fleet Feet San Diego Slurpee 10K. **Disclaimer — the race was not Fleet Feet sanctioned, the course was not certified, and no one else ran.**
As everyone should be aware, July 11 is a sacred day. It is 7-11, and hence the day of free Slurpees for all at the gas-station chain 7-Eleven. The idea of doing a Slurpee run was not originally mine, so I must give credit to my Fleet Feet manager Katy Puckett. I often run during my mandatory work break, and today, she jokingly suggested I run to 7-Eleven, drink a Slurpee, and run back.
I was in. Immediately.
As I started my run, I realized my first mistake. I forgot to warm up — it cost me precious seconds, and I know I will lose sleep over my lack of preparation.
Thankfully, the hot afternoon aided me. I was dripping sweat and starting to get thirsty within the first half mile. I purposefully left my handheld water bottle behind. No need for it to slow me down, plus without it, I was guaranteed to be parched.
My Slurpee 10K was far too disorganized at first, and I didn’t even know how far I was going to run. The goal was to run hard for the first half, then make sure I had a good lead on my competition while downing the tasty Slurpee. That way I would know how hard to run the back half.
“No one else was really running against you, and the whole idea is silly anyway.” These are the words of haters, and they obviously don’t understand what happened out on that blistering Carmel Valley Road course.
I realized my watch was exactly at 5K distance when I pulled into the 7-Eleven (I wanted to do 5 miles originally). At that point, race-day adrenaline kicked in, and I finally knew my true calling — the Slurpee 10K was born.
Instead of taking my time during my sugar intermission, speed became the primary goal. I lapped my watch at the 3.1 mark and immediately paused it at the doors. Then horror set in; there was a long line. Thankfully 7-Eleven sensed something special was happening. They had an employee posted up, ready to dispense Slurpees at light speed. He took care of the six people in front of me, even smoothly handling kid requests for multiple flavors (JUST PICK ONE AND GO).
Preet locked eyes with me, and he knew his skills were needed. He filled up the small Slurpee (thank God they don’t give away massive ones) in seconds, but his warning to drink it fast, or else it would expand and overflow, was unnecessary. I was out the door and was diving in.
I made several mistakes in my first Slurpee 10K. First, why wasn’t someone there set up with a Slurpee ready to go for me? That would have been massively helpful. And second, why did I think using the straw was good technique? The straw led to brain-freeze central, and taking the lid off and tipping the cup up would have been far superior.
Ouch. Like, seriously, ouch.
As I downed that cold, perfect frozen Coke goodness, I started to feel the pressure. What if someone found out my race plan, and what if that person was closing in? I wanted to enjoy my Slurpee, but I had no time for complacency. I finished off the last bit of liquid, dropped my head, started my watch back up, and took off for 5K No. 2.
At this point, I knew I was doing a full 10K. It was destined (or it just made OCD sense, whatever you want to believe), and I needed to finish what I started.
My first quarter mile following the Slurpee aid station was a breeze, but I quickly started suffering from my sugar rush. Then came my first burp, and it was a big one.
There are two long hills on the way back to Fleet Feet from the 7-Eleven. I lumbered up both of them, belching as a result of the carbonation the whole way.
Still, I was on pace for a negative split. NO ONE HAS EVER NEGATIVE SPLIT THE FLEET FEET SAN DIEGO SLURPEE 10K BEFORE. I knew I had to finish strong, and I could taste the finish line. Actually it was Coke Slurpee aftertaste, but it was sweet line a finish line.
I added two out-and-back sections to get to the proper mileage. Maybe I yelled at a few pedestrians who were blocking the sidewalk. Perhaps I made some gestures to a few cars who decided they had the right of way on a green light. They deserved it for not understanding my urgency.
As my eyes locked on Fleet Feet, they teared up a bit. Going into the day, no one gave me a chance at winning a Slurpee 10K. No one would have guessed it would happen. But I proved all of the doubters wrong. “What are you even talking about,” they will say, faking ignorance to make up for their unbelief.
I stumbled back in to the store and immediately sat down in triumph — not because I ran too hard at all. “I did it,” I exclaimed, as my eyes started seeing stars.
Everyone just stared. Awestruck, I’m sure. So confused that they forgot to give me my medal.
My Fleet Feet San Diego Slurpee 10K win won’t go down in the history books. 7-Eleven and Fleet Feet both refuse to sign off on making the event results, and the race in general, official for some reason. But I know deep down what I accomplished — a feat no one else wanted to take on. Or maybe they would have, if I had told anyone ahead of time. We will never know for sure.
Here are the official stats:
Mile 1: 7:03.8, mile 2: 6:26.6, and mile 3: 6:24.5.
First 5K: 20:33.
Slurpee chug: 4:04.
Mile 4.1, 6:21.3, mile 5.1: 6:19.1, and mile 6.1: 6:03.4.
Total time: 43.58.
Elevation gained: 194 feet.
Heart rate: really low. Like surprisingly low. I barely ran hard to get that effort. Definitely don’t check my Garmin or Strava heart-rate data. You should just believe me. All of the other websites out there are trying to spread misinformation about my fitness level with their HR lies. They are definitely fake news, and moving on now …
I have learned much from my performance in the inaugural Fleet Feet San Diego Slurpee 10K (this is not a real race, and it probably never will be … and it’s definitely not officially associated with FFSD). I have a year of preparation ahead of me for the 2018 edition, and first up is practicing my Slurpee drinking skills.
But I’m looking forward to the challenges ahead. See you on the starting line next year, chickens. I will make sure to tweet out the starting location and time at least three minutes ahead of time.