The Esprit de She is a race series for women that celebrates “the spirit of her.” The pre- and post race parties typically have boutiques, manicure stations, massages, and wine. In Katy, the race takes place on a Thursday. I like a Thursday race. Most races are scheduled for early weekend mornings, but a Thursday race means a night run. And I like to run at night. I mean, running and wine—what’s not to like?
Race organizers offered three packet pick-up options—Tuesday, Wednesday and race day. I chose to pick up on Wednesday because I couldn’t get to the Katy location on Tuesday, and race day is always iffy. I had to drive to City Center to pick up my packet, which was OK as I was heading in that direction for a form clinic. Pick up at Lifetime Fitness was fast and easy, but navigating the traffic and parking at City Center was bordering on nightmarish. Also, when I picked up my packet they didn’t have enough of the bonus shirts in the size I requested so the volunteer took my bib number and said a shirt would be mailed to me. The regular running tank is pretty cute—I might actually wear it this summer.
Race day traffic was horrible! The area gets really congested on a regular day, and with the race blocking off streets, traffic was ridiculous. I don’t remember traffic being as bad last year. Luckily I was not driving myself so I was dropped off near the race start. And it’s a good thing too because I arrived during the national anthem. I didn’t have time to warm up save for a few high knees and butt kicks. And, of course, a pre-race selfie!
I did this race last year so I knew what to expect of the course. The course goes through commercial and residential areas in the Cinco Ranch area of Katy, TX. It’s not scenic by any means, but it’s flat and fast. I started at the back of the pack, and it was a bit congested for the first mile or two. I had a hard time getting around people because we only had one lane and vehicular traffic was too heavy to go around the cones. In a way this was good because it kept me from going out too fast. Eventually I was able to break free and get into a good rhythm. There were a couple of women I ran with; toward the end we played a running game of leapfrog. They helped keep me motivated as I started to run out of steam at the 55-minute mark. With only 1.2 miles to go, I had to push hard to finish. Rounding the final turn into the parking lot never felt so good. I spotted Waldo, slowed down for a picture, and then kicked it to finish strong. And, I was able to finish before it got too dark.
After the race I stuck around for the after party. It was better organized than last year, but still needs improvement. The post race bubbly was fine, and the food offered—Greek yogurt, veggie wraps, and watermelon—was pretty good. The food line was long, but moved quickly. The wine line was a different story. I grabbed both drinks at the same time because the line was so long and slow moving and I did not want to get stuck in it again. Turns out I didn’t have to stand in line because there were two bubbly stations, but the second one wasn’t as visible. My suggestion would be to have volunteers pointing out the different lines—it doesn’t do anyone any good to have two separate food and beverage stations if no one knows about the second one.
Overall, I had a great race (PR!) and a fun time. Even so, I’m not sure I would do this race again.
OFICCIAL TIME: 1:15:04 (PR)