Julie Valentine Run2Overcome 10k #2
This has become one of my new favorite races. The weather’s not ideal. The course is crazy hilly. That doesn’t matter though. From top to bottom this is a hidden gem that I wish more people knew about.
The goal for this race was an average pace of 7:28. I also hoped for a win or at least a podium since I came in as 5th woman last year not even racing it. (I ran it just a week after a half marathon PR in San Francisco.) Silly me forgot all about the crazy hills, except for the last torturous one just past mile 4.
After we arrived and walked over to the bathrooms by the zoo, I saw local runner Ashley Liew. I turned to Mom and told her that he would definitely win overall. I was right. :)
We picked up our bibs and shirts and walked them back to the car with just enough time for a 15 minute warm up (for me).
I felt great through the warm up although I was a bit concerned that I did not see where the start would be. The course changed just slightly from last year pushing the start line of the 10k close to the start of the 5k.
I finished the warm up with about 4 minutes before the start but did not see Mom. I didn’t want her to miss the start so I texted her and gave her directions. She arrived in just enough time to turn around while still jogging and join the rest of the racers. Phew!
I was so distracted that I totally forgot to put my vivoactive on the activity screen and start my music so I spent the first 100 meters or so fixing both of those problems. Less than auspicious start.
I started right at the front with one other woman. Her pace seemed a touch faster than I wanted to run so I had to calm myself down to keep from going out too fast. I felt good and ready to race. For some reason this first mile was 10 seconds below goal pace, a bit disappointing because it was the easiest mile of the race.
Mile 1 7:39
During the next mile I ended up passing the girl I started with and being passed by two other women. These were the only other lead changes in the race. As soon as the second woman passed me I determined that I was not going to be passed by “orange shorts girl.” I wanted that podium finish. In hindsight this was the best motivation possible because she stayed pretty much on my heels for the rest of the race.
The hills started in the second mile. Honestly, I don’t remember much about this mile except for a thought of “why on earth am I doing this to myself again?”
Mile 2 7:47
Near Greenville Tech we make a turn that includes a significant downhill. As I tried to remember the course from last year I hoped that the changed course meant that we got to run down this hill, not up. Then I remembered, nope. We’d be heading right back up at the end of the race.
The hills on campus are no joke either. I hate them. Well, I actually had a love/hate relationship with hills in the race. I observed the “orange shorts girl” did not run hills well. The gap between us grew on the uphills and shrank on the downhills and on some of the flats. I hated the hills but towards the second half of the race I almost loved them because that meant putting more distance between us closer to the end of the race. My least favorite hill (tied for least favorite) was the hill that led from campus back to the road.
This was the worst mile for me not only because of the hills but also because my stomach was not happy. I’ve never had that feeling in a race before. I kept hoping that a burp would take care of it so I wouldn’t have to step to the side and hurl. At that point I made my peace with whatever happened. If she passed me, she passed me. She wasn’t in my age group so I would still get the age group win.
Mile 3 8:04
During this mile I started to feel better, thankfully. There were still plenty of hills but nothing significant, just enough to keep my pace slower than I wanted. Plus, I knew that the killer hill was still to come and I wanted to have something left in the tank. I didn’t know if I would though. Also, I don’t think I’ve looked over my shoulder more than I did in this race. (Probably not a good thing. :D)
Mile 4 7:57
Leading into the last hill there was a nice descent and flat which helped me gain some momentum. It was at this point that a volunteer told us “The hard part’s behind you!” I actually said out loud, “Have you seen the hill over there?” (or something like that.)
That hill was not pretty. I kept trudging though and waved off the water at the water stop at the top of the hill. Well, I thought I waved off the volunteer. He kept standing there until I said “No thanks.”
I thought we turned right at this intersection but no one said anything. I’d heard the course had changed so I kept going. Then I heard a friend of mine who was working the water stop call out my name and tell me to turn. I’m very thankful for that. I’m a little ticked at the volunteer who was standing at that corner with some cups of water who said or indicated absolutely nothing. I don’t think there was even an expression on his face.
Thankfully the course goes downhill and levels out from there.
Mile 5 8:12
I felt strongest the final mile and tried to get back as close to goal pace as I could. I hoped I wasn’t picking the pace up too soon though. I didn’t want to get passed with the finish line in sight.
Without looking I figured that “orange shorts girl” was probably laying on a finishing kick of her own – I have no idea if she did or not – so I had to put on one of my own. I think I started a tad too soon but I was able to hold on.
Mile 6 7:55 (not as fast as it felt)
Then came finishing and stopping the Garmin. Since the vivoactive is still new to me there’s still kinks to work out. One of those is notifications. Today I learned that if a notification comes right when you want to stop the time, the button will not work. You have to dismiss the notification first. Whoops.
I thought I would have to wait a while for the official times but they have already been posted. Officially: 48:20 not a PR by a long shot but good enough for third overall female and first in my age group.
Less than 6 minutes later Mom came in looking strong!
She finished in 52:44, 2nd in her age group! There were a lot of fast ladies out today.
While we were waiting for awards I figured out that I hate 10ks. They require both speed and endurance. I seem to be good with one or the other. Accomplishing both is crazy challenging. Of course, I’m a bit crazy so that means that I will be running every 10k I can find until I conquer the challenge.
We stuck around for awards and I am so glad that we did. The awards were painted by the child clients of the Julie Valentine Center. Well I should say hand and foot printed. So adorable!
Everyone at the Julie Valentine Center did a fabulous job with this race and do much needed work throughout the year. It’s a cause I definitely wholeheartedly support and am just a bit disappointed that I missed out on the first 5 years of this race. I don’t plan to miss again. If you aren’t familiar with the organization and the work they do I strongly urge you to look them up and support them in any way you can.