After all the races I did last year it’s surprising that there’s still a typical race distance that I haven’t done yet. I think this was the last one though. 😀
Since it was a new distance I wasn’t quite sure how to pace myself or what ultimate time goal I would give myself. According to the McMillan Pace Calculator I should be able to run a 1:24:53 10 miler. (That’s with the time from last week put in.) I knew this course was hilly though so I didn’t want to set my sights too high and end up disappointed. After all, I was getting an automatic PR no matter what my final time was.
In the end my if-all-else-fails goal was to finish under 1:30:xx. That would put me at a solid 9 minute mile. My average pace lately though, especially in races, has been closer to 8:40. So my second goal was to average 8:40 splits for all 10 miles. I didn’t do the math but that would have brought me in under 1:27:xx.
So, how did the actual race go?
Before I talk about my performance I want to give some constructive criticisms about the race. I absolutely love the Greenville Track Club and usually Mr. Lehman does an excellent job running the races. (He usually heads up the 7k, 11k, and 15k trail runs on Paris Mountain.) There were a couple things that need to be improved to make this a fantastic race.
1. Make detailed instructions as to the location of the start and parking as well as the time of parking, easily accessible.
Mom and I timed our arrival onto the campus poorly and ended up on the same road as the 8k runners who had just started. Once we emerged from that I had to ask someone else where the start was. (He was very helpful and funny.) The only clue I had was a photocopied map posted on the GTC Facebook page but it wasn’t extremely helpful because I had no idea where the “old PAC” building was.
This is easily done with a single page website which could be free if they chose to use wordpress.
2. One water stop is not enough.
I think this was a snafu this year only. Someone on the Facebook page mentioned the single water stop and a GTC organizer replied that usually there’s one at mile 3.5. (The solitary water stop was at mile 7.)
I think I got spoiled last week at HHI but at mile 6.5 (just after I took my Gu) I seriously considered stopping at a water fountain I saw and guzzling. Thankfully I didn’t have to wait much longer.
Phew! Plenty of words already. 😀
I promise, I’ll try not to be as wordy with the recap of my performance. 😀
This whole race went really, really well despite the slightly chaotic start. (Definitely better than HHI last year). Since I got out and followed everyone else Mom didn’t make it up to the start line with me.
(I’m in there somewhere. :D)
I settled into my rhythm very quickly this race. The miles seemed to tick by very quickly, even on the uphills. I remembered reading in the March issue of
- Runner’s World
that shortening my stride on hills would help. (I sound very educated, don’t I? :D) I put it into practice and the hills almost felt easy. 😉
In those early miles I realized that 3 weeks in a row of racing is my limit. My body’s ready for a break from racing. Thankfully I get one. My next half isn’t until March 24th. (I’m pretty sure that’s the longest I’ve gone without a race since some time during marathon training. Whoops. :D)
That didn’t mean I wasn’t enjoying the current race because I definitely was. The weather was perfect, just a slight chill in the air. The scenery was gorgeous. My stride felt easy yet strong.
After mile 5 my hips started to make their presence known. So far I haven’t had any trouble with them (except for some aches during races) but I’m going to look into hip strengthening exercises as prevention as I increase my mileage this year. The low point of the race hit right around mile 6 as I ate my Gu. I’m not sure why. Things just felt difficult. I think it took me a quarter mile to get the whole thing down. (I really wanted water then and thankfully I didn’t have long to wait.) I told myself to suck it up and keep running. I could do this.
I realized something as my stride started to feel easier and more rhythmical again. There’s a point in every long(er) distance race where it seems really hard but if I get past it, I know I’ll be able to finish and finish well. It doesn’t get any easier. I think it’s mental but after all…Running is a mental sport. 😀
Finally we got back on the Furman campus and I knew I was almost done. After glancing at my Garmin I did some quick mental math and realized that sub 1:25:00 (my unconscious reach goal) was just out of reach so I set my sights on a time somewhere between 1:25:01 and 1:25:59.
As I was coming down the homestretch I saw a guy just a little ways in front of me. I admit, I’m competitive and I knew I had to beat him so I poured on the sprint.
because I passed him! for the camera.)
After HHI, I feel very accomplished for maintaining an 8:34 pace on that course!
Will I do it again next year? I’m not sure. If it conflicts with HHI, no. If it doesn’t? Maybe.
Up next? Greenwood Half Marathon on March 24th. (Not so secret “reach” goal: sub 1:50:00 even if it’s just 1:49:49 :D)