TR Earth Day Run 10k #1
I had no idea how this race would actually unfold once we were off. I definitely learned some important lessons. Before getting to them I’m going to back up to pre-race.
The weather did not cooperate for the inaugural race after the move from Greer to Travelers Rest. (I have so many good things to say about the new course but I’ll tackle that at another time.) The forecast called for pretty steady and significant rain. Thankfully this steady rain did not start until just as the half started, 10 minutes before the 10k. I was able to get my 20 minute warm up in without getting significantly wet. I did wear the race shirt over my race day gear so I wouldn’t be totally soaked.
I’ve been a tad concerned about my left knee because it’s been doing odd things this week, nothing painful, just something to be aware of. I had no issues today.
As I approached the car with about 9 minutes before the start I began to panic a little because I heard Ed Hughes over the loudspeaker counting down to the start. As I scrambled to get my phone and headphones which I’d left in the car Mom reminded me about the half marathoners. Pause. Take a deep breath. We’re okay.
We waited a couple minutes before heading up to the Pavilion area for another few minutes before heading to the start, in the rain. (For those counting this is my second race in a row in the rain. Not only that but it is also my second race in TR in a row in the rain. Remember the Resolution Run Half last year? I hope this is not a trend.)
With only seconds to spare I got right up to the start line. Only a few guys and one girl were ahead of me.
With a slightly odd countdown (Ed counted down while getting on his bike to lead the 10k) we were off.
I love starting at the front of the pack. Since this was a small race I knew that my aggressive pace stood a chance of winning or at the very least being close to the front. In the back of my mind I made my goal winning. My main goal was trying to hold onto the 7:19 pace my training plan called for. I accomplished one of those goals.
Within the first few tenths of a mile I had settled into a comfortable second place for women. It felt great to fly and my pace was definitely a bit too fast here. I also noted that we were heading down hill very close to the finish. Uphill finish. Great.
For a half mile in the middle of the first mile I ended up running side by side with a guy but the pace was too fast for my 7:19 goal so I focused on that instead of trying to keep up with him. At this point I also switched my Garmin screen to lap data which is great for monitoring average pace.
I could see the only other woman up ahead of me and slowly started to reel her in.
Mile 1: 7:19 (how’s that for on the dot?)
The second mile was fairly uneventful. This was the only complete mile on the Swamp Rabbit. It also had an uphill but I’m used to this one. My pace slowed a little but not much.
Mile 2: 7:22
After approximately 2.5 miles we entered the Furman campus. I knew from looking at the course map that we would be running a bit on the campus but I underestimated just how much and how just how hilly this section would be.
Shortly after entering campus I passed the first place woman. The gap between us had gotten progressively shorter quickly. She faded fast.
I had that first place position. Now I needed to hold onto it. This was where the race got hard, fast.
Mile 3: 7:26
This section of the course is gorgeous and so tortuous. The hills are not significant; they’re just unrelenting. My pace slipped quite a bit during this section and I wondered just how much and how fast I was going to fade. I told myself that I wasn’t going to let that happen though. I don’t remember many details from the next few miles except that it was difficult and rainy.
Mile 4: 7:53
We wound around the campus quite a bit before exiting out the side gate, heading up a short, significant incline and back onto the trail. I loved being back on the trail because I knew we would get a bit of down hill soon. I also knew approximately how much of the course remained. What I did not know was how far back second place was behind me. I have a new appreciation for people who can go out and lead a race from wire to wire.
I did not stop at any of the water stops. At the last one, the guy just in front of me did. I was a bit perplexed as to why he did not pass me again soon after. Apparently he was just a short distance behind me for this part, pacing off me.
Mile 5: 7:48 (marginally better…for a little bit through there I thought I might royally positive split this race)
By the time the last mile rolled around I was sucking wind big time. My legs simply had almost nothing left. I really wanted to pick up the pace more than the little that I managed to do.
With about half a mile or so to go I saw a photographer and did my level best to pick up the pace and look somewhat pleasant for the picture. That carried over for a tenth of a mile or so.
That runner I mentioned earlier passed me and said something about 1 left. I don’t know what he said though so I wondered if he meant a mile left and hoped that I just misinterpreted him. I think I did.
Soon we saw the welcome turn off the trail that meant we were even closer to the finish. (This may have been where I saw the photographer but my brain was so foggy I have no idea.) This also meant that we had a nice little uphill finish. My favorite! (*sarcasm)
Mile 6: 7:44
I saw the turn into the park and breathed a sigh of relief. I had the win in the bag. I even put on a bit of a sprint at the end to make it look good.
Last .2: don’t have an accurate split because I didn’t turn the Garmin off right away…whoops
The steady downpour made the win a bit anti-climactic but I’ll take it anyway.
So…I got my first win (and minute PR)…a little before I planned. Whoops. 🙂
I can’t wait to do it again, especially when I (hopefully) can run a well-executed race. I foresee a bit of hill training in my future.
On to the rest of the Summer of Speed!