Yesterday was my first 10K since the fall, so I was both excited and nervous about it! My main goal was to finish feeling decent in 1:45:00, since I had some recent knee troubles that slowed down my training, and I have another race (the Run for the Oaks 5K) next weekend.
It was a beautiful, crisp morning for the race! I started out wearing gloves, but ended up taking them off part way through the race, and was good in short sleeves. It was that nice of a late winter morning!
As others had warned, the course was rolling hills, some of them more rolling than others! According to my strategy for this race, I started out doing a 1:1 run/walk ratio, taking the downhills for a longer run. Pretty soon into the race, I was asked (very nicely!) to get on the sidewalk by one of the policemen, and I complied. I focused on not getting worried about being last, since I still had some people in sight, and the traffic cones were still in place to mark the way.
Well, in the 2nd-3rd mile, they started taking the traffic cones up, so I started to panic just a little! I had to slow down a couple of times to ask policemen at the street corners what the next turn would be, just in case I lost sight of the other racers as well as the cone-pick-up truck. After that, I tried to speed up a little to make up some time. But once I turned into the neighborhoods, the cones were still there, as well as an out-and-back water stop with some wildy enthusiastic and very funny volunteer teens! (The 1st water stop kids were packing up as I passed them, and no one offered me anything. I was a little thirsty then, but was in decent enough shape that I decided to let that slide off my back. The next water stop was worth the wait--they were great!) So, it was nice to relax a little through the neighborhoods! In addition to the course monitors and fun water stops, there was a course sweeper on a bike, who was very encouraging as well as helpful.
So anyway, my race plan from my coach was to do 1:1s for the first half of the race, then walk quickly for the second half of the race. I felt like this was going to take me forever, and told her so! She gave me the idea to run the downhills to make up some time, and to otherwise see how I felt during the race. She encouraged me to take it all conservatively for the sake of the knee, and to listen to my body. I probably ran a little more than was called for, but my knee only fussed at me a couple of times. Walking helped with that.
Within the last mile, my friend Stephanie showed up to walk/run the last part with me! She had already finished the race under her goal (congrats, Steph!), and she still had the energy to come join me for the last part of my race! Thanks, Steph! At the finish line, I ended up meeting up with a new buddy from Sparkpeople, Sharon from Raleigh, and it was a lot of fun talking with her too!
I ended up crossing the finish line at 1:40:58 (no chip time here), four minutes under my goal, and just a couple of minutes over my 10K time from the fall! I passed another racer at the last water stop, so I finished 256/257, a couple of minutes ahead of the last person. I'm still waiting for the updated points standings for the Second Empire Grand Prix Series.
Mile splits were:
6) 15:37 (woohoo!)
.26) 13:54 for the last 3:39 minutes (a pretty good kick at the end)
All in all, I'm feeling good about the experience, and am looking forward to other 10Ks down the road!