As promised yesterday, I’m here to tell you all about the Kiss Me I’m Irish 5K/10K/10K Relay today! I seriously can’t believe I’ve been running for 6 years and never ran a 10K before Sunday. But I have to tell you, it is by far my least favorite distance. Grab your coffee and settle in — I’ve got a story.
As the years have gone by, I’ve become less anxious when it comes to racing. That’s not to say it doesn’t happen because believe me, it does. It just happens much later than it used to. I used to have anxiety for at least a week before a race. Now, as it turns out, my anxiety only shows up on race morning.
I ran the 10K with four of my clients (really my friends, but since I’m technically their coach, clients in this case). We were running as a “team” so we picked coordinating outfits. We would be donning orange tops and green bottoms/socks. I laid out my outfit the night before per pre-race routine. Unfortunately the weather was calling for less-than-ideal conditions so I had a feeling I might have to switch it up the next morning. I went to bed and got a decent night’s sleep. The race didn’t start until nine, so I didn’t have to wake up super early either.
When I woke up, I checked the weather, and of course knew I had to make the call. I’m more on the cold side than warm, so when I saw it was cloudy, wet, and cool, I knew I wouldn’t be comfortable in shorts no matter how high my socks were. I decided to bail on the outfit and opted for capris instead. And since I wouldn’t be wearing my festive socks, I swapped out my top for a green one to at least show a little bit of St. Patty’s spirit. As I was re-pinning my bib, my hands were shaking. It was almost show-time. Race anxiety was settling in!
I arrived at the race location and after meeting up with the ladies and taking lots of fantastic photos, we took care of business and had to hurry to line up for the race. I really wanted to start with my girls and they wanted to start in the back, and we were the last ones to the party, so we were literally the dead last ones among the mass of 800 or so runners.
Then we were off!
The first mile was tough for me. I wasn’t racing, per se, but I did have a strategy that my coach put in place for me. We were using the 10K as a gauge to see where I am in terms of speed and stamina. Plus he was using it as a speed-based training run, which was all good in my book. I haven’t been doing any speed work to speak of since I’ve been mostly on the treadmill, so this was good for me.
Having said that, I did a lot of weaving for the first mile. Most of the course went through a recently converted golf course. It was a bit disorienting once we crossed into the park because most runners were visible for the duration of the race. The 5K runners split off from the 10K runners around mile 2 or so, which made it hard to gauge where I was on the trail. It was nice, though, because as we weaved through, I got to see some of my runners!
Around mile 2 I decided I needed some fuel. I’m not sure if it was mental or physical, but I ate a few pieces and felt fairly good after that.
I definitely felt like I went out too fast. That could have been due to all the weaving and extra expended energy, or it could have been because I never reordered the songs on my playlist the night before. All the ‘pump-you-up’ songs were at the beginning of the playlist, which of course got me all fired up right away.
At the relay exchange point, I drank some water — and subsequently waterlogged myself. I ran with my arms up for a little bit while trying to clear my pipe. I’m sure I looked like a hot mess.
First half splits: 9:10, 9:11, 9:06
Heading into the second half of the race, we ran through a neighborhood. It was here that I turned off my music because I was certain I was going to die. That couldn’t have been further from the truth because I wasn’t even running that hard, but there comes a point in any race where I just want to stop and never start again. Just after mile 3 was that time for me. Plus I had a lot of self doubt. I really wasn’t sure what to expect with a 10K in terms of pacing. Turning off my music helped me regroup and get my head back in the game.
Around mile 4 was where I spotted someone who would be a good pacer. The girl I started using as my “pacer” was running strong with a pace around 8:45-8:55 / mile. I decided to stick with her. I didn’t want to race her but I didn’t want to lose her, either. It definitely helped. Having someone just a touch faster than me helped me stay focused.
I should note here, it was soggy during this race. I avoided all the puddles and mud. Until mile 5. At mile 5 there was a massive puddle and there was no way to avoid it. Well, possibly if I ran through the mud, but with a split second to think, I chose the water over mud. Close one.
Then at mile 6 there was a part of the course where we had to run on the grass for maybe 3 feet. Mud!! Gah!
So much for clean shoes.
The last part of the course was a fantastic downhill. I picked up a lot of speed on that hill. (Confession: I really love running downhill.) While I was enjoying my effortless free-fall, I did remind myself that what goes down must come up. I prepared myself for the never-ending hill-from-hell.
The hill back up toward the finish line was a beast! It’s awful because you’re running fast and trying to really push it for the last mile and then BOOM! You’re hit with a very long, very unrelenting hill. One guy in front of me ran the entire hill only to stop and walk at the top. I really wanted to encourage him to keep going but I knew how close we were to the finish and I was also so out of breath that even if I had tried to speak nothing would have come out.
The last turn heading into the finish was fantastic. I tried to run hard but I had used all my reserve energy on the darn hill. I was spent when I finished and I knew I laid it all out there on the course. It was a good feeling to race again.
I grabbed a water, my medal (well, first a pint glass, then a medal — thanks Geoff!), got myself back together, and headed to the finish area to greet my gals coming in.
Second half splits: 9:27, 8:50, 8:54
Overall finish time: 56:23
Watching my clients come in was probably the best part of the day. I got to cheer most of them in and they all had enormous smiles on their faces! The only one I didn’t get to see was a 5K runner. She had finished before me.
After everyone finished, we headed in to the bar to claim our free beers (because Happy St. Patty’s Day and all that — and also, I’ve only claimed a free beer at one other race before. What?!) and get warm.
The weather was fairly brutal. Out on the course there were cold, whipping winds in some spots, and then very calm in others. Thankfully the rain held off for the duration of the race. It started pouring while we were inside and thank goodness we were because I was freezing.
Huge congrats to my girls for completing their first races of 2016. I couldn’t be prouder of them if I tried. I can’t wait to see what the rest of the year holds for you guys! And special thanks to the guys at Lake Health Running Series and Greater Cleveland XC. You guys put on a heck of a race — always a good time!
I’m super pleased with my first race of 2016 and my first 10K ever. Will I run another 10K? I’m not sure. It was really tough. I’ve always joked that it was my least favorite distance — too short to run slow but too long to run fast — and it’s true! It was fun, though, and that’s totally what matters.
TALK TO ME!
What’s your favorite distance to race?
Have you been attacked by a massive hill at the end of a race before?
If you’re in the Cleve this summer, be sure to check out the other races from the Lake Health Running Series. They’ve got a bunch and they’re seriously some of the best ones I’ve ever run.
This post is linked up with My No-Guilt Life, Marcia’s Healthy Slice, and MCM Mama Runs for Tuesdays on the Run, and with Nicole, Annmarie, Angelena Marie, and Michelle today for Wild Workout Wednesday!