Here we are again with another race report.
October has been insanely busy race-wise (for me- I realize it’s all relative). I initially planned two races: the Maine half marathon and this ten miler. Then the Runner’s World Grand Slam opportunity came so that added four more races in one weekend, and I wasn’t sure racing ten miles the weekend after made sense.
I never race back to back weekends, but I took it really easy this week and felt rested and ready to go for it. So I figured I’d show up and see what happened.
My friend Sandra drove me (and went out of her way- thank you!!) and it rained the whole drive. Thankfully, the rain stopped by the time we arrived and the weather was perfect for running (although chilly for spectating!)
CGI racing puts this race on, as well as the Philadelphia Love Run and a few other great local races. Everything went smoothly and was well marked and organized. There were even pace signs in the corrals, which I always appreciate so you don’t get stuck weaving around people or with people weaving around you.
I wanted to get a warm up in but only managed about a half mile or so. I was running as part of a local Tri group team and had access to their tent (and port-a- potty!) Thanks, Tovah!
I lined up with no real goals. I was mostly curious how my legs would feel after all the racing last weekend. But my last 10 mile race is several years old (and 1:14, 7:25 pace) so I was hoping for a small pr even on a rough day, as my half pace is a bit faster than that.
There were not many women lined up at the front, but when the race started everyone took off!! Doesn’t this always happen?! I think there were a good 15 women ahead of me in the first mile and we were running 6:30 pace for the first quarter mile or so before I held myself back. Mile one beeped at 7:00 exactly.
I checked in with myself. The pace was feeling surprisingly easy. I slipped back to a 7:10ish pace for a few miles and wanted to be conservative. I told myself I’d check in again around the halfway point.
The course was flat and pretty. It wove through Mercer County park, including some of the park trails (paved) which was a really nice change of scenery.
In miles 2-5 I passed a few women and was passed by one woman who I stuck with for the remainder of the race. As we neared the first turn around near the half way mark, I was surprised to find I was the 7th woman.
I checked in with myself again and was feeling strong but tired. Does that make any sense? I started inching my pace back down toward 7:00 again, and then told myself just to hold on. Mile 7 felt particularly tough and I remembered my Momentum bracelet mantra and repeated it to myself for a good chunk of the mile… believe, endure, achieve.
For some reason, things felt easier by mile 8. I had my fastest mile, 6:58, and knew we were almost there! I passed two more women and was in 5th place.
One women remained in front of me for nearly the entire race and I focused on catching her. At mile 9, I passed her. And as soon as I did, I felt myself struggling to hold onto the pace. It makes such a difference to have someone to chase!
At 9.5, she passed me again so I focused on following her all the way in. As we neared the finish line, the race announcer began running commentary on our finish quarter mile… you know, something along the lines of, here they come, #4 and #5… who is it going to be?
So of course we both picked up the pace and sprinted that last 100m!! It was all in fun, and that sprint felt amazing. We congratulated each other and I found out she lives about an hour from me. Bummer… she would have made an awesome running buddy!
We actually crossed exactly together, but according to chip time I beat her by a hair. So my final stats were 1:11:31, 7:09 pace, 4th overall woman and 1st in my age group.
And I almost didn’t go!! Thanks to those of you who encouraged me to try. I knew I wasn’t feeling an injury coming on or overly fatigued or any other risky factors that should lead me to sit it out. But I also did not expect my legs to hang in there as well as they did. Where were these paces all summer? I have no idea why things are finally clicking… but I’ll take it!
Do you usually sprint the final stretch of a race?
Have you done an all women’s race?