I had a feeling I was going to like the 10K distance, and I was right. I liked it, and I ran it well, and I will definitely be racing more 10Ks in the future!
This was the inaugural year for the Ocean Road 10K, and it was a point-to-point course heading up a road that I run on at least once a week (sometimes two or three times!), so I knew exactly what I was in for.
As I waited in the shuttle bus to head down to the starting line, I considered just getting out and running down there instead. I had gotten to the shuttles really early, so would have had plenty of time.
But I wanted to really race this one, and running 6 miles to the start would be a little excessive for a warmup, so I stayed put and rode the bus.
I walked around a bit at the start - a really pretty, scenic spot - and hit the porta-potties a couple times, then headed out for my warmup. I had only planned on 2 miles, but I had so much time, I took it nice and easy and ran 3.
It was cloudy and gray race morning, so not quite this pretty, but still a very nice spot to begin a race!
I had seen the direction the flags were blowing as we drove past the beach on the way down, and I knew we were going to be running into a headwind the whole way. It wasn't a super-strong headwind, but it was enough that I felt it would be a bit of a factor mentally, if nothing else.
The race went off right at 8am, and I had lined up pretty close to the front, but I didn't want to start out too fast, so I kept a pretty close eye on my watch for that first mile, and I felt good that it ended up at 7:16. That's the pace that I've run for a lot of my tempo runs, so I was pretty confident that I could hold it for the whole distance.
I had a bit of a side stitch during the first 2 miles, but it never got too bad, and it went away after mile 2, thankfully. Despite the side stitch and the wind, I ended up running mile 2 in 7:07. This mile was pretty much completely flat, so I think that accounts for the faster pace.
At the beginning of mile 3 we were still fighting the wind, and then we started up one of the hills on the course, so my pace went back down to 7:17 for that mile. The second hill on the course was during mile 4, which kept that one at 7:18.
The hills made this stretch of the course a little tough, but thankfully, shortly after mile 3 we were largely sheltered from the wind, and I'm so used to running these two hills that I was still feeling pretty good. I was working hard, but I felt like I could work harder. So I did - got mile 5 down to 7:04.
And now we were heading back to the beach, and back into the wind. But we were also heading into the final mile, so I stopped looking at my watch and just ran.
Finished mile 6 in exactly 7 minutes.
I knew the finish line was in the beach parking lot, and I knew that final .2 was going to feel like forever, and it did. And it was even worse than I thought, because we had to turn a sharp corner to enter the parking lot, then had to run to one end of the lot and then circle back and run back to the other end. Tough to sprint a stretch like that, but I definitely gave it my all, and got down to a 6:26 for that final .2.
Crossed the finish line in 44:09, which I was thrilled with. I had hoped my pace would be around 7:15, so to end up with a 7:07 pace was fantastic!
And I ended up winning 3rd place in my age group, too - not bad for my first 10K!
If I'm honest with myself, I think I could have pushed a little harder during the first half. But having never raced this distance before, I know it was better for me to start conservatively. Learning how to pace yourself at different distances takes some practice, and I look forward to practicing more at this distance!
Final results - 44:09, 7:07 pace, 3rd place age group, 8th female, 25 of 287 overall.
And now it's on to the Newport half next weekend, which had been my big goal race for the season - until I decided to go all out and race yesterday.
I know full well that racing a 10K the weekend before a goal half-marathon is not advisable, and I know that as a result, my time in the half may be a little slower than I planned. But I'm ok with that. I had fun racing the 10K, and I'm glad I finally added that distance to my repertoire.
I do hope to run well in Newport, though - hopefully at least close to my PR of 1:37 - but whatever the day brings, I'll just do my best and be happy with that.
I'm getting a huge bonus this weekend, too - I won a contest on the United Healthcare Triple Crown Facebook page, and the prize was an overnight stay at the Hotel Viking on race weekend! Since I'm local, there's no need to stay the night before, so I opted to stay the night following the race.
We had hoped to find someone to babysit the kids so that Scott could join me and we could have a little getaway, but unfortunately we've exhausted all our possibilities and have come up empty-handed.
I am disappointed that we can't have a getaway together, but we're not going to let a free hotel room go to waste, so I'm still going to stay over.
And I can't deny being pretty thrilled that I get to finish the race, linger as long as I want (will be hanging out at the finish line cheering on lots of friends who are also running), return to the hotel, get cleaned up, spend the afternoon hanging out in Newport browsing all the shops, enjoy a late leisurely lunch, and then return to the hotel for a quiet dinner and a night with the entire room all to myself. The silence is going to be blissful.
I'm also hoping to bring Gabe and Dante down to the Hartford Marathon on Saturday morning, to watch my friend who's running and is going to hopefully break 3 hours - something I don't want to miss!
So, a fun fall weekend to look forward to - race spectating Saturday, race running Sunday, and a day/night of rejuvenation Sunday into Monday - lucky me!