What’s this? What’s this? Another PR!?
Aren’t you so happy that I’ve discovered Picmonkey? Pink hearts and stars on EVERYTHING from now on. You can thank Paula at Eat:Watch:Run for the pinkspiration!
After last week’s 20 miler (see pinkified photo below of me taking a water break at mile 19!), I am now officially in taper mode. The Flying Pig is in 13 days and some change. I’ve done the work. Now I just need to sub-four that dirty pig. And pick out my race day outfit.
Since I had a ten-mile run on yesterday’s schedule anyways, I dropped an easy $35 for the opportunity to test my newfound speed on a longer race at the Spring Classic Ten Miler. The race started at Bonnie Park at the Mill Stream Run Reservation in Strongsville, one of the CLE’s many amazing Metroparks, and was hosted by the Cleveland West Road Runners.
In true Kirsten form, I got to the race late and had to hustle to pick up my bib, then run back (uphill!) to the car to stash my race shirt (a bright green tech tee) before sprinting back down to the start with two minutes to spare. The two park rangers directing traffic cheered me on on my mad dash to the start, and they continued to be my biggest fans throughout the race. It sprinkled on and off all morning, and with the gusty wind I was happy to have sleeves.
The race was surprisingly small, probably because a lot of local runners were in peak training for the CLE marathon and had twenty or more miles on their schedule. The course wound back on itself a lot, which means you got to see everybody four times – including the high-fiving park rangers. There was also a 5K that started after the 10 miler, which was made up mostly of kids under 14, since they were offered a discounted rate of $10. Even with the smaller field, the last couple miles were pretty crowded, as I was dodging walkers, runners a lap behind, and 5K kids left and right. And, of course, passing women I thought were in my age group.
My plan was to keep an 8:00 mile and run the last three miles faster than the first three. For some reason my body wasn’t quite on board with that plan and insisted on running an 8:20, my current groove pace. For the first half of the race it seemed like every time I looked down at my Garmin it read 8:20, and I had to constantly remind myself to push through. I kind of suck at pushing myself, so I took a cue from yoga and tried to imagine a taut string pulling my chest forward. I was passed early on by several women but was confident that I could overtake them in the late miles.
In my rush to get to the start I had forgotten my Gu, but by mile five I didn’t want to stop anyways. I took two little sips of water and picked up the pace, worried that my 1:20 goal was slipping away. There were three women in my line of sight, so I decided to pick them off one by one. The first one didn’t put up a struggle, but I marveled at her biceps as I ran by. (: The second girl had a cute pink shirt on, and she kept looking back over her shoulder as I closed the distance between us. I passed her without much difficulty. The third girl put up a fight. She was running in a green jacket with a teenage boy, and it took me until mile 9 to catch up with her. I was right on her tail when I passed the rangers for the last time. One of them yelled “Turn on the burners, 130!” and I flew past her as we turned onto the path heading to the finish line. As I finished someone handed me a plaque – 3rd in my age group! – and then I waited for the girl in the green jacket. I congratulated her on a great race and then looked at her bib – she was 23! However, it turns out that another girl finished 20 seconds ahead of me that was in my age group – booooooo!
After I got my medal and award I grabbed an everything bagel, half of a banana, and a cup of hot chocolate (perfect, since I was freezing standing still) and chatted up a lot of the runners I had seen on the course. A couple of men congratulated me on my speediness, and one of them even told me he enjoyed watching me move up in the field every time we passed. We talked about training and marathons and peanut butter Gu. Everyone was so supportive and friendly, I might have to check out some of the CWRR’s group runs – they run four times a week!
To celebrate my PR I met my sister for Gentle Yoga at Harmony in Downtown Willoughby and got my yin on. I have an easy two weeks of training left, and even with soccer starting this week, AP test review sessions, boxing, and tutoring, I hope to squeeze in a couple power classes before the Pig to balance out the craziness that is my life.
I plugged my new 10M time into the McMillan Running Calculator and was totally floored to see the equivalent marathon time of yesterday’s race is 3:49:29! Sub 4 or bust! DO THE WORK!
STATS: Official time 1:21:54, 3/13 in my age group, 40/128 overall (there were also 163 5K runners and 3 10M walkers)
PROS: Race medal, great race shirt (although they were out of women’s smalls, so I got a men’s extra small – the sleeves are a little long), placing in my age group, supportive runners, hot chocolate and great post-race grub, immediate awards – no need to wait in the rain
CONS: um, the rain? It was really a great race! I haven’t seen any pics yet though.