Hello there! Long time… I am a few race reports behind- 3 to be exact! I really want to get caught up so forgive me if this seems a bit condensed! I thought I would start with my favorite race in Arkansas and go from there. 🙂
This year was actually my 5th year to run this race. My first year was in 2010. I took 2011 off when I had a new baby but I’ve run it every year since 2012. I love the course and this particular race as a whole because it is always very well organized.
I knew going into the race it would be tough to beat last year’s course time. Last year I averaged a 6:05 (watch pace) and as much as I wanted to be optimistic I knew I was not quite there in my training. My coach suggested I shoot for a 6:10-6:15 average which I thought would be a very good goal.
For this race we were bringing the whole family. My oldest two wanted to run the 10k as well and for every 10k entry you earned a free kids 1 mile race registration (which also included a small tech shirt). My oldest son is 8 (he actually turns 9 in two weeks) and although he has run one 10k before (with John) I really didn’t know about him doing this one. A 10k to an 8 year-old seems really far! I asked my son several times before I registered him (and kept suggested the one mile race) but he really wanted to do the 10k. John and I talked about it and finally decided we would let him run the 10k. I think parents have to use their best judgement when it comes to deciding if their kids are ready for certain races. My son has run in a few 5k’s (on his own) at this point and I was very familiar with this particular course. I knew there would be no street traffic and plenty of people around at all times so he wouldn’t get lost. I planned to finish my race and then run back to finish with him.
This did not go quite as smoothly as I would have liked. The only down-side to this race (in my opinion) is the parking. No matter where you park you will be on part of the race course and it is always at least a half mile walk/ jog to packet pick-up. I don’t mind so much when I’m just picking up my own race packet but this year I was picking up mine, along with 4 kids (shirts, bibs, and timing chips) so it took a while. If we all do this race again I would seriously consider driving to Little Rock for packet pick-up earlier in the week. I think it would be worth the trip because it would make for a much calmer race morning. I love when my kids want to race but it’s very hard to focus on my warm-up/ get in race mode when I’m pinning on bibs and shoe chips on multiple children 15 minutes before the race begins! John helped me and we got them all situated as fast as possible. Then I jogged the two big kids to the restrooms before we headed to the starting line.
Once I made it to the front of the starting line I recognized a speedy runner I’ve raced against the past two years at the Fast Firecracker. She’s run a 17- minute 5k both times we’ve raced so I figured she would do well in the 10k (and she did).
Mile 1- 6:12. Right on pace. (Shooting for the 6:10-6:15 range.) I was in position as third female.
Mile 2- 6:10. Feeling good and hoping it would last! I was pacing along side a guy I know in the Grand Prix series and we tend to race around each other’s pace. I told myself to stay with Joey!
Mile 3- 6:12. Still on pace but not sure how long I could stay with him. He was on cruise control!
Mile 4- 6:22. I really lost control and focus this mile. I fell back from the guy I had been pacing with and watched him move up. I hoped I wasn’t headed in a downward spiral because there were still 2 more miles left. Ughhh. I could see the second place female in front of me but if I wanted to catch her I was going to have to pick it up.
Mile 5- 6:18. Fortunately, at the beginning of this mile another Grand Prix runner, Chris, came up from behind me and encouraged me and said “You can catch her.” I knew from other GP races that Chris also runs around my pace so I told myself to stay with him. If I just stayed with him this feeling of wanting to give up would pass. Believe it or not it did get better and I stayed with him. Right as my watch beeped for mile 5 we passed the Tracy, the 2nd placed female. (Another runner I know through the Grand Prix series.) Tracy is coming back after having a baby in August and she is incredibly fast! I knew I would have to work hard to maintain my lead. Just 1.2 miles left to go!
Mile 6. 6:17. I was pushing as fast as I could but my legs were done. Right around the time my watch beeped 6, Tracy came up to pass me on my right. I should have fought more and stayed with her but I was done and just watched her run on ahead. I ended up finishing 6 seconds behind her. Yes, as soon as I finished I was already kicking myself for giving up mentally.
Mile 6.25– 6:02 avg. pace
|A rough finish|
Official Finish Time- 39:03. 3rd Female OA. Official Results can be found here.
I didn’t have much time to stop and think about the race. I immediately started slowly jogging back to find my son. I cheered for the runners I knew coming in, including my daughter who was doing great. She finished in 52:53 (8:32 average pace) and 2nd place in the age 10-14 age group.
When I found my son he was finishing up mile 4. He was pretty tired. I gave him some water and some orange slices. I knew the best thing to do would be to get him thinking about something else so he would be distracted during this last stretch. He likes to write science fiction stories so we started talking about the short stories he likes to write. They usually involves a brother and sister star who go on adventures together. I threw out the idea about what if they decided to run a 5k? He really liked that idea and I could already see him planning it out in his head. The rest of the race we talked about it and it took his mind off the last mile. He ended up finishing in 1:09:38 (11:14 avg.) and was so happy. He really wanted to win an age group award and he did! He was thrilled when they called his name for 2nd place in the 9 and under boys category.
|So proud of my Anthony!|
There was also the kids 1 mile and fun run. Anna ended up doing the kids mile and Ashton did a half mile.
This race gave out some pretty cool door prizes and believe it or not we actually won two of them! Since this race was the day before Easter many of the gifts had an Easter theme going.
|A candy bouquet!|
|Anna was SO excited about her door prize!|
|Ashton was pretty worn out after his race!|
Our women’s team ended up winning the women’s division of the race which was pretty exciting! This racing series goes until December but every win counts.
|A few of the Searcy Rush ladies|
Post Race Thoughts:
Lots of lessons learned from this race. First of all, this race made me appreciate the runners I know through the Grand Prix series. Even though I do not train with them I recognize and know them through other GP series races. Convincing myself to stay with Chris during miles 5 & 6 really helped my time from getting completely off track. I knew I should be able to stay with him and I did. I picked it back up and did not let mile 4 pull me down.
Going into the race my goal had been to average 6:10-6:15 so I shouldn’t have been too upset about a 6:15. I know my times are improving but it just takes a while. Plus, it’s hard to PR in the middle of marathon training. I had just come off a 70 mile week, including a 20 mile run and 4 sets of two mile repeats just a few days before this race. I decided to cut myself some slack and appreciate the progress I’ve made so far. Yes, it’s taking time but I’ll get there.
A Change in Plans:
Capital City Classic got me thinking about my April 25 marathon. I was supposed to do another 20 mile run (my last one) and I really couldn’t find a convenient time between my personal life and my racing calendar to squeeze it in. I also came to the realization that even with ideal weather and a perfect course it would be hard to PR. Based on recent race performances (and there are plenty to choose from) I could run anywhere from 2:58-3:03 at best. Did I really want to do another long run (which could potentially affect my next half on 4/11)? More importantly, did I want to run 26.2 miles knowing that it most likely would not be a personal best? Did I want to deal with 2-3 weeks of marathon recovery and miss out on some shorter races I wanted to do?
I talked to my husband and emailed my coach about it. I realize that everyone has different reasons for running a marathon. Some run to complete and finish it. Others might choose one for its destination or experience. In this instance I really want to run my best time. If it were Boston, or another big destination race I would follow through and run it because there would be more to the race than my time. But to me the marathon recovery was not worth all the effort (right now) so I decided to switch to the half. I contacted the Illinois Marathon elite coordinator early last week and asked if I could switch from the full to the half. She said it was no trouble so she moved me to the half marathon. I felt an instant sense of relief so I knew immediately that I had made the right decision.
This past weekend on my way to my next race (RussVegas Half Marathon) I started brainstorming about what/ when I would like my next marathon to be. I haven’t officially registered yet but I am pretty sure I would like to do Chicago on October 11 . (Guaranteed entry closes April 21.) I’ve never done it and it’s definitely on my bucket list. This would give me a few more months to train and shoot for a big PR… We’ll see!
Two more race reports coming up I promise! (Germantown Half Marathon & RussVegas Half Marathon)