If you would have asked me last week what I knew about a 15K I would have had to stop for a second and add up the distance in my head. I had never even heard of a race this distance- 9.3 miles. As mentioned in an earlier post, during my run on Monday, one of my friend’s mentioned the River Trail 15K in Little Rock. I checked out the website and it definitely sounded worth racing. If nothing else it would be a good training run and an automatic PR!!
- Cheap- This race only cost $10! (Would have been $15 if I wanted the race t-shirt but I have plenty of race t’s, thank you very much!)
- Location- Race was in Little Rock which is only about 45 minutes away.
- Organized- Race is a certified Arkansas RRCA Grand Prix race so it was very organized. We used chipped timing.
- Course- The course was well marked and very scenic. Most of it was along a trail next to the Arkansas River. The course description made the course sound flatter than I thought it actually was but I know I need the hill training right now anyway.
- Awards and Chili Lunch- After the race awards and free chili lunch was held at the nearby Hospitality House. I can’t believe my $10 entry included all of that and my family sure enjoyed the nice hot lunch!
- Weather- The night before the race it was storming pretty bad (pouring rain, lightening, thunder). I still really wanted to go because I knew I needed to get a hard workout/ run in regardless of weather. Fortunately, by the time we got to the race there was only light mist rain and temps were in the upper 50’s. The actual racing weather was perfect except the last half was pretty windy. Running against the wind can be tough, especially when you are trying to hit sub 7 minute miles but it can be done.
Our Family Race Routine
We have a routine when the whole family comes to one of my races. John usually drops me off at the start and then he leaves. I like to warm up 1-2 miles (depending on race distance) and use the restroom. I know they will not be with me at the start and that is ok. I am usually a little nervous and very focused. I do not expect to see them along the course. There are just too many of them and they are so young. After John drops me off he finds a nearby McDonald’s or Chick-fil-A that has an indoor play area. They stay there until right before my estimated finish time. Then he brings them all to the finish and they wait for me along the final finish stretch. I can usually see them and hear them cheering. I’m sure our routine will change as the kids get older but for now this works best.
My 15K Race Pace Strategy
I had no idea what to expect pace-wise since this was my first 15K race but thanks to the McMillan Running Calculator I had a pretty good idea. Using my current half marathon time it had me finishing with an average time of 6:55. I was a little unsure about this though because I ran that half marathon 9 weeks before this race and that was really the last time I ran consecutive 7 minute miles. After the St.Judes Half Marathon I switched gears and focused all my attention on marathon training. Could I run over 9 sub 7 minute miles with my current training? I decided to go out a little conservative and see how I felt after hitting a few 7 minute miles.
Mile 1- 6:58. Felt pretty good like I was holding back. It was a fast start and several took off like they were running a 10K. I planned to stick with my 7 minute mile goal.
Mile 2- 7:00. Perfect. Started to get in the 7 minute zone and was feeling fine.
Mile 3- 7:01. We went up a few hills during the trail on this mile but I knew from reading the course description that it would even out and there would be more downhill the last half when I would need it more. Before the end of this mile I passed a woman who had beat me at the Soaring Wings Half Marathon in October. I had followed her the first two miles but wasn’t sure when/ if I should make a move. When I passed her at SW in October she passed me back and I went on to have an awful race. She ended up beating me by a few minutes. I was scared to pass her because I did not want that to happen again. Oh, the joys of the mental games in running! Anyway, I knew inside that I was a better runner than I was 4 months ago. I decided to go for it and pass her. I never looked back!
Mile 4- 6:51. I took advantage of feeling good and just went with it. By this point I was passing men who had started too fast. I’m not gonna lie- it felt pretty good and only motivated me to go faster.
Mile 5- 6:48. The race was over halfway over and I felt like I still had a lot left in the tank.
Mile 6- 6:49. The course looped back so I was able to see runners/ walkers who were on miles 3 & 4. I kept passing guys but the only woman I could see ahead was still a ways off. My goal was to catch up with her.
Mile 7- 6:46. I was getting closer to the woman in the pink shorts.
Mile 8- 6:44. I made my move right at the 8 mile marker. With just a little over 1 mile left I knew I could pick up the pace. The woman seemed surprised to see me. After I passed her she tried to pass me back but I stayed with her and eventually passed her for good. If she wanted to beat me she was going to have to run in the 6:30’s because that was where I was headed…
Mile 9- 6:35. This mile went by so fast. My main concern was getting to the finish line and not letting the woman in the pink shorts pass me back. I passed a few more guys but one managed to pass me back. That was ok. I knew I could hang onto my lead over the woman in the pink shorts!
Mile 9.35- 2:11 (6:19 pace). This race had a great finish. You could see the finish ahead and the road was nice and flat. Perfect! I could see my family off to the left out of the corner of my eye and I gave it everything I had.
Official Finish Time: 1:03:48 (6:51 pace.) 5th Female Overall, 1st in AG.
|Kicking it in on the home stretch!|
After the race I was quickly greeted by John and the kids. I got some water, ate an orange and we all went to the car to get my jacket. The race awards and lunch followed at the nearby Hospitality House. We had a nice chili lunch, courtesy of the Arkansas RRCA.
|The girls at the chili lunch|
|My new 15K coffee cup I won for my AG award. Love it!|
This is an annual race and I will definitely be back. They have a 70 and under club for woman who have run the race in under 70 minutes. While I am happy to be “in the club” now I would really like to be a part of the 60 minute club which is for men or woman who have run it in under an hour. (There are not that many woman in it.) Basically I’d have to average a 6:26 for the 9.3 miles. Can I cut out 3 minutes and 48 seconds? I guess we’ll find out. See ya next year River Trail 15K!! I will be back!