River Trail 15K Race Report (…and the 60 minute club!!)

River Trail 15K Race Report (…and the 60 minute club!!)

Wow! The 15K is a very interesting racing distance.  Love it.  I know it is not the most common of racing distances but if you ever get the chance to run one you should! Don’t let the random distance scare you.   If you recall, last year when I decided to run this race I actually googled the distance of a 15K. Then when I realized it was 9.3 I was like, “duh- 3.1 x 3!!” Not my brightest moment!

The River Trail 15K has a 70 minute club (open only to women) and a 60 minute club (open to men and women).  It’s only a club by name.  Basically, if you run it in under one of those times your name goes on the race website.  Last year I ran it in 1:03:48 so I made the 70 minute club but for the last few months I have had my eye on the 60 minute club.  Last year I looked up what I would need to run to get it under 60 minutes and I couldn’t imagine running that pace for 9.3 miles.  This year I wanted to go for it.  I knew that meant running a 6:26 pace or faster.

Three and a half weeks ago I ran a trial 15K on the treadmill at the gym.  It was one of my hardest workouts to date.  I was able to squeak out a 6:33 average but it was NOT pretty.  I just couldn’t maintain the necessary sub 6:30 pace average.  My final time was 1:00:58 and that was NOT going to cut it for the 60 minute club. This particular workout did not leave me feeling very good about making my goal time.

This year, just two days before the race I was randomly thinking about my pacing strategy and it hit me that I should break the race into 3 separate 5k’s.  I seem to do better when I break distances down like that in a race.  So for a second or two I decided to figure out what each 5K needed to be and I suddenly realized, “duh- each 5k has to be sub 20!”  I couldn’t help but think that running a sub 60 was going to be harder than I thought.  Could I run 3 consecutive sub 20 minute 5K’s?  I know I could do 2 but would 3 be too hard?   Last spring my big goal was to go sub 40 in the 10K.  Could I maintain that same pace for 3.1 more miles?

I decided to go for it.  My plan was simple- I wanted my watch average to stay under 6:27. I would just take it one mile at a time and make it through each 5K.

My friend and I drove down to Little Rock together.  We picked up our packets and found the restroom.  Then it was time for a warm-up.   It was around 35 degrees and overcast.  It was not windy and I was very thankful for that!  We jogged a slow 1.2 miles and tried to stay warm.  Then it was time to line up…

Mile 1- 6:19.  I couldn’t quite find my rhythm.  This pace felt great but I had to remind myself that I still had to run over 8 more miles!

Mile 2- 6:25.  

Mile 3-6:26.

5K- 19:50-something?  I know it was sub 20 but not by a lot.

Mile 4- 6:26. In the zone.

Mile 5- 6:26. Talk about consistent! (and cutting it a little close…)

Mile 6- 6:29.  Biggest incline in this mile.

10K- 39:12? (I thought my watch said 6.2 but this seems fast for a 10K split to me.  Wondering if I read my watch wrong and I was only at 6.1…)  I was doing the math and knew that it would be close but if I kept a steady last 5K I could make my goal.

Mile 7- 6:21.  Huge downhill in this mile which made up for the last mile.  I was feeling good.  I wanted that sub 60.  I just needed to stay focused a few more miles.

Mile 8- 6:22.  I passed the 4th place female during this mile.  I had slowly been gaining on her the whole race.  I passed her as fast as I could so she wouldn’t try to put up a fight.  Thankfully, she didn’t.

Mile 9- 6:13.  I was actually trying to catch the 3rd place female during this mile.  I got close but she just had too much of a kick.  I was feeling strong though and knew I had that sub 60 if I just held on a little longer!

Mile 9.37- 2:13 (6:15 pace). Apparently trying to catch the lady in front of me in mile 9 took most of my energy.  Still, it felt good crossing that finish line knowing I made my goal. It was not easy and it had required being focused on my pace 100% of the race.

Total time: 59:49 (6:25 avg.) Official.

For a local race there was pretty good competition.  There were 465 total runners but five women ran sub 60! (Last year only one woman went sub 60.)  I ended up coming in 4th female overall which meant 1st in my AG.

After I finished I started my cool-down and ran back to find my friend Shannon.  When she finished we both jogged a few more easy recovery miles together.  I had hoped to get in a total of 18 miles today but settled on 15.  I was worn out and we needed to get to the Awards Lunch/ Ceremony which was about 15 minutes away at War Memorial Stadium (where the Arkansas Razorbacks play).

Shannon and I after the race
Our view of the stadium from the press box where lunch was served.

My $10 race entry fee included lunch which is a pretty sweet deal.  If I would have wanted a race t-shirt it would have been an extra $5 which is still really cheap for a race.  But I have plenty race t’s so I decided to save the $$.  Shannon and I did get some pretty cute gloves for winning our age divisions. 

Overall, great race!  There are some races that I keep on my yearly running calendar.  This is definitely one of them!  Now it’s time to relax and recover.  I’ve got my one and only spring half coming up just one week from today!

Did anyone else race this weekend?  Or do you have a race coming up?  Have you ever raced a 15K?

30 thoughts on “River Trail 15K Race Report (…and the 60 minute club!!)

  1. Great job! Loved reading your recap. I love the 15k distance too… there’s one I run every June but it is HILLY! My ‘someday’ goal is go go sub-60 in it. Last summer I was 63-ish.

    1. That’s awesome Sara! How is the weather for a June 15K? I was 63-ish last year so I’m sure if you kept up your training you could make that sub 60 goal! Thanks for your comment!

  2. Thinking about it as 3 sub 20 min 5k’s does sound even faster than sub 60 min for 15k! Congrats on being CRAZY fast! It’s funny that your TM trial was slightly slower than your race. I did a 16 mile TM simulation run and it was about 4 seconds per mile slower than my race and it felt so much harder than the race. Interesting…Congrats again! Love your toughness!

    1. Thanks Katie! Hopefully I can pull a faster HM in real life than my trial one a few weeks ago too. I hope your 6:31 prediction pace is close to accurate for me!!

  3. I am just so impressed with your running and amazing progress in the past year. I am so glad I found your blog so I can read about all your successes and maybe learn something from you in the process! I hope you are having a great day of rest…you earned it! Congratulations!!!!

    1. Thanks Kortni!! I’m so glad I found yours too. Every time I think of the word EMBRACE I think of you! ๐Ÿ™‚ I am going to be reminding myself to EMBRACE my race pace on Saturday!

    1. Thanks Katie! Ahhhh! Little Rock- I have totally put this race in the back of my mind with this 15K and my upcoming HM. When you said only a month away it sounded WAY too soon!!

  4. Wow- great job on the race… and thanks for writing a captivating race recap. I am so glad that you met your goal– and what a fast goal! Sub 60 is very quick for a 15k. And, $10 race fee??? You should definitely put it on your annual race schedule!

  5. Tia, loved reading this! Your focus is inspiring:)Awesome job!
    To me it makes sense that your 15K TT on the treadmill was harder than the race. That was 3.5 weeks ago and it helped you push your fitness higher. Plus, you tapered for the race, and taper allows for several second per mile improvement in pace. Again, super job. You will crush your half and your marathon!

  6. WHOOHOO! I read this last night when I was nursing Ryan to sleep and wanted to respond but it takes too long on my phone!!

    Congratulations, friend! I KNEW you were going to do it! You are seriously so amazing and it gives me so much excitement and hope that I can get a bit faster (although I’ll never ever be able to run sub-6:30 for almost 10 miles).

    Excited to see how your upcoming half goes!!


    1. Thanks Michele!! My phone is the same way. I totally understand. ๐Ÿ™‚ And never say never- a year and a half ago I was just going for a sub 20 minute 5K. Period. Training works!

    1. Ha!! Thanks Tayarra! I felt like I was at the end. It’s always great finishing on a high. I did not have this same feeling at the end of my last two marathons!

  7. I am just amazed at how strong you are running these days, Tia! You just never slow down. It cracks me up that you needed to look up the mileage for the 15k ๐Ÿ™‚ I might have done the same thing.
    When you mention that it’s three sub 20 5k’s , that really sounds intimidating. You obviously have some staying power!
    Congrats on the placement and in joining the club!! And on executing a great race ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Thank you! This one set the bar pretty high for the rest of my 2013 racing schedule! I hope I can stay this focused and determined for the others… ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Hey! Were you at MS River yesterday? I was checking out stats and thought I saw your name for the half. If that was you, congrats! And they should have let you guys run the first half of that race and end on the bridge. It was much prettier than the second half.

  9. Great job! I’m actually the 4th place girl you passed in mile 8. ๐Ÿ™‚ I couldn’t catch you, but thanks to me chasing you, I made my goal of running sub-60:00! 59:54 I knew it was going to be close, but…whew! Nice to meet you. I’m sure I’ll see you around at another race.

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