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.
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?