Spa City 10K- Race Report

Spa City 10K- Race Report

This is my last race report for the year! It is not the last race I ran but this one sort of fell through the cracks during my racing rampage of November and early December.  Why bother writing it at all?  To tell you the truth, I often go back through my old race reports before running them again.  It helps refresh my mind on the course, the atmosphere and it prepares me mentally. I have a feeling I will be racing the Spa City 10k again sometime so hopefully this will future Tia!

According to the race website, one of the race’s highlights is that the “course includes a challenging section through Hot Springs National Park.”  Challenging is the right word.  There are two killer long hills around the middle of the race.  I knew going into this race it would not be a PR or even close to a 10k PR.  But I knew it would be a great workout and race to help me get back into 10k shape.  It was also the second to last race in the Arkansas Grand Prix series and if I wanted to have a shot at placing overall for the year I needed to race it!

Spa City 10k Elevation Map

I must admit that the Arkansas Grand Prix series has made racing locally a lot more interesting. I have done some races this year that if it were not for the GP series I am sure I would not have run- this being one of them.  I will be doing an entire post on my first year experience in the Arkansas Grand Prix series but first I need to recap this one!

The Race- The Spa City 10K
The Date- Saturday, November 22, 2014 @ 8:00 am
The Location- Hot Springs, AR

The Trip
Hot Springs is about 1:45-2 hours away from my house depending on traffic.  I wouldn’t consider it an easy drive as a lot of it is on windy, dark roads.  We actually left Friday late afternoon and made a little mini vacation out of it.  It was the day the kids got out of school for Thanksgiving break.

When we first arrived in Hot Springs I picked up my race packet at the host hotel.  I really like the race long sleeve dry fit shirt.  It’s definitely the best 10k race shirt I’ve ever had! (In fact, it beats most race shirts!)  Then we had dinner at the Hot Springs Cracker Barrel before checking into our hotel.  We do not travel a lot so when we do it is a real treat and the kids LOVE hotel trips. 

Giant gingerbread house in the hotel lobby
great race shirt!
Cracker Barrel with the fam!
Because you have to jump on hotel beds, right?

The race was about 15 minutes away from our hotel so we left around 7 am.  Although there was a 5k in conjunction with the 10k none of my kids wanted to race and with it being a tougher course I was fine with that.  They have done plenty of races this year and I never want to force it.  This Saturday morning they were all happy being cheerleaders.  There was also a bounce house right by the finish which made things a little easier for John.

I jogged about a mile and a half warm-up.  I also met up with a client of mine, Brandi who was also racing the 10k.  It was so good to see her again.

The Plan
As usual I had a pacing plan but with any new course and especially one deemed “challenging” it’s hard to know exactly what to expect. I hoped I could keep my pace between 6:20-6:30.

The Race
Mi 1- 6:18. This race has a fairly fast start because of the 5k but they break off quickly (around a quarter mile) which helps.

Mi 2- 6:32.  I was still feeling pretty good but knew I needed to conserve energy for the challenging section ahead.

Mi 3- 6:59.  Yikes! The steep uphill climb for over a half mile destroyed me.  I knew the hills were not over but I was hoping the next section was easier than this.  (And it was! For those planning to run this at some point in the future I think the first hill section is the hardest!)

Mi 4- 6:42.  This section was hard but didn’t last as long.  I was actually relieved when I saw my time wasn’t worse than this.

Mi 5- 6:27.  After the uphill there is a really nice downhill section.  It reminded me of parts of my Poconos Marathon in May.  I love downhill racing!  It definitely helps your time but in no way balances it out if that makes any sense.

Mi 6- 6:14.  Cruising! I felt so good knowing I was almost done and I had survived the hard part.

Mi 6. 25- 1.22. (5:36 avg.).  There was an older guy right on my heels the last mile or so and I was not about to let him catch me on the last stretch. 

Final kick!

Official Time: 40:34 (2nd female overall)  Official Results can be found here.

Post Race
My foot had done well most of the race but once I stopped running I could feel the soreness setting in.  We were on a tight schedule to get back to the hotel so I could shower before awards and the drive home so I actually didn’t cool down at all.  When the whole family is with me (and not racing) after a race my cool- down miles are slim to none.  It’s just how it is and I’m good with that.

Quick post race picture with Brandi- she did great!

For finishing 2nd overall female I did win a $50 Dick’s Sporting Good gift certificate which was very nice and unexpected! It was going to expire by December 31st of this year so during a Christmas shopping outing a few weeks ago I used it to get Abi a new pair of basketball shorts and then some socks and running tights for me.

Since this race is part of the Arkansas Grand Prix schedule next year I will probably do it in again.  I would like to go sub 40 (maybe even sub 39?) next time which should be possible if I’m in better racing shape.  The town of Hot Springs is very proud of this race.  This was the 33rd annual race!  It was very organized and well run.  If you are looking for a challenging but rewarding fall 10k in central Arkansas (or an excuse to get a massage!) this is your race.  We did not stick around long enough to enjoy any of the perks for being in “Spa City” but we still had a great time.

Coming Soon…

The Best and Worst of 2014
My First Year Experience in the Arkansas Grand Prix

9 thoughts on “Spa City 10K- Race Report

  1. Tia I always enjoy reading about your race plan and how it unfolds. I’m curious when you go out a little faster than you planned do you have to regroup mentally or are you glad that you made some ground against the clock? Obviously you did not burn up too much energy as you had a super last mile and last 2/10s. Congrats on a well run race on challenging course!

    1. Going out too fast usually gets me physically and mentally! This was a really tough race to pace because i didn’t know what to expect. I really prefer my first mile bring my slowest and last my fastest. Have you run Spa City before?

  2. That’s a great time for 300′ of climb in a 10K, and yet another great race for you! (Do you have like a room full of awards? ha) I write my race and training reports for much of the same reason. Like you mentioned, I use them all the time as reference – often as NOT what to do. But keeping an active log has really helped me from time to time. I look forward to reading in 2015, good luck and great job as always!

    1. Thanks! Yes, that climb was tough! Fortunately, this race gave out medals which I love since we recently added a “Running” Christmas tree to the mix around the holidays. Just a fun way to display race medals 1 month out of the year. (The other 11 months they’re in a box!)

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