Last Saturday I made my way to Benton, Arkansas for the 34th annual Arkansas 20k. Exactly how far is a 20k? It’s 12.4 miles… or in my case 12.5 if you don’t run the tangents just right! Since it’s one of the longer races on the Grand Prix schedule I was doing this one solo without the kids. I made the trip to Benton with a few of my Searcy Rush teammates.
We arrived in Benton with about 45 minutes to spare. We jogged the first stretch of the course and did some strides. It’s always nice to have teammates to share some of the pre-race craziness with!
This is one of those races that it helps to have run before because the distance can be a little deceiving. Most people would assume a 20k could be run at typical half marathon pace. Maybe with other 20ks but not this one! This one is challenging to say the least. Last year I thought I could manage running this race at marathon pace. I was wrong! I ended up running it 20 seconds slower than my marathon pace! I think it’s the combination of hills and heat. It’s still pretty warm in mid- September in Arkansas. Race temps were in the mid to upper 70’s which combined with the hills takes its toll in the last half of the race. My goal was to stay in the 6:30’s pace range which is slightly slower than half marathon pace but faster than my marathon pace.
From the beginning I found myself in position of second female. There was a small pack of guys I followed and I really didn’t know how much a lead I had on third female. This race is a simple out and back so I knew I could figure out a few things position-wise around the 10k turnaround. With the warmer temps I grabbed a few sips of water every two miles when it was available. I had my one gel around the turnaround.
In this race you really have to be on guard for traffic in all directions which gets harder to do the more tired you are! Right around mile 10 I knew I was gaining on first female. I passed her at mile 11 and kept pushing. There are some big hills during the last 5k. It went much better than last year but still… it was rough. By this point My “A” goal was out the window and I was just trying to keep my splits under 7 minutes.
When I rounded the last corner and looked up the last hill I saw the finish line. I also saw something completely unexpected- tape for me to break! I’ve actually never broken race tape before so this was a first! Very cool!! To view video of finish click here. Thanks Mac’s Race Timing!
Official Time- 1:23:45. Official results can be found here. This is actually a 6+ min course PR for me.
Splits: 6:36, 6:30, 6:28, 6:31, 6:43, 6:45, 6:39, 6:33, 6:45, 6:57, 6:59, 7:07, last 0.50 at 6:26 avg. (6:42 overall garmin avg.). 1st female.
After I finished I waited for my teammates so we could cool down together. Our team ended up finishing 1, 2, 3, & 4! The runner I passed at mile 11 is also on our team and we found out after the race that she had been involved in some kind of accident with an irate driver along the course. What in the world?! I had no idea this had happened until about 30 minutes after the race. (She’s actually doing very well now and back to running. It could have been a lot worse.) Scary!
I had planned to jog a couple easy miles after the race but one measly mile (at a 10+ min pace) was all I had in me. The 20k had wiped me out! This race made me appreciate the fact that Chicago will be flat and will hopefully have some cooler race temps.
The Heart & Sole 2015 Half Marathon Race Recap (Yes, I ran but did not all out race a half marathon yesterday.). I also hope to put together a Chicago Marathon training recap. This hasn’t been my highest mileage training cycle but I’d have to say it’s had the best quality of workouts. So many factors go into a great training cycle. A supportive family, good health, and proper coaching/ instruction are some of the factors that can really make a big difference. I know I couldn’t do it without these guys!!