Have you ever raced for distance- not time? Every race I have ever run has been a set distance and the finish time was up to me. In this race, everyone ran for one hour and the distance of the race was up to them. The One Hour Track Run is the first race in the Arkansas Grand Prix 2016 Series and is hosted by the River Valley Runners in Pottsville, AR. It’s been around for a while but in all the years I’ve lived in Arkansas I’d never run it. I’m so glad I decided to try this one. Running for distance is a whole other animal and requires a little different mindset than your typical race. In this particular race there were two heats. The first was at 1:30 pm for runners who planned to run around an 8:20 pace or slower. The 3:15 pm race heat was for runners who planned to run faster than 8:20 pace.
My family had 4 people running in the race. My middle two children were going to do the 1:30 race and my oldest daughter and I planned to run the 3:15 race. We live about an hour and a half from Pottsville so we left right after church Sunday morning. On the way we grabbed a light lunch.
We had planned to get there with about 30 minutes to spare since my middle two did not need to warm-up and I had already pre-registered all of us. About halfway there we heard a noise and within 5 seconds we realized one of the rear tires blew out. Fortunately, we were able to safely pull over to a random dirt driveway so we could get off the highway. At this point I didn’t know if the race was even going to happen and at the moment it didn’t matter at all. I was just so thankful we were all ok and no accident occurred during the process.
I called our Honda Roadside assistance but it was going to take them at least 30 minutes to get to us. Then I called one of my friends who was also running the race and she happened to be only 5 minutes from us! She and her husband and daughter were able to meet us and drive those of us racing to the race. My husband and youngest son waited for roadside assistance and then drove straight over to an auto store to buy a new tire!
We arrived at the race pretty frazzled with about 10 minutes to spare. My oldest daughter picked up our packets while I took the others to the restrooms. I was pleasantly surprised to find no bathroom lines! (Probably most of the runners were already lining up!)
Then I put the chips on my kids shoes and it was time to start! Basically, everyone’s timing chip kept track of time, pace, and laps every time they crossed the mat.
I was very thankful for the time I had during the first race to relax and settle down after the pre-race craziness. I cheered for the kids every time they ran around and they did awesome.
After a warmup and strides it was time for the 3:15 heat. John still wasn’t to the race but he was on his way. My middle two stayed right by the start so I could keep an eye on them.
My goal was to try to hit about a 6:20-6:25 pace. I really wanted to see if I could run a 15k in under 60 minutes. From the beginning it just seemed natural to break the race into 3 separate 20 minute sections. 60 minutes as whole seemed a lot longer so I focused on each section.
I thought the passing / getting passed would be a bigger issue but it really wasn’t. I made peace that my watch mileage would be longer than race because I would have no control over running the tangents. I was sharing the track with 73 other runners and everyone wanted lane 1. The rule for this race was that if you wanted to pass someone you had to pass to the right- not the left. Instead of weaving in and out I think I spent most of the time on the line between lanes 1 & 2.
Mile 1- 6:07. A bit fast but I was feeling great. I just hoped this wouldn’t mean 6:30’s/ 6:40’s at the end.
Mile 2- 6:10.
Mile 3- 6:14.
Mile 4- 6:14
Mile 5- 6:15
Mile 6- 6:17. John arrived during this mile so when I went around I held up 6 fingers so he knew what mile I was on.
Mile 8- 6:17.
Mile 9- 6:17. When I passed the mat on my 37th lap the clock read 58:33. John yelled, “1 more!” He said exactly what I was thinking but I knew this meant a very fast final lap. 87 seconds to be exact. You know what it’s like trying to do mental math and sprint as fast as you can… I kicked it into my fastest gear, pretty much staying in lane 2 so I didn’t have to weave in and out. The race director started counting down and I was going all out. I crossed the mat with 1 second to spare! My last lap was 86 seconds and my fastest lap of the entire race.
Mile 9.62- 3:45 (6:02 avg.) *Garmin Average- 6:14 avg. pace overall
38 Laps total (1st female overall/ 10th overall). Unofficial Results can be found here. Official results should be up soon once they add in everyone’s extra mileage from the last lap. I’m guessing I’ll be just at 9.5 miles.
When the 1:00 Hour bell rang and the race ended all participants had to stop exactly where they were on the track so they could be measured. The race director and assistant started at the mat and worked counter clockwise on the track. Since I had just crossed the mat along with a few others I was the 4th person to be measured. So they will be adding my distance since I crossed the mat the last time to my overall lap distance.
I’m pretty thrilled with how this one went and I would love to execute a similar strategy in the 15k race I’m running next weekend.
I loved the concept of this race and obviously the track was not a difficult course. I also enjoyed getting to see Abi and being able to run along side her every other lap or so.
I love trying new races and this one was so different. Also, the price was great! Only $20 for adults and $10 for kids (which also included a shirt). I thought this race was very organized and family friendly. The two different heats really helped with track congestion. I would definitely run this race again and recommend it to others.
Have you ever run a race with a set time like this?