October has been a big month of training with my usual amount racing too! Right now I’m in a pretty solid training groove hitting between 60-70 miles a week and feeling good with a little more than 7 weeks to go until the 3 Bridges Marathon. My coach and I have had to get a little creative with some of my long runs (working around racing) but so far so good! In the past two weeks I’ve run a 10k (more of a 6 mile race but I’ll get to that) and a 5k. We’ll start with the first one- Race # 17 on the Arkansas Grand Prix schedule.
Race: Survivors Challenge 10k
Date: Saturday, October 15, 2016
Location: Fort Smith, AR
Time: 8:00 am
I had never been to Fort Smith before and I knew it would be a long drive. My good friend Kem offered us a place to stay (she has family and friends there) which was great! Abi and I left Friday afternoon to make a fun mini girls trip out of it. After we picked up our packets we went to Olive Garden, one of Abi’s favorite restaurants. Then we went to TJ Maxx because Abi was needing a few things for school and do we really need any reason to go to TJ Maxx? We met up with Kem at her parents house a little after 8:00.
Abi, Kem, and I left Saturday morning for the race around 6:45 and we arrived in plenty of time. I was able to get in a good 2 mile warm-up and strides. I knew the course would be challenging with some big inclines but I had also heard it was a good course to negative split since the second half had a good downhill in the last mile.
From the beginning I found myself in the position of first female and third overall. Right after the first mile I moved into second overall. The second mile was a beast. When I saw a half marathon pace split I was very discouraged. This was going to be an awful time but I hoped I could pull it back together. I started mile 3 fresh and focused on staying in the mile. From that point on things got better. Around mile 4 or 5 we merged with the 5k runners. There was another steep incline at the end of mile 5 but I was still able to pick up my overall average thanks to the amazing downhill in mile 6. The male in front of me had his own bike pacer and I had mine. She was very friendly and always encouraged spectators to cheer. Just after the mile 5 marker there was a section of the course where the 5k runners went right. Apparently all runners were supposed to go right (we learned this after the race) but my pacer kept yelling, “5k runners right, 10k runners stay straight!” So I went straight following my pacer and the lead male. Behind me the other 10k runners stayed straight as well. When I saw the finish line abruptly after my watch beeped 6 I was shocked. As much as I dislike an extra long course I am also not a fan of the extra short course. My watch measured 6.03 (6:15 avg.).
The finish clock read 37:38. Official results can be found here. I’ve been wanting to break 38 minutes in a 10k for 3 years now. I’ve been within a couple seconds but it has yet to happen. I did not expect it on this course and I obviously I’m not counting this. I have a 10k coming up in a couple weeks and hopefully I can do it for real that time!
Mile Splits: 6:18, 6:30, 6:18, 6:16, 6:14, 5:58
Abi placed third in her age group in 48:41. I’m guessing in a legit 10k she’d be right around 50 minutes which was great considering the course!
After the awards we headed home but we did stop in Russellville at Abi’s favorite hamburger joint. She has gone there with John a few times for basketball games and now I know why. It was SO GOOD! All in all great weekend since I was able to spend it with my girl.
Race- Micah Rine 5k
Date: Saturday, October 22, 2016
Location: Searcy, AR
Time: 8:00 am
This race started in 2011 and believe it or not I have run it every. single. year. It’s about 4 minutes from my house and proceeds benefit the wellness center at my kids school. I was a little torn because another race I’ve run for years was on the same day/ time- the Arkansas Race for the Cure 5k in Little Rock. Ultimately I knew I’d pick the local race since it would be a better fit for the whole family. My older three kids ran in it too and my dad power walked it. They all did great!
I started the race as first female, behind three guys. I knew one was aiming for 17- something but I didn’t know about the other two. I just needed to stay consistent and keep it controlled. I was able to negative split my last 5k so I’d hoped to do that again. I went through mile 1 in 5:57. A little slower than I wanted and it felt like it took a little more effort too. I focused on picking it up for the next half mile on the part of the course I know very well. During this stretch I passed two of the guys and I was right behind the lead runner. Mile 2 clocked in at 5:54 and my breathing was feeling much better but my right calf seemed really tight. At this point I feel like my weekly mileage was catching up with me. I went into this race with 50+ miles within the previous 5 days so it was not tapered and I could tell. I just reminded myself to keep pushing and I’d be done soon. I knew the course well which really helped me break it up in my mind. I started to pass the lead runner but whenever I did he pushed back. My mile 3 split was 5:50 and the last .10 was at a 5:48 pace.
Official Time- 18:16 (5:54 avg. pace). Official results can be found here. This is a new course PR for me by 6 seconds. Progress!
Once I finished I went back for the kids. Abi was first and finished in 23:05- a new PR!
Anthony finished in 25:29.
Anna ran a 28:02- a new PR as well.
Then I went back for my dad who was walking. He is such a fast walker I have to jog just to keep up with him! He finished in 42:42.
John and Ashton were cheering and taking pictures of everyone. It really was a great race for the whole family and I’m glad we were able to do this together again this year.
What’s next? I’m running in the Soaring Wings Half Marathon on Saturday. I have not run this since 2011 and it was a tough race for me that year. I had a baby, followed by a stress fracture in 2011 so this was my first big race back and I started way too fast. The last 5 miles were brutal. Hopefully I will have a more positive racing experience this time around!