I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and were able to relax and enjoy some quiet time with friends and family. This week has flown by and I’ve enjoyed every bit of downtime we’ve had! It’s actually been peak mileage training week and I cannot think of a better week for it than Thanksgiving. Extra time to run and plenty of delicious food to eat- it’s ideal!
Last Saturday was my third time to run the Spa 10k in Hot Springs, AR. This is a race that’s been around a while and has the well deserved reputation for being challenging. The first two miles have a slow gradual uphill and then the middle two miles have a much more aggressive uphill that make you question why you signed up to run the race or why you run in general. It’s all worth it though on the final two miles which are fast and downhill. I’m a huge fan of downhill racing but don’t get to do it that often so to me it was a fair trade.
This is a pretty big race event for our state (1,000+ runners) and it has a 5k and half marathon option as well. The 10k has been around the longest, is part of the Arkansas Grand Prix series, and is the most popular.
We checked the kids out of school an hour early that Friday so we could get a head start to Hot Springs. We went to packet pickup at the Hotel Hot Springs and then dinner at Cracker Barrel before checking into our hotel.
When I ran this race for the first time in 2014 I was slowly coming back from plantar fasciitis. In 2015 I ran it 2 weeks after a marathon and my body was still very much in recovery mode. This year I was not injured or in marathon recovery so I was really hoping to have a good race experience. Honestly, it went much better than I could have ever hoped. It’s hard to know how to gauge pacing this race since the middle (mile 3 specifically) is so tough. My friend Tracy who had run it the past few years gave me some good advice about going out strong in the first two and to not hold back too much.
I didn’t have any pace average or goal time in mind since this was not an “A” race and I had just ran my goal race the previous weekend. There was a high school kid in front of me who also runs a lot of the Grand Prix races. He usually finishes right around my times (or a few seconds in front of me) so I focused on trying to catch him. I passed him after the big climb in mile 3 but he stayed right on my heels and as soon as we started the descent he passed me back. I then spent the next two mile sprinting downhill (my favorite!!) and even at sub 6 paces I could not catch Gideon! I was shocked I went sub 38:30 on this course! Could I possibly shoot for a 37:xx next year?! I don’t often get surprised like this so it was a great feeling.
Official Time- 38:21 (6:10 avg.) / 1st female. Results can be found here.
The Spa 10k Progression…
|Mile 6.24||5:36 avg.||5:42 avg.||5:24 avg.|
Part of my cool-down included running back to find Abi who was doing great and cut off several minutes from last year. This year she finished in 49:45. We took a team picture (our ladies team won) and then we met up with the other Iron Runners from the Grand Prix. This was the second to last race on the Arkansas Grand Prix schedule and the last race on the kids schedule. * The kids schedule does not include the half marathons, marathon, or the 20k.
This year I was honored to receive the Female Runner of the Year Award. Arkansas has the best running community and I am so glad to be a part of it. I know it would have not been possible without my family- especially J who probably goes to more races than anyone! He is always there to cheer me on, bring the kids, and support me.
The highlight was being able to present the Youth Female Runner of the Year Award to my Abi. She was the only youth female who did Iron Runner this year and she consistently placed in her age group. Neither of us set off intending to run all the Grand Prix races this year but it’s been a very special experience for us both and I’ve learned a lot in the process. Of course as soon as she received her award and sat down my oldest son whispered to me that he would like to go for Iron Runner next year. We’ll see! It’s a big commitment and I really can’t think that far ahead right now but I love that he has big goals.
There is one more Grand Prix race and then the 3 Bridges Marathon!! My longest run of the training cycle is tomorrow and then I’ll start going down. I’m feeling good about training and where I am right now. I know I’ll need to take a break after the marathon but this is my favorite part of marathon training. I love the consistency, the routine, the challenge, and the miles.
Up Next: A recap of peak week and the (Mini) Endurance Challenge