It’s summer racing season which means I’ve switched gears from marathon training to racing some shorter distances. Nothing like a fast 1 or 2 mile race to push you out of your comfort zone! To be honest these two races are the most intimidating ones on the Arkansas Grand Prix schedule to me. There’s just something about the shorter races that makes me extremely nervous. It must be the crazy fast pace!
Race #1: Arkansas Runner 2 Mile
Location: Benton, AR
Date: Saturday, June 9, 2018
Time: 7:30 AM
I went into the 2 Miler with one goal- to PR which would require running a sub 5:45 pace. Could I do it? I felt somewhat optimistic since I was healthy and had several good speed workouts under my belt. I ran a decent 2 mile race in March 6 days after the Little Rock Marathon so surely on fresh legs I could go faster. At least that’s what I thought…
Originally I planned on all the kids running this one with me. This race is a great distance for kids and the Saline County Striders make this a very family friendly event. I think it only cost $30 to register our entire family and that included t-shirts! The course is really safe for kids- mostly closed to traffic and it’s spectator friendly. The only problem we had was that it was the day after the older 3 kids got home from church camp and they were completely worn out! The girls decided not to run and the only reason Anthony did was because he is going for Iron Runner this year which means completing all the Grand Prix races on the kids schedule. Ashton decided he wanted to run the kids mile instead of 2 miles which was fine with me. I took the boys to Benton Friday night and we stayed at my sisters house. She was also planning to run this race.
Despite the heat I started strong and quickly found my rhythm which was nice. Pacing in the upper 5:30’s felt good. There’s a long slow climb from 0.75 through the first mile marker so my pace started to slow. I was able to pass a few guys on this stretch and mile 1 clocked in at 5:42.
The start of the second mile was still going up and when I checked my current pace I was just under 6. Too slow!! I really worked to pick it up until the turnaround. With about a quarter mile to go my overall average was 5:45 but the last stretch has a good downhill and I was able to finish with a 5:44.
Official time- 11:41. (1st OA Female)
My watch measured the race at 2.04 so apparently I need to do a better job running the tangents on this course. I wasn’t able to hit my goal time (sub 11:30) but I’m very hopeful it will happen in March at Chase Race. If I race smart I think it’s possible. The state Masters record for 2 miles is 11:39 so that’s another goal for March.
After the 2 Mile Race was the Kids 1 Mile Fun run and I ran with Ashton and my niece Ava who finished together just over 9 minutes. They did great!
Race # 2: Go! Mile
Location: Little Rock, AR
Date: Saturday, June 16, 2018
Time: 8:20 AM
You can train for weeks and months for a race but sometimes life happens and things just don’t go as planned. When you have 4 kids this tends to happen a lot… On Friday night I found myself driving to Little Rock with all the kids heading to packet pickup at Go! Running. Abi had been pretty quiet and not herself and I could tell something was wrong. I asked her how she was feeling and she said terrible. In my mind I was thinking- why didn’t you tell me this before we left?! We had planned to get our packets, eat dinner, and then check into a hotel since I had a reservation through the Elite Go! Mile program. John was going to meet us after he got off work. Instead I had to call him to pick up Abi who was running a fever so he could take her home. (We found out the next day that she had strep throat.) So Friday night it was just the four of us.
Saturday morning I put everyone’s race bibs on and timing chips on their shoes. We were all in different race heats and I realized we better hurry if we were going to make it to Anna’s! Her race started at 7:20. We got to the starting line with about 2 minutes to spare! Anna didn’t seem to mind and she did great. She finished in 7:28.
The next racer in our family was Anthony. Thankfully my friend Robert was able to keep an eye on my younger two so I could take Anthony to his start and cheer for him in the final stretch. (This also served as my warm-up.) Anthony ran his second fastest mile ever in 6:38.
I went over to the finish area but I couldn’t find him- it was so crowded. I thought maybe he went back to the other kids so I checked there but he wasn’t with them. My race was starting in a few minutes but there was no way I could run with him wandering around. I looked all over and finally found him off to the side near the finish. My friend Cindy kept all the kids while I headed to the start of my race. Needless to say I was a mess from chasing the kids and losing/ finding Anthony. I just needed to get through my race and then I could relax.
The elite heat typically consists of runners with finish times ranging from low 4’s through just under a 6 minute pace. There were at least 4 other females I knew who would finish ahead of me. I really needed to focus on running fast and trying to hit my goal of 80 second quarters.
Splits according to Strava: 81, 82, 89, 73.
The third quarter has 2 or 3 turns and a slight incline and it got the best of me. Fortunately I turned it back on in the last quarter. I was gaining on one of the ladies in front of me so I focused on catching her. I was able to pass her in the final seconds and I finished strong. It’s actually the fastest last quarter I’ve ever had at Go! Mile.
Official Finish- 5:25. (4th Female OA). The top 3 ladies all ran sub 5! It wasn’t my fastest mile ever but considering I was solo race parenting and juggling 4 different races I’ll take it!
After my race I was able to get a short cool-down in before the last race of the morning- the Mini Mile with Ashton.
One of the biggest takeaways I have from this race is a greater appreciation for what John does when I race. He usually handles everything so I can focus and race. Somehow we managed and I’m very thankful for friends who stepped in at different times to help. I don’t plan on running any more one mile races in my 30’s so this was it! Master division is coming up next!