In my masters series quest one of the more obscure distance records is the 8k. I think it falls under the same category as the 12k and 20k. They are not very common these days- especially compared to the ever popular 5k, 10k, or half marathon. There used to be a popular 8k race in Little Rock (Rock Run) but it hasn’t been around in a few years. I ran Rock Rock a few times in its final years and always thought it was great course along Rebsamen and the River Trail.
On a fairly flat course in decent weather (honestly anything mid 70’s or below) I knew the 8k record was doable. The time to beat was 31:51 from 1998. That’s a 6:24 pace for just under 5 miles. Sounds simple enough but as I discovered Saturday night it’s not so easy with killer hills when the heat index is just under 100. Spoiler alert- I did not set any Masters records on this one. I wasn’t even close.
The Heat is On 8k
Saturday, July 13, 2019
In researching some of the in state masters records I could only find one current 8k and it was newly certified. I registered for the Heat is On 8k knowing the temps and course would not be in my favor but I was still optimistic. I had to at least try. We arrived about an hour and a half before the race and I had plenty of time to warmup and prepare. Abi and Anthony were also running it as a long training run for cross country. This course was actually perfect for them. I took a screen shot of the weather just before I started my warm-up. Pretty sure this would be one of my hottest races to date…
The early starters took off at 7:00 and then the regular start was at 7:10. For the first mile and a half I ran alongside a local runner who knew the course well. I think she’s a recent University of Arkansas XC/ Track runner. She warned me about miles 2 & 3. She started to pull ahead at some point during the second mile and I told myself I’d catch up to her later. Well, that never happened.
Initially I was trying to “stay in the mile” but during the climb in mile 3 I watched my overall pace average sky rocket and from that point on I was in survival mode. I passed a few guys (not because I started running faster- they just started walking) and I tried to keep Logan in sight but I wasn’t fighting for it. I grabbed water to drink/ pour on my head every time I passed an aid station. Thank you volunteers!!
Fortunately there was a nice downhill stretch in the last mile that gave me the boost I needed for the uphill finish.
Official Time- 33:45. 2nd FOA and 4th OA
Sometimes the best you can do is finish. I put in a solid effort and started and finished strong. The middle was the not so strong part… (See elevation map below.)
The kids did well and both finished faster than I thought they would given their summer training and the heat. My only cooldown was running back to finish with each of them.
The positives: The race volunteers were great! The overall winners received Yeti cups (thank you!) and age group winners received baseball caps! I love practical awards like this!
The venue was at the Batesville Community Center and had a very unique and fun race vibe. After the race we had pizza and the kids swam.
We didn’t get home until close to midnight. I knew right away I would not be waking up early to run Sunday. I worked in an easy run Sunday evening but wow- did this race leave me sore! I guess it was the heat and hills combination that did me in! Time to recover so I can prepare for Full Moon this weekend!