Well it has been quite a while since blogging about running, so I think the first race of the year warrants a quick post. Every now and then it is fun to move outside of my normal realm of food and gardening. Plus, like some of my other blogs, I just enjoy having a space to keep my own thoughts and experiences to look back on. Race recaps are a nice topic to touch on every now and then for me to see how my training translates to performance, which helps keep me more motivated to stay on top of my workouts!
Last year was a challenge without many in person races. Virtual racing, while a nice option, just doesn't quite light the fire to get me to really push myself. I jumped in on a few just to keep up the tradition or still support the organizations that work so hard to host these races, but I am really excited to see a lot of my favorites coming back to in-person events this year. Yesterday's event even had the usual post-race festivities like the awards ceremony and a BBQ. I don't often hang out long after a race anyway, but it still was nice to have that bit of normalcy back and see my fellow runners enjoying the old thrill of the finish again!
The race is called the Tear Drop Half Marathon/10K/5K. I have done the half marathon once before, and complete the 10K last September when it got rescheduled from its usual April date. The draw of the race is that it starts up on Fort Mountain and the majority of each distance is downhill. For the 10K, the first 8 kilometers (5 miles) is all down the mountain road. Once you hit the home stretch there are a few rolling hills before a flat finish. While it is a great one to get some speedy times, the downhill can be a bit of a challenge as it takes a big toll on the legs and feet!
Another addition back for this race was on-course photography! Thanks to True Speed Photo for free photography for all participants! It was quite chilly up at the start, so I layered up because I really don't like being cold, haha! I could have ditched the top layer into the bin that the directors had at the start, but luckily I didn't overheat with the gusty winds that hit every so often on the way down. Despite being on the road, it is still a mostly shaded course with all the tree cover around, as well.
For reference, you can see my Garmin data with the elevation change. The half marathon is even more impressive, but the 10K still gives you a solid amount of time running with gravity. Back in September I didn't train as well as I could have and definitely felt the heat by mile four. The last month or so I added in more deceleration training and downhill work, so while I am quite sore today, I was able to handle the beating a lot better this time around.
This picture was right at the top of the last hill before hitting the flat finish. I think just before mile 6. Feeling pretty spent at that point, but I knew there were a few ladies nipping at my heels and didn't want to lose any ground going into the finish. While I mostly compete against myself, a little competition against others is a nice push to really go the distance and not let up when the finish line is so close.
Not a distance personal best, but I beat my time on this course from September by almost a minute and a half! The last full mile alone was a minute faster, proof that my training paid off with better late-race endurance. Last year I was cooked by the hills and my legs felt like lead towards the end. I was quite pleased with my splits overall given it can be a challenge to pace appropriately while not trying to fight the pull of gravity too much.
I ended up taking first in my age group, as well as being the second female overall! Even if I had finished last, I would have been pretty darn happy with my personal time, but it'll be fun to show off my bling to my niece next time I see her. Inspire the next generation of runners in the family. ;)
All in all it was a great morning. Definitely worth the challenge of walking down the stairs today! The experience has also re-lit that competitive fire, and I still have plenty more running goals I'd like to work on. That elusive sub-22 5K is still on my radar. Perhaps getting back under 48 minutes on the 10K would be a good challenge, as well. Last year may have been a good time to recharge and rest up to tackle some hard training ahead.
What goals are you guys working on this year?
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