Sunday, August 9, 2015

On the Run: Allen Park 10K 2015

I didn't think I would be able to race the Allen Park 10K this year but last week my schedule opened up and I was able to add it my calendar.  It was my third time doing this event, having raced it previously in 2011 and 2013.  Last year I must have skipped due to my hamstring.

This event is about as perfect for me as it gets.  Race time is 9:00 so although it's in August and can be a little hot, it allows me to sleep in.  I only have a 10 minute drive.  My parents live a few blocks from the start line so I can park at their house.  And because they live in the city, they come out to see me race.  (Really the best part!)  The 10K is a double loop so that allows them to see me twice.  

This race is put on by the Downriver Runners.  They do a great job.  The course is lined with fabulous volunteers, ensuring nobody makes a wrong turn and no traffic gets in the way.  It's also an accurate course, which I fully appreciated after my last two 10Ks!  It's a small race but draws a competitive field.  Oh, and it's a cheap race!  I think it was $25. That was race entry plus a hat and water bottle.  

I went into the race tired, adjusting from a week of new paces and increased mileage.  I've been struggling physically and mentally with tempo work during training runs and was looking forward to the race environment to give me a push.  I have a confidence in a race that isn't there in training.  I was excited to just relax and do my thing.  

The weather turned out to be perfect - 70's, cloudy, and a slight drizzle.  I slept in, parked at my parents' house, hung out with them for a bit, and then ran my warm-up mile.  I arrived at the race during the National Anthem (about 10 minutes to start).  At the start line I talked to some old friends and made new friends (I love small races).  When the race started, I decided to stay as close as I could to my friend Rob (a fitness and nutrition coach) who I knew would be keeping a good pace.  He was a great rabbit and helped me maintain about a 6:50 pace for the first 4 miles.  Then he sped up ("the faster I run the sooner I'm done method" he said).  At that point I learned I was 3rd female.  That was all the motivation I needed.  Although I was pretty certain I wasn't going to catch 2nd place I was damn sure going to try!  I was able to narrow the gap significantly and chick one dude in the final half mile.  I crossed the finish line strong, proud to know I had given it my all.  

For the first time since my injury I ran a smart race.  I started out at the top end of my tempo zone and worked down from there.  I wanted to run a 6:45 pace and that's exactly what I did.  I ran with my legs and my heart.  I ran happy.  My parents were there cheering me on.  Brian was there.  I think this picture that Brian captured shows it all.

Photo Credit: Brian Wolski

I'm also pleased to say that this was a post-injury PR and a course PR.  Still working my way back towards my 10K PR but that will take some time.  I placed 1st in my age group, 3rd woman, and 10th overall.  I won another pint glass to add to my collection!  And I got to hang out and celebrate after with other fabulous RUNdetroit Flight Club ladies who also placed in their age groups!

Photo Credit: Brian Wolski

6:44 min/mile
10th Floor Ghost Girl / Cibo Matto
The Wolf / Mumford & Sons
  Random Name Generator / Wilco
  Dead Brains / Jessica Hernandez & The Deltas
The Innocent / Mayer Hawthorne 
The Walker / Fitz & The Tantrums 
Shake it Off / Taylor Swift 
Runaway Baby / Bruno Mars 
I Love It / Icona Pop
Dancing Shoes / Arctic Monkeys
50 Ways to Say Goodbye / Train
 Deceptacon / Jessica Hernandez & The Deltas
Love Runs Out / OneRepublic

I wore my new racing flats for the first time: Saucony Type A6.  I usually wear the Fastwich 6, which are a stability flat but I wanted to try a neutral shoe.  These shoes are fantastic!  Super light and comfortable.  LOVE LOVE LOVE!  

Photo Credit: Brian Wolski

Saturday is long run day so after the race I ran 9 more miles through Allen Park.  I lived there for about 12 years so it's my second home town.  It was nice to explore the city on foot again, revisiting some of the areas I used to walk around (because I was NOT a runner when I was growing up).  I covered some good ground, got a little lost, and eventually found my way back to my parents' house again.  By the time all my running was done for the day - race, warm-up/cool-down, and extra miles - I'd logged 17 miles for the day.  My longest run since my marathon in October!  The hamstring was feeling it in the last mile but after a day of rest and foam rolling, I should be feeling better.

Maybe this race was the confident boost I needed.  Bring on another week!

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