Monday, July 4, 2011

First Official (and worst) 10k - race report

1st 10k
Temp- 90s and humid

Since September, my race focus has consistently been on half marathons. Generally, my 10k time during my half marathon ranges anywhere from 50-54 minutes, so I thought it would be neat to actually run a 10k race to see what I can do. I run for the Party is a Nashville based event group that raises money for cancer awareness by putting on local races. I was a little hesitant to sign up for this race because back in November when I ran the Huntsville 1/2, Becca ran the 1/2 marathon back here in Nashville sponsored by 'I run for the party' and was annoyed at how disorganized the event was and no finishers medal. 

Since I haven't ran a race since West Virginia over Memorial Weekend, I decided to bite the bullet and see if I have a better experience than her. 

'Supposedly' there was no race day pick up on their website (apparently you could do it, they just didn't tell you). I think its asking a lot on a holiday weekend to only have a 3 hour window on Sunday, day before race to pick up your bib from 1pm-4pm downtown outside Country Music Hall of Fame. So it wouldn't ruin my entire day, I went to the pool around 11am and hung out till 3, giving me 1 hour to get downtown and have everything taken care of. Since I waited till the last minute, there was no line and I was back home by 3:45 (20 min drive each way, but its no secret I like to drive fast.... B loves when its my turn to do the road trips hehe)
Bib and shirt pick up

I knew this was the closest I was going to get, so figure I'd capture it now. 
Ugh for cotton tee- race bib had a map of course on it.
Race start was @ 8am, and lucky for me one of my best friends used to live in apartments about 2 blocks from the Hall of Fame (race start) so I knew of some side street free parking that no one ever uses- thus I was able to leave my house at 7:20 without worry on where to park. 
This is the best I could do to wear Red, White, and Blue (I'm a great rhymer) 
As I'm walking down to the start area I begin to get nervous since there is zero organization. First off there are only 7 port-o-potties and a LONG line to use them- great because I have to pee, however I won't get done in time for race to start. 2nd was despite the inflatable arch that said "START" on it, no one knew which way the course was going, so therefore not a single person was lined up. 

I did a few stretches and just stood around waiting to be directed where to go. One cool distraction was that quite a number of people were dressed in spirit for the holiday- I felt like a creeper if I asked for photos, so instead I just people watched. 

Finally a lady with a mega phone told us which direction the race was going and for everyone to start heading that way. Again I want to re-iterate that the race was an 8am start, however we didn't start till around 8:10am since there were some Nashville troops in Afghanistan running at the same time we were  and they called in and were going to do the race count down to start. I do think it's awesome how far we've come in technology to have the ability to do this, however the temps were rising and there was also a storm abrewing, so everyone was getting antsy as we waited.

Before the start they explain that its a repeat loop course for 10k folks, so its important to go to the left of the timing mats on first loop so our time doesn't get marked. I guess I should have looked at the course map beforehand so I wouldn't be disappointed that I have to see the finish line when I'm only 1/2 way done during the race :(

Finally we get the troops, do the count down, and we're off! To be honest I have ZERO game plan on how to run this thing. Secretly I was hoping I could break 50 minutes, but considering I haven't really ran competitively in over a month, or at all for that matter, I knew that was a pipe dream. Right from the start we are going uphill, so I'm working on just pacing myself.

We make our first left and my confidence starts to drop as I see the leaders making their way up the long bridge from hell that kicked my butt during the Women's 1/2 last fall. Luckily what goes up, must come down, so I was able to make up some time and hit my first mile at 7:50. Right away I know that's too fast, especially with the heat, hills to come, and the fact that I have to pee and there are ZERO port-o-potties on the course (yes that's right, Zero).

Around 1.5 miles we're going around Titans stadium and I realize that we're going to be running part of the same course from the Rudolph 5k, which means L-O-N-G uphills. That's the one thing I hate about Nashville races- they always make you hit the hardest and longest hills downtown to make it challenging- do they ever think- "its hot out, its the 4th of July, lets give them some flat parts to run on"... apparently not.

About 1/2 way up the hill is the first of several dozen times I ended up walking during this race. I'm not proud I gave up so early, but at the same time, I didn't have any expectations so that saves a little of my disappointment. 3/4 up the hill and there was a large cheer section in view so I picked it up and started going faster in anticipation that once reaching the top we would be going down 2nd avenue which is a very long relaxing downhill. WRONG AGAIN- darn. We manage to go up another hill, slight downhill, uphill, then down the infamous Broadway (which is a great downhill, but for lack of better terminology its a bitch to run up), then turn right and run toward finish for the 5kers.

1 loop done, 1/2 way finished, and yet I'm dog tired. I managed to run with another girl around my age for all of 2 minutes and we were getting worried because the sky was getting darker and we could hear thunder. I don't mind running in the rain at all, infact when its this hot I welcome it, however I had my phone on my arm since my shorts don't have pockets and the last thing I need is for it to get ruined. Luckily the rain did hold out the whole race (yay for something positive!)

Approaching bridge hill 2nd time around and I decided to walk and tried to capture the sky, but for whatever reason it doesn't show up as dark in the photo

In the process of getting my phone out to take this photo, I hit my Garmin and it messes up and won't tell me the time- this is probably the 2nd or 3rd time its happened in a race- the weird part is, that it still is working and at the end of the race it will show my final time, but at the same token, it won't display it to me anymore during the race- frustrating. 

Now I have ZERO motivation because I can't see how fast, or at this rate how slow, I'm going. After mile 4 it pretty much was a run for 1 min, walk for 1 min the whole way. I had to pick out spots to run to to keep me going and occupy my mind away from the fact that my bladder feels as though its going to explode and that my body is overheating (I get REALLY warm when running + I'm sun burnt so today was extra hot for me) 

Luckily there were several people doing the run / walk combo so I was glad to see I wasn't the only one struggling. I told myself that once I hit Broadway, I had about 400m left and I would just let my legs carry me downhill and kick it in once I hit the straight away. 

And thats the most successful part of the race I had, considering I did just that. During the whole race I didn't want to go too fast down the hills because I was wearing my Newtons, a race first for me, and when I go super fast my heels come down hard... something I would surely pay for later if  I did this the whole race. With not much left to go, I threw caution to the wind and just went as fast as my body allowed. 

I saw the race clock nearing the 1 hour mark so I tried to break it considering I knew I was a few seconds actually behind the clock. 

Looking back on my results, I narrowly missed it... 
Final time 1:00:16
Am I disappointed??? Severely- I generally run 7 miles in that amount of time, and thats when I have to run a total of 13.1 miles!!! 
Will I run this distance again??? Maybe in the fall when it isn't so hot out or as many hills. 

I would like to add that there was NOT a medal. Instead there was an opportunity to take your photo with a milk mustache and then they printed it out and put it in a photo badge that went around your neck. I thought it was lame so I didn't bother getting one and ended up just grabbing a few oranges, chocolate milk, and walked to the nearest port o potty to finally relieve the pressure off my bladder!

Total Time 1:00:16
Mile 1- 7:50
Mile 2-9:14
Mile 3 -9:43
Mile 4- 10:30- can you tell this is when the heavy walking began for the rest of the race?
Mile 5- 11:23
Mile 6- 10:34
Mile .2- 6:07

Place 15/39 in my  age group- If I would have broke 50- would have got 2nd. Something to work on for the future. 


  1. Do 10ks give out medals? The one I did, didn't. That's another bummer about running shorter than a half.

    I also hate the 10k, what a stupid distance. I ran mine last summer in heat and altitude and may never run one again!

    I enjoyed your race report, though, felt like I was out there (not) enjoying the course with you.

  2. I actually like the 10k distance. My worse distance is the 5k, this means sprint from start to finish, which I'm not good at. I don't think 10k's have medals, I believe races above 10miles have medals.
    I'm sorry this race didn't go well, but I'm sure if you would run it in the spring or fall, you would be surprised how fast you are! :)