Last weekend Two weekends ago (I really did start this recap a long time ago) Colin and I (plus his parents) ran in the Peachtree City Classic. For this event, they offer a 5k or 15k and this year they gave you the option of running them both to do a 20k! In prior years they had the men’s 5k start first, 10 minutes later the women’s 5k would start, and 10 minutes after that the 15k would start. This year, all of the 5k runners would start at 8:30 and the 15k started at 9:00. If you knew you could finish the 5k in under 30 minutes you were able to then run in the 15K. We made sure to cover all of the fields. Colin’s mom (while pushing Brice in the stroller) walked the 5K, Colin and I ran the 15K and his dad did the 20K!! This isn’t going to be my normal race recap but I will say a few things about the race. It is awesome. The course has a lot of turns but is very well marked, and they had volunteers at every turn directing you where to go. It is SUPER safe. The majority of it is on golf cart paths, but the part that was on the road was closed off, and there were police officers at all intersections. There was the perfect amount of water stations, ample port-o-potties and a good variety of post race food. The finisher shirts were great too. I can’t speak for how packet pickup went because my in-laws picked up our bibs but the only disappointing thing was that other than the shirts there was no swag. Our bibs were put into plastic grocery store bags with a billion other race pamphlets, a sample of men’s deodorant, and one of those velcro reflective ankle straps. BUT I guess you don’t do a race for the extra goodies. 🙂 Okay onto my unregular race recap. Here are a few things I learned while doing this race.
1. Mid 50 degrees is the ideal temperature for me to run in. I’ve read before that in the 40’s is the perfect weather for running but not for this southern girl. Considering that I was training in 90 degree weather all summer and we are still dealing with weather in the 80’s, high 50’s is the way to go for me! I took several outfit choices with me and ended up wearing my Brooks running skirt with a long sleeve shirt and it was perfect! I had to wear a hoodie before the start of the race but once I got moving I was very happy with my outfit choice.
2. Running with people all around you makes you run faster than you normally do. My ‘race plan’ was to do the first two miles around a 9:15 pace to get my legs nice and warm and not start too fast. I actually ran my first two miles right at 9:00 but didn’t feel like I was. Maybe it was slightly downhill, maybe it was all the people, or maybe it was the perfect weather. But I do know when I start a race I just can’t help but run faster than I plan on.
3. Gatorade energy chews are delicious and walking through water stations is pretty smart. For any run over 6 miles I like to have some fuel and of course I waited until the night before to get some. My only choice was the Gatorade energy chews and I was pleasantly surprised with them. I love Gatorade so I wasn’t worried about the flavor (I went with strawberry) but it was the whole trying something new on race day that had me a bit worried. The texture of the chews is soft enough that you barely have to even chew them. My only complaint is that it was hard for me to get the out of the wrapper while running. If/when I use them again I will probably put them into a little baggie beforehand so they are easier to get to. I also walked through the water stations for this race. It took all of 5-10 seconds each time but I was able to drink the water without it messing with my breathing.
4. Knowing the course is good….and bad. We did this race last year so I was able to review all my info from Garmin Connect to see the elevation and my splits before the race. Some people may not say this is a hill course, but compared to what I am used to it was very hilly. Especially mile 4, it was all uphill. This was good because I was able to pace myself properly and know what was to come and be prepared for it. At the same time, this was bad because when things got tough I knew I still had a few more hills ahead of me. I like to be prepared but sometimes when it comes to running I rather not know what I’m getting myself into.
5. Always give it your best out there because you never know what other runners are showing up! Last year at this race I ran a 1:23:33 and averaged exactly 9:00/miles and I placed 11th in my age group. The girls in the top 5 were all about 1:12 and faster. With that in mind I really didn’t think I would place this year, but I had a goal of my own to average 8:45 per mile. I didn’t quite reach my goal because I averaged 8:46 a mile (hahaha) with a time of 1:21:20. What place did that put me this year? 2nd!!! Colin and I didn’t hang around for the awards because we had to hurry and get ready for other plans we had, but Colin’s parents stayed up there and they got my award. When my mother-in-law texted me this picture with the words ‘way to go girl!’ my response was ‘really? Are you sure there wasn’t a mistake?’ I honestly thought that Colin and I had taken the wrong bibs and his time was recorded as being mine, but nope! I earned that 2nd place fair and square.
6. Make more of an effort to look like you aren’t dying at the finish line. In my defense, I actually did feel like I was dying at the finish line. Miles 1-3 I average around 9:00/mile but then that straight uphill at 4 slowed things down and towards the end of it I had a sharp pain in my left hamstring that quickly went away but was replaced by a tightness/pulling in my IT band. That made mile 5 and the first part of 6 slower than what I wanted them to be. I just couldn’t get my legs moving like I wanted them to. So for the last 3 miles I was pushing myself hard to hit my goal. Colin was waiting at me at the finish line and he yelled at me “SMILE!” and this is as good as it got.
My splits were: 8:59, 9:06, 9:01, 9:28, 9:04, 8:42, 8:33, 8:18, 8:01, and .3 at a 7:00 pace. I am happy that I beat my time from last year, but that month of being sick really put a hurting on my speed. Earlier this year I was able to average 8:30s over a half marathon and now I’m pushing to get 8:45 over 9 miles. I have quite a bit of work to put in over the next 2 months if I want to hit my goal in my half marathon at the very end of the year!
Who has run a 15K race before? Love it or leave it?
What is your favorite type of race fuel?