Today was my first 15k race. My aim was to average about a 10 minute per mile run. I trained for it, but was a bit nervous. I had a couple of set backs over the year....over the past 5 years. This year I recovered from shin splints, a pulled hip flexor (bike related) and then a week before the bottoms of my feet were sore. I had gotten over the first 2 problems, but couldn't help thinking they would come back and I'd be force to walk to the finish line. And I wasn't sure what was up with my sore foot. Also, 9 miles was a long way for me to walk if my running broke down and my wife to wait for me. Although I wanted to push more than 10 minutes per mile, I also wanted to get through in one piece. Here's what happened....
Leading up to the race I had done a handful of training runs between 9 to 13 miles. The week before I did 10 miles along Cady Way and was averaging a 10 minute mile pace, with mostly casual running. These are the splits I recorded.
9/19/2010: pre-race long run
According to what I read about splits, I should have gotten faster each mile. It was getting hotter as I went along, so the slow downs, especially during mile 7 and 8, were probably in the full sun. I just started recording splits a couple of months ago, after reading about it in Chi Running and buying a Timex Ironman Triathlon watch. I don't know how I lived without one all these years.
I was a bit concerned doing a long run less than a week away from the race. Every where I read says not to do a ramp up of mileage more than 2 weeks before a race, and 2 weeks before I only did 8 miles. I was a bit behind my scheduled increase in mileage because of a recent trip we took to France.
After the 10 mile run, I took it easy during the week, only doing slow 1 mile runs that Tuesday and Thursday, and some core work on Wednesday. I barely moved Friday. The main thing I was concerned about was a bruised feeling below my left heal and 5th metatarsal.
The Saturday morning of the race the weather was overcast and the temperature was about 75. Not as hot as my last training run. There was some drizzle driving there. My wife was doing the 5k, which started at 7 AM. The 15k was at 7:20 AM. I didn't think we were going to make it to her 5k in time, because the lines into the parking garage were so long. We followed the parking instructions given to us by the organizers, but with 15 minutes before the start and the line into the garage not moving, I made a u-turn out of it to find a side street to park on. Somewhat accidentally, we found a back entrance into the same parking garage we were just waiting in line for.
We arrived to the race area about 10 minutes before and stood on line for the port-a-potties. I didn't see my wife when I got out, since she had to rush to the start line. I did get to see the 5k'ers take off, but didn't see her. They started the 5k about 5 minutes late and I still saw people getting to the start line up to 10-15 minutes late.
I got to warm up for about 10 minutes and wanted to make one more bathroom stop, but was running low on time so headed to the 15k start. Turned out they were starting this one about 5 minutes late too. I couldn't help to think that others were having delays parking too.
The race started out well. I lined up at the 10 mile pace mark. The sky was overcast. There was a light drizzle about 10 minutes in that lasted a couple of minutes and the rest of the race was just overcast. It was perfect weather for me...much better than the sun shining down on us.
It was amazing to see the sea of people ahead of me. Right before mile marker 1 they had some accordion players. We had water and powerade breaks at about every mile, I think starting right before the 2 mile mark and a last one at the 8 mile mark. I drank a mouthful of water at each one, spit out another mouthful and through the rest on my head. I packed some dried fruit (mangoes, dates, apricots), and munched 1 down every 30 minutes for some extra energy. At the second to last water stop, I did grab a powerade, but it was too sweet for me and I had to grab a water too to wash it down.
As you can see below, my splits were exactly where I wanted them to be to start with. I was so happy to see my speed picking up. Around mile 7 I felt the same bruising at the bottom of my left foot that I felt in my last long training run, but it went away quickly before mile 8.
I had a lot of energy going into the last 3 miles and after I finished, I felt like I could have pushed myself even more or gone another 2-3 miles at that pace. It makes me more comfortable to do the OUC Half in December.These were my splits:
9/25/2010: Miracle Mile 15k
Just like with any race I do, I feel the energy of the other runners around me and it gets me more motivated than when I train alone. The energy at Miracle Miles was great. Winnie Palmer put some interesting facts along the road every mile or so. We had people encouraging us along the way. I sort of felt bad for the drivers who were backed up in traffic waiting for us all to pass by. I saw 1 lady who was probably pushing herself too hard on our stretch down Conway and the paramedics were giving her oxygen, which is something I never see at shorter distance races.
Round toward the last .3 miles, I waved at the camera man (I still can't find the posted photos). At the finish line they handed us all medals. There were about 20 booths setup with fresh fruit, energy bars, mini meals and ice pops. Lots of fun.
The main thing that made me want to leave so soon was the caked on sweat I was feeling and I just wanted to get home to wash it off :)
The next race I'm planning is the UCF 5 and 2 miler on 10/10/2010. I'll probably do both for the Distance Dare. Looking forward to it!
Here's my official results posted by Track Shack