Saturday, February 24, 2007

Race Report: Green Valley Road Race: 10 Mile Run

This was the race I picked when they cancelled the Clemson half marathon. It was close and it was a convenient weekend. What I didn't know was whether it was oriented towards serious runners; that there were only two water stops in a 10 mile race (serving only water and Gatorade) worried me. Getting my period the night before the race didn't increase my optimism about what it was going to be like.

I planned fairly carefully. I bought a pair of running tights with lots of pockets so I could carry gels. I have a fuel belt but didn't want the weight of that much water; instead I carried one of the 8 oz. bottles from the belt in the center back pocket of my tights. I anticipated that the run would be lonely. I drove the course beforehand so I would know where to turn if I was all alone.

I ate an eggs and corned beef hash breakfast about an hour and a half before the race start. It was 29 F when I got up so I wore a smartwool top and took my running vest in case it stayed cold. It still felt awfully cold when I got to the race site.

When I got to the gym where people were checking in, I was pleased to see a pretty large turnout. Last year 158 people did the 10 miler, and this year must have been similar. I just looked to see if the results were posted and they weren't so I checked last year's results. I'm glad I didn't do that before the race--the last finisher last year finished in slightly less than my dream time of 2 hours. I talked a good bit to a woman who was nervous because she had never run 10 miles before.

When it was time to go to the start I decided I would be warm enough in my tights and long sleeved shirt. I wore a cap because it looked like it was going to be very sunny and some cheap knit gloves. I carried in my pockets:
the race map
four hammer gels
a tampon
three succeed salt capsules
a full 8 oz water bottle
I saw one person with a hydration pack, nobody with a fuel belt.

I started very close to the back. There were some women I thought I might be able to catch up with after they passed me, but after a mile I had lost sight of everyone in my race. I looked at my GPS after the first mile and decided I would be very happy if I could keep my pace under 13 minutes per mile, so finish by 2:10. The second mile the runners in the 8 K (which had started earlier) were on the same road going in the opposite direction coming in to their finish. I enjoyed watching them and I said "good job" to people towards the end. The police were there to help me cross the four lane road, and then I settled down to running alone.

At about 3 miles a bicyclist came by me and said angrily "you run on the left." There had been a bicyclist in green at the start, so I assumed this was the same person and he was checking the course. I was very angry, hurt and frustrated--I had tried to run on the left earlier in the race and been told to stay on the right. I was so upset I cried hard for a while, which was possible because I was running downhill. I thought it might be hormones that I was so upset, but it felt good to get it out and I hoped the anger would make me run faster. When I got to the water stop at 4 miles I asked what side I was supposed to run on and they said they didn't know, most people were on the right (it was a clockwise course). I thanked them for still being there and they filled my water bottle for me.

After the water stop I cried a little more (which didn't work going up hill) and then began to realize that the bicyclist wasn't associated with the race, at least I never saw him again. I guess he was just a random arrogant roadie. I was glad as I got to the next few turns to find volunteers pointing the way and I thanked them for still being there. The only volunteer who wasn't still there was Jeff from Run In, who drove past me in a truck and said "turn right at the traffic light." I teased him afterwards about being the only one who had abandoned his post, and he said some runners had gone off course and he was checking to see if there were any others.

Around five miles my left knee and right quad were a little sore and I was slowing down and the race was only half done. I was worried the second water stop would be packed up, and I was going to need more water. That was the low point of the race. When I got to the water stop just before seven miles they were still there and they filled my water bottle for me and the road turned downhill and I cheered up considerably. I took one salt capsule. I was amused to be stopped by a policeman who asked me if I had seen a green Ram truck with hispanic men in it. I said not that I noticed. My legs stopped hurting and I started to feel more graceful. I had lost some time but at least my original realistic goal of 2:15 seemed possible, particularly when I didn't have to stop when I got to where I had to recross the four lane road. I was able to speed up some and I wondered if I could catch up to 2:10.

I didn't succeed, my finish time was about 2:16. But I was pleased I was able to speed up at the end; my mile splits were:
There were three or four people at the finish line who gave me a big cheer, but I was feeling more sad about being so slow than pleased with myself for a good run. Actually, I was faster than last year's half marathon--my pace for that race was 13:45 minutes per mile and my pace for this race was 13.19 (my GPS measured it as 10.21 miles). It was maybe a bit less hilly than last year's race, but my Garmin 305 shows a total climb of +585/-527. At least I didn't feel badly about feeling sad--I felt the feelings were part of the experience and didn't make me sorry I had done the race.

After the race I stayed for the awards ceremony with Patty, another member of our swim team--she won our age group! I ate a small yogurt and a piece of banana. I think gels at 2, 4, 6, and 8 were one too many; when I got to the car my blood sugar was high. But I'm not sure I would do it differently--it was very encouraging to be able to speed up the last couple of miles.

It is the first time I have had heart rate data from a race.

I assume the spike at the beginning is an error. I feel like I kept my effort up well, particularly considering that I'm using a high number for my maximum heart rate. I don't see my heart rate creeping higher for the same level of effort--I significantly increased my level of effort the last mile.

Looking back on the race, it was a pretty setting and not too hilly (I walked up three short steep hills) and I ran steadily and I would even say I enjoyed it.


Isis said...

That's a great run--congratulations. And way to hang in there even with the frustration of the arrogant cyclist. That sort of interruption can be hard to get past. But who am I to say? I could not run this far right now if I had to. You rock.

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