On Saturday morning, one of my gal pals and I did the local Run for the Hills 10k. This is a local race that benefits Special Olympics, and it’s sort of a summer tradition for me. I think this is the fourth year I’ve run either the 5k or the 10k. It’s not an especially scenic race route, unless you like looking at residential streets of varying degrees of socio-economic status, but it’s fun and usually a good indicator of how my summer running is going. Particularly as this is the third year I’ve trained for the October Sleeping Bear half-marathon and this 10k falls at a good place in that training schedule.
That being said, this is usually my most challenging event of the year. ‘Run for the Hills’ is not a misnomer – this is a very hilly route and at this time of year I can usually count on bright sunshine and hot, humid conditions. I woke up Saturday with a headache and a bit of an upset tummy due to – umm, let’s just say hormones and I might have considered scratching or dropping back to the 5k if my pal hadn’t been so excited to run. She has been determinedly training for it all summer, after an extended period off running, and I’d had to pep talk her a few times. I didn’t want to let her down. So at 8:30 we were lined up at the start, ready to roll.
My first mile went well – in training runs, I am a big baby about that first mile and usually consider it an extended warmup. At about the 1.3 mark, where the 10k and the 5k split off, I started feeling nauseous and overheated. I struggled with nausea for the rest of the race, and had to walk several times. I tried to wait until I hit a mile marker, then give myself a quick breather to recover. My goal was to keep every mile sub-10 with walking breaks included. However, I rallied slightly at mile 4 and was able to push through til the finish without a stop and with a much better pace. End result – 58:55 / 9:30 average. This is better than last year’s 59:17 but nowhere near my PR for this event, which I logged in 2013 with a 54 and change (2013 is the same year I PR’d my half-marathon, too).
I was really proud of my friend, who finished with a bright pink face that matched her shirt and an enormous smile – she’d come in slightly better than her target and was pleased with the race and her result. I can’t say I’m as pleased with my own self. I could have pushed myself harder and left more on the course. I probably could have shaved a minute off, if I’d been determined. But c’est la vie, the race is in the books and I look forward to the next.
During my historic half-marathon training cycles, my next event would be the Kensington Challenge, which used to be a 15k. Perfect next-step distance for my October half. However, in a perplexing change, the Kensington Challenge no longer has the 15k event – they’ve changed it to a half-marathon! This is disappointing. There are so many cool late-summer / fall half and full marathons that I’m not sure why they reasoned that this was the right strategy. Anyway, this means no more (planned) official events until my half.
On Sunday morning, at Jax’s house, we all watched the end of the Olympic men’s marathon, which was incredible. I was so disappointed for Meb, but so inspired by his undeterred enthusiasm and joy when they interviewed him at the end. And I don’t know how anyone could fail to be inspired by Kipchoge’s strong, focused performance. As for Galen Rupp – hmmmm. Pretty darn impressive that he medaled in only his second-ever marathon (!!) – but perhaps his reputation precedes him, for me?