10 miler #2
Hair of the Dog 10 Miler #1
This is the first year I have started the year with a race. I’m pretty sure that this is a tradition that I will keep up for years to come. If I can combine that with a PR that’s just icing on the cake.
[Side note: Yes, there will be two blog posts in one day and three in one week, however, that is not the usual, just a matter of timing with the race and launching the blog.]
Backing up a bit…
I wish I had discovered this race earlier since there is a scarcity of 10 milers in the area. It’s been five years since I last ran a 10 miler, the only other time. Spartanburg is a little bit of a trek from Greenville but not too bad.
We arrived at 8:#0 with plenty of time to pick up our packet and prepare. If we had known how far away the start was from the YMCA and finish area, we would have left the truck a little sooner.
Thanks to the walk, the race started a few minutes late but other than that, the start went off without a hitch.
Since this was supposed to be a test for the marathon, I knew that I wanted to push the pace but not sprint. (We were also supposed to add on 30 minutes to the run but in light of the forecast for chilly, rainy weather, I nixed that.) The problem is that I am unsure of what that pace is. I decided to run on effort alone and avoid looking at my Garmin. Since we were standing near the front we took off pretty fast but soon settled into a reasonable pace.
Mile 1-Mile 2-8:33
Shortly after this we reached the split for the 5 and 10 miles. 5 milers turned to the right, 10 turned to the left. Ellis waited there with the volunteer to cheer us on.
We took the turn and headed down the rail trail. It was a nice relief from the rollers of the first half.
A little after we turned, a runner came back the opposite direction and with a look of desperation asked if there was a turn around ahead for us. I hoped for her sake that there was because any deviation from the course can feel absolutely devastating. The only turn around I vaguely knew about though was the one for the two milers.
Then we got to the turn around. Nothing on the sign indicated which race that particular sign was for. We kept going hoping that it was the right way based on my sketchy prior knowledge and the fact that other runners in front of us kept going. A few minutes later, still on the trail, we started to doubt our decision because we saw no more signage for the race. Thankfully, moments after Mom wondered out loud if that sign was possibly for us after all, we saw a sign indicating a right turn off the rail trail. It was a relief to know that we had made the right decision. Unfortunately, several other runners were not so fortunate. Hopefully the organizers can find a solution before next year.
The next portion of the course, hands down, was my favorite. The course headed down towards a small lake/pond and a “trail” that made its way around the lake. I hated to leave that section. It was like running on an actual trail only with pavement instead of dirt, rocks and tree roots. (I also hated to leave because of the significant uphill at the end of the trail.) Our pace also benefited (up until the final portion) from the flat terrain. It was also at this point that i started thinking of a new mantra, one I quite like. For some reason I remembered spin class-even though I haven’t been to one in months-and the consistent urging from the instructors to “add one more turn” to the resistance knob. That’s what I started telling myself.
Mile 7- 8:25
Mile 8- 8:45
I hadn’t looked at my Garmin nearly the entire race so I wasn’t quite sure of where we were in relation to the finish. When we left the rail trail and headed back into the “city,” I glanced down. 8.24. We could do this. We could add one more turn, maybe two. Our pace picked up. We passed a few people. (In a larger race we likely would have passed quite a few more.)
About .75 away from the finish line we saw Ellis ready to
dance take pictures and cheer us on. We picked up the pace and headed for home – to the end of the rail trail, a couple quick turns and through the YMCA parking lot to the finish.
Honestly, I expected a more significant PR since my only other 10 mile time came from five years ago when I was just getting started as a runner. I think the discrepancy between my expectation and reality boils down to a couple things. One, that winter/spring of 2012 formed my first real peak in terms of running fitness and training. Two, I could have paced this race better. I’m still figuring out what my post injury fitness level is and it is remarkably easy to underestimate.
Overall, I am very pleased with my performance-and Mom’s too!-at this race. It is going on the race calendar now with the intention of notching yet another PR to start out 2018.
Registration and packet pick up: Registration was a bit confusing as it was available on multiple platforms. When I registered myself a few weeks ago I registered through the YMCA website. I almost gave up after getting to a screen that made it seem like I needed (or was about to) sign up for a membership at the Y. I finally figured it out though. Then when I went to register Mom the price had gone up on the YMCA page but not on go-green. Packet pick up on the other hand was a breeze.
Race shirt: I love it! As I write this review I am currently wearing it. It’s a soft, long-sleeve t-shirt absolutely perfect for lounging but not for running.
Pre-race/Morning amenities: The Thomas Hannah YMCA is fancy. I wish ours had even a little bit of their amenities. It might be worth it then to switch from Pivotal. We had full access to all the indoor facilities. Some people even used the indoor track to warm up.
Course: As I mentioned in the recap, this is a challenging course full of hills, especially in the first half, that come at you unrelentingly. It is, however, the prettiest course I have run in Spartanburg.
Course support: IN terms of water stops, this was extremely lacking in the 10 miler only portion. All of the water stops could be found clustered int he first five miles. In terms of course markings, with one particularly egregious exception, they were excellent. Signs graced every turn making it exceptionally easy to navigate the fairly unmanned course.
Finish line and post race amenities: The finish line was fairly non-descript. It was nice to have use of the YMCA locker room facilities to change out of our damp clothes. (The rain did make a couple brief appearances.) The YMCA also provided breakfast from a local restaurant which was quite tasty. Awards on the other hand? No awards ceremony. We simply walked up and chose some socks from a box.
Race photography: I have been unable to find any information on this.
Social media: I have been unable to find any information on this.
Results: I have been unable to find any information on this.