In prepping for my half marathon, I’ve read that it’s important to run at 10K race (6.2 miles) or 10-miler race before the half. I’ve run MANY 3 mile races from my cross country days and beyond, but have never raced anything longer than that. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but knew I needed the experience. I am so glad I did it! I learned a lot!
There is a race series in Memphis that runs a monthly race, starting with a 5K and working its way into a half marathon. You can sign up for the whole series or just a single race. I signed up for the single 10K this past week at Shelby Farms. Shelby Farms has a special place in my heart, because I spent several years of my life running cross country there and I run there a good bit now. I am so familiar with the park and trails, and love how they are making even more improvements.
1.My training! I hit this milestone last week:
I ran 9.8 miles at a 10 and a half minute mile. I was thrilled! It was a huge motivator for much more manageable 10K, and just 3 miles away from a half. I ran from my house, to the Greenway, down the Greenway all the way to Germantown Parkway, just under Chick-fil-A. Then turned around and did it all the way back. Not going to lie, at the end I was DONE. I was DONE for the WHOLE DAY. 🙂
2. My time! I was happy with my finish, at roughly a 9 minute, 24 second mile. Not too shabby, as I would like a 10 minute mile for the half marathon. Plus, I spent the first mile weaving around a slower pace. I’ve definitely been training more for distance rather than speed, so I was pretty happy with that finish. Coming in at under an hour was a big accomplishment for me. It feels good to be able to run for a whole hour without stopping. I didn’t even go through the water stations, thanks to my grip bottle. Definitely saved time!
3. It felt great! I felt awesome through the whole race. The weather was a dream in the low 70s, I really liked the course and at the finish, I felt like I could have gone another few miles.
4. My running mantra is “Your mind gives out much sooner than your body does.” I repeat this over and over and over. During the race, I kept my head down most of the time so I didn’t psychologically lose it over some of the larger hills. I only had to tell myself my mantra a couple times, which was an improvement. The last mile was the hilliest of them all, but it was great training for the half, as the middle of the race is pretty hilly.
1. I did not get there early enough. I now realize I need to arrive about an hour – 45 minutes before race time. I got there at about 6:40 a.m. Race starts at 7 a.m. They stopped giving out bibs at 6:30! Not sure how I missed that, so I ran bib-less and do not have an “official” time or placement in the race. It wasn’t a huge deal, because they let me run anyway. The race was HUGE, but from looking at finish times, I can roughly guess about where I finished. I looked up the bib # of the guy who finished just behind me, so I know I finished 39th in my age group out of 109. 451 out of 1,111 runners total. . That’s a lot of runners!
2. I started too far back. I was so overwhelmed by how many people were there, I didn’t know where to place myself at the start. I went about 3/4 of the way back. I didn’t even make it to the start line until 2 minutes into the race. I started my watch at the start line so that my time would be more accurate. I spent the half mile shoulder to shoulder with people, trying to get around people. It was a tad stressful! And none of them were going a pace I was comfortable with – too slow. Once I got to the one mile mark, I looked at my watch and it said 10 min, 10 sec. I was bummed! I booked it the rest of the race and made up my time.
3. Speaking of booking it, I had a lot of energy left at the end. Not good. If I run a 10K again, I will push myself harder. When I hit the 6 mile marker and saw a giant hill in front of me, I kicked it into high gear and pushed hard to the end. I think I passed 6 or 7 people on that hill, which means I should have pushed hard through the race. It’s never good to have that much left at the end – it means you could have given more!
4. After the race, I felt good, but about two hours later I had a horrific headache. I started chugging water, but knew I needed electrolytes. I am investing in those for my next long race. Hydration is the thing I probably struggle with most.
5. I had forgotten how much I LOVE racing. The jitters when the gun goes off to start, the people cheering at mile markers, the sprint to the finish. It’s so fun and so addicting. I think I will sign up for the whole series next year. And depending on how the half goes in Oct, I may run another half in Nov, as part of the series. We’ll see how the first one goes!
Feeling good about the upcoming half marathon on 10/12!