Sunday, September 14, 2014

Women of Wonder 10k

Last year, i did this race as a tempo run and I'd had it in my mind that I wanted to race it the following year. It's a really fun all women's race with some nice perks and one big negative.

Once I'd plotted out my training schedule though I realized that this 10k was just two weeks before Beat the Blerch marathon. That seemed too close until I decided to use the Blerch run as a training run. Game on!

The perks:

with mimosa
Women only. It's different racing with only women. The announcers at the start (both male) kept trying to talk to some young competitors lined up at the front. And the announcer was making it a competition as in, you'll beat her right? Uh. That girl was a bit hesitant. Sure, everyone is out to run their best but the competition among women is less stated. I find it refreshing not to have to worry about passing a guy and having him pass me right back because he is getting "chicked." Yes, that's the term. There are less distractions.

Location! This race is just a couple miles from my house and it's easy to deal with parking. I got the event about 90 minutes before the start so i could do a 3 mile run around the lake.

9:30 am start. It's rather nice not to have to get up when it is dark.

Atmosphere. This is the Women of Wonder so there are a lot of costumes and everyone is in a great mood. For a lot of the athletes this is their goal race and they've been training for it. There is a lot of excitement and energy surrounding this that I really enjoy.

Mimosas! Instead of a beer garden, this race had a mimosa and wine garden at the end. I had to partake. It was a nice change from the usually bad beer served.

There are few cons. That late start which is nice for sleeping in means that it can get warm. And sure enough, by the race start it was probably 65 degrees and blazingly sunny. I was overheating the second loop of the 10k as the temperatures were definitely climbing.

The biggest con is the course for the 10k. It's a two loop course so the faster 10k runners end up dodging through the ranks of the 5k walkers/slower runners. I thought i was probably capable of around 7:35 pace although I didn't take into account the heat and probably started too fast for that. I ran the first 5k in 23:19 (7:31 pace) and felt great. I'd been around a few other runners but as expected, they pulled off to the finish and suddenly i was totally alone on the course. I expected this and just concentrated on maintaining the momentum.  I did with a 7:35 mile 4. And then I realized I was so hot and thirsty.  Thirsty? I don't typically need to take water for a 10k but I did for this one and used a cup of water to splash on my face/chest. I was that hot all of a sudden.

Now i had just two miles left but I was hot and I would have to dodge through all the traffic. Let's just say that I did my best and held on better than I thought I would.  The course itself was marked for the street (I know because I've seen them using a measuring wheel for other races around this lake) and takes the shortest line which is called running the tangents. On this race, the course is marked on the road but there is a gravel path which runs inside the road. I chose to run on this path because it was easier than dodging all the walkers. Of course, I hate gravel and I did have to dodge the occasional stroller and it felt like I was cheating by taking an inside line. 

I got passed by two 10k runners towards the end but I'd really seen no other runner except one probably a quarter mile ahead. I had been hoping to run the 10k closer to 47 minutes flat. However this course seems pretty long because even with the cutting and taking the inside line, it still measured longer than I expected at 6.28. My next goal with the race was to come under 48 minutes. I missed that by 6 seconds (48:07) but that is still the fastest 10k time i've had in a couple years. More importantly, I battled through and held on even with the heat.

I can't discount accumulated training fatigue either. This was the first taper week but I ran 11 miles midweek and had some interesting workouts. I took it easy the few days before the race but training has been good for the marathon and that is definitely the main focus.

I was delighted to place 2nd in my age group and 10th female overall.  And I really enjoyed that mimosa! 

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