Ft. Steilacoom race recap

It’s my first race recap on ye young blog! Apparently, in the world of running blogs, race recaps are very important.

Sidenote: When I started this blog, I was following some running blogs, but I didn’t realize just how many are out there. Since then, I’ve been following others — scoping out races, gear, etc — and it’s a veritable genre. Should I have known this? And, there’s also a sizable sub-genre: the mommy runner. Have you seen these blogs? On the one hand, I want to be super supportive of anyone who’s out there running and racing and writing about it. On the other hand, I’m like … Do I really need to be reminded of how you wake up at 4:10 am to run 12 miles and go into the office where you have a very important job and raise 3 children under the age of six and whip up meals for your hubby and have fabulous hair and have no stretch marks?!  No! No, I do not.

Double sidenote: Can you sense how thinly veiled my jealousy is?

Oh, right. This is a race recap. Not a rant about feelings of personal inadequacy.

Excited to run

Not feeling inadequate here! Feeling super pumped to run.

So, let’s talk about the Ft. Steilacoom 10K. A few really awesome things about this race:

  1. It’s very small. There were only 65 entrants in the 10K (and 48 people in the 5K, 77 in the half marathon, 20 in the marathon and 23 in the 50K.)
  2. The 10K didn’t start until 9:45 am. For runners who like to start at the ass crack of dawn, this probably seems too late. For those of us that like to sleep (or are driving from 2 hours away), a 9:45 am start is divine.
  3. The organizers and volunteers are amazing. Each race started on time, instructions were clear, the route was well-marked and the post-race snacks were plentiful (pizza, nuun, pretzels, cheese, hummus, chocolate, protein bars, pita chips, coconut water, etc).
  4. The route was fairly easy. Again, this might be a bad thing if you’re a seasoned runner and looking for a big challenge. But if you’re new to trail racing, this is a plus. There was just one hill, and the rest of the route was mostly flat — on dirt paths, gravel or grass.
race start

Standing near the start line. No pressure, just fun times.

I love that at a race of this size, people stand around and talk to each other, and there’s no big whup about where you line up at the start.

Me and Jill

Me and Jill, wearing bright colors and big smiles.

The 10K route was the race’s 5K loop, done twice. I really liked this because I got a sense of the distance and difficulty of the first 3 miles, and then knew how to handle them all over again.

Early on in the race, I fell in step with a woman who looked on her game. Her form was awesome, and I could see that she was watching her pace on her watch. She knew when to push it and when to back off. I probably annoyed the hell out of her because I let her do all of the work and just kept up right behind her. And, at some points, it felt like we were going FAST. Almost too fast (for me). But I kept telling myself to focus on my breathing and stay with her.

And it totally worked. I could sense that we were pushing each mile a bit harder than the last (much preferred to having to ease off each mile), and my legs felt pretty strong. The pace caught up to me a bit in the last mile, and she got away from me. She beat me by 13 seconds, but I was SO grateful that she challenged me the whole way. I thanked her afterward (and apologized for my creepy breathing … yes, I am that runner who makes really odd hooo-ing noises when she gets breathing hard).

I decided not to wear my Garmin, and I’m really glad I didn’t. I worried that I’d obsess over my pace, and I totally would have. Here’s why: when I found out my time and mile splits, I was momentarily really disappointed. They sounded so slow! And I felt like I’d been running a lot faster than that. If I’d have seen those times on my watch, I may have gotten pissed off and slowed down out of idiotic defeat. Instead, I let my body and mind (and the runner ahead of me!) do the pacing, and I really enjoyed the run.

And, as I was reminded of after the race, you can’t expect your mile splits on a trail to be as fast as when you’re road racing. The trail slows you down. It’s SOFT. It’s GRASS. You’re hopping around to avoid branches. It’s a different animal. Your mile times can be anywhere from 30-90 seconds slower on a trail run. (Phew.)

So, how’d I finish?

Another reason I love small races … I got 11th overall, 6th woman and 2nd in my age category! Sweet. (And it’ll never happen again, so I’m totally savoring the notion of coming in 11th!) You can see the race results here.

My total time was 53:46. Pace: 8:40.

During the last month when I’ve been more serious about running, I’ve said I want to run sub-8:30 miles in races (and eventually sub-8:00 miles). And though an 8:40 looks slow, I’m pretty confident that I can run a 10K road race at a sub-8:30.

So, I’m counting this race as a PR. (What? Is that cheating? I need the motivation!) It’s the first 10K race I’ve ever done so it’s automatically a PR in the 10K, plus it sort of feels like a pace-related PR, too. I suppose we’ll really find out when I run a road race next.

Nike shorts

And I totally bought myself a new pair of running shorts as a race reward. (I’m a big believer in rewards and incentives, did ya know?)

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