Last Saturday, I ran the Brainerd Homecoming 10K. I would’ve loved to run a half marathon this fall but I just wouldn’t have been properly trained in time. So a 10K it was.
My training for this race consisted of running 2-3 times a week. I ran my long runs on Saturdays, which were 4, 4.5 and 5 miles the month before the race. I had planned to run 5.5 miles a week before the race, but life happened and the run didn’t. I ran with two of my running buddies almost every Thursday morning at 6 am (in the dark!) and we did around 3 miles each time. With walking breaks, we averaged about 11:30 minute miles. I also ran with Annabelle in the stroller a few times, though I prefer waking up early to go alone.
So I felt like I was decently prepared going into this race. My 10K PR was set all the way back in 2008 when I was a young whipper-snapper. I ran the 10K as part of a marathon relay and finished in 62:36. I didn’t think I could even get close to that, so my goal going in to the race was mainly to have fun! Running 11 minute miles would be realistic. Running 10:30 miles would be great.
It was a small race so we were able to park just across the street from packet pickup and the race start. We got there around 7:45 and the race started at 8:15. At 37 degrees, it was a little chilly for spectators but nice for running. I registered on race day because I was still waffling about doing the race that morning. After I got my bib and used the indoor restroom, I ate a Gu and talked to a friend who was doing the 5k and then went to line up. There were maybe 30 people doing the 10K. I got my Garmin and iPod ready, they counted down (it was timed using gun time), and we were off!
About 50 steps in, my iPod died. Seriously?!?! I had checked it the night before and it showed 75% battery. I should’ve known to not trust it. Well, then, enjoying nature it was. I chatted with a lady for the first .5 mile or so, but then she stopped to take a walking break and I continued on. I fell into a pace that felt relaxed but slightly challenging, if that makes any sense. I could tell I was pushing myself a little, but it felt doable.
The first mile was on a bike trail. Then we were on a dirt trail for about .5 mile until we met back up with the bike trail. We made a loop so that a little before Mile 2, we ran past the park we had started at, which worked well for me because I got to see my cheering squad and hand off my useless iPod.
Mile 1: 10:38
There was an aid station right at Mile 2 and then a long, gradual hill. A doozy! I walked through the aid station to get a drink and ran a conservative pace up the hill.
Mile 2: 10:32
From that point on, we were either on city sidewalks or paved bike trails. We ran through downtown past the high school, library, city hall, and then we were in a more residential neighborhood. We made another big loop so that we hit the same aid station again right before Mile 5 — and the same long, gradual hill. We followed the same route as the first time for about .75 mile and took a left to end up on the football field.
Mile 3: 10:24
In my training runs, I had hit my stride around mile 3.5. This race, I hit it more around mile 5. Even though I felt mostly strong the whole race, if I hadn’t been encouraged by seeing my average pace decrease each mile, my motivation to keep pushing myself probably would’ve started waning around mile 4.
Mile 4: 10:06
Right before we reached the aid station the second time, I ate a Gu so that I could get a cup of water to wash it down. I gulped the water and started running again. The hill definitely felt more difficult the second time through! But I kept pushing it and was actually gaining on the runner in front of me. The last mile, I passed 3 women who I had been keeping pace with for the whole race. I felt great!
Mile 5: 10:18
As my watch beeped for Mile 6, I looked at my mile pace: 9:33! I was completely stoked. I cruised the last .2 miles and crossed the finish line at 63:02 – only 26 seconds off of my PR from 7.5 years (and 2 babies) ago.
Mile 6: 9:33
Last .2: 1:31 (8:28 pace)
Final Time: 1:03:02
Running a good race is such an awesome high!
Because it was such a small race, I wanted to check my results before leaving just in case I qualified for an age group award. And I did! I got 3rd in my age group (out of 3 – ha!). I was 13/18 in females and 21/27 overall. But hey, a medal is a medal. 🙂
I really enjoyed this race. It was a nice course, well organized, affordable, they had lots of volunteers, the t-shirts were cute, and the finish line food was a nice variety (bananas, granola bars, fruit snacks, cookies and water). I would do it again!