This past Saturday, I ran the Great River Road Run 10 Miler (sponsored by the Alton Road Runners). I finished this race with a chip time of 1:26:49, a new record for me at this distance, and quite an improvement from last year's time of 1:34:35. Here's my race report, followed by my year-end wrap up.
1) A ten mile race is a rare and beautiful thing.
I really like this distance, but I don't know of many races at this length. There's something solid and impressive about saying "I ran ten miles." I ran this race last year and really enjoyed it, so I came back for another go-round.
2) Out-and-back is where it's at.
This race is five miles out, five miles back. The course is next to the Mississippi River. Runners start at Alton, Illinois and run to Grafton, Illinois and back. No getting lost and lovely bluffs and a majestic river for scenery!
3) I did my little warm-up dance again.
It was chilly at the race's start, so while others were doing their warm-up sprints, I was dancing. I find that shaking my groove thang is really helpful before a race, and I don't freakin' care if I look silly. Like high knees don't look silly? I do those too, but somehow turn them into a dance move.
4) But I ran without music.
Right before the race, I turned my headphones off to hear the national anthem, and didn't bother turning them on again. Instead, I fell into the rhythms of the footsteps around me, and concentrated on breathing. I forgot my Garmin (same thing I did last year), so I just tried to keep pace with runners ahead of me. It worked. I felt good for most of the race (mile seven was the biotch of the race) and it seemed to go by much faster than last year.
5) Not a big city race, but a race with history.
This was the 53rd running of this race. There weren't a lot of spectators, but there were volunteers at the water stops and along the course to guide us.
6) Will you marry me? No, I'm already taken.
Jon, my husband and race support, was at the finish line to try to get a finish line pic of me, but his view was blocked by large cardboard signs. The signs were there to help some guy propose to his girlfriend, but I didn't know that. All I could see were the blank backs of the signs, and I was like "what, what what?!?" It's a cute gesture, but it totally blocked anyone from getting a finish line pic of his or her particular runner.
7) Timing chip? What timing chip?
Before the race, when I picked up my bib number, I forgot to get my timing chip, so I had to dash back in and get it to make sure I got timed. After the race, I kept looking up my number on the Alton Road Runner website to see what my chip time was. For a long time, my race results were messed up (it kept saying 47.8 minutes as a time stamp). Now, I'd love to run 10 miles in 48 minutes, but that ain't happening in this lifetime. I began to fear that my timing chip had stopped. It took until Sunday evening for me to find my correct results and I'm still not on the overall finishers list. I was top 50 in my age group (at this race, only the top 50 in an age group receive medals).
And thus, my second full year of doing races ends. It was an up-and-down year, with an ankle injury in the middle of it to make sure I failed at the ambitious schedule I set for myself. But it was a year of PRs in both the half-marathon and the ten mile distance.
Here are my race stats for 2012:
Fly With the Eagles: 2:06:53
Berry College (GA) Half Marathon: 2:05:16
Saint Louis Track Club Half Marathon: 2:01:06 (new PR)
Ramble Into Spring Ten Miler, McKendree College: 1:34:05
Great River Road Run, Alton: 1:26.49 (new PR)
For Kids Sake 5K/10K: 57:03 (age group win)
ARMY ROTC 10K: 48:51 (age group win, but course was only 5.65)
Summary of races:
fave: STL Half, Berry College
least fave: Army 10K (it wasn't a true 10K, the distance was measured wrong).
Summary of year:
I ran, got hurt, cross-trained, got faster. See you at the races in 2013.