Last weekend, I ran my first race of 2016, the Spring Hill Marathon Mania 10k. Somewhere, a few months ago, I saw a link for it, either a Facebook Sponsored post or maybe it popped up after signing up for another race as “coming up, nearby” or something. Since I grew up in Spring Hill, I figured it would be fun to run a local race. It was called Marathon Mania, and they were hosting a Full, Half and 10k. I had a feeling it was going to be a small race since it was an inaugural race, and in December I posted on the Event’s Facebook page asking how many participants in the 10k and they said about 25. I joked with my friends that maybe this meant I could age group place, since it was so small and I had been improving.
I slept at my parents the night before the race and picked up my packet that day. I asked again how many participants, they the lady giving out the packets said around 105, for all 3 races. The morning of the race, it was pretty chilly, around 53 degrees, but that is actually my preferred running temperature so I was looking forward to it. I slept horribly at my parents, waking many times. I think because I was sharing a room with EM and didn’t want her to wake when I left for the race my mind was subconsciously not resting well (since that would mean my parents would have had to get up super early to deal with her), so I ended up waking before my alarm and was able to slip out of the house around 6:45, with more than enough time to spare as it took me only 5 minutes to get there. The race left from Anderson Snow Park, which I’m pretty sure didn’t even exist when I left Spring Hill in 2014. It was an out and back along a mostly flat bike trail, which reminded me a lot of the West Orange Trail that I run often.
I went into the race just trying to PR. My last 10k was back in March of 205 and I knew I had improved my pace significantly since then. My PR was 1:06:56 (from 2/7/15) on a course I knew was short, and my PR before that was 1:07:44. So I knew I wanted to at least set a new PR, with a stretch goal of an hour. I just recently started consistently running my 5k runs under 30 minutes, so figured this would be a good opportunity to try for a 10k under an hour. I had plenty of time to chit chat with the other runners before the race, since there were very many of us. Most weren’t local runners, which I found surprising. Some were even just on vacation down in Florida and itching for a race and randomly found it. The Full started at 7am, the half at 7:15 and the 10k at 7:30. It started to drizzle right before the start so I’m glad I had my hat in the car which I was able to quickly grab before the start.
When the race started, I ended up taking the female lead, overall 3rd place. I was running 3/1 intervals and was playing leap frog with the 4thplace overall guy up (who was running straight through) until right before the turnaround point where he passed me and I never caught back up with him. Around mile 4 or 5, another guy passed me but I was still decently ahead of the 2nd female. I didn’t have it in me to catch up to get back into top 3 overall, but was more than satisfied with being the 1st female finisher. On the last mile, another girl was gaining on me, but I gave it my all, and made sure to stay ahead of her. I think I ended finishing about 30 seconds ahead of her, if that. The last 1.5 miles is rained and I was so thankful I grabbed my hat at the beginning. I ended up being the 1stfemale to finish, and the 5th person overall.
They had two fuel stations on the course, so we passed them 4 times for the 10k, and they had more than enough water and other snacks. I only stopped once to fill my water bottle, but considering how few participants the race had, I was very impressed with that.
When I first arrived that morning, I noticed they only had trophies for 1st -3rd place, and only one set, so I figured that meant they only were giving awards out to overall top 3, not genders. I decided to wait around for awards anyways, which I am glad I did, because they ended up stating they weren’t expecting the turn out (a lot of last minute sign ups) and they were going to give the trophies to the top 3 females and then mail trophies to the top 3 men. None of the age groups were large enough to do top 3 (they said they would only do age group awards if they had at least 5 people in the group). The post-race logistics were kind of drawn out and we waited FOREVER for them to do awards, but I was happy to get to chat with the other runners of the race. They had coffee and pancakes and other goodies for the post-race refreshments, but I just drank the coffee since it was so cold. I definitely froze during that wait. Between sweat, rain, the temperature dropping, and not having a jacket in the car, the waiting in the cold really sucked, but was so worth it to get to stand in the 1st place spot on the podium. I only ever placed (age-group) one other time and missed my podium shot so I was NOT missing the opportunity again. I did want to add, another girl, started the race late, like many minutes after the rest of us as she arrived really late, so she was technically the last finisher. Her chip time was about 29 seconds faster than mine, so she technically was faster, however, since she wasn’t the 1st finisher, I was still given the award. I didn’t find out about this until a few minutes before the awards and was bummed to hear I didn’t really come in 1st, but apparently chip time is for age group placing and actual finish order is for overall, so I technically still count for 1st. Even though it was a tiny race, I still thoroughly enjoyed the course and the run, I’m sure placing helped that as well. If they do it again next year, I’d definitely run again!
The runner’s high is an incredible thing, but is exponential better when you set a personal record and place! This was such an amazing start to my 2016 running year!
Official Chip Time: 58:30 (overall pace of 9:26)
Place: 5 of 22 finishers
Place: 1 of the 14 Women Finishers
My RunKeeper stats:
6.24 miles in 58:35 (overall pace of 9:24)
Mile 1: 8:57
Mile 2: 9:05
Mile 3: 9:47
Mile 4: 9:28
Mile 5: 9:55 (stopped to fill my water bottle here)
Mile 6: 9.27
.24 mile: 8:09 (final sprint!)