Sunday, December 13, 2015

Westside 10-Miler Race Recap

Yesterday I ran my last race of 2015.  My 20th race of 2015.  And probably the most challenging course of the year!  As I write that this was my last and 20th race of the season, it is hard to not immediately start to jump to nostalgia and reflect back on this year.  Because what a year it has been.

But alas, it's only mid-December and I want to hold out a little longer before I get all mushy on you guys.

So let's talk more about the Westside 10-Miler run that I did yesterday morning.  This race was put on by the head of the Running Nerds run club in Atlanta, Tes, and finished at the Monday Night Brewing brewery.  This is the same location where the Big Ol' Group Run was held earlier this summer.  I tell ya, Tes knows how to put on a fun race, albeit a very challenging race, but a fun one.

This route was notorious for the many, many hills throughout the route.  It was designed with the hills in mind, so I would say scared a number of people away from the race just with that.  When you registered for the run on you actually had to hit a button that indicated you acknowledged it was a very hilly course.  I have never seen that before and it definitely intimidated me quite a bit!  I was scared and nervous going into the race and my overall thought was "I do not want to do this!"

I got up in the morning and met some friends before the race and head over to the race start.  We'd picked up bibs the day before so even though I got up early to deal with parking, I sat around in my car until right before the race start and bounced over.  It was really unseasonably nice out and per usual I had a debate in my mind back and forth about whether or not to wear a long sleeved shirt.  One of the coolest dads ever was getting some attention for the amazing way he'd decorated his two seated running stroller.  It was so cool!

Because I had known the race was going to be hilly, I mentally prepared myself for it.  There were definitely some super challenging hills along the route.  However, unlike the Thanksgiving Day Half Marathon where the nonstop onslaught of hills had me mentally screaming at the course, this one, I knew what I was getting into.  I told myself that there were going to be hills from start to finish.  Any time that I wasn't running uphill, I felt appreciative, rather than angry at the hills that I saw.  Running is so mental.

I ticked away at the miles, told myself to survive the hills and pace the race.  I held back pace a number of times and just focused on staying steady.  I wanted to be able to conquer every hill I came across and not have to walk up any of them (which I never really do anyways) so I tried to conserve energy for those.  Before the start of the race, I felt a bit of achey-ness in my hip and my knees had been hurting me the day before while I was swimming.  I mostly wanted to be really cautious of not hurting myself during the race, and in the past some of my injuries have been worse on hills.  So I tried to be very careful.

The morning was really foggy and at portions of the run it was pretty eerie.  All I could see in front of me was the outline of some of the runners in front and then just all around fog.  We ran through streets that felt new to me in Atlanta - routes I had never been on by foot before.  Part of it was along a bike/running trail I had never seen and part of it dumped us right into my friend Brick's neighborhood, which I have driven through many times but never seen on foot.  It was fun to have a change of scenery and run through a new part of town. [These pics I stole from Instagram or Facebook... sorry people!]

I have to admit I was tempted a slight bit to take the split to run the 10K and then later thought about just popping into Brick's house when I was in her neighborhood.  I talked myself through the course, repeatedly reminding myself to just run the mile that I was in.  Mentally, a 10 mile race was sort of fun.  It felt a lot shorter than a Half Marathon, so much better to handle not having those last 3.1 miles!

There were mile markers all throughout the race, which I counted down and I barely looked at my watch or my pace.  Before the run started I estimated that I would do the race in about 1:35, averaging around a 9:30=9:40 pace.  However, I was super happy when I got to the end of the race and saw I finished in 1:31.

I finished to my friend India cheering for me on the sidelines, which was an awesome sight to see.

I grabbed some water, some beer, and some little samples of shrimp and grits that were being given out and made my way back to the finish to see my other friends cross the line.

Generally for races, I go by the official clock on the course rather than my watch time but I am going to say that my official time for the race was 1:31:31, which was what my watch said.  A pace of 9:16 average, since the course was a little shy of 10 miles.  The start did not have a chip time start, only a gun time and I was at the back of the pack.  I was really happy with this time considering I walked through the water stops and at one point when I saw my friend India on the race course.  And all of the hills that were just never ending.

When I talked to my mom after the race and told her about my expected finish and actual finish she told me how impressed she was at how well I knew my body.  I guess one of the themes of this year has been learning myself better and what I am capable of.  This final race of the 2015 season definitely helped solidify that as well.

There were tons of snacks after the race and we all had tickets to be able to get a beer and I absolutely took advantage of that and enjoyed the post race festivities with my friends before packing up and heading out.  It was a gorgeous, gorgeous day for a run in Atlanta and as much as I wasn't looking forward to the race, I am so glad that I did it and it was a great experience!

End of year recaps to come in the next few weeks, but that's a wrap on the seasons race reports!!!

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