Today was the day. I was set to run my first ever 10K. I had two goals in mind before I started the race. Those were to finish the race and I wanted to run a time of 43:20 which would be a 7:00 minute per mile pace.
I started out by picking up my gear for the race and then after that I went for a warm-up run and stretched out before the race. It was an absolutely beautiful morning. A little chilly, but it was sunny and calm. I was wearing my Under Armor top for the first time this year and I was sporting my new Michigan Wolverines running shirt. I talked to some of my fellow runners before the 10K began, especially Brandon and Chris two of my closest running competitors and running friends .
After a few minutes we were set for the race. Once the horn went off we were gone. Two runners went out and took command of the race. I hung back with the second pack of runners which consisted of about eight of us, including Brandon and Chris. My goal pace for the first mile was to run a 6:30 mile. After about 1/2 mile to the race, Brandon and Chris were starting to pull out in front of me a little bit. Once I had the mile mark I glanced at my watch and it said 6:28, so I was right where I wanted to be.
I still was cruising through the second mile, but Chris and Brandon had pulled to about 15-20 seconds in front of me. I still felt great at this point though. The course had been flat up to this point as we were running on the Celery Flats trail in Portage. We had to cross the Milham Street Bridge just after the three mile mark and it was the first hill of the race. My time at the three mile mark was 19:55 which is a 6:38 over the first three miles, so I am well on my way to beating my goal.
Once we hit the downhill and hit the back part of the trail I could tell I was starting to reel in Brandon and Chris ever so slowly. This part of the trail became very winding and I was starting to wonder where the turnaround was located. I could tell my pace was starting to slow, but I was still determined to finish the race strong. I went around the turn very sharply, but then immediately picked my pace back up. Then I started to see all of the other 10K runners on the trail.
One runner in orange had passed my just as we were getting back to the bridge and we were now over four miles into the race. Brandon and Chris were now only five seconds in front of me, but they pulled away a little as we went up the hill to get to the bridge, but during the downhill and I trimmed the advantage they had over me.
When we got back on the other side of the trail I was now on the homestretch and I was right on the back heels of Chris and Brandon. The runner in orange and I both passed them as we hit the five mile mark and I was now hitting my second wind. I felt great, but I worried if I was wasting my energy and then Brandon and Chris would catch me at the end.
It didn't happen though as I stayed ahead of both of them all the way to the finish. The runner in orange helped bring me in and I finished my first 10K in a time of 41:53, good for 11th overall and 1st in my age group. What a great run for my first 10K and I beat my goal time!
After that I did a cool down run and put some fluids in me because I was only about a half-an-hour away from the 5K. Besides this being my first 10K, it was the first time I was running both the 5K and 10K on the same day!
The 5K went a whole lot faster, but it was a rough first 1/2 mile as my legs felt heavy. I had caught Brandon and Chirs by the first mile mark and the heaviness was gone from my legs. I felt pretty good after the first mile and kept pushing myself through mile two and I had pulled in front of Chris by this point. However I was starting to feel the exhaustion in the third mile, but I gutted out the last mile and passed a few runners along the way and went as hard as I could to the finish. I crossed the line in 20:22, pretty good just coming off a 10K race. I finished 22nd overall and 4th in my age group, just one place away from going home with some more hardware.
Overall it was a great day of racing. Two great races, with great times and finishes. My next race is on September 28th, The Run for the Son. This is the last race that counts toward the Kalamazoo Area Runners standings.