Monday, October 8, 2012

Virginia 10 Miler Summary

The weekend before last, I took part in the 39th running of the Virginia 10 Miler in Lynchburg. I had been planning to run this race since last year. Overall, I had a great experience running this race, even though the course was very challenging. I’ll give a everyone a quick summary of my first 10 Miler experience.

Anna and the boys decided to come along for this race. I love them being at the finish line, but it can be a challenge to get the boys up, dressed, and out the door for these early races. My company (AREVA) was gracious enough to pay the entry fee for all employees that wanted to run the in the 10 Miler this year and they were taking a group picture at 7:30 AM at the start/finish line. I knew we would be pressed to get to the race 30 minutes early because our house is at least 50 minutes away. Let’s just say that I didn’t make the group picture. But I was able to get to the race 20 minutes early.
So I was going to have enough time to warm up and stretch a little bit. That was before I decided to use a Port-a-John. There were at least 30 units in the front of the high school. But with a few thousand runners, walkers, and spectators, the lines were very long. I was half way through one of the lines when they started announcing that the runners needed to take their spots on the road. Luckily I was still able to use the restroom and make it to the runners’ group with several minutes to spare, but I didn’t warm up at all.

Before I could even think about running, the horn was sounded and everyone took off. This was the first race I have run with my new Garmin watch. So I officially knew my pace was too fast to start, as usual. But the first two miles were mostly downhill, so I thought I would take advantage and run at a faster than planned pace. These first 2 or 3 miles were pretty uneventful. I tried to enjoy my run by taking some of the scenery and other runners. It is not every day you get to run straight down Langhorne without any traffic.

But Once I got down to the Farm Basket store, it was the start of the hills. There was no single hill that was very tough. The challenge was constant rolling hills. Just when you thought that Rivermont was just over the next hill, it wasn’t! These rolling hills really took their toll on my legs and were already starting to feel pretty tight. I am sure my lack of warm up didn’t help with this tightness either.

After finally reaching Rivermont, I knew the course would be somewhat level for the next few miles. The course would take use down Rivermont by Macon College and through Riverside Park. After making a loop through the park, the return back to E. C. Glass would be on the same route. So I at that point I knew what to expect. More rolling hills were in my near future.

It was at this point that I decided to back off my pace just a little bit. I was hoping my legs would loosen up a little bit and I would be fresher for the last couple miles. Since the first couple miles of the race were downhill, I knew the last couple miles were going to be one constant hill. I wanted to be able to attack those last two miles aggressively. I probably shouldn’t have even tried to back off my pace, because by the time I got to the last two miles my legs didn’t feel any better.

When I finally was able to see the finish line, I was very relieved. Although I run a lot of miles on the rolling hills of Bedford, there is no single two miles hill that I encounter on those runs. I was able to post a time of 1:26:05. Coming in the race, I had two goals. The first one was to finish the race and the second one was to try to get a time under 1:30. So I was very happy to have met each of my goals.

I didn’t see Anna and the boys until I had already crossed the finish line. There were many spectators lining the street so it was hard to pick them out before. It is so nice to see them at the end of a race and to get some hugs. Although, Eli was more excited to show me the free smoothie Monopoly piece from his McDonald’s breakfast! After grabbing some food from the hospitality tent, it was off to Target to get some diapers. We actually stopped by Bedford’s Centerfest on the way home too. So, I was pretty tired by the time we got home that evening.

So, my first 10 Miler was a great time and I look forward to doing it again next year. This is one of those races that I attempt to run every year, as long as my body lets me. After this race, there are only 6 more weeks until my next half marathon in Richmond. So posting a decent time and recovering fairly quickly has given me a good feeling of where I am physically. Hopefully I will get some good longer runs in before Richmond to build up my stamina some more. The Richmond course doesn’t have nearly the amount of elevation change as the 10 Miler, so I have that on my side.