Like with SMARM and Law Enforcement 5Ks, I wanted to run KTC’s Expo 10K this spring to see how I stacked up to this time last year. Unfortunately for comparison sake, this year’s course followed a different route. The start/finish was in the same location, but were in opposite directions as last year.

Equivalency calculators helped me arrive at a 52:25 goal time, and a few running friends confirmed it to be a good solid goal given my strong runs. This time last year, I hadn’t trained for the race but this year I was dedicated. In 8 weeks, I only missed 3 workouts – each a cross training, never missing any planned runs.

As with most races these days, I carpooled with a couple of friends. Then we met up with other buddies and teammates near the registration tables. I lined up at the start with Brad, my marathon training partner, but knew his goal would be difficult for me to achieve.

The race started with a beast of an uphill climb, made more intimidating by the double loop nature of the course. This hill split me and Brad up in the crowd, and I tried to hold back and run my own race.

Mile 1 – 8:19
The next couple of miles were uneventful. The course was full of short, steep hills. I tried to run the flats and downs quickly enough to make up for the slowed pace on the ups. At least for a little while the strategy worked.

Mile 2 –  8:21
Mile 3 – 8:23
The temperature was only 60ish, but it was incredibly muggy. After completing the first loop, I was already regretting not carrying my own water. The aid station was at the base of that first big hill, so on my second passed I walked through and took some Gatorade.
My race became mental as I walked up the hill, thinking about how difficult the course was and how I had to attack it a second time. I had given up when I felt a hand on my back.

It was my “run husband” Johnny. He encouraged me up the hill and he and I stayed together for the next couple of miles. No doubt I would have lost all my work if not for him.

Mile 4 – 8:55
Mile 5 – 8:52
He stopped to walk at the last water stop, and I pulled ahead. On the Henley Street bridge a daily mile buddy (Super Dave) passed me. After exchanging words of encouragement, I picked up my pace and attempted to keep him in site. With so many turns along the course, that didn’t happen but it did get my feet moving a little more quickly.
Mile 6 – 8:42
The finish line situation sucked, if I’m honest. The 10Kers had to go an additional 0.1 past the 5K finish, which was confusing for some. Mostly it was just discouraging finishing on an uphill. 
Final 0.2 (.38) – {8:10}
My finishing time was a full 2 minutes off what I had hoped. I’d be lying if I said I was completely happy with it. I went out too fast, underestimated how much the hills took out of me, and allowed myself to become mentally defeated.

HOWEVER I still managed a 45 second PR on a more difficult course (according to Garmin elevation profiles.)  Add to that the lessons learned to aid in future racing and I definitely count this one as a win.
Chip Time: 54:30
Overall:165/404

Age Group: 13/41

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