To truly write an unbiased race report for the Scheels Run for Home would be hard for me. It is a race that our running club puts on every year and one I have been involved with in some capacity or other for a number of years, so, of course, I think it's GREAT! So, more than just a generic report, I'll give my personal account of the event.
When last I left you, it was the day before the Run for Home, and having signed up for the 10K, I was trying to decide how to run it: easy peasy long run pace or as fast as my legs could carry me. Well, as life would have it, the kids were spending Saturday night at the grandparents, so that Hubby and I could enjoy a rare date night. For us this weekend, that simply meant dinner out and a DVD back at home. Hubby was in a celebratory mood, as he had spent his day in the Milwaukee area running the Trailbreaker Marathon - once called one of the top 25 toughest marathons in the U.S. by Marathon & Beyond. I don't call Hubby Distance Dude for nothing, and he proved once again why I like that moniker for him. He placed sixth overall in the marathon, finishing first in his age group. Crazy.
Over a dinner of avocado egg rolls and Mediterranean-style pizza and while sipping a cosmopolitan, we had a great evening talking about everything. Back at the ranch, I had another two beers while we watched a DVD - uninterrupted and with the sound at a reasonable level, so as we could actually hear it. For a few minutes, I thought we'd actually be able to watch the movie without subtitles for once, until the dog decided to play with her obnoxious squeaky hedgehog toy. Oh well. Subtitles, after all. All this to say that any plans I had had to run the 10K hard went right out of my head.
The next morning, Hubby had to be at the Run for Home early to volunteer. I woke up and got myself ready at a leisurely pace. Having downgraded this event to a simple training run in my mind, I felt pretty relaxed about the whole thing. In fact, I was so relaxed that I almost arrived too late for the start, pulling into the parking lot with just fifteen minutes to spare. The race takes place at the baseball stadium for our minor league baseball team - a farm team for the Brewers. Since I was so late, I needed to park across the parking lot from the stadium. This wasn't a big deal. I just used the parking lot for my warm-up jog. (You know how unscientific I am about these, since I only started doing them at the Point Bock Run in March.) I jogged from my car towards the stadium, jogged back to my car when I realized I had forgotten something, ran back toward the stadium to the registration area, ran back to the entrance of the stadium towards chip timing....You get the picture. Along the way, I ran into a lot of familiar faces and friends, which made it more fun.
Being in charge of sending emails out for our running club, I had been watching the weather forecast all week and advertising that race day would be partly cloudy with a high of 70 degrees. Well, that didn't pan out. The day of the event dawned fully cloudy and a chilly 39 degrees or so at the start with a projected high of only in the low 60s. I had chosen to wear my running skirt and my long-sleeved Lakefront Marathon technical shirt, along with my Hubby's compression calf sleeves. For the race itself, that didn't turn out too badly, although it was chilly standing at the starting line.
As you can imagine, I didn't have a lot of time to wait around, seeing as I was so late. However, I must have looked very approachable yesterday morning, because in that brief time I was chatted up by two different ladies: one asking about the compression gear, the other about Lakefront Marathon.
I had forgotten my music, so I was really just looking to take it easy during the 10K. Honestly, I was. As I got started, however, something clicked over in my brain and I felt myself doing a little more than my easy peasy long run pace. I can't even explain what happened. It wasn't like some killer instinct turned over inside of me. I didn't even consciously make the decision to RACE. I just slowly found myself picking up the pace until by the time I was a mile into the event, I felt like I was fairly committed to just running by feel and giving it my best shot.
The result? A 10K PR! As far as I can tell anyway.
I haven't run a lot of 10Ks; I really have never liked them. They're too short to lollygag but too long to not think about pace. A lot of 10Ks I have run were before I ever kept track of such things as results. However, a search last night for information leads me to believe that this is over a four minute PR on my best 10K race time to date. Previously - in 2006 - I ran a 10K at 59:07. This race, I finished in 54:57, for an 8:51 average pace. The kicker is that in looking at the day's 5K results, I realized that if I had run the same pace for the 5K event, I would have gotten second in my age group. (Hey, it's all about who shows up that day, isn't it?) As it was, I was 12th in my age group and finished right smack in the middle of the field. Hmm, ergo "average" runner, I guess.
I don't know what has gotten into me lately, or what has changed. These past few months, I have definitely gotten faster. I can't explain it, but I'll take it. I still feel like someone should pinch me so I can wake up. On average, I am running a lot faster than I ever have before. I keep expecting someone to show up and say, sorry, we had the clocks wrong. Either that, or I am waiting for the other shoe to drop. With Point Bock, I was convinced that my PR at that 5-Miler was a fluke. But, now I am wondering.
In any case, the Run for Home is a good event if you are in the area - and I am not just saying that because our club puts it on! The course wends its way through the local technical college's campus into area neighborhoods before turning around and coming back. There is a slight hill going both ways, as you have to go over a bridge, but it's not that daunting. Mostly, the course is flat. It's fun to start and finish at the baseball stadium. The last two-tenths of a mile are around the baseball field's warning track, and you finish up right near first base. There is a ton of food afterwards, and the kids' races are a lot of fun.
In fact, that was my next stop, as my volunteering position had me working the finish line of the kids' quarter-mile, half-mile, and mile fun runs. That was a blast! I loved watching all the kids' excitement as they started out, and it was fun to encourage them to keep going if their race had them doing more than one lap around the field. E. did great running on her own for the half mile. She always makes me smile, because - like me - she has a tendency to take walk breaks, but when she runs, she is FAST - passing everyone she can reach. If she ever decides that running is what she wants to do, the other kids will have to watch out. LG did awesome, too, in the quarter-mile event running with Hubby. He makes me smile in his own way, because as small as he is, he is stubborn and doesn't give up. Both kids have been doing this event since they could walk, so it is nice to see the tradition continue.
I'll post some pictures from the race later, but for now - that's my race report!
Happy Running! (Or, in my case today, Happy Yoga and Elliptical!)