If you follow me on Instagram then you already know, but if you don’t then I raced a 10k this past weekend!

Over the past few weeks I’ve been pulling myself out of the beginning stages of burnout. I am thankful I recognized the signs early but no matter how far along you are, it is frustrating.

I spent the last 2 weeks doing zero workouts and running mostly based on heart rate (more to come on that in a later post). About a week before the race my husband mentioned he was thinking about running the PTI Run on the Runway 10k about 45 minutes from where we live near my parents.

At first I had no intention of running because of what I was going through, but as the week progressed some wonderful friends put the idea in my head that maybe getting out there and racing was exactly what I needed. I talked it over with Wes and he really like the idea as well.

Just 2 days before the race I made the decision to run it. I made a promise to myself of three things:

  1. Go out there and have FUN
  2. I wouldn’t really talk about it until afterwards
  3. Don’t look at my watch and run off feel

I had absolutely no idea where I was fitness wise, so the best idea for this race was simply to just RUN. I know I could have easily shared that I was going to do it ahead of time, but since there was no reason to put pressure on myself for it I figured it probably was best just to keep it to myself.

 

RACE DAY

Wes and I had our alarm set for 5:15 am to get up, eat, drink coffee, and be read to go around 6:00 am. Easton also decided that 5:00 am sounded like a great time to wake up. He often doesn’t sleep as well when we are traveling so I got him up, my Mom took over, and it allowed me to get things ready to go.

After having coffee, toast, and some Honey Stinger Waffle we got in the car and headed out to the PTI Airport.

The race started at 8:00 am, but since we had no experience with it we wanted to make sure we were out there in time to warm up and not be rushed.

We arrived around 6:30 am and were shuttled out to the tarmac. There were tents to stand in to get out of the cold early and we were able to stretch and do a lot of dynamic stretching. It was about 32 degrees in the morning and after my hamstring issues in Kiawah I was really worried that I’d have issues with that again. I tried to do everything I could do warm it up.

PIT Run on the Runway

At about 7:15 am we started doing our warm up. I jogged for about 20 minutes easy (averaged a 9:50 pace) and then did 4 x 10 second strides just to get my legs warmed up.

Changing Clothes

After that I quickly stripped off my layers, checked our bags, and we headed to line up at the start line. I ran into a friend at the start just before the gun went off so this took my mind off the fact that I was waiting to race. Looking back I realize just how much of a blessing this was!

Right at 8:00 am the race started and I was off! I made myself promise not to look at my watch so I had the time on the face of my watch, but the first time I checked the pace was around 1/2 mile in just to make sure I wasn’t going crazy. I tried to settle into a “comfortably hard” pace for the first 3-4 miles. When I checked my watch it said 6:50 and while I didn’t know if that was where I should be, I felt comfortable with it.

Even though it is a run on the airport tarmac it wasn’t entirely flat. The first 1.5 miles has a gradual “uphill” though just enough to feel it in your legs. I checked my pace again at about 2 miles in and could tell I had slowed some but wasn’t worried about it. Around mile 2 you make a turn to run down the other side of the airport runway. It was a bit hard to slow my body down for it but once I got back on the straightaway I felt good again. This was probably the most mentally challenging part of the run. I knew that once I was coming back I would be able to just focus on getting to that finish line.

Around mile 3 I saw the 2nd place female who passed me on the “uphill” and decided just to keep my sites on her. At this point I had no clue what my pace or her pace was so I just wanted to keep her in my sight and if I felt good eventually I could try to pass her. I kept up the effort, made the turn to go back, and just focused on staying steady and told myself not to try to pick up the pace until the turn for the final straight away.

I started gaining on the 2nd place female and did end up passing her around mile 4. I didn’t know if she’d pass me in the end, but I honestly didn’t care. My goal was to have a strong race, not to worry about my placement. I took the final turn to go back down the original runway and started getting in the crowds with the 5k runners. This actually helped take my focus away from the pain and also blocked some of the wind! It wasn’t super windy but without any trees or buildings to block it you could definitely feel it.

I kept telling myself relax, focus on the finish, and put one foot in front of the other. I caught myself clinching my hands several times and kept reminding myself to relax my hands. I also lowered my shoulders when I felt myself tense up. Once I saw that finish line I just gave it everything I had. Wes came back and found me and was running along the side, but I was so focused on getting to that finish I didn’t even talk to him.

PIT Run on the Runway 10k Finish Time

Once I passed under the finish I felt so WONDERFUL! I worked hard, I kept a focused mind, and I had FUN! I also didn’t look at my watch after those first two times and had a great race! My official finish time was 41:41 which is a 6:42 average pace.

PTI Run The Runway Award

It was a 6 minute PR for me, but I figured I’d at least get a PR no matter what since my last 10k was run in 2013 and was at a pace slower than my marathon pace; however, it still felt nice to make progress!

PIT Run on the Runway 10k 2nd Place Female

The race was well organized and I loved just being out there and working hard again! Sometimes the races that we run with the least pressure end up being our best!

PIT Run on the Runway 10k

Even better news is that since the race I have felt WONDERFUL! I expected to feel pretty sore and tired the next couple days since I haven’t run a workout in over 2 weeks, but my legs have felt GREAT. The exact opposite of what I expected.

I’m so happy I chose to get out there and race again! If you ever have the chance – sign up for a last minute no pressure race. It’s so freeing and fun!

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