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Sep 30 / Jane

Steeplechase Distance Run 10k 2013

Last Monday I finally made the decision to sign up for the Steeplechase Distance Run 10k. It’s a race that takes place in Hillsborough, my hometown, and previously ran right past my parents house. The course was originally a 25k but this year (their 5th year) it’s been changed to a 10k. I kind of wish it went down to a 15k (that would have fit PERFECTLY into my half training plan for 10/20), BUT a 10k means I get to test my speed a bit.

So I recruited Bill from PI to run with me. I’d set a 10k PR during the RNR Philadelphia half of 55:52, so my goal for this race was under 55. After taking a week off from the half due to a massive blister, I recorded some awesome splits during our PI practice on Tuesday on the Hun School track. I ran a couple more times during the week, but wanted to be fresh for the 10k on Sunday. So I went to a housewarming party the night before, lol. No, but really, I had a beer (or two, mmmm pumpkin beer!), socialized, then headed to my parents to be just moments from the start.

The morning of I was feeling pretty nervous. I hadn’t slept well due to a combination of mom’s cats crawling on me and me forgetting to close the blinds and waking up at the crack of dawn… I got some of my oatmeal down while chatting with dad, then he headed out geocaching and I headed to the elementary school. I was expecting some small, 300 person max, make-shift race with Road ID bib#s. But when I got to the end of Vliet Drive (half a mile from the school) there were cars parked up the road! I thought there must be something else going on, there aren’t even signs that the race is happening (and Vliet Drive is part of the 5k route). But as I approached the school, I saw people in running gear walking to the start, warming up, carrying bags of goodies… Impressive. I drove past the school and parked in a development .4mi from the start, less than 30min from the start, and started my warm-up jog to registration.

Waiting in line for my number I ran into Bill (good, because I gave him my number at one point, but realized I never got his! AND there were a lot of people at this race!!). We checked our bags (at a 10k! I know!), and headed to the start line. I was still a little jittery, but chatting with Bill and making our running plan (under 55min, 8:50-ish pace) helped.

The gun went off and so did we. The beginning of the race was slightly uphill, then it flattened out for a bit before climbing uphill again. We kept a pretty steady pace of 8:53 for the first 4miles before speeding up. There was steep dip in the road between miles 3 and 4 and focusing on that must have distracted me from the long slow uphill most of mile 4 was. The last two miles were rolling hills, followed by a nice downhill right before mile 6, then an awful uphill finish. The last 600m or so were the worst, but I was determined to finish under my goal. Bill had a surge of energy and ran ahead; the clock at mile 6 read 52 and change and I was worried! A man in fall running gear, tights and long sleeves, ran past me, “only a minute to go!” (I remember his outfit because it was in the 70’s and I was hot in shorts and a tank top). Wait, what did he say? A minute?

And then I saw it, the finish line. Down the driveway through the big inflatable “FINISH” banner. The clock said 54 minutes… I sprinted past Mr. Seasonally Challenged to finish in 54:23, WELL under my goal. High five! I immediately felt great. I ran hard, I ran fast: I ran myself to a PR!

Well, I didn’t do it alone. It was great having Bill there with me, chatting and encouraging me throughout the race. Bill’s PR is much faster than yesterday’s finish, so I really appreciated him taking the time to pace me to my goal. And now that I’ve done it, time to push it some more!

Photo Sep 29, 10 26 32 AM

Bill and I retrieved our bags from the bag check and loaded up with goodies from the vendors, including some sweet sunglasses from the Mercedes dealer. The finishers area was was pretty dead since the 5k’ers were still out on the course; they’d started 45 minutes after us. We stuck around for the final results and listened to the awards ceremony. Both our age groups were super competitive, we would have needed to shave off over 6 minutes to be in 3rd place! After the awards they raffled off a bunch of swag from the Somerset Medical Center. Bill won a t-shirt and I won a sports bag. Wohoo! They practically had enough stuff for everyone, but it’s still fun winning.

It really turned out to be a beautiful day.  For all my nervousness in the morning, I made the best of it. I had a great run with great company right in the neighborhood I grew up in. What a great race too, well run, lots of goodies, custom bibs (I love race-specific bibs), and a challenging course (I could do without the uphill finish, maybe we should run the course backwards next year??). But I do think there’ll be a next year for me and this course, wohoo!

Post-race selfie!

Post-race selfie!

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