Red Nose Run 10k
This race was supposed to have 450+ runners, and is featured on the “Tour de Columbia” race series (Columbia area) as well as the “Palmetto Grand Prix” (all of SC). Columbia is /was right on the edge of the huge winter storm that hit the South this weekend. With race temps hovering right at 32 degrees, and a steady hard rain falling, turnout was about 160 total for the 10k and 5k combined. Looking around this am, there were a lot of familiar faces, as these conditions certainly left only the hardcore showing up. I raced the 10k knowing the 800 meter bear of a hill in the beginning, as well as several inclines throughout, made a PR unlikely in the 5k. I have a lot of room to improve in the 10k and havent run a road 10k since October.
My original goal was 7 minute pace, but that would be really tough with the conditions. Race started at 8 am sharp. So on time the two cop cars leading the race were caught snoozing, myself and the first half of the crowd had to weave between them. Unfortunately the lead group turned one block early and left the course about a tenth short. It sucked right off the bat any PR attempts wer off, but the weather was so painful it was hard to think of anything else. The first mile was mostly up a steep incline, steady wind, hard rain and bitter cold. I got soaked despite my 2 tech shirts and a running jacket (which I won for 1st in 30-34 on the Tour de Columbia for ’09 – woo hoo). My face was really hurting, and I wished I could have had a ski mask on. Hit the first mile in 7:33, which wasnt so bad given the conditions and the fact I hadnt even been able to warm up before hand.
I started to feel much better about the middle of the third mile. My 2nd split was 7:21. Slowly started to pick up the pace as I warmed up and thankfully the rain let up quite a bit. A guy flew past me near the third mile marker – a friend caught up to me and told me it was one of the best runners in the state who got to the line a few minutes late. He passed me like I was standing still – most if been around 5 minute pace. Third mile in 7:19. Passed by the arena again for the second half of the race, wishing I had done the 5k because of the cold but still feeling really good. On the 4th mile, we went across a lengthy bridge and incline section which exposed me more to the chilling wind, which was rough. My shoes were soaked through at this point too. 7:26 split for that mile. Caught up to a couple of guys in the fifth mile and felt i could probably kick it in with 1.2 to go. Mile 5 was almost the same as 4 with a split of 7:25. The first of mile 5 was back over a parallel bridge and then up a long incline, which I was able to handle pretty well – I was finally warmed up by this point. It was hard to judge pace during this stretch. I was literally all alone. I saw one guy 1/2 mile ahead of me and heard nothing behind me (I never look back!). Turned the corner for the last 800 meters and I put it into overdrive, as I could see the clock at the end of a very long straightaway. Hit 6 miles at 7:12 and did 6:40 pace the rest of the way. Finished in 44:50. I had a 6.12 on my Garmin, so probably about a tenth short due to the block being cut off in the beginning. Still, I felt it was a good race and I loved finishing strong. Looking back, I definitely left something on the course – just felt too good at the end. Ended up 18th overall in a strong field. I would have placed top 3 in every age group except for mine, where somehow I was the 6th 30-34 runner to finish. Oh well, it was nice to see all the die-hards out there and to complete a tough race. Looking forward to my 5k next week, where I hope temps will be more SC-like, as in 50’s-60’s.