Race Report - 2010 Adam's Heart Run 10 Miles

2/28/2010 08:47:00 PM

Well, there really wasn't supposed to be a race today, at least not accordining to my schedule. I came across this race last week while reading various websites of regional track clubs. They were offering a 5K, 10K and 10 Mile race and I figured it would allow both my fiancee and myself to enter races that we felt comfortable with and that would help both of us with our current training goals. We decided Friday night that she would do the 5K in preparation for a 10K race we entered next weekend and I would enter the 10 mile race as kind of a long distance speed workout in preparation for my 12 hour race in two weeks. The forecast predicted low 50s which would have been perfect, but the morning hours where more like low 30s, so it was definitely cold prior to the start of the race.
The race took place at the beautiful Oak Mountain State Park in Pelham near Birmingham, Alabama. We arrived at the race site at 8AM. Race participants received free entry to the park which was a nice perk as well. As we entered the park, we started wondering where the race course would be. We knew it would be on an asphalt road through the park with light traffic, but we had never been here and the race website mentioned "some hills". That could be anything and my fiancee started to worry. And when I say worry, I mean the "what the heck did you get me into here" kind of worry. As we approached the race location, we quickly realized that the course ran along the road that we came in on, which was a problem. The roads seemed to climb a lot with not a lot of declines. This was an out and back race course which meant any declines had to be climebed on the back and vice versa. "Some hills" seemed to be a bit of an understatement. This also explained the slower than expected pace per mile of other runners I noticed on the race resuls from the previous years.So much for running 7 minute per mile pace. I had expected a flat course. Anyway, this would make for a great training run. The race registration took place at a pavillion right next to the location of the start and finish line for the 5K/10K/10M races with plenty of parking as well. Since we did not pre-register, we had to get there early enough to do just that. I had decided at the race site that I would go shorts and short sleeve tech shirt with gloves. Once I figured out that the first mile of the race was mainly downhill on the way out, I started planning my race strategy. Since I did not know what to expect from the course after the first mile, I wanted to come out hard and fast and hold that pace for as long as I could. I noticed very quickly that there were not a lot of elite runners in this race, as no one was packing the starting line. As a matter of fact, the first runners lined up a few feet behind the actual starting line. Needless to say, I got in the second row. Right befor the start of the race, the RD reminded everyone of the "prize money" for overall and age group winners. Every announcement was followed by resounding Oooohs and Aaaahs. Who wouldn't be wowed by $5, $10 and $15 prizes respectively for third, second and first place? Anyway, I run for fame and glory, not the money;-) When the gun went off, I took off running. I didn't know how many runners where in front of me, but I tried to stay with the next one in front of me. I was really pushing early and hard down the hills and I even tried to attack the hills. When I reached the 5K turnaround, there was only one runner in front of me turning around, which means that I was running really fast. By the time I reached the 10K tournaround, there where only two runners turning around, which meant I was running 10K pace with top finisher potential. There were a couple of questions that remained. First, how long would I be able to maintain this pace through the hills.  Second, how many runners where currently ahead of me in the 10 mile race. Third, how many runners would pass me on the remainder of the race. The third question was answered shortly thereafter. Two runners in their late 30s and early 40s passed me shortly after the 10K tournaround. After a quick chat, they continued on. While they did pass me, I figured that they were actually running the pace I had hoped to maintain. I had slowed slightly after the "blistering" pace from the start of the race, somy goal was to hang behind these two guys for as long as I could to maintain something close to my original target pace. I got my answer to the second question at the 10 mile turnaround. I counted exactly 7 runners ahead of me, the first three or four about half a mile ahead of me. I kept the other two in my sights for the entire race. Although, it seemed impossible, I actually picked up the pace immediately following the turnaround. This section was mostly uphill with rolling hills all the way to the last mile, which was almost entirely uphill. This race did reveal that I was able to attack hills late into this race, even though I had to readjust my original goal pace after recognizing the hill aspect of this course. I finished strong and ran a 7:22 pace for the entire race crossing the finish line after 1 hour 13 minutes and 39 seconds,which was good enough for a top ten finish overall and second place in my age group. My better half also finished strong, placing second in her age group. We both could not have been happer with the official results. Great day for a race with plenty of sunshine at the finish line, although a bit chilly. I am glad we decided to run this race after all.

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