I had my sights set on running the Reese’s Senior Bowl Charity Run 10K for several months and originally wanted it to be one of my key races for the fall. I hadn’t done this one race in several years (quick recon confirmed that the last year I ran it was 2013). Senior Bowl is typically one of the bigger races in the area (probably only behind First Light and Azalea Trail). There were 514 participants in the 10K and 595 participants in the 5K this year. So, small in general, but one of the bigger local races if that makes sense.
This was my 5th Senior Bowl 10K. I’ve run this race in 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013 and now 2017. The 2009 race was the first time I ever wore a team running singlet (Team Spiridon … holla!). I remember feeling like this was a very big deal at the time and I felt like I had “arrived” as a runner. Haha. The 2010 race was my first sub-40 10K, so that will always be special too. I won the race in 2012 on what seemed like a fluke. I remember being “interviewed” after the race (definitely another first!) and telling the guy that I never imagined that I would EVER win that race, regardless of how many participants decided to show up or not show up.
I know that likely no one cares about the preceding paragraph except for maybe me, Daniel and my mom and dad. Thanks for being my biggest fans and most loyal readers! On to this year’s race …
Before the Race
Several of our running buddies ran Senior Bowl this year, which always makes a race more fun. I met Rebecca, Jessica and Sasser at Starbucks to carpool over to Mobile. We got across the bay and found parking with no problem. We picked up our packets and met up with Cody and Young Daniel downtown.
My original plan of treating this as a goal race was modified because of a cranky hamstring. I tweaked my hamstring the last week of October and had a mild hamstring strain. In the grand scheme of things, definitely not a big deal, but it just meant that I had to take it easy for a week or two to make sure that it healed and didn’t turn into a tear. I can’t even imagine how painful that would be and I definitely don’t want to find out! My coach asked me if I still even wanted to do the race and I told him that I did (mainly because I was already registered). We decided that the best course of action was to approach the race as a lactate threshold (LT) workout, which as it turns out, is easier said than done.
After our standard two warm up miles and two porta-potty visits, it was time to roll! It was 70 degrees and humid at the start. I’m pretty sure this qualifies as less than ideal, especially for a November race!
Going into the race, I had 6:25 to 6:30 pace in my head as my LT pace and I wanted to start conservatively and finish strong. Young Daniel and I planned to run the first few miles together at around 6:25. We came through the first mile in 6:28, which was right within my pace range, so I was happy. I felt good overall, my hamstring wasn’t bothering me at all and I could see the first female just ahead of us (so basically this is where my “run this all at LT pace” plan went out the window). Miles two and three were 6:18 and 6:09 as I caught and passed the first girl. The 6:09 was a bit rich and I knew I wouldn’t be able to hold that the entire second half of the race, so I tried my best to reign it in. My first 5K split was 19:38.
During the fourth mile, I set my sights on chasing down a pack of four guys ahead of me. My mile four split was 6:17, which got me up to the group. The group kind of fizzled out and I ended up passing two of the guys and leap frogging back and forth with the other two guys during the next mile. My split was 6:21. By the time we got to the final mile, two of the guys were ahead of me and two of the guys were behind me and I don’t think our places changed from this point to the finish. My last split was 6:22 and I finished out the 0.2 with a 5:54 pace. My second 5K split was 19:35, so I managed a tiny little negative split. Woo!
After the Race
The 5K & 10K winners got caught in a whirlwind of post-race interviews and photographs. I mean, for a local race, they do this one up right! The photographer was “coaching” LaJuan and I on how to tilt and turn our heads to capture our most flattering angles. It was quite comical. I felt silly posing for the pictures, but at the same time, I’m not sad to have learned the proper head tilt and arm positioning. Ha.
We all did a two mile cool down to get a nice, even 10 for the day. This was Jessica’s first postpartum race and so of course, we had to document that with a friend selfie.
They took their time getting to the awards, but it was nice to hang out for a little bit and catch up with friends. Overall, I am pleased with how this one went. I’m happy with my time and happier to have been able to enjoy a wonderful fall morning doing something that I love with my friends!