Hey friends! I’m coming at you this evening with a quick recap of what I hope will be the first of many 10K recaps this month!
After the marathon in January, I decided to shift my focus more towards some shorter distance races (i.e., 5Ks and 10Ks) for the Spring “race season” if you will. I heard lots of wonderful things about the Wine 10K in Birmingham and decided that it might be fun to branch out and do a race in a different city.
I headed to Birmingham Friday afternoon, arrived in time to pick up my packet from Trak Shak and to meet my mom at our hotel. The timing worked out really well because she just had a birthday (which technically wasn’t supposed to be mentioned on the internets (hopefully she will forgive me)) and we were able to use the race as a good reason for belated birthday celebration trip as well. We’ve gotten pretty good at doing these quick weekend getaways!
By the time we got to the hotel, we were both very tired. We ordered room service and called it a day. I got a great night’s sleep and was ready to go the next morning. Well actually, I didn’t exactly jump out of bed the second my alarm went off or anything like that, but after a cup of coffee, I was happy and ready! Ha.
Going into the race, I didn’t really have a specific plan. I have been doing a lot of threshold workouts around 6:25 pace and so I was thinking that 6:15 to 6:20 pace should be a reasonable goal. I didn’t know much about the course beforehand. I looked at it on the map, but that didn’t really mean anything since I wasn’t familiar with the area.
The race started at 8 a.m. Saturday morning at Patriot Park. The course is a point to point route and ends at Lakeshore Park Plaza. The race was amazingly well-organized and everything ran very smoothly. It was really quite impressive.
I got to the start about 45 minutes before the race started and did a two mile warm up. I ran into a few people who I knew, but for the most part it was an entirely new field of runners. I had an “elite” bib (with a sub 40 qualifying time), which is cool, but also quite intimidating, especially when you start looking around at the other runners in the corral with you. It’s never a good idea to compare yourself to others, but it’s really hard not to play the comparison game before races. Everyone you see looks so stinking fast! In this race, everyone I saw actually was very stinking fast.
As soon as the gun went off (actually, they might have fired a cannon or a rocket of some sort (it was CRAZY loud)), I was immediately lagging behind everyone else that had started near me. I wanted to keep the pace honest and not start out too fast. I glanced down at my watch a few times and was seeing 6:10 or faster. I knew that wasn’t sustainable, so I just had to let the pack go on ahead. My first mile was 6:14.
The next two miles were a little bit tougher with a few rolling hills. For someone who trains on pancake flat terrain, hills are not my friend. I am very quick to say that I am not a strong hill runner. This race made me realize that it’s probably time that I did something about that and actually worked to get stronger on the hills. Sounds like a good goal. Right? Right. So anyway, miles two and three were 6:26 and 6:25.
Here’s the elevation chart for reference …
As you can kind of see from the map above, there is a nice little downhill stretch from mile three to four. I clocked a 6:02 on that mile. Whew! I wasn’t expecting to see a split like that, but I was happy with it for sure!
The last two miles of the race ran on the Lakeshore Trail, which I guess is also called the Homewood Shades Creek Greenway. It’s a paved trail that runs beside Shades Creek. The trail itself was very nice to run on, especially with a nice view of the creek. The only downside to this part of the course were the two places where you had to do essentially do a 180 degree turn to run up and over a little overpass. It’s tough to come to a basically a complete stop, run up and over anything and then continue on without messing up your rhythm. Miles five and six were 6:25 and 6:33.
I finished with a chip time of 39:34, which is 6:22 average pace. Not too far off of what I expected and given the hills, I’m definitely happy with it! I was 14th female and 44th overall. The top 50 finishers got a custom blue ribbon on their medals (which is actually a functional wine stopper) and the remaining top 100 finishers received a red ribbon on their meals. I liked the added touch of having an award for overall placement regardless of gender, age, etc.
I ran for team Cadence Coed and our team was very well represented! Lots of podium finishes and the team won the coed division, so that was cool.
The after party was very cool! There were mimosas, grilled cheese sandwiches and tons of other stuff. It was really just a beautiful day to be outside enjoying the fresh air. I ran into a several people who I knew, but it was so strange being at a race in a different city and not knowing the majority of the runners. You don’t realize how connected you are into your own little running community until you do a race somewhere else and it’s like, “Where are my people?” Everyone in Birmingham was super friendly and I’m excited to hopefully do a few more races up that way soon!
After the race, mom and I did a little bit of shopping. I really only wanted to go to Lululemon and Anthropologie. Those are probably two of my favorite stores ever and we don’t have access to them in Mobile (which is a definitely a good thing). I got a couple of basic tee shirts from Anthropologie and NOTHING from Lululemon. I didn’t see anything that I had to have. Pure craziness.
We had a very restful afternoon and went out to dinner Saturday night.
Sunday morning we slept in a little bit and went on a nice walk from the hotel. It was another beautiful day! We really couldn’t have asked for better weather. We walked a few miles and found some trails and some water. There is something so soothing about being by the water …
It was a wonderful trip and I’m so glad that mom and I got to spend some quality time together!