Howdy friends and random internet strangers! I’ve got race recap three out of four for the month to share with you today. Next up is Azalea Trail!
Today I ran my 11th Spring Fever Chase 10K! It’s one of my favorite races of the year, if not my most favorite. Here is a conglomeration of race photos over the years …
We got to Fairhope around 7 a.m. for an 8 a.m. race start. Daniel picked our bibs up yesterday, so that we didn’t have to worry about that today. We met Jessica downtown and ran just over two miles before making our way to the start line. I was ready to do this thing!
Last year I ran the race without a watch and while that turned out to be a great decision, I decided to wear my watch this year … but, I didn’t look at it one. single. time. during the race. I don’t know how I had the self-restraint to do this, but somehow I did. The only time during the entire race that I saw a time was on the clock at mile 3 (the other mile markers don’t have clocks).
Like most races, the start of this race is typically a little chaotic because so many people run too fast for the first half-mile or so. They really made a point that if you weren’t running under 7:00 pace, then you didn’t need to be on the front row. I feel like they have said this before, but it seemed like more people actually listened this year. Several young kids still managed to pass everyone in the first tenth of a mile. Several of them were excitedly talking about how they were running “sub-7” (which I thought was adorable) and for that first quarter-mile, they certainly were.
We had a good bit of rain yesterday and the first turn (about a half-mile into the race) was underwater. Thankfully, we had run that little stretch during our warm up and knew which side of the street (err well, the grass) would be the best path. I dodged the puddle and avoided getting my shoes muddy, which was nice. I caught up to Daniel around mile one. His training has been going really well, but he hasn’t been feeling good the last few days. I knew that he was likely struggling if I was catching him and I was bummed for him. He loves this race as well and wouldn’t have run if it had been any other race.
My mom and dad came to the race to cheer for us and they were just past the one mile mark. Per usual, my dad yelled, “GO KID!” as I ran by. He has always called me Kid and I hope that never changes. They’ve definitely been my biggest fans over the years and I always get a boost from seeing and hearing them on the course. We also had several friends that didn’t race today that came out to cheer as well, which was much appreciated. Having people out along the course cheering for you is the best!
I caught several runners during the second mile. Miles two through four have some rolling hills and since I don’t typically run well on hills, I always plan to conserve on the uphill portions and not expend any unnecessary energy. The hills are also part of the reason that I chose not to look at my watch during the race. I have a bad habit of looking down at my watch if I feel like my pace is fading. For some reason I need an external source to either confirm or deny my feelings (but that’s likely a discussion for another time and place :)).
The third mile is the hilliest of the race and you crest the biggest hill right as you pass the mile three marker. My time was 19:15, which would translate to right at or just under twenty minutes for the 5K. I knew that if I wanted my total time to be under forty minutes for the 10K, I had to keep working and couldn’t afford to let up at all. I focused on staying in my rhythm and not slowing down.
For the majority of the fourth mile, I was running with a pack or three or four guys, which was really nice. I typically find myself in no man’s land during races and it is always much better to have someone to work with. My mom and dad (and our other friends) were on the course again somewhere between mile 4 and 4.5 cheering and that gave me another little boost. I almost took my poor mother out on this turn (she was standing right in the tangent and I really wanted to yell at her to move, but I didn’t (ha)). After the race we had a good laugh about how I came over and gave her a hug during the last mile of the marathon and this time I just wanted to yell at her because she was in my way.
Once I passed them, I knew that I had a mile of flat-to-downhill running before the final climb. Bring on the downhill! At this point, I was only running with one other guy, but I was definitely thankful to still have someone with me. We flip-flopped back and forth a few times, but basically we just worked together for the entire rest of the race. He passed me (briefly) right around mile six. Until that point, I had basically conceded mentally and just assumed he was going to out kick me at the end of the race. Once it actually started to happen though, something switched in my brain and I decided to give it my best shot. It was a sprint to the finish and I barely edged him out!
I’m glad that I didn’t just throw in the towel and I’m glad that I had a little extra incentive to really make those last two tenths count. It was fun to check my splits afterwards since I hadn’t looked at my watch during the race. They were pretty consistent and make sense given the course. I need to trust myself more and rely on the Garmin less. My splits were 6:21, 6:21, 6:32, 6:25, 6:26, 6:20 and 5:47 for the last two tenths. As far as placement goes, I was first female and fourth overall.
Jessica and I ran two miles after the race to cool down, grabbed some coffee and came back in time for the awards. The race takes place during Arts & Crafts Festival, and each year the award is a print done by a local artist. We have them sprinkled throughout our house!
After the awards, I walked around the Arts & Crafts Festival for a little while with my mom and dad. We saw some really interesting pieces, like the saxophone pelican and the “crazy hair” guitar man.
All in all, it was a wonderful day. Spring Fever did not disappoint! I am thankful to have a wonderful group of friends and family who always support me, no matter if I am first place or last place. The time on the clock and placement in the results truly don’t matter, but sharing life with people who love you unconditionally … that’s what it’s all about.
Run happy friends!