My first race of 2017 was a success. I ran the Kiss Me I’m a Runner 10K on Sunday and came in with a 30-second PR. While I had much larger PR dreams leading up to the race, one major factor played into reevaluating both my overall pacing strategy as well as my time goal. The weather.
Kiss Me I’m a Runner 5K/10K Review
Before I delve into my race recap, I’d love to tell you about the race itself first. This was the second year of the Kiss Me I’m a Runner 5K/10K in Lyndhurst, Ohio. It’s a really fun race with a challenging, but manageable, course.
Parking for the Kiss Me I’m a Runner 10K is some of the easiest race parking ever. Since it starts and ends at a lifestyle center called Legacy Village, there’s ample parking all within a very short walk to the starting line.
The swag this year was a little different than last year. This year runners received a pint glass, a free beer after the race, and a lifestyle shirt. The shirt this year is super soft and the best color green, so I’m happy. 🙂
Last year the crowd support was definitely better. But what do we expect when it’s 10˚F out, guys?! This year the support on course from the race directors and volunteers was great. I can’t imagine how cold those guys were but they were cheering us on with smiles and high fives.
The course for this race is challenging. But if you’re from my area, it’s nothing unmanageable. All we have out here are hills, hills, and more hills. They’re not the crazy steep ones like in Atlanta. But we have an abundance of hills to choose from that vary in length and grade. While some may look at this course and shy away because of the hills, the hills are part of the reason I enjoy this race so much. This isn’t an easy course — it makes you work for it — but it’s a good one.
The post race atmosphere is really fun. On warmer days, runners and spectators mill about waiting for all the runners to come in. Afterward, everyone congregates inside Bar Louie for a free beer (holla!) and some post-race fare. This year, since it was so cold, everyone went inside rather quickly.
Kiss Me I’m a Runner 10K Recap
The forecast for the weekend was brisk with a projected real feel of 15˚F at gun time. I had never raced in anything colder than about 30˚F. I was unsure how to dress, what I would need, if I could stay warm, or if I would possibly overheat.
Race day came and the real feel was actually lower, clocking in at a balmy 11˚F. My pie in the sky race plan was fairly aggressive and I knew right away it was out the window. I had already adjusted my pace and expectations in the days leading up to the race but race morning came and I realized I really had no expectations anymore. My plan was to run hard, stay focused, and hope for the best.
My friend Eugenia and I are superb training partners. We are almost spot on at the same training pace, but she has a nice little kick of speed at the end of every race we run together. Our goal was to stick together for the entire race and split when she needed her final kick to get her through. We ran a 1.75 mile warm-up and crossed the mats well after the clock started. Thankfully this race was chip timed or we would have been in trouble. 😉 I was thankful we timed it so perfectly, though, because we didn’t have to stop and stand around in the cold after our warm-up. It worked out pretty well.
From DFL, we cruised into the back-of-the-packers and made our way through the crowd. Lucky for us, there wasn’t a ton of weaving and the weaving we did do was kept under control. I split the uprights more times than I can count throughout the race. Unfortunately we lost a little time in the first mile because of my shoelace failure.
Goal was to maintain a 9:15-20 pace for the first two miles. This course is very hilly, so I had my doubts whether I would be able to maintain any pace at all throughout the race. If you’re not going up, you’re going down. And when you’re not going down, you’re going up. There’s a very small portion of flat land in a neighborhood but the rest of it is all hill. I always take advantage of the downs, though, so I made sure to use those when I could.
Pace for miles 1 and 2: 9:05, 9:11
The rolling hills continued through the middle miles. My thoughts in the middle of the race were, “it’s freaking cold.” It was almost all I could think about. There were several strong gusts which made it seem much colder than it was (hi, 11˚ much?) and I just wanted to run fast so I could get warm. And again, my shoelace came untied. Seriously??
My pace goal for miles 3 and 4 was 9:10-15.
Pace for miles 3 and 4: 9:05, 9:14
By mile 5 we were cruising. It felt really amazing. I felt strong and satisfied with how my race was unfolding. In the back of my mind, though, I knew we were heading toward a solid half mile of climbing. The final .2 of the course is flat but that .2 makes you work for it before you get there. I lost a lot of time on that hill. I pushed on and never walked, but in retrospect I think a brief pause at the top of the hill would have done me some good.
When I rounded the last corner I knew my friend Candice would be waiting there as she had a lot of friends running that day. It was super awesome of her to be there and she ran me in which was so fun. I was in the zone and I couldn’t talk to her but it was amazing nonetheless.
I had no goal pace for the last two miles. My coach never gives me a goal for the last stretch because he knows I’ll either make it happen — or I won’t.
I crossed the finish line with a 30-second PR. I was pleased with the result but it definitely left me wanting more.
Pace for miles 5 and 6: 8:37, 8:54
Finish time: 55:57
One thing that tripped me up is that instead of using my adrenaline rush to propel me across the finish line, I let it hold me back. I was too focused on running in gracefully that I didn’t let myself have that final push I really needed. I can’t explain how it happened that way, or why, but to say I was disappointed in myself would be putting it nicely. Even though I did well, I had high expectations for myself and I feel like I choked at the end.
I joke that I don’t like the 10K. It’s a tough distance, that’s for sure. I’m used to short and sweet or long and painful. This one’s kind of in the middle. But there are a couple of things I’ll do differently next time:
- I think I’ll take a rest at the top of that damn last hill.
- I won’t hold back running across the finish line.
- I’ll make sure my shoes are tied with super glue.
To be fair, I had an amazing race. I did PR in tough conditions and for that I’m proud.
Tuesdays on the Run asks today: what’s your St. Patty’s Day tradition? This one’s mine. The Kiss Me I’m a Runner 10k will be my go-to race year after year. It’s really fun and every time I run it I learn something new. Maybe next year it’ll be my A race and I’ll pull in a several minute PR. Wishful thinking but you never know!
Thanks to the Lake Health Running Series for the race entry, and shout out to Greater Cleveland XC for putting on another phenomenal race.
TALK TO ME!
Do you have a holiday-themed race you run each year? Which one?
10K: yay or nay?
Linking up with My No-Guilt Life, Marcia’s Healthy Slice, and MCM Mama Runs for Tuesdays on the Run, and HoHo Runs and MissSippi Piddlin’ for the Weekly Wrap. Also linking up with Nicole, Annmarie, and Jen today for Wild Workout Wednesday!