This is, undoubtedly, my most favorite race in Minnesota.
The course is challenging but gorgeous, the crowds are fantastic, and Twin Cities in Motion works so hard to make the whole experience excellent.
I did set A, B, C goals for this race, but forgot to share them on the blog. They were:
Goal A: If the stars all align in my favor, I wanted to set a personal record. My old PR was 1:46:39. I got close to this in the Goldy’s 10 Mile in April, but missed by about 30 seconds. To get this PR, I was going to have to average a 10:36 pace.
Goal B: Run consistently. I have a terrible habit of going out too fast and suffering the most spectacular bonks in the second half of races. I simply get too excited at the start and follow too closely to runners going at a faster pace. I told myself to aim for a 10:35 pace, and try really hard not to go slower than 10:40 for any given mile and to absolutely not go any faster than a 10:10.
Goal C: If nothing else goes right, I at least wanted to finish without injury. Late in my running season I sprained an ankle climbing the Colorado Rocky Mountains and I have had a few issues with sore shins and mild plantar fasciitis. I really didn’t have high hopes going in to this race considering how my legs and feet had felt on my longest run– an 8.6 miler.
Let us work our way backwards.
Goal C: Accomplished. I think this race might be actually have some sort of magical powers. Because this is my second time running it where I have gone in to it thinking injuries would get the best of me, particularly because the course is hilly, and run it practically pain-free. At Mile 1, I said, “Well, sure. You feel good now. But you’ve got 9 more to go.” At Mile 3, “Well, it’s just the adrenaline. But eventually those shins are gonna get you.” And by mile 7, “I don’t deserve to feel this marvelous!”
Goal B: Accomplished. This feels like my biggest victory– like I finally “get it” with pacing. I have run like 30+ events in the last 6 years and I finally get it. Better late than never. I took a look at my Garmin lap data for Goldy’s 10 Mile in April to compare it to my lap data for the TC 10, and the differences are night and day. It is no wonder I had such a great race this weekend.
Goldy’s 10 Mile Laps
- Mile 1: 10:11
- Mile 2: 10:07
- Mile 3: 9:49 (For a slow runner like me, this was a huge red flag. I never run sub-10s in any distance longer than a 5K. Never.)
- Mile 4:10:15
- Mile 5: 10:17
- Mile 6: 10:09
- Mile 7: 10:59
- Mile 8: 11:02
- Mile 9: 12:14
- Mile 10: 11:08
At first my excuse was that the 2nd half of that race has some big hills, but miles 7-10 are clearly a gigantic bonk. My average pace was 10:33, which I wasn’t totally disappointed in, but doesn’t tell the same story as the lap data– it was a bad race. Unfortunately, in July, my half-marathon went almost exactly the same.
TC 10 Mile Laps
- Mile 1: 10:32
- Mile 2: 10:23
- Mile 3: 10:38
- Mile 4: 10:19
- Mile 5: 10:43
- Mile 6: 10:32
- Mile 7: 10:38
- Mile 8: 10:30
- Mile 9: 10:24
- Mile 10: 9:03
Mile 10 is not a typo. I not only had enough gas in my tank to get faster over the last 4 miles of the race, but I crushed the final mile. The race also ends on a big, long downhill that I sort of ran pell-mell down like a drunk orangutan, but the key is that I had enough energy to act like a drunk orangutan. Only a single mile that was slower than my Goal B pace and I know exactly why, and I am not upset. There is a short, steep climb in this mile as you leave East River Road and get onto Summit. It is easy to want to blaze up this hill, but once you hit Summit you have TWO MILES of hill. No way was I going to grind it out on this little sucker with no opportunity to recover on flat land before the Summit climb. Also, I saw my dad and sister in Mile 5 and that makes me cry and then I can’t breathe. A much better race technique than Goldy’s, resulting in an average pace of 10:25, which means…
Goal A: Accomplished. Crushed my PR by a little over 3 minutes. This was far and away better than I expected and even though I got my first sneaking suspicion I would PR when I was around mile 5, I thought I would be squeaking in by the skin of my teeth. Instead I came FLYING in with fire under my butt.
I could talk forever about how good it feels to feel good about a run, but just check out this picture my dad captured around mile 5.5:
And at the end, with 2 medals (one for the race and one for finishing the entire Summit Challenge Race series) and a space blanket, I am still the happiest idiot out there: