Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10k Race Recap

I woke up bright and early this morning at 6:00 am (ok… I pressed snooze until 6:10…) and fueled up with my favorite pre-10k breakfast.

1 cup oatmeal cooked in water with sliced berries and honey and a big glass of water (my parents only drink decaf coffee or else I would have had that, too).  Normally I wouldn’t eat oatmeal before a run, but eaten at least two hours ahead of time, it’s the perfect amount of carbs for long lasting energy to last through the race.  Any longer distance and I would have added some more protein, but this worked perfectly today.

Dad and I left the house at 7:15 this morning for our 8:38 am start.  This race wasn’t nearly as large when I was going to high school in Richmond, but over the past five years it’s become an establishment.  Watching the news this morning, the 10k was all they talked about.  Nearly every car we passed this morning was full of runners.  There were over 30,000 participants this year, and claimed to be the largest 10k in the country.  I’d never run a race this large before, and it was definitely something to get excited about!

The weather, however, was not quite as exciting.  As opposed to the beautiful weather of the past few days, it was 33 degrees when we left the house this morning.  I kept trying to be positive about it, saying that it’s nothing compared to the winter we just experienced, but we both were dreading getting out of the car, especially with the long walk to the start and lots of waiting around.  I hate running races in the cold because I always dress for the wait before the start and am hot once I get going because of all my layers.  Today was no different.  I had on two long sleeve layers and capris, with my bib pinned over my jacket.  I definitely regretted not being able to unzip!

The course was a blast.  Monument Ave. is a beautiful part of Richmond, lined with gorgeous old houses.  There was a different band every .25 mile or so and there were TONS of cheering spectators, many dressed up in wacky costumes, all over the place.  I definitely didn’t regret not having my ipod.

This was the first seeded race I’ve ever run, and was a bit surprised that I was put in the 53-54 minute group.  The last 10k I ran I finished in 58:04.  I’m definitely faster than I was then, and there are virtually no hills along Monument Ave, so I set the lofty goal of 54 minutes.  Dad said he’d pace me, even though he was placed two waves ahead of me.  I decided it was possible, although unlikely, but would be happy no matter how it turned out.

I’ll tell you what, if you have a difficult race goal that you want to beat, find someone faster than you to pace you.  Dad pushed me to my limit.  We passed the 5k point at 26:46.  I was feeling ok, but wasn’t sure how long my pace would last.  I gathered motivation from my surroundings, and tried to just concentrate on the motion, not the pain.  Surprisingly, it got easier after the halfway mark.  I settled into what I thought was a slower pace, and looked down at my watch to see I was running at 8:10/mi!  I let my legs do their thing, kept beside Dad, and just held on for dear life.  We sped up a bit at mile 5, and then when we passed mile 6, we hit the gas a bit.  I could see the finish and I sprinted.  I thought I was going to vomit, but I did it.  And here were my stats, according to Garmin…

  • Distance: 6.27 mi
  • Elapsed Times: 52:41
  • Avg Pace: 8:23/mi
  • Calories: 643 cal
  • Avg Heart: 176 bpm

Wow.  52:41?!  I not only beat my last PR, I slaughtered it!  I had no idea I had that in me!  The stars aligned in my favor today.

I really needed this.  Lately I’ve been dreading my decision to continue working full-time while going to law school.  My schedule is going to be so hard, and I’ve been worried that I wouldn’t be able to handle it.  Today reminded me that I’m so much more capable than I realize.  Things that are difficult often reap the greatest rewards.  I’m powerful enough to get through this.

After the race I downed a banana and a small bagel.  We also stopped at Starbucks to warm our frozen limbs, where I got a tall non-fat chocolate cherry mocha with no whip.  It was good, although it tasted just like a regular mocha to me!

I’m gonna scarf down some lunch and head back to DC now.  See you soon!

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