Three miles – two easy, last one at goal race pace. I had an “A” and a “B” time goal, but I purposely didn’t look at my watch during this shakeout run. I was supposed to go by feel and effort alone. When I finished, I looked at my splits and saw that my third mile was my “A” pace on the dot.
This being the second race of the series, I was hopeful to get a grip on my current rank. The previous 8k went poorly and my placing put me pretty low in the standings at 19th. The longer the race the better I place, so I was hopeful about redeeming myself.
The humidity was a big issue for me at the 8k, and it didn’t look like it’d be much better for the half. I thought I would be able to handle it better since my pace wouldn’t be as fast. However, race morning came and it was 92% – even worse. The temperature was cooler than the 8k, but I was used to training in 95-100 degree heat so I wasn’t even a little concerned about temps. But I wasn’t going to let that make me nervous – it wastes too much energy.
Arriving at the start, I eyed the competition and realized one of them was doing the 10k option and a few others weren’t there. My chances were looking pretty good. I relaxed and settled into the starting corral. My mother was a little ways back, ready to nail down a sub 2-hour race.
The gun fired and the 10k racers shot forward. I stayed calm and told myself to hold back the first few miles. After a few minutes, from what I could tell I was third. First female was the one who won the 8k, second female I could tell I’d be able to pick off soon. I kept them both in my sights, but at the same time was focusing on pacing myself. The humidity was a problem for my breathing, but I needed to suck it up (haha, get it?) and grind out my best effort.
Just before the fourth mile, I passed the girl in second. I made sure we weren’t running together for any measurable amount of time. I felt strong and comfortable enough to push forward without her. By mile 6, the lead had gapped herself by quite a bit and I lost sight of her. We still had half the race, so I tried to keep my pace steady and see if I could go hunting in the last few miles.
For most of the race I was alone, with one guy staying 50 yards ahead of me. It’s definitely harder to push yourself when no one is around, but I still felt like my effort was solid. Mile 10 was my fastest split, but first place was way, way out of sight and I was struggling. My legs felt good, but my lungs were so tired, and were starting to get sore. With two miles left, I started getting side stitches. I was far from even my “B” goal pace, but I knew I locked in second place. For the last half mile, with plenty of kick still in my legs, I picked up the pace and finished strong.
I wasn’t thrilled about my time, but was happy with my effort. I felt that I truly ran the best I could that day. After a hard race though, I like to feel my legs taxed and sore to know that I really gave it everything. But even the day after, I didn’t have any soreness. It’s frustrating, but the weather is just one of the uncontrollables of racing.
My mom ran her personal best and hit her goal time in 1:59:25! I was so happy for her.
The course was accurately measured with a fair amount of inclines (note scale). There weren’t any crazy hills. There were many more spectators than you would normally find on a course, but this was Akron. We love our runners! The event as a whole was well organized and everything was on time. Immediately finishing the race I was handed a lanyard that said “2nd female, be at stage by 8:50 a.m.” The awards were supposed to be at 9 a.m. and they were. I can’t tell you how important that is for a race review. I’ve been to many races that take HOURS to do the awards ceremony. They had ice cream, burgers, and beer for all the finishers. Of course I didn’t have any, but I liked that it was offered!
Now I’m getting really excited to race the blue line at the end of September, the last race of the series, home of my very first race, the First Energy Akron Marathon. I’ve moved up to 3rd in the series, but I’m going to have to pull a hail mary to come out on top.
11th out of 737 overall
2nd of 362 females
2nd in age group