A few weeks ago the hubs and I ran in the Autumn Woods 10k Classic. It was his first 10k race (he’s ran numerous 5k races), and a return to my first 10k course. Despite the fact that we had a late night out the night before, we both were up and at ’em early so that we could make the 10am race start.
The race is an annual one and takes place in the Elm Creek Park Reserve and is managed by the Three Rivers Park District. To date, it’s one of the most well run races I’ve ever participated in. Everything is clearly marked and it’s easy to get from packit pick-up to the race start. The course is absolutely beautiful, especially in the fall.
The hubs and I lined up with the agreement that if one of us fell behind, the other would keep going. I was running this race as my corral qualifying time for the Princess Half Marathon in February so I was looking for the best time possible. I was hoping for a 1:15:00 finish, but knew that was a huge jump from my current PR of 1:21:00.
We started off and being the slower of the two, I fell behind within the first mile. But I was able to stay within eyesight for most of the race. Thinking back to this race last year I remember the horrible shin cramps I experienced in the first few miles. This time I was prepared with KT tape so was able to keep the cramps at bay, for the most part.
The biggest takeaway from this race – I felt strong!!!!! I hadn’t been training as much and my diet was less than desireable so I was expecting to have a lot harder time. This certainly isn’t the norm so don’t get comfy, Jewell!
As I made my way through the hilly course I was struck by how consistant my miles were. I was in the 11:00 minute mile for most of the race until the last mile and a half when I slammed into a wall. I had fuel, I was staying hydrated but my lack of training finally caught up with me.
The finish was merely a fight to get it over with. My intervals were nonexistant and I walked when I felt the need (which was far more often than I would have liked). I came up the last hill and saw the giant race clock ahead. I was in the 1:19:00 finish time and was in jeapardy of falling into the 1:20:00 finish time frame so I kicked it into gear and finished in 1:19:57, making my overall mile minute 12:52.
Final thoughts on this race: it is still my favorite 10k crouse, despite the hills. I love the venue and how the race village is managed. If I had been more on top of my training I’m confident that I could have had a better time, but I’m still happy to have a shiny new PR. Sometimes you just have to take what you can get!
This race taught me….
You’re getting stronger and faster. Keep with it and you’ll breeze through that half marathon!
Do you have a race that you return to every year?