race recap: run for the helmet 7k

I first ran this race back in 2013, when Kenna was just about the same age as Miles is now.  I actually went back and read my race recap from that race AFTER my race last weekend.  And honestly, I’m glad I waited.  Not that I’m disappointed in my race at all.  But, I think I would’ve been a lot more disappointed in myself had I not done as well as I did this time around.

The Concrete Runner - Race Recaps (2)

We actually really lucked out this past weekend.  It was supposed to rain pretty much all weekend, so I just assumed I was going to end up soaking wet after the race.  But, luckily, the rain held off and we had just a little bit of a drizzle a few points during the race.  Quite honestly, you could not beat the weather we had.  I definitely prefer overcast and in the 50s than sunny and warm.  It was absolutely perfect weather for racing.

They changed a few things about this year, such as parking for the race.  This year, there really wasn’t a place to park near the start of the race.  While I could’ve probably parked at the local high school, I opted for parking at the nearby community college and running to the start of the race.  I knew it would give me a good amount of time to warm-up and build in a little extra mileage for my half marathon training.  It was about 1.6 miles to the start of the race, and I felt ready to race by the time I got to the start.

I got to the starting line with about 15 minutes to spare.  I made my way toward the front, but not all the way toward the front.  As I looked around, I saw some runners I knew pretty well from past races that I knew were fast.  So, I already had it in my head that I most likely wasn’t going to win.  This is a more competitive race than most of the ones I run, plus I knew that I came in 4th back in 2013 and I’m not quite to where I was when I was running then.  Instead, my goal was to run a good race with the intention of finishing in under 30 minutes.

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Once they started the run down of events and sponsored, everyone started moving up to the actual starting line.  Except, not I was no longer in front, but a good ways back.  As I stood with some of Matt’s track and XC runners, I told them to remember that it doesn’t matter what place you finish but the time you finish in.  I’m glad I gave that little pep talk because that definitely worked in my favor.

As we crossed the starting line, it was a fight to get past runners who were much slower than I was and were not intending to race this race like I was.  So, I spent much of the first half mile just trying to get around people.  It was definitely frustrating, but thankfully the downhill start was to my advantage and I was able to make up a lot of speed once I got past most of the slower runners.

There are two longer hills in this race right around the 1 mile mark.  I’m almost always thankful for hills because I feel like I am a much stronger runner and tend to do well on hills.  But, that’s it – 2 hills and then it’s pretty much flat or downhill after that.  I kept my eye on two of my local Instagram friends who were in front of me, telling myself I still had time to catch up to them, but not to really start moving until mile 2.

Miles 2 and 3 are pretty flat and I spent the majority of those miles talking to myself and trying to slowly catch up to and pass other runners.  However, the one thing I forgot during mile 3 is the turn into the school campus to add the extra distance to the race.  It is so frustrating to feel like you are almost done, only to add on another few minutes or so to your race.  The worst part was, the gates to the high school parking lot were closed, meaning we had to hop curbs and run in the grass as part of the course.  Totally frustrating.  (Side note:  We also found out after the race that several people in front of us did not run this part of the race.  Even more frustrating.)

After you turn out of the school campus, there’s not much farther until the finish line.  I knew at that point also that I just wasn’t going to catch up to the girl in front of me (who was none other than Vicki).  I tried to pull out one last kick, but ended up getting passed by 2 guys right at the end.  Totally frustrating.  However, what wasn’t frustrating was my time…

Mile 1 = 6:38
Mile 2 = 6:40
Mile 3 = 6:38

Mile 4 = 6:55
Mile 0.37 = 2:22 (6:34/mile)
Total Time = 29:14

1st in age group (30-34)
5th overall female

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While I know my goal was to finish in under 30 minutes, what I didn’t know was how close I was to my time 3 years ago.  My PR for this race is a 29:04 – I was only about 10 seconds off from my PR!  And after running that race 3 years ago, I went on to set 2 more PRs that year – one in the half marathon (GO! St. Louis also) and one in the 5K (Dash to the Splash).

This race was the confidence boost that I needed to finish off the last month of half marathon training.  It is definitely helping me see that regardless of a few set backs, I’m definitely making progress and gaining back the speed I had 3 years ago.  And a perfect way to start off St. Patrick’s Day weekend with the fam…

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