Yesterday I ran the Northville Kona run. The event offered several races, but I chose the 10 mile. From previous experience, I had predicted that this would be the perfect race distance for my current fitness level, as 9 miles in is where I usually “hit a wall,” so to speak, during a race. I predicted that knowing I only had a mile left to run upon reaching the 9 mile mark would help me push through this challenging section of my run.
I had a package of Chomps for nutrition before a race and, though I expected that to be sufficient for the length of that run, put a Gu pack in the zip pocket at the back of my shorts in case I felt the need for it later. The weather was perfect running weather in my opinion – high 50’s to low 60’s, cloudy with a light breeze. I didn’t know much about the course itself before the run, as I had registered for the race on a whim after hearing about it from a friend, except that there was a substantial hill at the ¾ – 1 mile mark. From recent races, I have noticed that hills have become a weak area for me, as much of my recent training has taken place on essentially flat surfaces and I was a bit nervous at the thought of confronting a large hill so early on in the race. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find the first hill that had been rumored to be so substantial was not as bad as the race coordinators had built it up to be. The majority of the run thereafter took us in and out of Northville subdivisions, which I found to be a little boring, although many of the areas we ran through had a substantial number of trees, which added a bit to the scenery. The uninteresting nature of the scenery did cause me to focus more on the other runners. For instance, I spent nearly the entire race alternating between passing and being passed by a guy running barefoot with a tattoo of a foot on his right calf. I also ran nearly the whole race next to a girl in a hula skirt (though I passed her in the end), which means I’m probably in a lot of pictures.
The majority of the race took place on some kind of incline, which I did not expect. We were either headed up a long incline or down a long incline, but were very rarely running on a level surface. I found this challenging, but after having an uncomfortable half-marathon race in Traverse City, it was reassuring to feel strong, despite the fact that the course contained elements that I struggle with. The biggest struggle for me came about 8 miles in, after which point the race was mostly on an uphill incline until approximately ½ mile from the finish. Despite this challenge, I ran a pretty even pace the entire time, not speeding up or slowing down too much, and finished strong. From my energy level after the race, I feel that I definitely could have run a bit harder. However, being my first race at that distance, it was part of a learning experience and next time I will know better what to expect.
Overall, I thought that the race had a very relaxed atmosphere, despite having a moderately-challenging course. I enjoyed myself and would definitely sign up again next year (unless I decide to run Ann Arbor again, as they are on the same weekend).
- Current milage: 35miles/week
- Day running: 5 days/week
- 10 Mile PR: 1:24
- What I ate: 1 package instand grits and 1 piece of toast (felt fine on my stomach) two hours before. Also 15mins before a package of Chomps.
- Last workout before the 10mile: 6miles easy