Saturday, February 26, 2011

Race Day - Cowtown 2011

I am so excited.  I finished my very first 10K this morning!  Whoohoo!

I went to bed last night a little worried about getting to the race on time this morning.  Last week at training I heard horror stories about past Cowtown Marathon weekends.  Stories of traffic at a stand still for hours and participants missing the start of the race.   So when I woke up this morning (at 3:30 AM, before my alarm even went off), I was dreaming about being late for the 7:00 AM start time.  I laid in bed until about 4 AM, then finally got up to get ready for the race and to drive to Fort Worth.  Although it is normally about a 45 minute drive from my house, I gave myself plenty of extra time for traffic this morning.  The good news is I got there in plenty of time and did not have to sit in traffic.  The bad news is I was there by 5:30 AM and had to sit in my car until the Expo doors opened at 6:00 AM.  This just gave me time to get tired again! 

The weather was a brisk 47 degrees before the sun came up, then it warmed up to about 51.  I was dressed in layers so I shed one of my shirts before the race started.  I met up with some other Team In Training members and we lined up for the race at about 6:50.  We chose the 9:01 to 10:00 minute pace group and it took less than two minutes after the gun went off for us to actually cross the start line.  The 10K race is limited to 6,000 participants but according to the Cowtown online results (bib number 16432), about 4,300 people completed this morning's race. 

Waitingfor the race to begin at the Start line
The first two miles were VERY CROWDED and I had a hard time keeping a consistent pace.  According to my Garmin, I was running as slow as a 10:30 pace during the first mile.  After we passed the second mile marker, the crowd started to thin out and I was able to pick up my pace to between 8:20 and 8:40 for the next few miles (those hills slowed me down a little).  I was surprised at how quickly the race was going when we passed mile marker four.  This was unchartered territory for me in a race setting, since I have only run 5K distances in the past.  In fact, I have only ran one 6 mile training run so far and that was on the treadmill during the ice storm of the century

At mile five, I checked my watch and knew that I I was on track to finish the race in under an hour which was my goal time.  In fact, I had enough energy to increase my pace to 7:50 for the last mile.  Spectators were starting to line the route at mile six, which is when I started looking for the finish line.  In my head I only had 0.1 mile to go because I was thinking back to my 5K races.  Then I realized that a 10K is 6.2 miles and I had a little further to go.  Once I had the finish line in sight, I broke into a sprint for the last 30 seconds and crossed it with a (gun) time of 59:12.

After receiving my finisher medal and cooling down, I headed straight for the food tables for some yogurt, bananas and oranges.  I found a few girls from our team and we headed over to check our race results.  Oh yeah - I had forgot that my chip time would be different than the gun time!  There was a crowd of people trying to find their names on the results board.  After 10 minutes of searching, I finally found my name. 

My chip time was 57:28, which is a personal record (well it is a record because it is my first 10K).  However, my watch shows that I ran 6.56 miles in 57:35.  Maybe it was all that running back and forth trying to pass people those first few miles that added on some distance.  All I know is that it feels great to finish and I am looking forward to my next race already.
Post race picture so disregard the "race hair"


tknolglvr said...

Congratulations on finishing your first 10K! I have twice participated the world's largest 10K, The Peachtree Roadrace in Atlanta - last year with my son!

Trisha said...

That's fantastic Stephanie! Congratulations! I've slowly started running more often, trying to work my way up to a 10K as well. Keep up the great work! :D