Well hello there! I realize I haven’t posted in well over a month. That’s because, frankly, there hasn’t been much to say! Since I live in central Pennsylvania I’ve just been running on the treadmill a lot to try to gear up for my spring race plans. But now that the spring is here I’ve got a few race recaps lined up for you! It feels so good to be out running in the running community again. December-March can be a bit rough since I’m a long distance junkie and the weather around those months isn’t very conducive to local long distance running. I have been pretty active on instagram though so hopefully you follow me over there for more frequent updates/cat photos.
All that being said, here’s my race recap for my first race of 2015 – the Hershey 10k in Hershey, PA! I have run this race twice before, PRing in 2013, and then just taking it easy in 2014. I love this race because it is a nice size – not to small but not too big, and a quick drive from home for me. Packet pickup is always a breeze (I do it the night before but I know they have it the morning of too), and parking is never an issue since the start and finish is located at the stadium at Hershey Park – so there is tons of parking, that is free for the runners!
Since this race is in mid-april it usually requires a long-sleeved something. This year I went with capris, a short sleeved shirt and arm warmers so that I could pull them off if I got warm (I didn’t). It was going to be in the mid 40s to low 50s during the race.
The morning of the race I got up bright and early, checked out of my hotel and headed to Hershey Park.
I had no goals for this race. My plan was to do 3/1 run/walk intervals since that is how I had been training for my spring half marathons. This was just going to be another training run with a ton of other runners and fun scenery!
Since I have run this race previously I know the course like the back of my hand. It’s a loop around the huge parking lot then up along Hersheypark Drive, behind the outlets next door and then a fun bit through the park itself before exiting the park and heading up the parking lot and into HersheyPark Stadium.
It is a fun course but it is hilly. There are rolling hills almost constantly as well as some longer inclines. Knowing this I planned to take it easy on the uphills and conserve energy, walking if I needed to if I was in a run interval, and then kick it into high gear on the downhills. This is a strategy that I’ve used in the past that really seems to work for me though it may seem a bit unusual. I’m able to make up the slowed pace of the uphills on the downhills pretty consistently.
I also told myself that I wasn’t allowed to switch my watch to see my overall time/pace until I hit the 5k mark. I can sometimes get obsessed with the minute by minute readings and then mentally defeat myself if something isn’t perfect. Since I was planning to do this like a training run and had no time goals I figured this would reduce any expectations.
Before the race started it getting quite windy so I was happy I had my arm warmers. I went to put my headphones in after the national anthem and realized one of my ear bud covers had fallen off at some point, making them too small to fit in my ears. I was bummed out, but reminded myself that with the wind and lack of music I’d just have to go with the flow.
Right on time, we were off. I started up my run/walk intervals and just payed attention to each interval at a time and focused on walking quickly during the walk breaks. At the 5k mark I switched my watch to see my overall time for the first time in the race and realized that I was at about 36:00. I started doing the math and realized that if I kept it up I could potentially PR this thing. But I tried not to get wrapped up in it and switched back to the interval screen on my watch and just told myself to “keep moving.” Around mile 5 I looked at my watch again – exactly an hour. I know I was going to PR this because there was no way it would take my 18 minutes to do the last 1.2 miles. But I also knew there were some pretty significant uphills coming so I switched back the view on my watch and continued on, taking in the scenery of the park and the weather that was turning into perfect running weather.
At 5.5 I switched back my watch for the final time, to show overall pace/distance. I figured at this point I wouldn’t get in my head and defeat myself since a PR was almost a definite.
Sure enough I saw the finish line, gave it my all and crossed in 1:14:47.
A four minute PR (to the second!) from 2 years ago. I was so thrilled and shocked and happy! I was not planning to PR this race, especially knowing the course and with the wind but it happened!! I decided I HAD to wait in line and get a finishers photo to celebrate the PR!
I am not sure what contributed to the PR but I suspect it has something to do with the GRIT classes I am taking at the gym, honing on a good run/walk combination for myself, and maybe, finally, getting a handle on my mental game when things feel tough.
But whatever the reason, an unexpected PR is really one of the best! :)