Yesterday I ran the James Island Connector Run 10K, my goal race for this training cycle. The weather was terrible, the course was hilly, and I was tired. But it was an awesome race.
With this sudden cold snap (which is downright frigid for Charleston), along with 22 mph winds, I knew the weather was going to be rough. And a bridge is not the place one wants to be in this kind of weather. But that's exactly where this race took place.
Much like the IOP Connector Run a few weeks earlier, I hit a personal slowness record for the distance, coming in at 56:32 (9:06 pace). But even though I didn't come in under 54 minutes to beat my first ever 10K time (and of course, I didn't even touch my PR), I still made my B goal for the race, which was 56 minutes. I also ran this 10K at the same pace I ran the IOP 5K and the weather this time was much more of a factor, so I've obviously improved. I even had one sub-8 minute mile mid-race during the run yesterday. My speed is coming back. I can feel it.
One (slightly annoying) thing to note: the race uses chips, but the results online don't appear to track them for time. The only times I could find were gun times. I looked at the clock when I was crossing the finish line and it said 56:32, which was exactly what my results said. It took me a good 30 seconds (possibly more) to get over the starting line since I started pretty far back, so my chip time would probably have been sub-56 minutes (with a pace of sub-9 minutes). Unfortunately, I started both my Garmin and my Runmeter with the gun, so those are off as well (although, they both read a sub-9 minute pace). But it doesn't really matter since the official time is gun time. But, it would have been nice to have seen an official sub-9 minute pace.
Overall, I felt good the entire time I was running. I planned to run conservatively since I had never run this course before and had no idea what to expect other than hills and of course, the extreme wind. I went out slow and picked up speed as I went. That sub-8 minute mile occurred during the flattest part of the race. By the end of the race, I still had plenty of energy to kick it to the finish, unlike the 5K a few weeks ago. I was completely spent at the end of that race, but yesterday I had energy to spare, and today I don't even feel like I raced yesterday (no soreness, tightness, tiredness, etc.), which obviously means I ran it a little too conservatively. I'm okay with that, though, because it was my first 10K postpartum and I really didn't know what to expect.
The course is certainly hilly, but to be honest, it's not really that much harder than many of the races I ran Charlotte, including Thunder Road, Ramblin' Rose Half, and the Rocktoberfest 5-miler. This was one race where I was thankful to have past race experiences to draw on to remember that, "hey, I've done this before."
The race starts in downtown Charleston at Cannon Park and runs a few blocks through the streets before hitting the James Island Connector, which is the first (and longest, but not steepest) hill. Once you tackle the first hill, there's a little downhill break followed by a short flat stretch before the steepest hill of the race. Then another flat stretch followed by another smaller incline before turning around to run back over the Connector. The nice thing is, that big uphill from the beginning? That becomes a nice downhill right before the final stretch. I used that downhill to gain momentum and pick up speed for the final half mile or so.
There's a big post-race party in Cannon Park with free food and beer, and live music. Fleet Feet, the group I trained with, had a tent set up with special food and drinks for both their 5K and 10K training groups.
In the days leading up to the race, I really thought I was going to struggle a lot more on this run, but there was no struggle at all. It was a good run, in spite of the weather. Yes, it was slower than I've ever run a 10K, but I also raced it conservatively (and I think, smartly given the circumstances). I'm so glad I chose to do the 10K training as a way to ease back into running after having Baby B. It was a good decision, and I feel more than ready for half marathon training, which starts next Tuesday with Fleet Feet!
But now I'm curious as to what my 5K time would be since I know I've improved since the IOP run, so I signed up for the Race for the Yorktown 5K this coming weekend. Racing. I'm addicted. And it is so good to be back!
Results: 56:32 (9:06 pace), 17th out of 102 in AG
Weather: 45 degrees, 22 mph wind