Monday, November 15, 2010

Race Report: Team Nashville 10-Miler

The Team Nashville 10-Miler is one of my favorite little local fall races. It's a steal at $25 (or $23 if you're a Nashville Striders member such as myself), and you get a hoodie instead of a t-shirt. Not to mention, it used to be a half marathon and was the first one I ever ran. Despite the change in distance, it's a bit nostalgic for me to go back and remember that cold Saturday in 2006 when I ran a 2:11 half marathon and was thrilled.

This year, my new friend from Ragnar (Chris) offered to go with me and help pace me since I was hoping to break 1:25:03 and obtain a new PR.

When I walked outside of my apartment to meet him, I had a bizarre feeling.

"It's eerily warm," I said to him. As in, it's mid-November and it didn't feel cold.

We hopped in the car, picked up Matt and headed out to the race. When we got out of the car in Goodlettsville, we found it to be a little cooler since we were outside of the city. We got checked in, picked up hoodies and then delayered and headed to the start line. I knew it wasn't below 50ish degrees and would only get warmer, so I opted for short sleeves and shorts.

It was a relatively small field of 95 runners. We were kind of cracking up because no one wanted to line up at the front.

The gun fired, and we were off!

Chris hadn't actually registered for the race, so he hopped in at the first corner. Now before anyone goes and gets all huffy over this, you should know that we felt ok about this because it was such a small race and he wouldn't be in anyone's way. He wasn't going to take anything at aid stations, and he didn't cross the start or finish line. Finally, the guy is FAST. He didn't actually race; he slowed down considerably and ran with me.

In the first mile, I ran into a gal I'd done a long run with a few weeks ago. She asked if I was ready for the Monkey next weekend, and I admitted that I keep feeling like it's much further away than next Sunday. Then, a guy from one of the other Ragnar teams that I know ran by asking me if I ever take a weekend off. I pointed out that technically last weekend was supposed to be an off weekend, but then I got the Ragnar spot. I suppose it is unusual that I'm racing this many weekends in a row.

Here's a photo from somewhere in the first mile when I was still trying to warm up and feeling pretty good.

Matt, Chris and I ran together for the bulk of the race. I had made a rule that I wasn't allowed to talk unless it was one-word answers, but I kind of broke it a few times in the early miles.

I tried to stay loose and calm. I wanted to keep a steady pace in the early miles and then pick it up if I could toward the end. We knew I needed to keep an 8:24 pace if I wanted to break 1:25.

Over the first several miles, we passed a few people here and there. I actually don't remember doing so as I was just focused on the path ahead and my breathing. I didn't run with music and could actually hear it. I knew if I could keep my breathing steady, then I might not fall apart later. I've been getting faster, but keeping an 8:24 pace for 10 miles is still a challenge for me.

We hit the really big hill at mile 5, and we just powered up it. We flew down the backside of it (that's one thing I do know how to do well) and then reigned it in a bit so that I could catch my breath before trying to get back to that steady pace.

Somewhere in there Chris asked if I thought I could break 1:24, I suspect because he was the one watching the watch and who does math well in his head... and he must have been realizing then that it was possible. All I was thinking was that he was crazy and that there was no way I had enough in me to pick it up that much and told him to stick to the 1:25 goal. HA.

Matt was feeling good and pulled on ahead at some point. We got passed by a gal who I knew was more than likely in my age group. I wasn't talking anymore at this point, but Chris was smart enough to push me to pass her back. I knew that if we could gain some distance on her before the last big hill, there'd be a good chance I could hold her off.

I knew that we were either running faster now or that I was starting to feel like crap from the first 8 miles. I just kept trying to stay by Chris's side, and there may have been a moment or two when I didn't like him so much because he kept pulling ahead of me.

Come to find out, we ran mile 8 as our fastest mile in 8:03. No wonder why I felt like I was dying.

The last mile starts with one heck of a hill. I knew that I just had to get up it to find downhill to the finish line. I knew we had 1:25 in the bag as long as I didn't die on the hill. We start up it, and I was fighting to keep my breathing calm. As we crested the very top, I had this weird moment where I couldn't catch my breath, so I kinda walked a few steps to gasp/cough and then take off. (Chris later told me he thought I was about to throw up so he stayed a few steps ahead. It's no wonder... my last mile ended up being 8:13. He pushed me up that hill way faster than I would have gone if I'd been out there alone.)

We were still a good ways ahead of the other girl, and I knew that I wasn't going to let her pass me again.

I flew down the downhill and did everything I could to not throw up WHILE running the final stretch to the finish line. (Yes, there was some concern that might happen.)

1:23:41.

It took a few moments to catch my breath, but then I found Chris and gave him a huge hug. I knew I couldn't have done this well without him pushing me. I also admitted that I hated him for a few minutes somewhere in there, haha. He clued me in to some of our splits, and it all came together about why I felt like it was so hard. I also found out we managed to negative split, and he gave me a hard time for telling him I couldn't break 1:24 and to stick to the original goal.

Thanks, Chris!

We found Matt, and he had finished in around 1:21 and was very pleased. We knew we both had age group awards, so we hung around talking to other runners we know for a while.

I ended up getting 2nd in my age group, but mostly because two of the girls in it were in the top 3 overall. I received a pretty cool water bottle. Matt also won one.

In the end, I got my money's worth for the day. Hoodie. 10 miles at 1:23:41. Killer new PR. Water bottle for 2nd out of 8 in my age group. 9 out of 48 women. 40 out of 95 runners overall. I'll take that.

We headed to Hillsboro Village for brunch to celebrate. This may just be one reason why I do this, folks.


5 comments:

Chris said...

Fantastic !!!! Way to go Melanie. I knew us guys named Chris are great pacers. LOL.

Hopefully I'll see you, Matt and Amy this weekend and you can help pull ME up those hills.

I'll definitely do this race next year. The hoodie sounds like a great race shirt.

d.a.r. said...

Seriously.

Seriously!!!!

You are on FIRE!! Way to go, what an awesome race!

Nicole said...

I'm so jealous of all your running and races!!! a 10 mile race the weekend before the marathon? And a relay the weekend before that, your amazing miss melanie!!

I hope you are still thinking about kzoo! id love you to be here!!!!

Jamie said...

That is awesome! Nice work girlie!

Love to Run said...

Congrats Melanie! Another PR?!?!? You are unstoppable. Can we say PR at the Monkey? LOL I know that is insane.