Monday, April 22, 2013

Race Report: Historic Roswell 10-Miler

What a fun race! Held in the town of Roswell in their charming Historic District, this event offered two different race distances.  Previously the race included a 5K only. This year, however, they decided to shake things up and add in a 10-Miler race as well.  It's a bit of an unusual distance, and, being my first race of that length, I automatically scored a PR - woo hoo!

Official time: 1:14:32 (7:28 pace)
Women 45-49:  3 out of 43 (7.0%)
All Women:  4 out of 294 (1.4%)
Overall:  20 out of 466 (4.3%)

The event was very well organized, with plenty of nearby parking, convenient race number pick-up both the day before and the day of the race, and a nice stretchy tee shirt that came in both men's and women's sizes.  They even donned beautiful finisher medals on all who completed the 10-Miler!  After the race, area instructors held complimentary yoga sessions.

I first learned of this race from a friend, Bill, who as a race sponsor, had some race passes to offer a few friends.  He was so kind to bestow two of these upon my friend, Rachelle, and me.  We thank you, Bill!  Although we had not previously heard of the event, as race day approached, we saw that it had become very popular.  It even sold out in its inaugural year.

I woke at 4:45 Saturday morning, leaving just enough time to do the bare essentials before I headed over.  One of these tasks was to drop a Nuun tab into my squeeze water bottle.  I even remembered to prop the lid on top gently so that the fizzing of the dissolving tab would not cause the lid to get too tight.  I headed out, feeling calm and confident.  A couple minutes later, though, I grabbed my water bottle to drink some of the Nuun drink.   Oops.  The lid came tumbling into my lap, along with half the contents of the bottle!  I quickly screeched to a halt, made a U-turn, and headed back home to get a towel.  I was literally marinating in a puddle of Nuun.  Luckily, my tank top was black and my skirt was dark.  I decided to just blot myself off the best I could and to make do without changing.  With my mood (and my clothes) a bit dampened, I headed back out again.

Shortly after I arrived, I saw Bill and then Rachelle.  Rachelle and I hung out in my van so we could stay warm until right before the race.  When we got to the start line, we soon realized that we were in the 5K line-up and that the start to the 10-Miler was a fairly long way up the road.  With just seconds to spare, I reached the starting line and headed out.  Rachelle was still doing some final stretching when the gun went off.

My plan was to take this race at about a 7:42 pace.  One reason I wanted to play it conservatively is that I had another race coming up the next Saturday.  It's a 10K on a mostly flat course where the goal is to break 45 minutes.  That is one of my intermediate steps toward a bigger goal of running the hot, hilly Peachtree Road Race 10K in under 43 minutes.  Taking two minutes off a 10K time sounds like a huge undertaking, but the faster I can run next weekend, the less of a difference I'll need to shave off in the next two months.

Sometimes I stop and wonder why in the world I get caught up in all these numbers and goals, and not just run for fun.  However, I am a numbers person, so figuring out paces and other running statistics is actually fun to me.  Also, I love to set and work toward goals.  When they are hard to reach, I find that I rise to the challenge with even more determination.  Each time I run a PR, I reflect on it with disbelief and wonder how I managed to pull off a certain pace.  Then I realize it's because I love running and because I love to work hard!  The results accompany the work that goes into them.  I certainly don't reach every goal, but I do learn a valuable lesson with each failure.  Then I just reassess, smile, and move on!

Since the first part of this particular race was downhill, I went ahead and allowed myself to have a fast start.  There were plenty of hills to navigate, so I wanted to enjoy the parts that were easy.  I noticed my watch read 1.1 miles as I passed their 1-mile marker.  Either the marker was placed incorrectly or my watch was off.  Because of this, I did not get to see my split.

At about halfway through the second mile, I heard very rapid footsteps coming up behind me.  Without even looking, I just knew it had to be Rachelle.  It was!  As she caught up to me, we gave each other a little cheer and then she sauntered on ahead.  I didn't even try to keep up with her because I knew I was supposed to be running conservatively.  No other females passed me the rest of the race and I did not pass any of them.  I had guys on my right and guys on my left, the whole way!

The race had thinned out significantly by mile 3, so I looked around for people to run with.  I saw a young guy in a red shirt and told him I liked his pace.  We chatted for a couple of minutes because we were going downhill.  Eventually, I passed him as the downhill got steeper.  I can really fly on the way down!  I just get very relaxed and lean just a little forward and let gravity pull me - just like my friend, Francis taught me.  I noticed a couple of my mile splits were a bit faster than I had planned, but I told myself that meant I could be very conservative in the second half.  Right.

It was a bit daunting going down because I knew this course was an oval and that we would be going up the exact same terrain on the mirror side of that oval.  However, I figured I might as well enjoy it while it lasted.  About the time it flattened out again, heading into the second half.  I was running between two other guys and we were all discussing what was in store for us around the bend.  It seems they had not studied the course map.  Gotta do your homework, guys!  I told them we were in for the reverse of that lovely hill we just came down.  They groaned, I chuckled, and we all chugged on.

As I hit the first big hill at mile 6, I spotted a guy in a blue shirt and just decided to stay with him as best as I could and follow him up the hill.  As my lungs began to scream a bit, I thought of my friends who would be running the awful hills of the Boston Marathon Monday, and it gave me heart to keep on working my way up.  When I got to the top of one of the last hills, I thanked the blue shirt guy for leading the way.  He grinned and replied, "Too old to run, too young to die!"

Just before the last mile, the young red shirt guy, who I could hear on my heels the whole time, caught up and said, "My goal this whole race was to keep up with you."  Aw!  That just made me feel so good.  I sort of backed off as we hit the very final hill and let him go.  I guess I was feeling guilty for having gone too fast.  I even walked a few steps, and then picked it back up so I could at least look strong going across the finish line.

As soon as I crossed, I saw Rachelle, who had run the course a little over a minute faster.  We shared a celebratory hug, got our medals and shirts, and then dropped them off in our cars so we could go do some yoga.

Since I had never done yoga before, I was itching to check it out.  The lady who led us had set out rubber mats for us.  Unfortunately, I happened to be on my bad knee (the one that got skinned a while back) when I made a sharp twist.  I caught it exactly at the worst place!  Ouch!  Other than that, though, everything felt really good.

When we finished, we caught up with Bill and thanked him again for his generosity.  He told us about some of his running experience doing speed drills on the track.  We clicked off a few photos and enjoyed the sunshine.  Then we walked to where they were having awards.  Rachelle and I had already kind of sized it up that she had come in 2nd place for the females.  She had passed one other female during the race, so I knew that I was probably 4th, but I wasn't sure.

What was odd is that they called out the top three females.  Sure enough, it was the three we expected.  I was excited because I figured I must have won my age group.  What I didn't realize is that the first and third place winners were *both* in my age group!  Unlike other races I've run, this race gave multiple awards to the same person.  Therefore, the first place female also won the master's female title and 1st place in her age group.  I was a bit disappointed to come in 3rd in my age group, but those ladies really ran a great race.  We 45-49 year-olds are competitive!

I was still excited to be the 4th female and was glad that Bill and Rachelle and I each came home with a beautiful Roswell drinking glass as an award!

The morning was fun and the best part is that my legs don't feel tired or sore at all like they did after my last hilly half marathon.  That's a good thing because I have speed work on Tuesday and a 10K on Saturday!


  1. Great job Gail, always smiling! :)

  2. I love the historic Roswell district. So pretty and quaint. :) Didn't realize they had a popular race there. I'll check it out for next year. :) Looks like you had a great time! And congrats on 3rd place AG. :o)