Sunday, November 11, 2012

HCA 8K Race Report

I could sum this race up with one word for me = AWESOME!

I was ready and excited after last week's great run where I knew I had a little speed in my legs.

The weatherman was calling for 32 at the start on Thursday, but thankfully changed to 40 by Friday night. I hate the cold, and it takes me forever to warm up.

Of course, I tossed and turned trying to sleep. We had guests coming in for the weekend and they wouldn't be getting to our house until close to midnight. Thanks to hubby for staying up to greet them. Then I was afraid I would oversleep, so I woke up early.

So once I was up, temps looked promising. I quickly dressed and downed a slice of PB bread and some coffee before heading out. The race starts three blocks from my office, so I had a plan for parking which can be a little crazy for the race. As I headed outside, I saw a person walking down the street in a short dress and flip flops. I kept looking and realized it was my best friend (who lives across the street) to come wish me luck. She is AWESOME, and she snapped this picture for me.

I am crazy conservative and wore this wild outfit. I love how running has done that to me.

I met up with the Mother Runners for a group photo.

K and I are standing in the back. K is so cute and she was nervous about the race, but I knew she would do great. The plan was for me to stay with her as long as I could, but not hold her back because she is speedy for a new runner.

We jumped into the back of the first corral (never thought that would be the right place for me, but it was perfect). And we were off. The course takes you right down Broad Street through the VCU campus (go Rams). I was hanging with K as we zig-zagged through slower runners. And my Garmin started yelling at me for a heart rate alert ... way too high. I think I was super amped trying to figure out if I could stay with K (we were running 8:40) and I was panicking if I could run 5 miles at that crazy pace. It felt tough but good, but I had never done that for more than a mile.

So, I let K go and my HR dropped. Good decision because then it was just me doing what felt right for me and not worrying about holding her back.

Now my secret goal time was 44 but I told everyone I was hoping for 45. The course is an out and almost back with a strong downhill finish, and I am always slower on the downhill due to my ITB. So I started planning that if I could keep up with mid 8s, I could bank time to slow at the end (I know, most people speed up but I'm weird).

I turned on my iPod at about 1.5 miles to go and it was the perfect mix of songs to pep me up. I kept checking my cadence and I was hitting 90 or above, AWESOME. And then we hit the downhill. I checked my time, and wondered what in the heck was going on because I was way faster than I planned. Note to self: train on more downhills. This course led you right down to the river, and I was afraid I would fall (and tear the knees on my wild pants).

I actually got faster with my pace and turnover on the downhill.

What the heck, I couldn't believe this time as I was crossing the finish line. And I could see K just ahead of me. My official time was 42:34 (26th in my age group), and I couldn't have been happier.

And I can't believe I didn't take a single picture at the end. I think I was too surprised to think clearly. And I had NO knee pain = AWESOME.

I cheered on some other runners from my group and wondered around a bit with some friends before finally heading to the car and in search of a Starbucks. I was ready for coffee and my spinach wrap.

And what does any obsessed runner do when they get home? Upload the Garmin to over analyze my running and start planning for the next race. An almost 15 minute improvement from last year. I am so ready to tackle that half marathon. Now, which one do I pick?

And just because (one more time) AWESOME.


  1. CONGRATULATIONS!!!! What a great achievement! I also love the HCA8k - last year's race was the best, most fun I ever had running a race (and I PR'd, which was icing on the cake).

    So happy that your knee didn't hurt. Woo!!!!!

    My vote for half marathon is the Shamrock Half in Virginia Beach. It is a super flat and "easy" course - a great first half!

    1. Thanks Kathryn. I'm not a fan of that crazy downhill finish, but love a home race and a knee that feels great. I'm trying to convince my friends for the Shamrock, but maybe the Nike Women's Half in DC in April.