This past Saturday I was fortunate to get the morning off of work. There is no better use of my time than a road race. So off to Phelps I went!
The Sauerkraut Festival boasts that the 20K road race is the oldest of that variety in NYS. With the promise of a can of kraut at the end and a beautiful weather forecast, I was very primed to race.
My day began at 4:30AM. I went for my usual prerace shakeout run and my legs felt really great. I got home, grabbed some fuel and hit the road.
I got there really early. For an 8AM start, I was there by 7:15. I registered and then walked around to keep myself loose. I felt no pre-race anxiety. None. I had no expectations for myself other than finishing. I took the majority of July off running, so there was nothing to compare it to. This was also my first ever 20K…so an automatic PR!
The race began on a slight uphill. My first mile felt really fast, but oddly it was my slowest at 7:11. I quickly got dropped by the front group (this always happens) and spent the first few miles reeling in the front ladies. By mile 5, I was 2nd woman and came upon the first big hill. I was thanking God that I live in Ithaca because I really just kept telling myself “this is like the Dodge road uphill. You’re almost to the top.” This strategy worked quite well.
I stayed within sight of the front runners, but maintained my position through the next two miles until we hit the second huge hill between miles 7-8. Again I told myself “Ahh…feels like running up Gunhill and the Slope.” I made it to the top with the same effort. The rest of the race I spent just following the guy in front of me and cheering on all the 7AM 20K starters and eventually the 5Kers as we finished together.
I finished in 1:24:52 with an average pace of 6:51. Not too shabby for taking off all of July!
The woman who finished in front of my (by a half mile no less) was a collegiate runner. She was really good!
The temperature was really stifling and the jersey came off immediately after I crested the finish (Sorry Red Newt Racing…but I swear I ran the whole race with the jersey on!)
I grabbed some post race food and had to leave before the award ceremony because girl’s gotta work!
Overall, I felt good. It was great to remember what racing feels like and good to know I can do a lot of slow easy running or even not run an maintain some resemblance of speed. My next race is the Catherine Valley Half Marathon and I am really pumped! I plan to take it easy with speed work these next two weeks as to recovery appropriately. I am SO SORE!
I currently race for RNR/MPF who also put on the Ithaca Gorges Half Marathon and will also be a sponsor of Catherine Valley.
I am also a member of the FLRTC Ambassadors.
Have you ever raced a 20K?