A training run – that’s all it was. Or that’s what I kept telling myself.
The Fort Wayne Track Club hosted its 32 annual NutriRun on Saturday, and many racers use it as a training run for spring half-marathons, usually the Indy mini or Cincinnati’s Flying Pig. As I’m just three weeks out from the Martian half, the 20K was a perfect way to get in a long run – sans stroller, at that. My only hope for the race was to properly pace myself.
The race started at 11 a.m., which has worked in years past because the average high for this time of year is in the upper 40s and last year, it wasn’t even 30 degrees on race day. This year, it was high 60s and overcast, which turned out to be perfect.
The course starts in a tony neighborhood just outside of city limits. It was quite beautiful with the redbud trees blooming and green grass – a good thing, too, because this was the most difficult part of the course. I had heard that it was hilly but I didn’t understand just how hilly it was. For 2.5 miles, it was up and down, up and down. It was tough, and I tried to focus on not wasting energy on the uphills … or the downhills. I had a ways to go.
Mile 1: 9:09
Mile 2: 9:35
Mile 3: 9:39
Just after the 2.5-mile mark, the 20Kers split from those running the 5-milers. Our turn took us down an L-shaped out and back down country roads. The road wasn’t gravel but it wasn’t asphalt either – if that makes any sense – and it felt a bit better on the legs. What didn’t feel good was the headwind. I tried to find someone to “draft” but I was sort of alone. All except for Tommy ... or Jeff … or Jemmy … or Toff. We’ll call him Some Dude. I passed Some Dude not to long after the split, and I was sure I was going to drop him. HIs breathing was labored and his stride a bit weird – had a kick to it. But for 3 miles, I heard him say hi to people who had made the turnaround and people say hi to Some Dude. I swear he knew everyone.
Mile 4: 10:01
Mile 5: 9:56
Mile 6: 9:28
We turned around just after the 10K mark and, from there, Some Dude and I found ourselves running together. He’s doing the Indy Mini in May and will do Chicago for the second time in October. We complained about the hills and the wind, and I kept waiting for a turn. And water. There had been three water stops in the first 4 miles and I didn’t get another one until mile 9. Some dude had offered me some Gatorade but I never do anything but water and didn’t want to tempt the stomach gods. I should have taken the Gatorade, though, because around 8.5, I got a wicked stitch and I had to let Some Dude drop me.
Mile 7: 9:24
Mile 8: 9:32
Mile 9: 10:07
I walked through the water stop at mile 9 and from there tried to focus on being steady, reminding myself that I wasn’t racing – I was training. I did something I hadn’t done in a long time, too, picturing my dad riding his bike alongside me. I used to do this on hard tempo runs but being sort of alone on the country road, it just felt right.
“We” turned back onto the 5-mile course and headed down a secondary road with lots of additions attached. I started to see a few runners struggling and thought it wasn’t my goal to pass them, I did want to catch up. Slowly but surely, I started gaining on one woman, who had to walk quite a few times in the last mile.
Mile 10: 9:44
Mile 11: 10:01
Mile 12: 10:01
On the homestretch, I caught her. And passed her. I always feel bad about doing this but I have a good kick and kick I wanted to.
Last 0.4: 3:22 (8:45 pace)
Time: 2:00:05, 9:40 pace
The race celebrates nutrition month so the race “swag” included a loaf of bread from Panera and a glass for smoothies inside.
I loved the bread, especially because ours at home was moldy, and the glass instead of a T-shirt. Miles, well, he loved sharing Mommy’s smoothie. Spectating is hard work!
As for the race, I’m pretty happy. I wish I would have executed better and ran negative splits but I’m happy with my time and, more importantly, I had fun at another race with my girls.