Pavitt Health & Fitness 10K: Race Report
My first Alaska race!
Can I admit something?
I was really nervous about this for some reason. And it wasn’t helping that my stomach has been in knots all week from some kind of bug.
After badgering the officers of the local running club with emails and pleading on their Facebook page for help, I managed to secure a ride from a runner who lives down the street. Woo hoo!
So, yeah. Saturday. The race wasn’t until 9am. I woke up at 6 and ran about 2.5 miles to wake my legs up, which served the double purpose of getting my head around being in the pouring rain. Then I came back and drank about two pots of tea, because… stomach bug, and… well, yeah…
My ride came by and I hopped in the car bearing cookies I had baked in thanks. We swapped marathon stories and running advice and I tallied one more reason that Juneau may be the friendliest town I have ever lived in.
There were — get this — ~23 people in the race, which is probably within the standard deviation of an average field size around here.
The race director spent a few minutes at the start telling us the course layout: “You’re going to take a left here and then a right here, then you’ll…” names, numbers, blah blah blah, forks in the road, lefts, rights — I laughed openly (and nervously) at all of this because I
- Have a terrible sense of direction
- Still struggle pitifully with lefts and rights at the age of 23
- Knew there was a distinct possibility of the field stringing out, precluding me from simply following other runners
In short, there was strong potential for me running my spandexed butt right off the course.
Soon we were off, and I found myself at the front with a small pack of running dudes. Some speedy high school (or possibly middle school) boy shot off like a rocket and I occasionally saw his retreating back on long straightaways but was never within striking distance again until the finish line.
Eventually, a guy in a yellow shirt pulled ahead from the pack, and I dropped the others to stalk him until minute 26, when I pulled up next to him and we chatted. He knew the course well, so I gave an inward sigh of relief. I wanted to keep chugging on ahead but I knew that there were a few more lefts and rights to go before the road with the finish line, and I wasn’t in much of a mood to get lost.
Around minute 32, I recognized that I was probably back on “finish line” road so I tried to burn on ahead and ended up dropping the yellow shirt guy.
I finished in 41:48, second overall, and first female. So, 20 seconds slower than my PR. Not bad considering that this was the hilliest 10K I have ever raced. There were also no mile markers, so I didn’t have even the faintest idea about my pace until the end. The lack of mile markers and splits was probably a good thing for me – I was allowed to trust my natural inclination for a leisurely start and stronger finish without getting psyched out by slow numbers in the initial miles.
What’s your standard operating procedure in terms of race pacing? Do you rattle off the miles like a metronome? Fly and die? Sit and kick? Negative splits, positive splits?
Overall, it felt like I was just out for a tempo run, doin’ my thang by myself. I never felt anything more than uncomfortable. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know this kind of effort wouldn’t make Prefontaine proud, but I really didn’t want to get lost. In retrospect, checking out the results, I should have tried to keep Speedy High School Boy in my sights or at least close the gap. I hadn’t realized I’d been that semi-close(ish). For future races up here, I want to try and get the course down beforehand so I can hammer without the fear of taking a wrong turn.
For such a small race, the food spread afterward was amazing. Strawberries, grapes, bananas, fancypants delicious health food-y granola bars, lots of other stuff, and on top of it all, a roaring fire to warm up next to. I had a great time meeting some of the local running crowd and chit-chatting with folks, which says something about how much I love runners, because under normal circumstances small talk is torture for me.
PS. It was $8.00 to run the race. EIGHT DOLLARS! In a land where Subway Five Dollar Footlongs cost seven dollars… in a land where the McDonald’s dollar menu does not actually exist… in a land where jars of almond butter cost $20.00 (hint hint to all those of you with my mailing address!)… in this very same land, most road races cost $8.00 on race day. $5.00 if you pre-register. That, my friends, is cool.