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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

  1. Have a terrible sense of direction
  2. Still struggle pitifully with lefts and rights at the age of 23
  3. 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.

18 Comments leave one →
  1. 09/27/2010 02:16

    Great 10k! I remember in my last 15k I followed to 5k runners and took the wrong course. Had to double back over a mile and still finished in the top 5 🙂

  2. 09/27/2010 02:22

    An $8 race? I’m debating on rather I want to pay $30 for a 5-miler that I hate. (I probably won’t because I’m cheap!)

    Good job on your 10k!

  3. 09/27/2010 05:36

    woohoo!!! congrats on finishing first lady!!

    i’ve only ran one official race (a 9km) and there was no method behind it besides running as fast as i friggin’ could. (which wasn’t very considering the 13,000 people crowded in front of me.)

  4. Lacey permalink
    09/27/2010 05:55

    wow! congrats!!!! niiiice race- execution and recap. also pretty awesome the price + the field 🙂 i bet you made 22 new friends 🙂 esp considering you impressed them all, too 🙂 20 sec off PR?! wow! guess the high mileage hasn’t negatively impacted you 🙂 i would also have been very stressed out not knowing the course etc. ack! 🙂 all around awesome experience thanks for sharing. and great job.

  5. 09/27/2010 06:13

    So much to celebrate here, and I’m not even including your use and my noncomprehension of “standard deviation” in the tally. So, you almost equal your PR and almost win a race of crazy Alaskan runner people all for less than a movie ticket. Oh, and a square meal afterwards. Dang. Almost makes me want to move to #49.

    I seldom have a good race strategy. For years, my plan was “go out hard and deal with the consequences.” That’s fun for about five minutes. And doesn’t work very well at all for anything longer than a 5K.

    • 09/28/2010 10:44

      I don’t even know if I used the term standard deviation correctly in that case, come to think of it. One of those things that leaked out of my brain since college ended.

      Sometimes I wish I had the backbone to go out hard and deal with the consequences. It would be interesting to try one of these days.

  6. 09/27/2010 06:28

    Oh man, I also struggle with the rights and lefts. Somehow I manage to have a decent sense of direction, but I still have to tell myself “Righty Tighty!” when locking the front door.

    Anyway, great race! You are speedy….and 20 seconds off your PR is nothing to sneeze at on a hilly course!

    I am totally a “fly and die” girl. I’m sure it’s a race strategy that will serve me well in Chicago. (sarrrrrrcasm)

  7. 09/27/2010 06:58

    can i come to alaska and run my first alaska race?! with the price of $8 it’s hard to find a better deal. although the air fare might kill that hahaha 🙂

    way to absolutely DOMINATE! i love that you were able to trust your body to race rather than have to rely on markers or anything like that. i LOVED reading this and it’s getting me PUMPED to race!

  8. 09/27/2010 07:08

    Just discovered your blog, and I love it. I’ve always wanted to visit Alaska, so maybe I can do it vicariously through you for a little while 🙂 Great job on the race (and on finding a race for $8!) You are speedy.

    • 09/28/2010 10:47


      So far I am finding that Alaska is everything it is rumored to be. Except even more so. An amazing and crazy place 🙂

  9. 09/27/2010 07:25

    Whoa big community! lol congrats on your placement and not getting lost. $8? I’m moving!!

  10. 09/27/2010 08:40

    Fast and cheap, just how I like it. (What he said)

    Nicely done!

    • 09/27/2010 08:41

      Also, 2nd overall? Damn. And don’t feel bad about the left right thing: I still rely on my hands to tell the difference. ;p

  11. dubay319 permalink
    09/27/2010 11:38


  12. 09/27/2010 12:33

    Negative splits always…
    Use your speed and “juice” to hang with the (reasonable) rabbits early (maybe a quarter mile) and then go into coast gear and enjoy the ride while the inexperienced spread themselves thin, and you figure out who’s who in the zoo from behind…
    Threaten the macho boys a wee bit (they will overextend to defend their pride)…
    If you know the course…target the hills…reel in a few of the prey on the uphills and steal yourself to use gravity and completely discourage them on the downhill or flat…then coast…
    When in doubt, coast.

    Almond butter on the way by weeks end…


    • 09/28/2010 10:49

      Best racing strategy EVER.

      I was kidding about the almond butter — recall that I don’t want to cause honeybee colony collapse disorder with my gluttonous almond consumption. Although maybe you could send my lacrosse turf shoes… I might join an indoor soccer league. Maybe?

  13. 09/28/2010 17:31

    #2 OVERALL! That is awesome. As a stats geek I appreciate all use of the term standard deviation, correct or otherwise. Depending on the average field size, so 23 may be within one SD of the mean. Now I want to know the mean Alaskan 10K race field size.


  1. In Her Shoes 5K Race Recap « Sweaty Kid.

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