Hartwood 10 Miler [2014]

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Yesterday I ran the Hartwood 10 Miler for the second year in a row! I ran this race last year and loved it even though it rained the whole time. Last year I scored myself an almost-8 minute PR and had a great time. I was excited to run it again, but I wasn’t sure how well I would be able to do this time around. Last year I was in the middle of marathon training and doing a ton of speedwork. This year I am not training for a marathon or doing speedwork- except for short sprints at the track, but no tempo runs or anything like I usually would do for longer races like this one. I didn’t really know what to expect from myself, but I had a bunch of running buddies at the race so I was just excited to be there with them! Luckily it was a beautiful morning this year- crisp and cool and NOT raining! It was a little bit humid but overall, the conditions were awesome for mid-August. I couldn’t wait to get started!

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My running buddies and I were busy chatting and didn’t even realize we were about to start until we heard the gun go off. We all ran together for maybe a tenth of a mile and then we broke off at our own paces. After a mile or so I checked in with my body to see how I was feeling. The pace I was holding (low 8:00/mile) felt pretty effortless and comfortable. I decided I had no reason NOT to try my best and run the best race I could.

  • Mile 1 – 8:16
  • Mile 2 – 7:48 (<– too excited!)

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The race course is basically a big loop along country roads, through wooded areas and alongside farmland. It was beautiful, the sky looked amazing, and I just felt so happy and lucky to be running. There was one small out-and-back section early in the race where I was able to see my friends. Leslie was right behind me, then Chanda, then Cynthia & Laura who were running together – and are also pregnant and due just a few days apart in January!

  • Mile 3 – 8:03
  • Mile 4 – 8:06

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Since I decided to race, I focused on trying to run evenly (after my too fast second mile) and keeping my energy levels up by eating a half pack of Honey Stingers every 25 minutes. I knew from last year that the second half of the race is harder and hillier than the first, so I needed to make sure I wouldn’t burn out. I passed the halfway point at a little over 40 minutes, which I knew was about an 8 minute pace. My 10 mile PR (that I set at this race last year) was run at a 8:07 pace. I started to wonder if a PR was possible.

  • Mile 5 – 8:01

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The big hills started around mile 6. I felt like I was either running up a hill or down a hill from miles 6-9, but I actually kind of liked it. I’ve always been strong at running hills and I like how the different elevation changes keep all of my leg muscles engaged. I focused on powering up them and then trying to relax going back down, over and over and over again! I was running either in front of, next to or behind another guy from Team RWB the entire race and I tried to stick with him- he was a great pacer! You can see him in the background of the photo above :). Miles 6-8 were a little slower due to the hills, but I knew based on my overall time that I was still on track to PR if I stayed strong the last two miles.

  • Mile 6 – 8:07
  • Mile 7 – 8:15
  • Mile 8 – 8:19

I got a boost of energy during mile 9 when I saw Kevin and the baby drive by. They had come to meet me at the finish and I remembered from last year they passed the runners on their way to the park where the race ended. I was so excited to see them and that adrenaline carried me through the last 2 miles. When we turned to head back into the park toward the finish line, I told the guy from Team RWB that he had been a great pacer, but that I was within a minute of my PR and needed to push it to the end. He told me to go get it and so I did!

  • Mile 9 – 8:10
  • Mile 10 – 7:43 (<– my last mile was my fastest!)

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I was so focused at the end that I didn’t even see Kevin on the side of the road taking pictures of me. All I saw was the clock ticking away and getting closer to the 1:21:00 mark. That last stretch seemed like it took forever, but I got my PR by 30 seconds!

  • Finish Time – 1:20:43, 8:04 average pace

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I was so excited, so proud and so shocked that I pulled a PR out from somewhere inside of me. Why do I always do the best in races that I don’t have any expectations for?

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After collecting my cool glass and some water I went over to where Kevin was hanging out with Chanda’s husband James and the kids. We watched other runners finishing, and then my running buddies started coming through!

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First was Leslie, who finished in 1:37! She is training for her first marathon and this was her first race ever in the United States. She just got back after living in Germany for 3 years!

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Then came Chanda, who came in right at 1:39. I was so excited for her because she ran at her goal half marathon pace (9:55) on a course that is much tougher than the half marathon she has in October. She totally killed it!

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And then these two amazing mamas came in right after Chanda, a couple seconds past 1:40. I was so impressed that they ran 10 miles at a 10:00 pace, almost halfway through their pregnancies. Plus they looked adorable in their Running for Two shirts! Does Laura’s look familiar? It’s actually mine 🙂

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We all decided that we love this race and would definitely do it again. Smiles all around!

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The Hartwood 10 Miler is a race I want to continue doing every year. Beautiful course, friendly runners and volunteers, small, local, and for a great cause. What more could you ask for?

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7 responses to “Hartwood 10 Miler [2014]

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