The 40th annual Lethbridge 10 Mile Road Race was Saturday, April 13th. I signed up for it when registration opened and opted to participate in the 10 mile distance—There was also a 4 mile distance to participate in. I had never participated in this event before, but knew it would be a well-put-together race, as Runners Soul was sponsoring it.
I honestly hadn’t really done much preparation for this race as far as being aware of the course and start times. I was so busy this week after coming back from Milwaukee that package pickup kind of snuck up on me Friday! The course this year was apparently different than years past, as it was an out and back situation. The race would start and finish at the college. The first part of the course on Scenic Drive is relatively flat, with a few small “bumps”. For those participating in the 10 miler, we had something special in store for us—after winding on Scenic Drive for 3 miles, we would descend into the river bottom down quite a steep hill, approximately 3/4 of a mile long. This would be a nice descent, but after winding through the pathways and turning around and coming back, we would have to head up this wretched monster! I spoke about this hill in a previous blog about hill training…it is still as ridiculous as I said initially!
The race day itself couldn’t have been any more perfect of a day for Lethbridge. There was hardly any wind, there was sun peaking out of the clouds all morning, and the temperature was somewhere around 45 degrees. The 9:00 am start time for the 10 mile was awesome also! I had this 9:00 am start time last week for the Trailbreaker Half and while I know many races, especially in the summer, start earlier, I love having this almost “late start” time. I was able to get up at 7:00, have coffee and oatmeal, get ready slowly and be set for the race. I had it set in my head I would go out at a decent pace, but my goal was to be around 8:20-8:30 minute miles. I was nervous for that hill climb back from the river valley, so I wanted to make sure I didn’t collapse.
But of course, like always, I got wrapped up in the excitement of the race and completely ignored my pacing plans.
Pacing Breakdown Map from Nike+
So, my first mile of 7:33 was one of the fastest miles I have ran in a longtime. For real. I decided to just keep my legs moving for mile two. And three. And four. I figured if I felt this good there was no reason to slow down. If I had slowed down to what my planned pace was suppose to be, I would have been frustrated at the finish line if I had energy still left.. Running through the river bottom was probably the toughest part mentally. The trail curves quite a bit and I don’t know how to say it, but the visibility is only about 100 feet in parts. For the whole race I always had at least one guy (it was always a guy) close enough to chase. In this area of the river bottom, all of a sudden those people who I was chasing disappeared. It was like I was racing alone again. Once you got spit out by Whoop-Up, the path opened up a bit and you could see people ahead of you again. I started concentrating on paying attention to the number of people turning around and heading back.. This kept my mind off any pain I may have felt or the possibility of slowing down. I started counting any ladies who had turned around and headed back, and also started figuring out what age group they fit in. I realized at the five mile I was in 8th place for the ladies so far, with what I assume to be probably two people ahead of me in my age group. This was enough to keep me moving after the turn around and now I had it set in my head I was going to place in my age group
As I approached the hill to head back up from the river bottom, I yelled to the volunteers at the bottom HERE GOES NOTHING!. I knew I could not stop and walk, because it would be that much harder to get going again. I kept on my toes and kept moving up that hill, even though the pace felt so slow. I happened to catch up to a middle aged man who was breathing hard on his way up. I don’t know why, but I just started talking to him. I started talking about the stupid hill, my race last week, my pace, etc. I told him how I had ran since I was in high school, but I had only started now taking these road races somewhat seriously. He had started running at age 36 and hadn’t been running that long, and hadn’t done any crazy long distances yet. We kept together up that hill, never stopped to walk, and powered past a few people on the way up. I had a new found energy, as we kept each other going. I passed a girl who seemed to be around my age who had walked. I had this competitive spirit in me that I hadn’t had since high school. I had to keep moving!
The hill made my mile 7 come in at a time of 10:19. I had three more miles to run, and I felt positive I could get the time of 1 hour 25 minutes that I was aiming for. On the trek back to the college, I hugged the curves of Scenic Drive, treating it like running on an outdoor track. My short legs take that many more extra steps than a normal person, so any less distance I managed to run than the other races was helpful for me. Since I was familiar with the road we were running on, I set landmarks in my head for when I would start to pick up the pace. I didn’t want to go crazy too early. I find that this planning and analyzing during a race helps me stay focused, makes the miles pass faster, and keeps me moving.. This is why I don’t listen to music-my mind is filled with a playlist and plan of its own! At the Park Royal neighborhood, I planned to start using whatever energy I had left.. This would be about 1.5 miles from the finish, and there would be a short hill from the Sugar Bowl to climb before I would be at flat road. I got that kick going and kept with it until the finish, improving each mile after that 10:19! My finish time would be 1 hour 23 minutes 14 seconds.
I called my mom and my husband to let them know how I did. My mom obviously was home in Wisconsin, and my husband was working in the new Garry Station subdivision in West Lethbridge. At this point I hadn’t seen an unofficial result sheet, so I had to let them know what my time was and that I felt pretty good about placing in my category. They both seemed surprised at how good my time was, and frankly, I was too. I had ran the half marathon in Waukesha last weekend, broke my long standing personal record, came back to work this week after a great Spring Break, and hadn’t had much recovery time. I stand by my statement from earlier this year that running is almost sometimes more of a mental competition, than a skill.. Yes, I need to have the mileage and the training in order to compete and race at the level I want to be at. But if I had gone in to this race with a negative attitude, assuming I would not be able to do well since I had just raced the previous weekend, I would not have done well. There is something to be said out there in regards to the power of positive thinking
Awards started in the gymnasium at the Lethbridge College at 11:00 am.
. They went through the 4 mile categories first before moving onto the 10 mile categories. I was like a little kid when they called me up for 2nd place in the 20-29 female category. After awards, I had to have Sean from Runners Soul take a photo for me, as I didn’t want to try to do a lame self-shot with my medal. So thank you Sean for taking this photo!
I really enjoyed this race and would recommend the 10 Mile Road Race to anyone in Southern Alberta. It is a well-organized event and a beautiful course. That being said, us runners lucked out the race was Saturday, as if it had been today, it would have been a survival of the fittest sort of event. I am not making this up, but please refer to the photo below to see what my back yard looks like 24 hours after the awards ceremony:
Real glad Dan and I got the pond pump running…..NOT! Anyways, that’s it for today. For some upcoming posts, I plan on doing an entry on my dad’s middle years while he lived in Switzerland and also reflecting back on some past Walt Disney World vacations. If you have any suggestions, please feel free to comment. Also, share and like my page if you like what you are reading! And the best compliment would be to head to the charitiespage up at top and read about the American Heart Association and Heart & Stroke Foundation and how I am running in memory of my late father, Andrew Lammers. Have a great week everybody!