In addition to becoming a beekeeper this weekend, I celebrated two other firsts - my first race in North Carolina, and my first time racing a 10K. The race benefited the Wrightsville Beach Farmer's Market and offered both 5K and 10K options. I signed up for the 10K because I wanted an automatic PR, and because I needed a decent distance as motivation to actually run. The last few months have seen my mileage dip and my love for running wane, and I had a feeling a race would help reignite that passion. As it turns out, I was right.
Nathan also signed up for the race and, despite drinking moderately and staying up late at a friend's birthday party the night before, we made it to the race with plenty of time to check in, pick up our bibs and t-shirts, and pose for a photograph. The race was a lot smaller than I had anticipated - just a hundred or so people, and more than half of them were doing the 5K. I started to think that maybe I'd be able to place in my age group, which is always my secret goal.
At 9:00AM, the 10K racers lined up at the start, and after a few moments someone yelled GO! (This was not the fanciest race.) We took off and I felt really great, for about two minutes. That was when I realized I was side by side with Nathan.
"You're going way too fast," he said. I glanced down at my Garmin. 7:10. Oops. I backed down.
My goal had been to run 8:30 minute miles, finishing in 52 minutes, but it was humid and, despite weekly speed work, I'm not as fast as I like to imagine. I finished mile one in 8:20, but I knew I couldn't maintain that. One day I'll get the hang of negative splits.
Mile two was a tiny out and back down a street lined with beach houses - I finished that one in 8:34. We ran over the bridge that crosses the inlet, then down a long stretch of Wrightsville Beach's strip - bars, restaurants, and stores where you can buy bathing suits, surfboards, and jaunty sun hats. I did not stop in any of them, crossed over a second bridge, and finished mile three in 8:48. At this point, I was back at the start - the 10K racers did the 5K loop twice. Not my favorite layout for a race, but at least I knew what to expect. Miles four - six were not that exciting - 8:58 (it was getting hot), 9:14 (side stitch), and 9:03 (one last, desperate push). According to my Garmin, I finished in 54:20, with an average pace of 8:46. Not quite 8:30's, but close enough. But the best part?
Nathan and I BOTH snagged second in our respective age groups! Not bad for a North Carolina debut. Not bad at all.