Tackling a hilly 10K

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My friend Roland found this 10K when he was browsing events near the Raleigh. This was another inaugural and cheap event. Since I have not PR on a 10K this year and I really want it to break the 10K under 1hr mark, I decided to go for it. The race was going to at the place at Umstead Park. At the same hilly route we used to train at and also the same as the last Half Marathon. So no new surprises for us during this race it was going to be hilly.


REI run series was the sponsor of the event. Since it was the first time for this event, it was a low key event and not many runners entered to participate, but still good enough to make it a fun event. There were going to be a 5k and a 10k that day in an in and out route. We both arrived early to the area that morning. There was a small section of the route that I was not familiar with since the event start line was at a different entrance to the park that I was used to. Roland was fortunate to ran couple weeks ago using that entrance and knew better what to expect. So we walked a bit while warming up for him to show me that portion that I was not aware of. There was small one steep hill that I was not familiar with, but we have trained in several hill areas and believe I could at least perform decent on this 10k.

We warmed up a bit more with a slow jog. I did some dynamic stretches and broke a very light sweat. Muscles were feeling good and ready. Sugars were feeling good and within optimal range. We lined up and after a few announcements off we went. I did not carry any water with me and just a gel since it was just going to be a 6.2 miles. I told Roland that I was planning to PR during this race, in case he had just to finish as a goal. I did want him to try to push too early during the hills, since at that initial downhill I was planning to hit the trails fast. After the start, I went of and found a really good rhythm early in the race.

Mile 1 mostly down hill, mile 2 mostly uphill. Lots of runners walking the later part of that hill. I was going strong, the pace just little bit slower due to the hill, but my breathing was under control, the cadence with a quick turnaround and a short stride, all was in check. Towards mile 3.1 was rolling hills all the way to the turn around. After the turn around Roland was not too far behind and he was running strong. At mile 4, I started to increase the pace. Mile 5 since it was downhill I pushed a little bit harder than I want it. I knew the last mile was mostly up hill, but I still pressed on and continue with a fast downhill pace. There was a runner next to me, that we were passing each other since mile 4, until 5.5 when I started to pay the price of pressing the downhill to hard, my cadence slowed down and my breathing now was very hard and shallow. I had to walk for for a minute or so and even tho it was hard to start running again on a uphill, I convinced myself that the only way to break for sure the 1hr mark was to start jogging and running.

And I did, I started jogging and then running, looking forward to the crest of the hill. The route leveled off for the last 400 meters of the event. I poured heart and soul and I was able to increase my speed again, strong all the way to the finish. And I was glad I did, with basically a minute to spare, very hard but once again very happy with the accomplishment.

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May-14;;;REI Inaugural 10K;;;NC;;;10K;;;58:56;nn;


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Event Highlight & Learning Points;nn;Highlights:

Course:  Super hilly and challenging

Venue: Very simple, one tent with water and a few goodies

Expo: No Expo

Weather: Cloudy, 70º with 68% humidity

T1D: Sugars with in running range at start.

Fueling: Pre-Race: 1 serving Hot Cereal and Latte.

Race: Water at the water station. One energy gel at half way point.

Post: water

Learning Points:

    • Local Inaugural Races/Event are fun. Specially with limited amount of runners.
    • The running mental game is real, prepping for it is essential