Sunday, March 29, 2015

Charlottesville Ten Miler Race Recap

My very first long distance race was the 2007 Charlottesville Ten Miler. I was thrilled when I finished, having raced more miles than I ever had run at one time before, all under 9 minute mile pace (8:41 to be exact, finishing in 1:25:29).

Eight years later I have a very special relationship with this race, having helped four directors with behind-the-scenes technical and graphic design work, including creating the artwork for the 2009/10, 2011, and 2015 shirts and medals.

On Friday night before the race, I helped hand out cowbells I designed to volunteers who’d be lining the course cheering and protecting runners from traffic. Their enthusiasm and willingness to help was inspiring. Every time I heard a cowbell along the course on Saturday, I felt thankful and proud.

I have run this race six times and don’t think I have ever run a negative split. When I saw the 5 mile clock display 37:xx, I quickly did that the math and thought, “oh sh-t, I’m not going to run this race in 1:14, what the hell have I done?!?” I tried not to panic and realized that even if I slowed down 3 minutes in the second half I’d still beat my goal of finishing under 1:19.

Having spent almost my entire winter training cycle on the treadmill, with only four races since January 1st, I wasn’t confident I could tackle the hills of Charlottesville. I remember feeling all sorts of negativity during the final 2 miles of the race last year and was hoping I wouldn’t feel that way again. Luckily some of my favorite power songs like Paul Simon’s “Obvious Child” helped get me up those last few long, gradual inclines.

I never looked at my watch during the entire race, so when I came down the final stretch and saw the clock say 1:16, I was shocked. It was my 3rd fastest ten mile race ever. My PR is 1:12:36 at the 2012 Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run (a completely FLAT course) and my 2nd best time was 1:16:36 in 2011. It was 4 years later and I was able to run 1:16:42 on a much more challenging course despite making the classic racing mistake of going out too fast.

Reading many of the comments on the race evaluation forms warmed my heart and a few nagged at me. I know you can’t make everyone happy, but to read that someone thought the medal was too big or the design was boring stung quite a bit.

A few random thoughts:

* I designed the new Charlottesville Track Club mile marker flags that made their debut at the race. I smiled every time I saw one, even if the wind did turn a couple around the wrong way. :-)

* So many people yelled out my name. I’m so glad I don’t wear headphones (I have my iphone speaker on instead). I didn’t even recognize everyone who knew me. It’s so amazing to have so much support in this town!

* I got a ton of compliments on my Rock City black and silvery fairy skirt. I love dressing up for races with stand-out red lipstick and some sparkle!

* I feel a bit guilty for not saying thank you to all the volunteers (I was saving my energy), but I did try to wave.

My fave comments from volunteers and participants:

"My favorite part of volunteering was learning that the wonderful CPD officer assigned to "my" intersection for actual traffic directing duties had volunteered to be there. She was super. A close second was how many runners smiled back or said thank you on their way by as I cheered and rang my cowbell to the point of a hole in my glove and a bloody knuckle (true story!)."

"You guys have, hands down, the BEST and FRIENDLIEST volunteers. The medal is awesome - I will cherish it forever!"

"I run this with friends each year. This year about half declined to drive down, citing last years shirt and the sometimes iffy quality of the medal. I was pleased that I could text them pictures and note the return of quality swag. I'll gladly wear this shirt running. Thanks."

"Beyond satisfied! Perfect event, as always!!! My favorite race of the year. And any runner that complains in this survey should come run a race in philly -- that will teach them. This race is incomparable. So well organized and well executed. Having access to JPJ arena makes the race so calm and clean and easy and lovely. Thank you!"
"Cheering was great - there were a lot more bells this year. I liked how the stickers matched the medals, matched the shirts."

"Loved the logo design on the shirt and medal! The medal was also much better than any of the past 4. It was substantial and very well designed."
"The medal and shirt were AMAZING. I absolutely love them both. I will have that medal with the others on my wall forever because it's the memories that matter. Great job on the design! I love all the street names on it! Brilliant!"

"The medal is a great memento with the whole course listed on it."

"I loved the giant mile markers this year."


Ryan said...

Congratulations on your race! And what kind of dope complains about a medal being too big? I can usually take or leave a medal, but I'm proud to keep and display this one!!

Coco said...

I've always heard good things about this event -- except for the hills! Don't let the criticism get to you. You really can't please everyone!

Janelle @ Run With No Regrets said...

Incredible job on your race, and very cool that you could actually see your designs along the course!

Courtney @ Eat Pray Run DC said...

awesome job! the cville 10 miler was my first real distance race back when i was in law school at uva - love to see how it's grown since then. i don't even remember if we got a medal, lol :) (this was back in 2007).