It was my first time racing a 15K and I really like the distance. I wish there were more 15Ks and 10-mile races. I feel like it’s the perfect “meet in the middle” between a 10K and a half. It was a great way to get my long run done for the week but with a “racing effort.”
I met my number one goal for the race, which was to run the entire thing without stopping. I am really bad about stopping during long runs to take some swigs of water and when I’m running in the city, I have to stop a lot to cross roads. I wanted the experience of running and not stopping just to see if I could do it! I even jogged through the water stops (and got more than my fair share of water up my nose).
Here’s how the race went down.
I had a super low-key Saturday night in preparation for a 6 a.m. alarm on Sunday. I had a shot of espresso and half of a banana with cashew butter. If I’m running less than 10 miles for my long run, I like to keep my breakfast pretty light and eat a bigger meal after.
The Novant Health 15K was up in the Lake Norman area so I wanted to leave my house by 6:45 a.m. to be sure I’d have time for packet pick up and to get settled.
The 30-minute drive was super easy that early on a Sunday. Parking and race logistics were also extremely easy and before I knew it, I had my bib pinned on and was lined up for the 7:45 a.m. start. How much do you love this guy who posed for my crowd shot?
The weather for this race was absolutely perfect. 55 at the start, 60 at the finish. It was a little humid but I didn’t even care because getting a break in the temperature was such a welcome change. I wore a New Balance short-sleeved race shirt and Lululemon Hotty Hot Shorts.
I felt really good for the entirety of this race. I fell into a just over 8 minutes a mile pace early in the race and found it to be surprisingly sustainable for the duration. I was so grateful for a change of run scenery. It was really lovely to run around Lake Norman.
We ran through Jetton Park, which was awesome. It features walking and biking trails, tennis courts and a public beach on the lake.
Once we made our way out of Jetton Park, we weaved in and out of many residential streets and neighborhoods on the Lake Norman peninsula. There were plenty of water views. (You can see the lake straight ahead in this picture.) I also liked the rolling up and downhills. My favorite kind of race course. (Last weekend’s flat road 10-miles in Florida almost did me in!)
Once we made our way out of the neighborhoods we were back on Jetton Road for almost two miles of mostly uphill before making a turn for the finish. My mental state made a shift on this long stretch of road. I thought about how grateful I was that my body was healthy and that I was strong enough to run and to be out there racing on such a gorgeous October morning. I felt really sad and angry at my brother for not taking care of his body and that he’d never know the feeling I had at that moment.
Mile 8 ended up being the slowest of the race for me but I made the decision to kick it into high gear to make the final push to the finish. I crossed the finish line with a chip time of 1:16.29. I was the 18th female out of 285 and second in my age group. (Although the online results say fourth for some reason…but I did stay for the awards ceremony and received a prize so ????)
I hung out with ambassador friends Jordan and Brian after the race as we waited for the 15K awards. They both also placed in their age groups.
Let’s have a quick discussion on stats because I need your input on something.
Mile 1: 7:49
Mile 2: 8:06
Mile 3: 8:08
Mile 4: 8:08
Mile 5: 8:04
Mile 6: 7:54
Mile 7: 8:09
Mile 8: 8:13
Mile 9: 8:05
Last .51: 7:34
Average pace: 8:03. You can totally see how my pace directly reflects the course elevation in the chart below. Craziness.
So…a 15K is 9.3 miles but the final distance on my GPS was 9.51. The time on my GPS and the official finish time matched exactly but the distances were off. If I use my GPS, my average pace was 8:03 for 9.51 miles. If I go off of the 9.3 mile course distance, it was 8:12.
I do believe that I could have run over because the course did involve quite a few turns and weaving in and out of neighborhoods. When they measure courses, they measure on the shortest possible course distance by using the most efficient routes (close to the curb, sharp turns, etc). I used my RunKeeper app for this race and it measure .2 over but I also measured over when I ran the Hit the Brixx 10K and 5K a few weeks ago by almost .2 and I was wearing my Garmin. Maybe I’m just a bad tangent runner?
My average cadence for this run was 178, which I am super pleased with. For the past couple of years, I have been working to shorten my stride up a bit and I’ve been really thinking about it a lot when I race. It’s something I’ve been aware of since learning about running form in my CrossFit Endurance seminar and has become increasingly important to me as I work to become a more efficient and injury-free runner. When I can shorten up my stride, it really helps me prevent the calf strain that I have a tendency to feel.
Read more about it in this post on No Meat Athlete.
The Novant Health 15K put me in a great headspace for the upcoming Novant Health Half Marathon. I feel confident that the six weeks of training I have left will have me feeling prepared to tackle 13.1 and hopefully at a pace similar to what I ran in yesterday’s race. I am planning on running the Rocktoberfest Half Marathon in two weeks as an ambassador for the Novant Health Charlotte Marathon but it will be treated like a training run and not a race effort. I want to save the race effort for my goal race! 🙂
Do you find that your GPS measures over in races?
Do you pay attention to cadence?
What’s your favorite race day temperature?