Race Recaps: The Triple Crown

If you follow this blog, or just talk to me, you would know that I was set to run not one, not two, but three races on Saturday. So here are the recaps for those races.

River Falls Days 10k: If you could consider one of these races an “A” race, then it was the River Falls Days 10k. Aside from the fact that I was stoked to run a race in River Falls, I also wanted a shot at taking down everyone who was faster than me in college. Of course, none of those people ran the race. Oh well.

You couldn’t have asked for a more perfect morning. Little to no breeze, clear skies, and a temperature in the low 60s at the start. This was a classic small town and small race, and most participants picked up their packet in the morning, and just milled around the park before the start.

At the starting line, both the 10k and 2 mile runners lined up together. And, like any small town races, a lot of the young kids were the ones who toed in line, in front of the rest of us. And as always, they shot out of the start, only to be passed by most of us within the first quarter mile.

After we passed over the swinging bridge (weird enough to run over a suspension bridge) a clear lead pack of about 7 runners formed, with another runner a few meters between me and the pack. Heading up the first hill, I noticed my pace was getting a little quick as I was chasing them just a little. I caught myself, and reigned in my pace by the top of the hill, and waited for the others to fall back to me.

I made my first two passes just past the two mile mark when I passed two runners who had gotten out in front, but were fading rapidly. I began to close on my next target when we made a turn onto our longest straightaway of the race. After crossing a small bridge, I was able to make that pass as well.

I got the next runner (the one who was between me and the pack earlier) just after a turn by the high school. Shortly after, around 4.5 miles, I made what would be my last pass of the race. After running a very even race, I noticed that I might have made my move a little too early to make this pass, as I still had about 1.25 to go in the race. Soon, the course made a turn I didn’t expect, and ended up sending us up one of the more unpleasant hills in River Falls. This was one case where knowing the community was huge. While the hill physically jostled me, it didn’t mentally hurt.

The last mile, though, was a struggle. Easily my slowest of the race, and it included me getting passed by another runner in the final half mile. While I hate getting passed at that stage, I had absolutely nothing left to run with him.

Still, I rolled back to the finish in a 39:26, knocking a solid 20 seconds off my 10k PR which was set three weeks prior. Throw in the fact that I ran an immensely even race, I was very pleased with the journey in River Falls.

Midnight Madness 5k: Of course, that led in to the Midnight Madness races Saturday night in Ames. There are a handful of races in Ames that allow runners to go back-to-back in the 5 and 10k distances. However, Midnight Madness is the only one that scores runners for the 5k, 10k, and the combined 15k.

The 5k isn’t the premiere event, although it is the one I take more seriously. I was hoping to squeeze under 19, even after PRing in the 10k earlier. All things considered, the first two miles went fairly smoothly, despite the hot and humid temps in Ames. Just after crossing the second mile marker, I was hit by a side-stitch. Certainly, this doesn’t happen often, and it likely had to do with some poor refueling from River Falls Days. That slow-down certainly dipped my last mile.

Still, I was able to roll in at a 19:08, while getting passed by plenty of others along the final stretch. But that just proved that I still don’t have a finishing kick. All things considered, a 19:08 in the heat, and being my second race wasn’t a bad day. It burns me a little that I was a side-stitch away from going under 19 (probably) though.

Midnight Madness 10k: And the final race. In a nutshell, it was ugly. I knew I would not be going out in a sub 40 pace, because I don’t think my legs had that in them. While the temps were dropping, the humidity was on the way up.

I wanted to get this race in under a 7 minute pace, and right around marathon pace. Through the first 3 miles, I was right on target, laying down 6:46s with a fair amount of ease. But around mile 4 I just ran out of steam. Both fueling and fatigue hit me hard as my last three miles certainly were not sub 7.

I got passed by a few other runners who I had gotten in the first half of the race. I was able to pull in the sub 7 pace, though, for the night. Still a 43:36 was substantially slower than the morning, and about a minute slower than my 10k from last year. Still managed a top 60 finish in both the 10k and 5k at Midnight Madness.

I mentioned that Midnight Madness combines the 5k and 10k into the 15k as well. Last year, I finished the 15k in the dreaded position of fourth in my age group. This year, I was able to make the jump into the top 3. So despite coming off of a PR race in the morning, I was able to notch a top 3 age group (and top 15 overall) finish in the 15k.

On Sunday (and still today) my legs were exhausted. But it was worth it.

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