Sunday marked my third time running this race. Each time I’ve run it I’ve covered a different distance. In 2014 a lot of runners (myself included) took a wrong turn and ran extra mileage (per my Garmin, 6.49 miles in 48:19– 7:27 pace). In 2015 the 10K course was cut short at the last minute due to an emergency along the race route. My Garmin had me covering 5.99 miles in 44:14 (7:23 pace).
For 2016 the race organizers got rid of the half marathon race, which I think was a wise decision because the course confusion in 2014 arose from the 10K, half marathon, and 30K routes overlapping on a lot of twisty, turny residential streets. But I was still a little skeptical what distance I’d end up covering during the race. After two years of not running 10K I debated whether it was worth the time and money to do this race again. I signed up because it was scheduled two weeks out from 3M and seemed like a good way to gauge my fitness before my goal race. Also, the course is very flat and fast.
The Rogue Distance Festival is in Cedar Park. The start and finish are at a high school, which is fantastic because runners can use the bathrooms in the high school and mingle inside before and after the race. What is not fantastic is the fact that it takes me a good deal longer to drive out to Cedar Park from my new neighborhood. I had to wake up at 5 AM for a 7:15 AM race start, which was rough since these days I’ve been doing nearly all of my runs after work so I can take advantage of nicer temperatures and daylight.
Speaking of temperatures, this is what the weather looked like on race day:
I was born and raised in the Northeast. My biggest gripe about living in Texas is the long, hot summers. I love running in the cold. But this was a bit of a shock to my system. I hadn’t run in sub-freezing temps in over a year– even when I was up north for the holidays.
Here’s a picture of everything I wore:
- Old hoodie for driving/warm up/cool down/sitting around after the race. Bringing an extra layer for when I wasn’t racing was the best decision I made that day.
- Long sleeve tech shirt from 2013 Decker Challenge. This shirt is pretty thin, so even when I was racing I wished I’d worn a slightly warmer long sleeved shirt or even 2 long sleeved shirts. I saw a lot of people in jackets and tights but that would have been overkill for me. I like to feel a bit cold and it motivated me to run faster so I could go inside and hit up the Dunkin’ Donuts coffee stand.
- Very old C9 by Champion sleeveless shirt. There’s nothing special about this except that I wear it for almost all of my races.
- Very old RoadRunner Sports Sports Bra. I love these sports bras.
- Very old Mizuno capris. I was glad to run in something warmer than shorts but not heavy tights. A lot of the clothes I wore for this race are 6-7 years old. Some of the items (like the sleeveless shirt) have probably been in over a dozen races. I like racing in tried and true clothes I’m confident won’t cause chafing or malfunction in some way.
- These socks
- My heavy duty Under Armour gloves. This was a day when I definitely needed something warmer than my Costco gloves!
- Mizuno headband
- Adidas Supernova Glide 7 Boost Shoes (unpictured– can’t believe I forgot to include the most important item!)
Before the race I did a ~2 mile warm up with some sprints. I waited as long as possible to get to the starting line so I wouldn’t be standing around in the cold.
My goals for this race were to a) run hard and b) try to run at sub-7:30 pace. I didn’t really taper for this race and my legs felt tired for the first 2 miles (7:21, 7:32). That 7:32 mile was very discouraging since it was slower than my target pace and it felt hard. Thankfully, we hit a nice downhill in mile 3 and I started to feel more warmed up. Miles 3-5 were 7:23, 7:28, and 7:23. I also started to pass a lot of people, which always feels good.
Mile 6 was…interesting. After passing a lot of runners in the middle miles there were a lot fewer people around me, which was very weird since I’m a pretty average runner. I’m not used to being by myself during a race. There was a guy in a red shirt about 50 meters in front of me but otherwise I couldn’t see anyone ahead of me thanks to all of the twists and turns on the course. And given the course confusion in 2014, I was concerned about getting lost and possibly leading other people down the wrong street. So I worked hard to keep the guy in the red shirt in view and hoped he knew where he was going. (It also helped that the signage was much better than previous years). Once we got back onto a main road I saw some more runners and spectators and felt confident that I wouldn’t go the wrong way. Mile 6 was 7:12 (chasing that guy really helped my speed…) and I covered the last 0.28 (per my Garmin) in 1:53, i.e. 6:45 pace.
My official finish time was 46:12, good for 37th overall, 9th female, and 3rd female 30-34. So I’m 3 for 3 in placing in my age group at this race!
After the race I ran 2 cool down miles, grabbed some coffee, and waited for the awards. And waited. And waited. The 30K had started 15 minutes before the 10K race but apparently some 10K runners started with the 30K race, so there were timing issues. (Apparently there were also some course issues for the 30K). The problem for me with all of the waiting was that some of my clothes were sweaty and I was starting to get very cold– even in a heated building. Next time I run this race I should remember to bring a change of clothes in case I need to wait around a long time for the awards.
It was worth it though. I can’t think of a better race award aside from cold, hard cash but let’s be real– I’m not winning that anytime soon.
They also redesigned the race medals this year. I don’t care too much about medals– all of mine are hanging on my closet doorknob and rarely see the light of day– but it’s nice to have some variety.
I was pleased with this race. It was my second fastest 10K and less than a minute off my PR. I ran it without doing much 10K pace speedwork and on decidedly untapered legs. I’d really like to see what I’m capable of on this course if I actually train for the Rogue 10K but that’s unlikely to happen as long as the race is held two weeks before 3M.
After the race I plugged my times from 2014, 2015, and 2016 into a bunch of race time predictor calculators. Since I didn’t actually run 10K in 2014 or 2015 I used my Garmin data, which I realize is not my official finish time but my official finish times for 2 of the 3 races are wildly inaccurate. (2015’s official time–short course–suggests I was capable of running a 10K at sub-7:10 pace which…no). But all 3 of these races were exactly two weeks before 3M and I mainly wanted to see which of the three times predicted the fastest half marathon.
The “10K”: times:
- 2014: 6.49 miles in 48:19 (7:27 pace)
- 2015: 5.99 miles in 44:14 (7:23 pace)
- 2016: 6.28 miles in 46:14 (7:22 pace)
The 3M Half Marathon times (note that these are speedier since 3M is almost completely downhill):
- 2014: 1:38:48 (7:32 pace)
- 2015: 1:39:31 (7:36 pace)
- 2016: ???
I just used the first 5 calculators on Google that let me input race distances rather than choosing 5K, 10K, etc. from a drop-down menu.
Looking at the table, the good news is that I seem to be getting faster. The bad news is that I’ve barely gotten faster. However, the data don’t tell the full story. Last year I did a lot of short track workouts before 3M and didn’t do many long runs because I was really trying to watch my mileage after my stress fracture. That was good for my “10K” but not so good for my half marathon. This year I’ve been more aggressive with my mileage and I’ve been doing 10+ mile runs with race pace miles pretty consistently since September or October. A lot of my speedwork has involved running supersets of 2-3 miles instead of 800-1600m repeats since I find that the former helps me a lot more with the stamina I need for longer races. Also, at the end of 2015 I knocked 1:59 off my 2013 time at the Run for the Water.
So that’s a long winded way of saying that I’m going to try to PR next Sunday. I don’t have an exact time in mind beyond sub-1:38:48 but I’m going to go for it. It’s always scary to type that out but I feel confident that I can make this one happen barring disaster.
8 days to go!