Short version: I ran the Kanab 10k and shattered by old PR by over 6 minutes by running this one in 54:28. Previous PR was 1:00:42.
I ran the Kanab 10k in southern Utah this morning with my husband, Asa. The 10k has always been my least favorite distance to race, but there were a few reasons I wanted to do this race: It’s in my husband’s hometown so he’d get to see his family for the first time since Thanksgiving (we live about 3 hours away), I heard the course was scenic (the whole area is beautiful), and it had a significant amount of downhill. There were a couple things I was not looking forward to: the race took place near (a little over and a little under 5,000 feet elevation, which is different than the 2,200 feet I live at) and the fact that the last 3/4 mile is uphill (I hate running uphill to a finish line).
I feel like I’m in the best running shape I’ve ever been in. I lost a little bit of weight this year, which is a huge advantage in running. My goal races this year are a 50-miler (which I ran 3 weeks ago and went a lot better than I’d expected) and a 24-hour race in September, but I have scheduled a few other races along the way; this isn’t one I specifically planned for, but I found a way to fit it in. I was interested in seeing how I would do. I was happy because it was point to point and there was an elevation loss over the course of the race, but I wasn’t sure how the elevation would affect me. Asa and I also arrived into town late last night at about 10:30 but still needed to eat dinner, which was still being prepared, so we didn’t get to sleep until well after midnight and had to be up at 6 this morning. Luckily, Asa’s dad had thought ahead and went and picked up our race packets last night so we didn’t have to wake up even earlier.
It isn’t directly related to this race report, but a few days ago, I went to finally see a doctor after having breathing problems anytime I ran that I had accepted as “normal.” The symptoms had bothered me for literally 10 years. The doctor thinks I have exercise-induced rhinitis or exercise-induces asthma. I’m being treated now for the rhinitis with two different meds and will get screened for asthma in a couple weeks. Even though nothing is really changed since before I found out I may actually technically have something wrong with me, I’m trying hard not to let the potential label (I’m not a big fan of labels anyway) affect how I feel, how I behave, or what I do. The meds I’m not now make me sleepy, so I chose not to take them today until after the race.
Going into the race this morning, I wanted a PR because I felt there was no reason I wasn’t capable of getting one, barring something crazy happening. I set my previous PR in November of last year by running a 1:00:42. Yesterday I recalled I’d run a sub-hour 10k on a training run about a month ago. I wanted to beat that time (since I wanted to run the distance faster than I’d ever run, not just in a race setting). I thought I’d run it in 59-something, so my heart sunk a little bit when I looked up the training run and saw I’d done it in about 57:30, as it meant I’d have to do this race even faster.
We got to the finish area around 7am and took a shuttle a few minutes later to the start of the race. There were only a couple hundred people participating, so there weren’t any huge mobs at any point. When we got to the start line, I planned to do a mile warm-up, however, I had not anticipated being confined to a small area, so I ran back and forth the length of the .07-mile long holding area quite a few times, lol. It was cool at the start, which I’m not used to since I currently live in Las Vegas where the lows are in the 70s (and I run in the mid-high 80s). I don’t know what exactly the temperature was, but it felt good to be in a running skirt and tank top with a loose long sleeved shirt on top. After my warm-up, I felt a bit warm (shocking!), but kept my outer shirt on since I’d just be walking around before the start.
We all lined up, the gun went off (no chip timing), and we started running. Since it was a small race, I was only back a few seconds. In the first couple miles, most of the course was downhill and it felt great! My first two miles had splits of 8:50 and 8:29. I dumped my long sleeved shirt in a bucket at mile 1. Around 2.5 miles, Asa said he’d run ahead to the porta potty at mile 3 and catch up with me. He sped up a little bit, but I don’t think he realized he was only 20-30 feet ahead of me and running at about the same pace. This meant that by the time we got to mile 3 and he had run to the porta potty that was perpendicular to the course (not right on the roadway), I was already even with his position. I hit mile 3 in 8:48. When I got to 3.1 miles (unofficial 5k), I was at 26:59, which actually would have been a 5k PR by about a minute and a half. I smiled at this.
It is worth noting here what my husband’s strategy was. He used the porta potty and then came out not knowing if I was ahead or behind him, so he ran about a 10-minute mile for a while expecting that if I was behind him that I’d catch up. When he suspected I was ahead, he sped up to an 8-minute mile trying to find me. Unfortunately, the color of shirt I was wearing was coincidentally one of the many colors of race shirt that people had, so he caught up to multiple people who weren’t actually me. 😉
As the race went on, I realized that the entire course wasn’t downhill, as evidenced by the people I saw running above my eye line up ahead. What is weird is that I’d see people running uphill (nothing major, though) but as I was anticipating the climb and the necessity to slow my pace, and then I’d already realize I was on the incline and it really didn’t seem uphill at all so I didn’t need to slow down. The scenery along the way was beautiful; I’ll put some photos below that Asa took during the race. There are large cliffs and canyons that are red, and the dirt is literally red too. It’s such a weird color that when I first visited, it seemed like my eyes were playing tricks on me because I’m used to blah brown/tan dirt in Las Vegas, not red dirt.
Miles 4 and 5 were overall downhill, even though there were a few climbs, as mentioned above. My splits for these miles were 8:42 and 8:39. As I ran, I kept doing calculations of what I would need to get a PR. I was relieved when, with 1.5 miles to go, I had about 20 minutes to cover it. I knew I could do that, even though the course would be uphill at the end.
At almost 5.5 miles, when we finally turned off of Hwy 89 that we’d been running on the entire time, Asa’s parents were standing on the corner to watch. Shortly after turning that corner, I finally saw Asa again as he’d caught up to me. He said, “I’ve been running 8-minute miles to catch you!” My response was, “Yeah! That’s because I’ve been running 8:40-miles!” and smiled. I was still feeling okay at this point, but the course was all gradually uphill off of the Hwy 89. I was noticing my pace was slowing a little bit. Mile 6 was done in 8:53. I love to sprint at the end, but I was getting increasingly tired at this point. I was running over a 9-minute mile, which is still great for me but not as good as the rest of the race. I really just wanted to stay below 10-minutes a mile. I sped up a bit and passed a few people in the last tenth of a mile, but I don’t feel like I could have sped up any faster or sooner, likely because I pushed it so hard the whole race. I covered the last .23 (according to my Garmin) in 2:07. My official time was 54:28. I was shocked! That was over a 6-minute PR!
At the finish line, they collected all of the tabs at the bottom of our bibs after starting in the order in which we’d finished. Asa’s finished just ahead of me (in 54:27.something that rounded to 54:28). I wasn’t sure how they’d calculate our times, but they evidently had an awesome timing system. Asa and I walked around a few minutes before heading to the nearby refreshment area. Near there, we could a magnetic board on which a guy was constantly putting up business card-sized cards with results (name, age, bib, time, pace, placement in gender, and placement in age group) that people could take with them. I’ve never seen something so quick/efficient at a race of any size!
Asa placed 3rd in the male 25-29 age group, which I thought was a little funny since the same time in my age group scored a 4th place (i.e. nothing) finish. 😉 Also of note was that the 2nd and 3rd place females in my age group had both finished less than 8 seconds before me (talk about close!). I’d like to think that if I’d known they were in my age group I could have tried harder, but I don’t know if that’s the case. It still makes me wonder, though. I finished 13th out of 112 females, and I was the only one in the top 17 females who did not place in their respective age group. However, I consoled myself with the fact that I set a PR that equated to over a minute per mile.
This race was awesome! One of my favorite things about it, honestly, was the huge amount of fruit at the finish. There were large trays of watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, strawberries (with stems removed), apples, bananas, oranges, and grapes! There were also non-fruit items like muffins, but I was totally mesmerized by the fruit. I love fruit. With all of the fruit I ate, Asa said I’d regret it later, but 12 hours later, I’m happy to report that the fruit has created no unpleasant “issues.” I do eat a lot of fruit and vegetables on a regular basis, though, so I think my body’s used to it.
There were also tons on raffle items, ranging from running socks and books to a guaranteed entry to the St George Marathon to vouchers for local restaurants/hotels to iTunes gift cards to gift certificates to running stores. I didn’t win anything, but I was extremely impressed by the amount of stuff they gave away.
Also, seemingly minor, but I love the race shirt. It’s a technical shirt (which is rare, in my experience, for a small $20 race) that actually fits well! I’ll post a photo below.
In summary, it was a great experience, and it reaffirms my love of small races.
Next up will be the Ojai 2 Ocean Marathon in 3 weeks. Hoping for a PR there too!