Race: Capital City Stampede 10K
Place: Frankfort, Kentucky
Date: June 15, 2013
Welcome to the third and final race of the Frankfort Trifecta Run/Walk Series for 2013. And…it’s new. Yep…new. Prior to this, the final race was the Activate America 5 Miler. Well, that changed this year. Frankfort, Kentucky hasn’t had a 10K race since the 1980s. And I was just really excited that the miles were expanded. I love a good 10K race. It’s a fun, yet still challenging distance to run.
I won’t lie. During the week prior to this, I wasn’t on a training program, so I was just running some miles in the morning at whatever distance and pace I felt like. For much of that week, I focused on the 10K distance (6.2 miles…for you non-runners reading this), hoping to turn in a better time than my current PR, which I set at the Rodes City Run in Louisville back in March…while battling bronchitis. You might remember that blog.
But, I digress. The fact of the matter was, I was pushing myself as hard as I dared and coming up short each time. My PR of 47:40 for a 10K distance stood…and my practice runs were frustrating the hell out of me as I tried to best it. I gave in. I was running in the early morning while it was dark and humid and flat. And I just couldn’t best it. The following week I was adhering to my first week of Chicago Marathon Training, so I was content with the fact that I would just have to go into this race with a clear head and just focus on the run itself. So, marathon training began, and I was more focused on my pace, my distance, my speed work than the upcoming 10K. Although I knew it was there. I flip-flopped two training days to make them fit the schedule better. The long run of 9 miles I would have clocked on Saturday was moved to Wednesday, and my 6 mile run was bumped to Saturday, as that would be my 10K race day. It worked. It fit. I was pleased.
Fast forward to Saturday morning. My head was definitely not in the game. I had a lot going on and my mind was just not focusing on one thing. I found myself starting something that morning, then moving onto something else without finishing what I had started. Not just once…but numerous times. I had to go through a mental checklist in my head as I dressed for the race (it was going to be in the 60s that morning, so I thought a running skirt and a singlet would be perfect), got snacks, water and Gatorade together for afterwards. I had to remember to grab my banana to eat closer to race time so I wouldn’t be starving, since my breakfast would be consumed before 6 a.m. and the race was to start at 8 a.m. I had to make coffee, and got halfway through that before I started doing something else…then went back to it…then got distracted…then finally got the pot brewing…and it finished up just as my roommate was getting up for breakfast. Which, doesn’t work, as she can’t drink hot coffee but doesn’t like cold coffee. So, really, ideally, her coffee needs to be sitting out for a good 15-20 minutes in order for it to be perfect for her. I failed to do that on race morning, which is not the morning to screw that up. I finished packing my change of clothes and regular shoes, downed my breakfast, and then we hit the road.
For some reason, we underestimated the time it would take to get to Frankfort from our apartment. Which…is weird as we have made this drive so many times we could probably do it in our sleep. I had one request, and that was to stop off at the Kroger in Frankfort so that I could use the bathroom before we got to the race. We pulled into that Kroger at 7:15 a.m. I already should have been eating my banana at this point, but I hadn’t even touched it yet. Cathy dropped me off and I hurried inside to use a flushing toilet (I am a princess!), then hustled back out to the car to climb in and make our way to the new Capitol building. I started to finally eat my banana while Cathy took to noshing on one of the protein bars we brought as she drove. Except, unknown to us at the time, there was a bike race going on and we had to wait for some bikers to clear the way before we could make the turn to head toward the Capitol. Cathy was aggravated as now we were really behind, and that just stressed me out more than I already was. So…I started crying. No help, but it happened.
We finally made the turn and got the car parked. Cathy grabbed the sign and we headed down to the new Capitol building, where at the bottom of the stairs, volunteers were working Packet Pick-up and on the other side Registration for anyone who waited to sign up or just felt like running or walking that morning. The 10K race also had an offered 2 mile walk.
I went to get my packet. That was easy and stress-free. Thank goodness. Moving up the steps, I got my bib pinned on and tucked the rest of the stuff in the bag into Cathy’s clear backpack. We walked back down the steps and started to move around some to loosen up the limbs. We had less time to stretch and warmup now that we were running behind, but it didn’t mean it couldn’t get done. I noticed that Cool Comfort had their tent up and remembered that an announcement was sent out that Cool Comfort would have the Frankfort Trifecta series shirts at the race…so I went to pick mine up. They handed it over and I tucked that one into Cathy’s backpack as well.
It was then I realized I didn’t have my phone, so we made our way back to the car to retrieve it. While walking that way, I had my Garmin start looking for satellites because it sometimes takes awhile in Frankfort to locate them. By the time I retrieved my phone, I had already started crying about being so forgetful that day and then managed to calm myself down some. I was a complete mess that morning.
Doing my best to get my head where it needed to be, I began doing some of my usual stretches. I needed to let my demons go and focus on something I was passionate about. Something that always made me feel free. No matter what happened out on that course, I was just going to go out for a run. I was coming into this race as the third female overall in the open category for the entire racing series. While that did put a little bit of pressure on me, at that point, I was even thinking about that. As I said…my mind was elsewhere, and I was just going to have fun. That’s why I run anyway. If I set out to PR and run hard at every race, I would burn myself out. I get up every morning and I participate in races because I love to run. Not because I feel I need to…or because I want to lose weight…but because I want to. And I think that separates me from a lot of my peers in the running community at times.
The start time was getting close, so Cathy gave me a hug and told me to have fun. I gave her a nod, took a breath, and went to stand with the runners who were beginning to line up with the pace signs. I stood between the 6 minute mile and the 8 minute mile as I normally do. As I was standing there, Linda Word, the woman who was behind me at the Pro.Active For Life 5K, came over to talk with me. We joked about all of the speed demons who were up at the front of the start. It was just the conversation I needed to get my head where I needed to be. So, thank you, Linda. You helped without even knowing it. She said she was going to slide back further in the pace groups and I noticed that we were being shuffled forward. I inched up slowly…and could hear very, very muffled announcements going on. Then I heard the starting gun guy say something about being ready. And without any sort of notice, the starting horn went off and we runners were caught unaware and unprepared for the most part. Suddenly, I was running.
Linda was just ahead of me as we came down the hill from the Capitol building. I ran next to her for a moment and heard her say that she forgot to start her music. It didn’t seem to hurt her any though. I love running with people like Linda…because as we were making our turns and our run through the streets, she took a moment to thank the police officers who were out there diverting traffic and keeping us safe on the course. These volunteers should be thanked and I know I do it every now and again, but I should be more conscious of it. It’s a great reminder to take a moment and thank those who help make these races possible. Linda did it every chance she had. And that…is awesome.
As this was a new race distance for Frankfort…this was also a relatively new race course. There were parts of it that were definitely familiar, but much of it was different. I made it through the first mile and reminded myself to slow the pace down just a little…without sacrificing too much, because I still had a long way to go…and I know that Frankfort has these long, slow hills. I also knew that there was one massive hill at the very end of the race, and I hoped to be able to get up that without being slowed down too much.
At around Mile 2.5, the runners were able to run past the Capitol building again. This was very fun because this meant the spectators were down there cheering you on. I saw Cathy holding my sign and heard her screaming at me, “GO TWIN! YOU’RE KILLING IT! GO MY SON!” The last line there is something we joke about thanks to Jamie Oliver. Chef jokes, for the win! I breezed past, laughing now and turned onto the route that we used for the 5 mile run that this race previously did. Nice. So, with that uplifting cheering, I headed onto the long stretch of road that would eventually take us to the turn around point. We now were encountering walkers out on the 2 mile walk, which was good because a lot of them would send out words of encouragement as we ran by. And the race volunteers at the mile markers…they were awesome as well.
I hit Mile 3 at what I felt was a good pace, making some strides to pass a few people as I went along. I was feeling really good here. My pace felt nice, challenging, but not too hard. I still had half the distance to cover and I wanted to really finish strong. As I was making it down to the 4 mile mark, which was about where we would turn around and head back, I saw the race leader run past, followed by quite a few other runners. Not too far behind them was the first female, and to my surprise, it wasn’t Kendall Hayes, the 11 year-old wonder runner who bests every female in these races in Frankfort. It was someone else. Kendall was a bit further back. But as I made the turn, I realized that I was currently standing in the third place overall female position for the 10K race. Now with just 2.2 miles remaining.
Where we had to run downhill on the way to the turn around, we now had to run uphill. I passed up a guy who has been ahead of me for awhile. He said, “Good job!” as I passed. It made me smile again. I had another guy ahead of me, blaring music in his earbuds so loudly that I could hear it. He and I made it to Mile 5 around the same time. The volunteer at the station said, “Good job, Karen!” as I went by. I loved that he personalized that encouragement for me. I don’t even live in Frankfort and there they were, recognizing me as I ran through their beautiful city. I did pass the earbud-music-blaring guy on the uphill, determined that I was going to attack these hills. I made it up that one feeling strong and was directed to run down to the woman in the red shirt before we were now sent up the steepest climb in the race. Yes. At around mile 5.5. I kid you not. EVIL!
Cathy was standing near the point where we really started to hit the incline. She saw me coming and was shouting again, “GO TWIN!! YOU’RE KILLING IT! IT’S JUST A HILL…GET OVER IT!” It once again made me laugh and I picked up the pace to really attack that hill. The first small incline I managed. But that second one…that one slowed me down. It hit back. And it hit hard. My legs were tired…and they really just didn’t want to work that hard. But, I pressed on. The hill might have slowed me down, but it wasn’t going to best me. Not that day.
When I finally managed to reach the crest, I rounded the corner to run behind the Capitol building. It was a long stretch and I kept thinking that Mile 6 should be beeping in on my Garmin any moment. But it didn’t. I ran down to the volunteer who said just to head down the hill and straight on into the finish line. And as I was running, he said, “You’re a third female. Good job. Keep going!” Keep going. I had every intention to keep going.
While it was evil to make us climb a mountain (okay…a hill) so near the end of the race, at least that meant the sprint to the finish line was downhill on the other side. That more than made up for it. So, as my feet hit the pavement and I hit that final stretch, I put whatever power and energy I had into each rapid footfall and made my way toward that finish line. I could see the clock ticking and that clock wasn’t as far along in the time as I anticipated. I could hear Cathy screaming to “GO!” I could hear Ronald McDonald making donkey noises. There’s a story there…trust me. So, with that sort of motivation…it was just pushing myself to sprint into that finish line and finish strong. I did. The volunteers there stopped me at the end, and went to tear the tag on my bib off, managing to rip my entire race bib in the process. I didn’t care.
I turned around and Cathy immediately gave me a hug, telling me how I killed this race. I turned back into the mess I was at the beginning of the race and just became this blubbering fool. It was the first time I ever broke down at the end of a race at the finish line. And at a 10K of all things. Cathy moved me to the side and told me to go and grab some water. So, I did that. And felt better. We started walking, moving up the hill that runners were climbing to round the Capitol and make their way to the finish. We shouted some encouragement to them as we walked around. We paused to get my victory shot in front of a beautiful backdrop of flowers and water…which was awesome. Then I retrieved my Gatorade from the cooler in her backpack and began my post-race nutrition plan as it has been laid out for me. It was a rather warm morning, and I needed to rehydrate from running that race. Hydration is key to recovery and I’m all about bouncing back quickly.
As I sipped on my Gatorade, we decided to make our way back down toward the recovery area. Runners were still streaming up the hill, so we shouted more words of encouragement to them, letting them know it was all downhill from there. I don’t know if we helped any. When we came back to the recovery area, I went to grab a couple of waters because we were going to go settle in on the steps for a little bit and wait for the awards. While sitting, we had our snack that we packed…Cathy a Luna Bar and for me a thinkThin bar of delicious awesomeness. We munched and drank some water. Then I got up and did a few stretches…high kicks…and then settled back down in the shade. While we were waiting, another runner headed up the steps carrying a pint glass saying that they got it for running in the entire Trifecta. So, I went down to the table and retrieved mine. It was a beautiful glass, actually. After posing with it for a moment, Cathy rolled it up in my race shirt and tucked it into her backpack.
It took about 40 more minutes before results started to get posted at the Packet Pick-Up Tent. But soon, the papers were being taped down. I hopped up to go and check on my placement. And…BAM…confirmed…third female to finish the race. Awesome!! I was thrilled. My chip time didn’t register, however, so my finishing time was based solely on gun time…which sucks because it took me a few seconds to get across that start line. But this isn’t the first race this has happened on. They had the sensors pointed one way for walkers, but runners started coming in at the same time and they didn’t have time to flip them the other way for the runners, apparently, so some have chip time…most are just off gun time. I’d say there is something to fix for next year’s race. Still, I had a new PR…I was third overall…and I was at least third female in the open women’s category for the entire racing series. That’s simply amazing. Afterwards, I found Linda sitting with the Cool Comfort running group. She introduced me to everyone and they commented on how some of their race bibs got shredded just like mine. I made a joke about having a Velociraptor jump out on the course at me and they all got a kick out of it.
After a rather long wait…the awards ceremony finally got underway. Cathy and I moved off the stairs to stand with the other runners who were waiting around. They did the awards for the Capital City Stampede 10K first. And they started with the overall men’s winners. It was the same rogues gallery from the previous races…in the same order, I think. We had a new female winner at the 10K race…an Erin Harper, who apparently runs trail marathons and ultras too. Kendall was 2nd. And I was called for third female overall. Awesome. I received this beautiful plaque which is already hanging on the wall. We all stayed and cheered for the age division winners and were told that the Trifecta awards would be handed out soon.
Soon took a little longer than expected. In fact, the tents and booths at the finish area were being broken down by the time the microphone was back in hand and the trophies for the entire Frankfort Trifecta were going to be given out. They decided to start with the Trifecta Overall Female…and the winner for the women was Kendall Hayes. That brilliant little 11-year-old girl. She’s going to go to the Olympics one day…and I’m going to be able to say…”I ran with her!”
However, this put a big surprise on me because they moved on to the Open Women’s Division for the entire Frankfort Trifecta…and first place was…ME! Yes. They called my name and I stood their stupidly for a moment because I wasn’t expecting that. But sure enough…me. I finally moved to retrieve my beautiful trophy, a rearing horse that has a clock built into it. Gorgeous. I was in shock. I couldn’t believe it.
Afterwards, once all the awards were handed out…Cathy and I went to find the Trifecta 2nd and 3rd women open winners and take pictures. They were in the group of runners I chatted with before the Stampede awards. Very nice women, all of them. Very talented runners too. And with everything wrapping up…it was time to head back to Louisville.
So…the official results of the Capital City Stampede 10K are that I finished with a new 10K PR of 45:31. WOOHOO!! That means I took a full 2 minutes off my previous 10K time. NICE! I was 20/287 finishers of the 10K run overall. And, I was the 3rd female finisher overall for that race. Awesome.
Moving on to the Frankfort Trifecta series itself…I was the winner of the 2013 Trifecta Women’s Open Division. Which is…awesome. They stated my time when I went up for my award…but I don’t remember it. I’ll post the cumulative time whenever that gets posted on the site. For now…I am just really proud of myself for pushing myself in this series and accomplishing a lot. I improved by leaps and bounds from the previous year and am very, very proud of this.
I am already looking forward to taking part in this series once again…next year. Frankfort is one of my favorite places to run. It does involve a bit of a drive, but the crowds, the other runners, and the atmosphere always make the journey worth it.
Thank you, Frankfort…for giving me the race I needed on Saturday. You helped me more than you can even imagine.