The KDF Ambassadors that found me – Chris, Melissa, Me, Leah!
Race: Rodes City Run 10K
Place: Louisville, Kentucky
Date: March 18, 2017
Welcome to the second (and, sadly, my last) race of the Louisville Triple Crown of Running. The Rodes City Run 10K! I had managed to get the okay from my physical therapist to boost myself up to 6 miles 2 weeks following the Anthem 4.7K (HAHA. I’m still bitter). So, the weekend in between I made sure to get in 5 easy miles at the Falls of the Ohio with the Norton Sports Health Training Group. All the high-fives I got from my friends and strangers that day pretty much made it one of my most epic runs ever.
I don’t think I stopped smiling. And…as we all know from photos…I have a big smile!
So, with permission to tackle Rodes as long as I took it easy and didn’t “pull an Anthem” and run it really fast, I immediately contacted my training partner, Matthew, and talked him into joining me with the intention that he would help keep my pace in check. He agreed, and we signed up (I got in before the discount deadline). Locked in. Ready to run.
My plan for this run was to keep it between an 8:20-8:40 pace. Matthew figured we’d average more on the 8:40 scheme of things…and I was okay with that. Keep in mind…it is very hard for me to participate in a race and NOT actually race it. But…remember…the goal is thinking long-term and I have some stuff coming up in the future that I’d like to be in peak condition for.
We made plans to meet up at the McDonalds on W Broadway (where the #KDFMarathon Ambassadors were meeting for the group photo(s)). And, just like that…Rodes was a go to RUN…NOT RACE.
So, on Friday, I ate an early dinner at work (the closest thing I had to pizza was my Mama Mia Quinoa) before heading over the river to do a couple of things…but first and foremost…I was picking up my race packet. I was actually honored (and freaked out) to be the recipient of one of the seeded bibs in the top 200…which gives you the option of starting near the front of the race itself. Like…elite-type-shit. I was BIB 43. Really, they do base this seeding off of not just race times, but also the times you have completed the Rodes City Run in the past. I’ve done this race 3 times prior to this one, I believe. So, don’t go thinking I’ve actually achieved some overnight elite status. It’s a nice compliment and benefit that the race offers, and if I were in better shape and condition this year going into it, I might have even risked the closer-to-the-start-line start.
I did a little cooking that night before running through my PT exercises and stretches, foam rolling, and calling it a night. I had to get up fairly early to fit in all the necessary PT stuff the day of the race (it honestly takes close to 2 hours sometimes, but it’s necessary to keep me out there and I try not to whine or complain about it…too much). The weather was crazy that day. It was really warm out when I went to do my dynamic warmup and stretches. I had been expecting cooler temps and overdressed. I was dying. But I didn’t have much time to mess around with, so I just sweat it out and went inside to change into clothes for the race. I opted for a short sleeve shirt with shorts instead of capris. And since my running shorts are a bit unflattering at the moment…I tossed on one of my fun Sparkle Skirts as well. Hey…since my KDF Race Ambassador shirt is part of the uniform right now, I work around that. And it’s not my normal bright, vibrant colors. Sparkle Skirts help with this. HA!
I ate a light breakfast, grabbed a banana to eat 30 minutes before the race, packed up clothes to change into, and tossed on a pair of arm-warmers into Cathy’s race backpack…just in case. It was so warm out when I was warming up, I figured I wouldn’t need them. I threw on a hoodie and we headed down to the car.
SO glad that I opted for the hoodie. My mild morning and turned a bit chilly and with the wind that kicked up…it was near the point of me being cold. Already. I even commented that I should go back up and put the capris back on, but there simply wasn’t enough time for that. I was locked into the shorts.
My Power Nap game is STRONG!
We made the ride over to Louisville and managed to easily get parked near The Brown Hotel. Easy in and easy parking on a ramp. We backed in to make our exit plan a bit easier to manage too. But…we were about 20 minutes early and I wasn’t about to get out in the cold now and wait around. So, I did what I love to do on race mornings…
I took a nap.
This is not an exaggeration or a joke. I find these little power naps, pre-race, to be just what this body needs at times. So, I had the time and took full advantage. Until the 7:40 am meetup time was approaching and I knew I needed to eat my banana and get to the meeting spot. As I had a big mug of tea before breakfast that morning, I made a quick (and unusual because…princess) stop at the port-o-potties just outside the parking garage before continuing on to the McDonald’s meeting spot.
Just as the sign was in view, I received a text from Leah, one of my fellow ambassadors. She said she couldn’t find anyone else and I told her I was like…1 minute away. I found her…then Matthew found me…and then Melissa (let’s face it…we all know Melissa now!) texted to say that she and Paul were parking and on the way and they’d walk as fast as they could. This was probably the least-organized meet-up we’d had this entire time…and it shows by the smattering of photos of random KDF Marathon Ambassadors pre-race. I managed to get into the grouping of Chris, Melissa, and Leah. So…we have that.
Race start was inching closer and Matthew and I wanted to go find a spot to line up. BTW…funniest bit of this entire thing was that Matthew registered late (it’s a tradition of sorts, I guess, HA!) and was issued a WALKER big. So…he went to packet pickup and they sent him over to services to get it fixed and their “fix” was simply ripping the green sticker that said WALKER off of it. I joked that with me having to dial it back and wearing a seeded bib…and him in a WALKER big…we’re a complete mess and will confuse the hell out of them. Seriously…I this amused me WAY too much. We maneuvered through the sea of people to a spot near the middle of the front of the middle-of-the-pack group (with a smattering of walkers). No sooner had we done that…the whistle sounded (we barely heard it) and the wheelchair racers were off. The caution tape was rolled up and the runners moved ahead.
And soon…we were joining them.
Chris & Cathy with the sign! This photo was in the Louisville Voice Tribune!
We started off at a really easy pace. I pointed out Cathy ahead waiving the sign and gave a wave as we passed. The photographers captured me pointing. No joke. And then we just sort of settled in. I think at one point, Matthew asked, “Am I holding your pace back too much?” And I replied with…”Let’s pick it up a little.”
This is how the rest of it played out…
Just as we’re starting through our first mile, Matthew (aka: Eagle Eyes), spotted our friend Michael, and gave a shout-out. Michael pointed out that his wife, Laura, was just ahead in the pink and white and we should say HI. So, we picked it up and scooted up there. Laura was focused and we kept our greetings short before continuing on. The pace felt good to me…and as we were moving through the pack of runners, Matthew said, “I think that’s Tammy’s ponytail.” Sure enough…Tammy was just ahead…so we pushed up to say hey to her. She pointed out that we were definitely above the pace I had said I told my physical therapist I would run Rodes in…
The Chik-Fil-A cows got in on the sign action too!
…And she was right. As we moved ahead we hit Mile 1 and the digital clock said 7:54 at the mile. We decided to ease back. We thought. Well, I mean we did ease back in theory. We slacked up a bit, but when people are running with you in a giant mass, you sort of just…go with the flow. When talking became hard, Matthew would remind me that we needed to ease off the gas…and we did…until we didn’t any longer. Mile 2 was even faster than Mile 1…averaging around a 7:49 pace. I didn’t realize this at the time though. Matthew and I were just focusing on the long road ahead of us at this point. Four more to go…and thankfully most of this mile leading to 3…was a nice downhill.
I love downhill. It is my favorite speed. HA! I felt like I had backed off again, and that was what I was supposed to be doing, so…that’s good, right? I cruised down the hills and tried not to push myself too much on the inclines. After all, I had just been cleared to start in on hills again. So…there was that. But, it’s like I said…it’s hard for me not to race when I’m in a race. I go into these things with the mindset of having fun. I don’t ever set time goals; nor do I look at my pace or my watch.
But when we hit the marker for Mile 3, I glanced down and said, “Um…we just did a 7:28 mile.”
And so…we truly made an effort to back it down once more. And by that I mean we slowed it down. We had some nice climbs, which I said were downhill at one point and that had Matthew teasing me about my directional skills for the rest of that mile. But, it did feel like a downhill to me. We might have been going up, but my effort wasn’t. I felt relaxed, and it felt EASY!
The remainder of the race we actually averaged a 7:52 for miles 4-6. As we came back onto Broadway to run back to the finish line, And it was just shortly after this turn, where I can see, all the way in the distance, the inflatable that arched over the finish line…that I hear from behind me…
“Well, you don’t look like you’re limping.”
Totally busted on my speedy 10K that was not supposed to be this speedy. It was my physical therapist. He came up beside me. I introduced him to Matthew. He asked me if the hip was feeling good. I told him I had no problems. He fist-bumped me…and ran on ahead.
Matthew & I bringing it home at the finish line!
I just about died. What is the likelihood of that happening…for real? We hit Mile 6 and were in are less-than-quarter-mile finish. So, we picked it up a little and crossed the finish line in under 50 minutes. Slower than last year. Slower than the year I had bronchitis. But…I would like to think, if I hadn’t kept backing off the pace, I could have had a great run there. Not a PR…it’s going to take a miracle to break that…but I’d like to better my Rodes time in the near future.
Overall…I felt good before the race…I felt fantastic during the race…and I felt amazing after the race. There are so many times where I feel like I’ve lost speed or fitness…and then something like this happens, where I don’t come near a PR…but I feel good the entire time, and I feel like I could give more…but under orders to dial it back…and I just surprise myself and realize maybe I haven’t lost that much after all.
So…the official results of the Rodes City Run 10K are that I finished in 48:40. Not even attempting to set a PR…so not even comparing. Just loving how easy this speed felt for me and how I finished with fuel in the tank. I’m getting it back This race helped prove that. I was 421/4246 finishers overall. I was the 75/2391 for women finishers. And I was 17/358 in my age division. I’m really happy with this. Even more so because I know what I am capable of and that I am actually capable of more. I am so glad that I decided to run this race. Even if my initial intention was to keep it between a 8:20-8:40 pace, and in the end…I averaged around a 7:50. I know that part of what helped me out was having a friend running with me, to keep me focused on anything other than the race itself. This race made me feel confident again. It was just what I needed.
My friend and fellow ambassador, Amy, after the race. We were totally twinning!
Matthew and I after we finished Rodes City Run 10K
Maybe next year I can aim for a goal to beat my best Rodes City Run 10K time. Or, if I’m feeling really good about things…try to set that new 10K PR. But for now, I’ll relish the fact that I’m back…and I’m getting stronger.
Following the race, Cathy and I had every intention of getting coffee and eating protein bars for breakfast…but we detoured and hit up North End Cafe where I enjoyed coffee, a gluten-free pancake and a side of fruit. Then…we got macarons from Annie May’s Sweet Cafe.
And life was good.
Just as it should be.
Like it never changed.
I’m still smiling.
North End Cafe’s Gluten-Free Pancake, side of fruit, and coffee! Perfect reward for a good race day!