Sunday, June 30, 2013

We took on the challenge... and we conquered it!

Pre-race pic of Jessica and me... cool as cucumbers!

This weekend has been a fun one!  My friend, Jessica, came up from Little Rock and visited us for a couple of nights.  We ran a 10k together (my first).  It was the Cancer Challenge 10k in Bentonville.  Although I swore to myself and a few lucky people who got to listen that I'd never train for and run a race in the middle of summer again, the actual race weather turned out as perfect as we could hope and it was a fun event for a good cause. 

I don't know Bentonville that well, but the parts I have been in have been relatively flat.  That being said, the course for this race hillier than I expected.  But I still made it... though at times I did ask myself why I was doing this!  (I think I do this at every race.)  My fastest pace before this race was 9:50/mile at the Hogeye Marathon Relay, so I was hoping to do that or better.  I ended up really surprising myself and going faster than expected.  I ran a 9:00/mile which I never thought I'd do!  I finished 10th in my age group, which I was pleased with. 

But the group of people running in this race were very fast!  The overall winner in this race ran a 5:21/mile.  Can you imagine?!  The person who finished in the middle of the 256 runners (so finisher #128) ran a 9:29/mile.  That is FAST people!  It was crazy.  I think this group of people were the most serious 10kers ever.  Regardless, it was fun.  After we finished running, they had a nice station set up at the finish line with water, Gatorade, Redbull, cold towels to put around your neck, and every kind of fruit you can imagine.  Then, at the pavilion where they had the medals ceremony, they had all kinds of free goodies: cookies, rice krispie treats, slim jims, cheese sticks, crunch n' munch, juice, water, delicious smoothies, etc.  Jessica and I hung out a little too long before heading over there, though, so most of that stuff was already gone.  But we still got a few things.  

It was one of the nicest races I've been to in terms of the goodie bag you get for registering (it had a nice freezer bag you can put stuff in to transport from the grocery store to your home or elsewhere; a t-shirt; a hat; lots of snacks and candies; and miscellaneous samples of antacids, band-aids, neon masking tape, etc.), as well as all the freebies at the race.  Although it took us a while to find out how to get there with so many roads blocked off, it was pretty well organized once it got started, with 4 water stations (for a 6.2 mile race) and signs at every mile you go and every turn you have to take.  Overall, it was a fun experience and I would recommend this 10k to anyone interested in running one next year.          

Post-race sweaty pic with Strike, the Naturals' mascot

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