Sunday, November 1, 2015

Perfect 10 Miler (2015), or "my first tattoo"

Loving the new Sparkle Skirt!
Hanging with Girls on the Run -- a fabulous organization

The Perfect 10 Miler has become my favorite race of the year, despite last year's troubles. Anne invited me to be part of the Girls on the Run team, which meant a tent to hang out in before and after the race (and to store my sweatshirt during the race), a private port-a-pot, and a team tattoo. Unfortunately I did not get a picture of the team tattoo and it has since washed off.

Are you still following me? ;)

I love this race for many reason. 
1) The 10 mile distance is a stretch, but not as big a stretch as half-marathon. 
2) It is local -- only 15 minutes from my house with traffic, which makes packet pick up easy, well normally it does. This year I had a family funeral which took me to Indiana, PA during packet pick up hours, but that is another story.
3) It is women's only -- the girl power is awesome!
4) Many of my friends run this event, so I have on course cheerleaders.
5) The swag fits.
6) The medals are awesome!

Okay, I could go on, but then this race report would not say anything I have not enthused about in the 2013 race report, either.

Hanging with Michelle and Kim pre-race
Before, during, and after the race I bumped into friends. That is always cool!

That's a lot of women!
The race is billed as the nation's largest all-women 10-miler. That sounds scary, but in the end, there were only about 1500 women running. That's not so scary. It is not a quiet, local race, but it is not Disney or Broad Street scary (those races have over 30,000 each). 

There were a few changes this year. The first is that the start line and finish line returned to being one and the same. Last year they were separate and the start line was a challenge to navigate. I felt we were corralled better at the start.

The next change was the course. I'm not happy about this change. I am glad we did not cross the grass median to go to the other side of the road. Instead we went out of the park and onto real roads (instead of park roads). I suppose this meant the park's roads could open up faster. One of the perks that comes with race fees is having a safe place to run. I didn't feel that same level of safety being on real roads for about two miles. While out on the street, someone commented the race advertised lots of music on the course, and I remember maybe one official band and a couple of individuals doing it for fun.

Another change was the elimination of the 5K option, which was replaced with "teams." Each team member ran for five miles and swapped in the Mercer County Community College parking lot. That seemed well organized as people were lined up by bib number. It also seemed hugely popular. I felt bad for telling people they could do the 5K option only to learn there was no such animal.

The final change of note was that the food was not nearly as good this year. The other two years they fed us lunch (which was hard to eat with plasticware). This time they gave us a bag with a banana, chocolate chip cookies, and something else too carb-y for my system to handle. I was looking forward to the finish line buffet of the past.

Back to the course...around the three mile mark we headed into Mercer County College's campus. This part was the same as in the past, with the addition of the team swap at the five mile mark.

It started to rain at the one hour mark -- or for me at the half-way point of the race. Looking at my times, I had an awesome first half with an 11-minute pace (awesome for me that is). The second half I walked a lot more, I was cold, and just wanted to get warm. By the 9.7 mark (mind you, this was a 10 mile race). I was done. I was getting the chills and wanted a blankie and the hot tea waiting for me in the car. Of course, I finished the race because the finish line was between me and the car.

At a couple of points I saw my running buddy, Sharon. She was about 10 minutes behind me. Sharon said she might need a ride home because the friend who took her there might DNS or DNF due to illness. I waited for her, Michelle, and Kim at the finish line, but did not see them. After 45 minutes I decided to go home and get warm. Fortunately the rain was fairly short-lived, but I was still cold.

I finished 1:56:54 -- about 3 minutes faster than in 2013, which was my goal.

Bumped into Gabrielle at the finish!

Happily my sweatshirt was waiting for me at the finish.

Love this year's color!

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