Like most of my recent races, I chose to run the AdvoKate 10K at the last minute. Earlier in the week, I thought about how I had 8 miles to run at marathon pace and I would probably run those miles on the Paint Creek Trail. I realized the AdvoKate race would use the trail for part of the course, so why not just run the race? The race environment would certainly help me hit the pace. It’s a race that Matt and I have considered running for several years now, but it never worked out. We either had something else going on, or we opted not to do it based on hot/humid weather. The weather was due to be perfect this year, so Matt and I decided to sign up.
This was the 7th year for the AdvoKate run, which raises money for St. Jude’s in honor of Kate Hrischuk, a 6-year-old who lost her battle against a tumor in her brain stem. We were happy to support this great cause. Packet pickup and new registrations took place the day before the race at Runnin’ Gear, so I went there to sign up. The packet included a cotton t-shirt, as well as a thin Gatorade towel. I’ve never received a towel in my packet, so that was something new and cool.
The weather was perfect the morning of the race – in the low 60s and clear. The race began in Rochester Municipal Park, which is an easy jog from where we live. With 8 miles on my schedule, Matt and I chose to run down to the park, allowing me to get 1.8 miles in before the race. We got there with about 15 minutes to spare and found a pretty large crowd scattered throughout the park. Around 600 people took part in the race.
The 5K and 10K started at the same time. We lined up at the front, just behind a big group of kids. As I’ve learned from past races, the younger kids tend to have a major burst of energy at the start that fades pretty quickly. Sure enough, it wasn’t long before I was trying to navigate around a group that was probably 8-wide across the street. It was awesome to see so many kids taking part in the race, and hopefully they saved some of their energy for later in the race! As the course took us out of the park, the hilly climb began.
There are some pretty good hills on this route for a couple miles, followed by a large downhill drop on the way to the Paint Creek Trail. At that point, the 5K runners headed back towards the park while the 10K runners ran up the trail in the opposite direction. My goal was to use this race to hit my marathon pace and not race it all out. I knew I’d probably go faster than marathon pace (8:13), so I figured I should aim for an 8-minute pace. No such luck – I definitely went faster than I should have.
I was pretty consistent, but unfortunately that meant I was consistently too fast! I knew I’d struggle to keep myself disciplined.
I enjoyed the trail portion of the race because as the leaders hit the turnaround point, we got to see them coming back down the trail. It was fun to root for people, and Matt and I exchanged a high-five as he came by. I liked watching out for the people I knew, and it made for a good distraction.
As my splits show above, I ended up with 6.16 for my total distance. I ran about 20 seconds slower than my 10K PR pace, and I’m not sure I could have gone a whole lot faster if I had tried. My time was good enough to earn me a second place finish in my age group! Matt did great and won his age group.
There was a great variety of food in the pavilion area after the race. Bananas, donut holes, mini cookies, bags of mini muffins, bagels, and Clif granola bars. I think I definitely made up for all of the calories I’d just burned! Matt and I met our Twitter friend Laura (see her blog The Rum Runner), and caught up with some old friends as well.
Everyone gathered around the pavilion for the announcement of the overall race winners. Prizes were not awarded in age groups, but they had a TON of raffle prizes. I’d been hoping we’d win a prize from Rockin’ Cupcakes or Cookies By Design, but no such luck.
After catching up with friends, we took a nice walk through the park and back up the trail towards home.
We had a great experience with this race and would definitely run it again. My only concern is that pushing my pace may make my 16-mile run tomorrow pretty rough!