Several years ago I learned that there was a running club at work, so I joined the email list. Aside from running on one of the corporate teams for the Brooksie Way Half Marathon a few years ago, I haven’t really participated. When I received the initial email about this year’s upcoming Corporate Cup Relays, I was definitely interested. I had been interested in the past, but always had something else going on that day. This year, I decided to make it a priority. I have to admit that aside from representing GM, one of the biggest draws was the cool Chevy Running Club shirt!
The Corporate Cup Relays started back in 1987 and take place at Southfield Lathrup High School in Lathrup Village, MI. This year’s event occurred on Saturday, June 20. The event includes 5K and 10K road races, a 5K walk, field events (like long jump, high jump and shot put), and track relays. Teams are divided into three divisions based on the size of the company. Division I includes companies with 10,000 employees or more (GM, Ford, and FCA – formerly known as Chrysler), Division II ranges from 1,000-10,000 people (Autoliv, Valassis, Shinola, and ThyssenKrupp), and Division III has less than 1,000 people (AVL, Nissan, Takata). Teams also raise money for charities, which included the Dearborn Animal Shelter and the Special Olympics.
I have been able to improve my 5K and half marathon times by quite a bit over the years, but my best 10K time was from back in 2011. I rarely race the distance and it’s always kind of tortured me. Maybe that’s because I’ve never specifically targeted my training for a 10K. I decided to sign up for the Corporate Cup’s 10K road race to see if I could finally reach my potential and improve my time. After the Glass City Half Marathon on April 26, I had about eight weeks to prepare for this race.
Based on my time at Glass City and my 5K PR, Greg McMillan’s calculator said I should be capable of running a 7:12 pace for a 10K. McMillan’s calculator has been incredibly accurate for me when I train appropriately. I wasn’t sure what kind of workouts I should do, so I searched for 10K training plans and found McMillan’s eight-week plan. I was worried that it might be a bit ambitious for me, but I wanted to give it a shot. I didn’t follow the plan 100% since I needed to ease back into training after the half marathon, plus I threw in another 10K race a couple weeks before the Corporate Cup. I stuck to the plan for the most part though. When I successfully pulled off some of the harder workouts at 10K pace, it gave my confidence a huge boost. Maybe I could master the 10K after all!
Despite running some solid workouts, I was still pretty nervous about actually pulling it off on race day. The 10K was the first event of the day, starting at 7:45. It was a beautiful morning and the course was flat, so I hoped for the best. I knew I should be able to improve my 10K time, and I also aimed to place first in my age group. The scoring for the Corporate Cup’s 10K is based on age and gender, so the goal was to rack up age group wins. Other events included all divisions, but the 10K was just for Division I – GM (Chevy), Ford, and FCA. Between the three companies, 151 people participated. I was lucky that Matt was willing to come out and take photos during the 10K, and he got some awesome action shots.
The 10K started and finished on the track, with neighborhood roads making up the majority of the course.
It was fun to see a bunch of people I knew from work and talk about running with them. I’m sure many of us hadn’t realized before that we shared a love for running. It was also fun to encourage people in Chevy/GM shirts out on the course since we were pulling for each other as a team. Lathrup Village was a great place to run, with peaceful neighborhood roads and nice houses for distraction.
Enough people ran this race to always have someone fairly close by. That always helps keep me going. When my pace slowed down by the third mile, I worried that I was starting to fall apart. I sped back up though, and I felt pretty good the whole time. In the past, I’ve almost always felt miserable when I’ve raced 10Ks. Running 10K-specific workouts during training sure made a big difference. By the time I hit the track for the final 300 meters, I was feeling pretty drained, but I still had enough energy for a final push.
I had no idea how I had placed, but I knew I had a new PR! My official time was 45:16, shaving over 30 seconds off my time from my “practice” 10K on a difficult Mackinac Island course a couple weeks earlier, and nearly a minute and a half off my 2011 PR.
McMillan’s calculator had estimated that I was capable of a 7:12 pace, and I hit 7:13 – pretty close! Someone gave out small cartons of chocolate milk as we exited the track, and the GM tent had bagels, cookies, and some other snacks.
I went back to the track to cheer for teammates and took a few cell phone photos. It was definitely a friendly and supportive environment.
I couldn’t resist taking a picture of this Chrysler dog prior to the 5K.
Some of the 10K runners also participated in the 5K, but I gave everything I had and was done for the day. I enjoyed watching the start of the 5K run.
The 5K walk began five minutes later. It’s always fun to see the truly competitive walkers, who somehow manage to walk a 5K faster than many can run one. The GM guy in the front of the following photo won with a time of 22:18!
I stuck around long enough to see the first 5K runners finish, but left soon after. Although it would have been fun to watch the other events, the track events didn’t start until noon and were scheduled to run until 4:00.
A few days later I found out I was the 5th female overall and had placed first in my age group! That helped my team, who wanted three first place age group finishes for the women. Although the Chevy team had three top women, Ford did as well. Ford’s fastest woman placed 7th while Chevy’s was 18th, so Ford took the win in the 10K Women category.
Ford took the overall win for Division I in the Corporate Cup, and Chevy placed second. I really enjoyed this race and the whole experience, and hope to participate again in the future.
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