Dave’s 10-Miler Race Recap

Dave’s Running comes up with great race shirts. This shirt may be a new favorite of mine!

I don’t race very often during the winter because the weather can be so iffy. I’d rather not risk signing up for something then worry about possibly racing on an icy surface. I run outside all winter long but I’m usually pretty selective about choosing places where I can be sure I’ll have enough traction. Despite all of that, I still put winter races on my calendar so they’re on my radar just in case the weather looks promising.

I’ve considered running Dave’s 10-Miler in the Toledo, OH area for years but have never made it to the race. I had 11 miles on my training schedule for the day and knew that my friend Lisa had signed up so it seemed especially appealing this year. I checked the forecast a week before the race and it looked clear enough for me to finally go for it. So…of course the forecast changed.

It was dry at home when I woke up on race day – Sunday, January 22. The snow had started by the time I left though. It was supposed to be a two-hour drive in good conditions and I started to worry as my phone’s predicted arrival time kept creeping later. I planned to go to Lisa’s house first since she lives along the way and I didn’t want to make her late too. I got to her about 15 minutes later than planned and fortunately it all worked out, but the roads got a bit sloppy and driving was a little stressful at times. It reminded me why I usually don’t race in the winter – especially two hours away!

We both like to get to races at least an hour early so we have plenty of time. We had 45 minutes this time and realized we would still be totally fine. We just wouldn’t have any extra time to kill! A middle school was the home base for the race and parking around the school had already filled up so we had a short hike through the snow from a farther parking lot. It was a major bonus that we had access to the school where we could stay warm and use real restrooms instead of cold porta potties. Surprisingly there was no wait, then we got through the packet pickup process quickly as well.

A place to stay warm before the race

Then it was time to jog back to the car with our stuff and decide how to gear up for the race. I had brought a whole variety of options since I didn’t know what the course conditions may be like or if it would still be snowing. It WAS still snowing, but at least in Delta, OH the roads were mostly wet. I didn’t want to use spikes on clear pavement, but if there could be snow in spots, I thought trail shoes might be the best option for a little extra grip. I hoped a water-resistant jacket paired with a hat to keep snow out of my eyes would work as well.

We jogged back to the school then headed out to the starting line. I still had just enough time to spare to get an extra half mile in to warm up. The race is billed as Dave’s 10-Miler and Yeti 10K so we had to grab a photo with the yeti before we started.

Posing with the yeti
The snowy scenery by the starting line
Lisa and I starting the race with the yeti close behind

I didn’t have any specific goals for this race since I’ve been training for distance rather than pace lately. I’m several weeks into my latest marathon training plan and other than a couple sessions of running fast intervals for a minute at a time, I haven’t run any speedy workouts. I thought it would be nice if I could at least pull off 10 miles at marathon pace. That would be around an 8:00 pace and a 1:20:00 finish. A workout at that pace for that kind of distance is still about seven weeks away in my plan though so I didn’t know if it could be a little ambitious. I’d just get out there and see what happened!

Part of the course prior to the runners going through

Fortunately the snow wasn’t heavy enough to accumulate on the race course but it did blow in our faces for most of the race. I was thankful that the surface was fine though. There were a few spots with a little bit of slush and that was mostly avoidable. It DID look really pretty out on the country roads. It was a nice, flat course other than the four times we hit overpasses that took us over the highway.

I was a little fast for the first mile with a 7:33 split, then I ended up in the 7:40s for several miles. I was running by feel with an uptempo effort that I hoped would be sustainable for 10 miles. I slowed down to the 7:50s after the halfway point and really felt like I wanted to be done by the time I hit eight miles. Aside from the pace being a challenge, my shoes became an issue. Trail shoes weren’t really ideal since the road was pretty clear. I have really struggled to find the perfect trail shoe. I have some that are stiff which work great when 100% on the run is on trails with rocks and uneven surfaces. However, half the time I run on pavement for part of the run so I prefer a pair that is a little more flexible and versatile. The pair I wore worked for part of the run but eventually they started to rub my arches and it got pretty annoying.

I’m not in this photo, but this is what it looked like along the course

I managed to tough it out and kept hanging on, even picking up the pace a little bit for the last mile. Thanks to Dave’s Running for providing race photos!

A strong finish

I finished a couple minutes under 1:20:00 so that was a bonus!

My Garmin stats

My official time was 1:18:00 and I like that I actually finished on the dot with the even number. I ran a PR for 10 miles during the summer and this was four minutes slower than that but I was also more prepared for speed at that point. I’m definitely happy with the results of this race. I haven’t run that fast in quite a while, and to do so with snow blowing in my face and shoes that bothered me is a win.

The official results

I glanced at my watch when I hit the mile splits but I didn’t really try to speed up or slow down to any particular pace. Here’s how my splits played out:

My Garmin splits

After taking a minute to recover, I started walking back to the finish line to see if I could catch Lisa. I barely had time to get my phone ready for photos before she came through!

Lisa approaching the finish

Neither of us scored an age group award but both of us were happy with our times. When I looked at the results later I realized that the next couple closest women in our age group finished six minutes before me and we didn’t stand a chance against them!

I got a turkey sandwich and some chicken noodle soup which we were able to eat in the school’s cafeteria. Soup was definitely an appropriate choice after running in the snow.

Post-race treats

I really dreaded going back out into the cold to get to the car. We tried to jog to get there faster but my shoes continued to rub my arches and I couldn’t run anymore. We just had to swap to some dry clothes and crank the heat for a few minutes so I could get some color back in my hands.

Such a fun medal

I was thankful that the drive home was MUCH better than the drive there. In the end, it was a pretty fun day. I’m glad Lisa had also committed to the race because if I had planned on doing it alone there’s a possibility I would have bailed due to the weather. That’s one of the quirky draws about this race though – the weather is almost always unpredictable! It was a bit of a hike to drive a couple hours but Dave’s does a great job with their races. The shirt and medal featuring the yeti were especially cool. It really was a bargain to get the post-race snacks, cool swag, and a 10-mile race for $40…especially since I waited until the week before to sign up. It was nice to finally push my pace again and see that I have some speed in me. Most of all, it was great having a chance to catch up with Lisa and hang out for the day.

– Janet

Follow me on Instagram @janetboltz and Twitter @reidphotography


2022 Recap

A photo from each of the 12 races I did in 2022

As I reflect back on 2022, I realize that I had a pretty solid year of racing. Many of the events I participated in were running races but I mixed in a couple of triathlons and a 5K swim as well. Here’s a look at how the year played out in terms of my race schedule:

All of the races I did in 2022

I ran three 5Ks in 2022 and although it’s my least favorite distance, I should probably reevaluate that opinion based on how well I did. I always feel like 5Ks are torturous because I don’t run that fast of a pace very often during training. It seems kind of backward that I feel more comfortable racing 13 or 26 miles than I do running three! I was awarded with a membership to the Toledo Zoo for a year when I was the female masters winner of the Dart Frog Dash 5K in May. I did a 5K/10K double in July and was the female winner for the duo challenge at the Atwood Races in Flint. I gave the 5K one last shot on Thanksgiving and won my age group. Maybe I ought to actually train for 5K speed and try to enjoy the distance a bit more since I tend to place pretty well!

I managed to collect two new PRs this year – one for the 10-mile distance at Crim where I shaved nearly two minutes off my previous best time, and one for the half marathon where I improved by 50 seconds at Rock CF. It took seven years to improve my half marathon time so I was pretty thrilled.

Banging the gong for a half marathon PR at Rock CF and ringing the PR bell at the Crim 10-Mile race

I returned to the Boston Marathon for my second time in April and had a blast. It truly is a runner’s paradise. It’s an amazing experience getting to run that legendary course while feeding off the incredible energy of the spectators nearly the whole time. On top of that, I attended so many great panels and events in the days leading up to the race. I was able to see three of my favorite athletes speak – all Olympians, and two of whom have won Boston in the past.

Meeting my heroes – Meb Keflezighi, Des Linden, and Melissa Stockwell

I ran a much better race this time than I did in 2019 and managed to get a Boston-qualifying time at Boston! I also got to hang out with some good friends from across the country and enjoyed my time in Boston so much that I decided I HAD to sign up for the 2023 race as well.

A big smile after a great race in Boston

Another high point of the year was completing my tenth marathon this fall in Toronto. I had signed up for the 2020 Toronto Waterfront Marathon and after a couple years of COVID cancellations I was finally able to run the race this year. I had concerns about my hamstrings going into the race and I held up pretty well for about 19 miles, but the rest of the race was pretty rough. Aside from a bit of suffering, I loved my time in Toronto and was happy to come away with another time under 3:40 and therefore another BQ!

I did an Olympic-distance triathlon in June and a 1/3 Iron race in July. The longer race went so well that I knew I should stop debating if I should try a half Ironman and just go for it. I signed up for my first 70.3 next June in Grand Rapids which will be a big step for me after toying with the idea for years.

I am proud that I did the Swim to the Moon 5K for my third time this summer because it always feels like a big accomplishment to swim that far. However, I was a little slower than I had hoped to be. I had higher expectations and was a bit disappointed that I didn’t do better. That has only fueled my motivation to improve and I’ve thought about that race every time I’ve hit the pool in recent weeks. Even though the next race isn’t until August, I’m already working hard to maintain my consistency and have been increasing my distance as well. Sometimes a disappointing race can be a good thing.

Here’s a look at my mileage and training time from the past year:

My running, biking, and swimming miles
That’s a lot of training time!

As usual, I concentrated on running the most and am pretty happy that I racked up 2,126 miles. I tried to balance things out with biking, swimming, and strength as well. Is it any wonder I barely watch any TV?!

I continue to build a ridiculous collection of race shirts and medals. Here are the latest additions:

A shirt from each race I did in 2022
The 2022 medal collection

Although things were pretty great from a racing standpoint, my lack of job security created quite a bit of stress this year. Threats of job cuts began in April and hung over me all year until it finally materialized just before the end of the year. It’s a good thing I have this means of stress relief. I joke that the need to relieve the additional stress is going to drive me to be an even more extreme athlete this next year! I’ve been done with work for a week, which would have normally been my holiday break anyway. So far I’ve been good about waking up as early as I normally would have to hit the pool and run. It gives me a feeling of accomplishment and having the extra time has resulted in some longer swims. I am very determined to improve my endurance and speed for the next Swim to the Moon! I’m not sure how long my job situation will be questionable but at least training makes me feel productive and is a good way to channel some of my energy.

I officially started following a training plan for Boston this past week and it’s the first big goal to aim for in 2023. I better make sure I keep some biking in the mix now that I’m really aiming to do a half Ironman in June. I feel comfortable with the swimming and running aspects of that race but 56 miles on the bike is a bit more intimidating just because I neglect the bike in favor of running. I’m looking forward to finally taking on that challenge after years of knowing I should try to do it. I also have a 10-part triathlon on the schedule for the end of July. The Battle of Waterloo takes place every other year and I loved the run-bike-swim-run-swim-run-swim-run-bike-run adventure so much in 2021 that I knew I wanted to do it again in 2023. The 5K swim will come in August, and I’m still not sure what my big race will be in the fall. Another marathon or possibly even my second 50K? I’m getting a bit ambitious considering how I still have some problem spots following the Toronto Marathon that I haven’t been able to shake. I need to make sure my body will cooperate for all of these plans I’ve made! If it does, hopefully 2023 will be another great year of training and racing.

– Janet

Follow me on Instagram @janetboltz and Twitter @reidphotography