Race: Capital City Classic 10K
City: Raleigh, NC Date: 5/12/2012
Distance: 10k/6.2 mi
Weather: Sunny, kind of humid
Course: rolling hills through downtown Raleigh, a usual route for me!
Summary: I got to pace a running buddy for most of the race for this first 10K!
This year, I had a much different approach to this race. Last year, I had something to prove. This year, it was a “recovery” run, as I had just completed the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon the weekend before. I was a victim of scheduling, and nothing more. I didn’t want to miss this race because (sigh) I just love it that much. I love the fact that it is a tiny race (“record breaking” attendance at 200 entrants) and that it is actual gun time (it is a state championship qualifier). It is one of my favorites, so I do my best to make it each year, even if I have GI issues.
Because I love this race as much as I do, I tend to talk about it to runner friends of mine. I encouraged one of my co-worker running buddies to join me, and he, in turn, “encouraged” (by poking at the competitive nature of both of them) to join in; he, in turn, brought his girlfriend to the race. We had a posse. haha.
My dad is awesome. Having just driven 10+ hours – each way – with me the weekend before, he agreed to watch the boys for me so I could do this race. The night before, I took my boys with me to get the packet and they picked up the route map. They were absolutely fascinated by the route and, I think, more excited about the race than I was. They asked me literally hundreds of questions about the race – the route – the experience. I don’t want to push them, but, boy, I sure would like them to get into running competitively. I think they’d love it.
The next morning, I got up early and started my pre-race routines – which included some stretching/yoga poses, getting all my gear and packing my “race luggage” as it is now being called (thanks to one of the other race participants in the Hilton Head Half a few months ago – I think it fits so I use it still!). I promised my dad that I would take a gluten test, so I spent some time trying to fill myself with some gluten, but just didn’t have an appetite for it. At this point, I had a week’s worth of gluten in my body already – I had started eating gluten the weekend before, right after the half marathon – so I was actually pretty worried about stomach issues. I felt bloated and run down, but thankfully, nothing else – unlike this race two years before.
My dad arrived on time to watch the boys and I was able to scoot out to make it in just enough time to use the restroom and line up. The race had the same route as each of the two years before: starting and finishing on Faytteville Street, and winding through downtown Raleigh in between. It was a route that, for the most part, the First Recruit and I ran with regularity. It was nice to be on familiar territory and know how the hills would be. I settled into the crowd and began looking for my friends.
Because he wears glow-in-the-dark yellow at almost every race, my first recruit was pretty easy to find in the crowd. Shortly after I found him, we were able to locate the second recruit and his girlfriend – who I had been in touch with before I left. We chatted and made jokes before the start – it was really nice to have friends to do the race with. We set our Garmins and waited for the start.
The gun went off and we were on our way. The 2nd recruit decided to run with his girlfriend and encouraged the first recruit and I to go ahead, so we did. The first couple of miles, we chatted about the route, caught up on how the weekend was going and continued conversations we had earlier in the week. He told me to go on, but I told him I wanted to pace him. He was worried about going too fast and burning out. I figured if he had someone there to help him control it a little, he’d come closer to his goal.
We started out pretty quick – I pulled him back in a little, and when he got to a point where he was slowing down, I pulled him a little. I kept his mind off of things by chatting about all kinds of stuff and telling him about the half marathon the weekend before. We got a great laugh out of some dogs going nuts at all the people running. Both of us dog owners, we could relate to the anxiety those pups must have felt – and found humor in it!
Around mile 4 – I warned him – is the tough part. In this part of the race, we come out of Boylan Heights onto Western Boulevard/MLK Freeway. In a car, this hill is nothing. I won’t even say that it is steep, because it isn’t, but it is looonnngggg. And, you turn off this one for another LLLOOONNNGGG hill up Wilmington. This hill, while nothing compared to Laurel Hill in the Tarheel 10-miler we just completed about 3 weeks before – is the hardest part of this race, though, and kicked my butt the first time I did it – in fact, this is the spot where all my stomach issues started. That year, the year after and even this year, saw people stopping to walk and, occasionally, loosing their breakfast here. It is hot. It is hard. The rest of the route is pretty flat, but this part, for some reason, tears people up. This part got to my first recruit, too, and he had to stop for a breather. He encouraged me to go on without him and finish my race.
So, I did. I took off and rounded out the last two miles in under a 9mm pace, ending up with a fairly respectable 53:19. Considering the fact that I had a half marathon the weekend before and that my best time for this race in particular is 52:00, I’m actually extremely happy with this time. My first recruit ended just about 2 minutes behind me, our second recruit and his girlfriend about 7 or 8 minutes behind both of us.
Although I’m writing this post almost 2 months after finishing this race, I can still clearly remember a lot of the things that continue to stand out for me in this race. Although mile 4 is a bear, I tend to approach it with a certain level of tenacity because it defeated me once. I don’t like being defeated. It makes me mad. And, regardless of how many times I defeat it back, I never fully let go of the time it defeated me in the beginning. That, my friends, is the competitive spirit. I do love this race, though, and I plan to run it again next year.