Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Steamboat Classic 15km 2012

Saturday, I ran one of my favorite races in the whole wide world. Or at least the Midwest... I haven't really raced anywhere else. (Now, if anyone wants to sponsor me for a marathon in Hawaii or Oregon, that opinion might change...)

The Steamboat Classic is regarded as the "World's fastest 4-mile' and "Illinois' Toughest 15km", so I knew I was in for a butt-whooping treat. 

Last year, I ran the 15km with some of my college girlfriends, and we kept it easy at a conversational pace so we could enjoy the run. 

This year, I was in it to race. Because it is so hilly, my only goal was to run at least faster than my half-marathon PR pace (6:54 average). Only 9.3 miles versus 13.1... should be a piece of cake, right?

Talen came down Friday night to hang out and cheer me on at the race. She couldn't run because the Monday after we ran the marathon, she had some loose pieces of cartilage surgically removed from her knee. Ouch! She has only been given the okay to start running this week, and didn't think it be wise to start out with a 15km. (I wonder why?!)

We all (my parents, Talen, and I) got up super early to make it over to Peoria for the 7am start time. As usual, the temps were already in the mid-70s by the time the race started. (Figures, on Wednesday of last week, I was waking up to temps in the 50s.) It just wouldn't be Steamboat without the heat and humidity.

The start!

The course runs 2 miles out to the park, then up into the park for two 2.5 mile loops, and then the 2 miles back down to the start. Right at the start of the loop in the park there is a MONSTER hill. Like huge. Plus, there's a few more rollers throughout that loop.

Around mile 5ish

I knew I needed to start out conservatively to save my energy for the hills. It's hard, because the 4-mile and 15km start together, and it goes out fast. It's really easy to get caught up with the crowd and forget that many of them are just running 4 miles, not 9.3.

Cruisin' toward the finish

I don't have my exact mile splits, but I do have the 5km splits.

  • first 5km - 21:20 (6:52 avg) --> included the first big hill
  • second 5km - 21:40 (6:59 avg) --> included the second big hill
  • third 5km - 20:55 (6:44 avg) --> more downhill than up

I ended up finishing in 1:03:55, which is a 6:52 average. Just under my goal pace of 6:54, woot woot! I was ecstatic. 

Feeling great after, minus the buckets of sweat pouring out of my body.

I am not used to running hilly races. It was hard for me to judge my effort level since I couldn't rely on my mile splits. (My second time up the big hill was a 7:36 mile split, yikes!) I much prefer to run even splits, but you can't always do that.

Talen & I headed out for a quick cool-down jog together and then got our hands on some food. I have never seen nectarines at a race before, and they were so refreshing!

You bet I downed that Diet Pepsi after my nectarines... breakfast beverage of champions.

There were also TONS of extra granola bars. They were telling us to take as many as we could. Alright, don't have to tell me twice. Now I don't have to put granola bars on my grocery list for the next two months.

Then it was time for awards. I ended up placing 3rd out of 362 females. How exciting! I could see the 2nd place girl throughout almost the whole race, but couldn't catch up to her. 1st place was about 2.5 minutes ahead. She was smokin' those hills.

Top 10 women.

I just love this race. I'm not sure why, because it's pretty hard. Perhaps it's the unusual distance? Knowing there's good competition? I dunno. I've established a life goal to break 1:00:00 someday for the Steamboat Classic 15km. It will happen... might be 5-10 years, but it will! :)

So how does one spend the afternoon after a tough race? Poolside. We spent the afternoon soaking up the rays in my parents' neighbor's pool... pure bliss.

Girly time!
Oh, and a side note... my Business Man wasn't there to cheer me on because he was attending a bachelor party in Chi-town. I'm surprised I still managed to race well without my paparazzi. Heh.


aevansb said...

Thanks for loaning your Business Man for a weekend. Looks like you ran well even without the paps following. See you guys soon!!

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