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YuKanRun 10 Mile Race Recap

Yesterday, I joined Lizzy and Corey for the YuKanRun Race series 10-mile race in Ipswich, MA. Even though Ipswich is a bit of a drive from Providence, I couldn’t turn down the opportunity to run a small-town race on the beautiful North Shore with a couple of friends…not when we had plans to go to the beach afterward, anyway!

Okay, it might seem sort of silly, but the truth is that I’ve started and re-started this post about a billion times. I don’t know why, but for some reason I’m having a hard time talking about the race yesterday, and how I felt.

It isn’t because I wasn’t happy that I made the 1.5 hour drive up to Ipswich to get in my long run with a couple of friends. Or because I wasn’t proud of my overall finish and excited when I got to stand on the podium for an Age Group win (first time I’ve ever gotten to do that!).

Ipswich podium.JPGCorey and I both rocking the running gear that our last wins got us!

And it wasn’t because I didn’t end up having a great day with Corey and Lizzy, and didn’t think the reward of spending time at beautiful Crane’s Beach was worth the pain of an hour and a half of running.

No, the reason why I’m having a hard time writing the post is because the truth is that I was a bit disappointed in myself yesterday. It may sound crazy, since on the surface it appears like the run went really well, but when it came down to it, I didn’t actually achieve the one goal I went into the race with: to have fun and not stress about time.

But even though I may have finished the race feeling a little down, fortunately a few minutes on this beautiful sandy shore was all I needed to sweep the negative thoughts away.

Crane's Beach.JPG

And since I’ve now had time to reflect on the race and move on, I figured that I’d share with you the top 10 lessons the Ipswich 10 Mile race drove home for me.

1.) Small town races can be really fun and much cheaper than the large, popular races, but you do miss out on important amenities.

  • Lack of crowd support
  • Not enough porta-potties before the race
  • Fewer aid stations
  • No chip timing

2.) The thought of missing the start of a race may seem stressful, but when there’s no pressure on the end-result, it actually might not be as awful as you would expect.

There were only 2 porta-potties at the start of this race (see above). And even though there weren’t a lot of runners competing, runners aren’t always in-and-out in a jiffy when they’re nervous. I got in line a full 25 minutes before the race start, and waited, and waited…and waited. Because I had driven so long to get to the race, there was no way I could start running 10 miles without making this quick pit-stop first. So I just accepted it. Luckily, Corey graciously offered to run my things back to the car for me while I was in line, but despite that, the two of us still missed the start. There’s nothing quite like seeing a bunch of runners take off on you while you’re jogging to the starting line.

But, surprisingly enough, it didn’t really phase me. I wasn’t supposed to be racing anyway. So we just laughed about it and ran after everyone, totally relaxed.

3.) However -starting at the back might actually be worse for my pacing than starting up near the front.

Since we started off so far behind everyone, Corey and I just ran without really paying any attention to pace. I figured it was a good thing – not heading out with the leaders meant I wouldn’t feel any pressure to stick with them. Plus, picking off runners was kind of fun, so we fell into a groove, just chatting for most of the first mile. Towards the end, Corey looked down at her watch and realized we were running faster than she had wanted to go. Wisely, she fell back a little bit while my dumb self told her I felt good and was going to keep running. When we reached the first turnaround and I saw that I was the 4th woman despite starting so far back, that stupid little competitive voice I was trying to squash started singing in my head, despite my original intentions.  So I figured I’d just kept running….and see what happened.

4.) The Garmin can be your best ally, but also your worst enemy.

I decided at the beginning of the race that I wasn’t really going to pay attention to my splits and just run because I felt good. As I’m sure you can guess, this ended up being a mistake. The energy of the race combined with starting at the back made me head out way too fast. And then, when I started falling apart after the halfway point, looking at my pace drop so much only served to drive home the negative thoughts, and made it even harder to enjoy the race.

5.) A person cannot expect to be able to maintain their goal race pace without putting in the work.

Yes, I know this should be obvious. But I have this pace in my head that I think I should be able to run, and it’s so easy for me to comfortably fall into it, regardless of whether or not it’s the smart thing to do. However, ever since the Foxboro 5K, I’ve been taking it pretty easy on the running front. I haven’t raced, I’ve run less miles overall, and have done very little speedwork. So even though a 7:15/7:20 mile was pretty attainable a few months ago, I was not in that sort of shape yesterday. If I had been smart, I would have adjusted what I was doing because of that. But even experienced runners can make rookie mistakes sometimes.

Ipswich_group shot.JPG

6.) You should always readjust your expectations when you’re running in the heat.

Most of the race yesterday was in direct sunlight, and the temperature was in the 80s. Combined with the limited aid stations (there were only two!), it made the race a lot harder than it would have been if it were 50 degrees and cloudy. So just picture me stubbornly trucking along at a pace much too fast for my current conditions to maintain, with the sun beating down on me. I’m sure you can guess how that story ends.

7.) Whenever I’m racing, my default is to maintain a pace that is comfortably uncomfortable.

It doesn’t matter if I’m racing to train or racing to PR, when the gun goes off, I immediately fall into a pace that is comfortably uncomfortable. That is, I don’t feel completely relaxed, but I also don’t feel like I’m on the verge of dying. Even when things start falling apart during a race, I have a hard time slipping out of that mode. Yes, my pace was slipping, but since I was in a race (even though I wasn’t racing), I just couldn’t slip into a jog. Might sound silly, but there’s just something ingrained in me after years of racing that prevents it. (Yes, I know I’m not doing myself any favors by stubbornly pushing on sometimes.)

8.) When races aren’t going as planned, everything seems worse in the moment than it really is.

Yesterday I felt like I crawled through the second half of the race. I felt so tired and awful that I could swear my shuffled stride was moving no faster than a walk. But looking back over my splits – things weren’t really that bad. Yes, I didn’t run smart, but I didn’t really fall apart as completely as I had thought. The thing is, when your emotions are already heightened, and you’re already feeling exhausted, it’s easy to start being dramatic about it in your own head.

9.) When you feel like you have nothing more to give, you can always dig deep and find just a little bit more.

The last 3 miles of the race yesterday seemed to stretch on forever. My mind agonized over the distance I had left, and all I was thinking about was stopping to walk. Which doesn’t usually happen. I know many people find the run/walk method helpful, but I have never been able to successfully walk through a race (probably because I don’t actually use the method correctly, but that’s another story…). Once I start walking, all motivation to finish goes out the window. I still don’t really know why I felt so low yesterday, but I do know that I haven’t felt that bad during the race since the Cape Cod Marathon last October.

But in my lowest moment, when I wasn’t sure I could push for a minute longer, I changed the way I was thinking, employed every mental strategy to get through sucky runs that I had at my disposal, and dug deep. I broke the run down into small little pieces, and made it all the way to the finish line.

10.) Yes, running sucks sometimes, but every single run you push through makes you stronger.

I’m not going to lie, having two really tough long runs in a row is a bit hard on the psyche. And it can be hard to get past the fact that struggling through a 10 mile run can leave you with a lot of doubts about your ability to get through 26.2. But I’ve done it before. I know that training in the summer can be really tough. I know the heat makes runs feel harder, and I know that I have a lot of time before I toe the line in October. Every time I push through a tough run, I become stronger physically and mentally. And ultimately, it’ll give me the tools I need to run a successful marathon.

Ipswich_medals.JPG

Even though things didn’t go exactly as planned, I am really happy I got to participate in yesterday’s YuKanRun race. And any race that leaves you with a medal at the end is ultimately a success…especially when you least expect it!

Ipswich medal.JPG

Final Results

Time: 1:15:39   Average Pace: 7:34/mile  Place: 1/29 females

Mile splits:

  1. 7:37
  2. 7:18
  3. 7:20
  4. 7:26
  5. 7:26
  6. 7:52 (i.e. where Lauren starts to fall apart)
  7. 7:48
  8. 7:49
  9. 7:56
  10. 7:35
Corey and I ended up tacking on an easy 3 miles after the race to bring our total mileage up to 13 for the day. In the end, if I had to suffer through those 13 miles, I would’ve much rather suffered through with friends. :)

Thanks for the pictures Lizzy!

18 Responses to YuKanRun 10 Mile Race Recap

  1. I like this post a lot because I’m running races right now even though I haven’t been “training for them.” I’m using them to motivate me and to help get the rust off …. and I enjoy races! I really like #7 – that’s how I look at racing, too. I described in my blog post as a “cliff” where if you run faster than you “cliff” pace you’re going to fall off and slow to a halt, but if you’re not running fast enough, you’ll be mad at the end! My “cliff” pace changes though depending on the distance and how I’m feeling throughout the race.

    Looked like you had nice weather, too! And isn’t it great getting your long run in during a race?!?

  2. You were so cute when you finished – when I first saw you, you were clearly disappointed but immediately jumped to “Well I learned an important lesson today…” and I’m glad you got to sort through it all in this post!
    All 10 of these are right on. I know what you mean about racing – even if I can get myself to not all-out “race”, I still always end up going faster than my normal long run or easy pace. I’ve stopped feeling bad about it and just embraced it at some speed mixed in with my long runs.
    I can also totally relate to feeling like things are so much worse in the moment than they really are – that’s how Boston felt for me. I know I did fall apart, but at the time it seriously felt like I was running 11:00 minute miles, when in reality I was still sub-9:00 for all but 2 of the miles. It’s always good to give yourself some time away from the emotions of a race to be able to process what happened and how that information can help you moving forward.
    Bottom line, which you totally hit spot on, is that each race teaches you something (sometimes lots of things!) and all of that is so valuable to you as a marathoner.
    I also think the heat was a HUGE factor yesterday, and remembering to adjust for that is not easy. You ran so well, Lauren! I know you will be back to the pace you want to be at by October. It was so great to spend time with you – lets do that again soon!

    • Thank you Corey! I loved this whole entire comment.

      Also – any interest in coming down to Narragansett next Friday evening for another 10-miler? There’s ocean and delicious food involved!! ;)

  3. I’m so sorry your race didn’t go as planned. No matter what the clock says, a bad race is no fun! But I am so glad you learned a lot from your experience. And a huge congrats on first in your age group! That’s incredible you still won despite missing the start! Seriously amazing Lauren :)

  4. Oh Lauren… I find this all amazing that you didn’t tell me you felt this way yesterday… although when I saw you during the race, I could kinda tell you looked a bit defeated. This is exactly how I felt during the BAA 10K… all those thoughts you were having, I felt that way so I understand (on a much slower scale). But this is why I told myself that “a positive attitude will get me through…” because I wasn’t well trained, it was hot and I started not 40 seconds back but almost 4 minutes off the gun. It happens.

    This is why I also love running with others during races and long runs. Especially people who are about my pace or a bit faster… it makes it go by and I’m in a more positive place and then when I start to fade, they go ahead… maybe you need a long run with a friend whose around your pace so you can shake the negative thoughts that creep into a runners brain while running alone? It could help.

    Anyway, you are still an amazing runner and I had a blast with you at the beach. I love that we both have a strong love of the North Shore even if it is insanely far from both of us : )

    • I didn’t want to bring you down because you had such a great race! I also was afraid that I’d sound whiny, since overall it looked like I did well (and I am proud of that, I really am!).

      And yes, I think running WITH someone makes a huge difference, and probably could help my mental attitude at the moment. If I had stayed with Corey during the race, I probably would have had a much different experience. Our final times were not that far off and she ran a smart race. So…as much as I give you a hard time about your need to run with someone in every race, I know you’re onto something. :)

  5. nice work, Lauren! Even if it wasn’t the best race, you’ve really thought through what you learned from it. And I love that you shared everything, because it’s so helpful! These are great, great tips. I think it’s especially important to keep the heat in mind for summer races, you know? It plays a factor whether we like it or not. I’m glad you enjoyed the beach and had great company with friends :)

  6. As I read this post, I thought and thought about what to write to you. First off congrats!! I am psyched on your win, but not surprised. Now I know you don’t think it was good as you wanted it to be and I know there is some where in you being more negative than you are letting on or feeling bad but really i think you have to realize that there are a lot of bloggers out there who look up to you as a runner. You are an amazing runner and if you can get through it so can we. Thanks for being honest and thanks for the tips. Also there are always chances to learn but also chances to show how great you are! I am impressed, as always!

    • Thanks Stephanie! I appreciate the encouragement. But I’m really not disappointed anymore and I don’t actually feel bad about it at this point. I mean, I didn’t have the best race and I was annoyed with myself in the moment for not going out and having fun like I was supposed to. But overall it was a good lesson…both in racing smart and in not being too hard on myself.

  7. You rock!!! And I totally agree that your Garmin can be the best or worst thing to have with you sometimes :)

  8. you are amazing! first congrats on the win, but second and more importantly, congrats on being so introspective and intune with yourself. i am running the sf marathon in 2 weeks from today and i’ve barely trained and have a lot of regrets already. but i am going in to not worry about time nad now i’m going to make some new goals too, based on where i am, at this moment. and then i’ll try to get back on track later. you inspire me!!!

    • Thank you Courtney! And good luck!! You know you can do it. You’ve gotten through 26.2 before and you’ll be able to do it again. It sounds like you have a good attitude about it now (not worrying and trying to reassess goals), and hopefully that’ll be the thing that gets you through.

  9. I know you’re not feeling like this race was a highlight in your running career and when a race doesn’t go as planned, it can take some time for the discomfort and disappointment to fade, but you definitely did take a lot away from the day. And you won! Congrats, LB! I wish I was there to see you on the podium.

  10. Any race where you learn a handful of lessons is most definitely a success. Love everything you shared!

    And a race is definitely a success when you, um, WIN IT. You’re amazing! Congratulations! I know it’s easy to beat yourself up, but seriously, you should be wickedly proud. You’re amazing. And you guys are the cutest runners ever.

  11. Aw man, I completely understand your feelings of frustration, but I do still think you should be proud of yourself for coming in as the first overall female (so awesome!) and for still putting in a good race, despite the heat/lack of aid stations/lack of speedwork, etc. As you said, it doesn’t reflect on your future marathon performance whatsoever…you’re just starting to train for that and get back some more of that speed and endurance. You’ll kick booty in that, too! Congrats, and I love all the pictures and that you got to go to the beach afterward:).

  12. i really resonate with 8 & 9. i tend to get a little *dramatic* in the down moments of a race (or training run for that matter). i start to believe that i can’t do it, and that i have to walk. but then, when the race is over things don’t seem to have been as bad as they felt in the moment. if only i could permanently learn that lesson so that i’d be better at the digging down deep part. that would be awesome.

  13. Great job! Even if it didn’t go as you planned you should be proud of your podium win. That might be worth it for not following your training run plan.

  14. I really enjoyed reading this post – I felt like it resonated with how I’ve been feeling lately. Running is such a mental sport and as soon as I start to feel tired or slow or not “on top of my game”, my pace starts to slip, and then the negative thought cycle continues.

    I think we’re all doing this activity to push ourselves though – we want to give our best. And the racing process is a learning experience. I’d like to think that each time I conquer a tough workout or toe the line at a race, I’m getting that much closer to “my best runner-self”. Sorry if this is rambling and/or doesn’t make sense!

    In any event, you won your age group (congrats!) and finished at the beach. Not a bad day :)

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