The medal - each one has a bit of a different theme, depending on which city the race series is run in. I'm assuming they went with a train theme for ours because College Station used to only have two things in it...you guessed it: a college, and a train station. (hey, where else can you come for a race recap and also receive a trivial history lesson?)
The Texas 10 Series of races has been around for about three years now; it's held throughout the year in several cities in Texas, and they have some system where if you run them all you get points and can win prizes. I've heard about the one in my town but the timing was never right for me to consider running it. However, my fellow renegades and I decided to sign up for this race at the last minute; the distance options fit into what we needed to run for our upcoming race in two weeks, it was local, and most of us hadn't done it before, so why not register?
Shirt front - because we registered so late, we weren't guaranteed a shirt and had to see if there were any left after the race. I was lucky and got one for Jeff and I; several of my Renegades didn't get one.
Shirt back - this shows all of the races in the series.
I signed up to run the five miler, while everyone else did the 10 miler. The route was a five mile loop, so I got to run to the finish line and BE DONE (whew!), while my peeps had to take a left turn and do that loop again. Running loops in a race isn't for the faint of heart; it takes a lot of inner strength to go for that second loop, and I knew I didn't have it in me. Plus, I don't need to be running that many miles since I'm done with longer distance races.
The race was held at in the parking lot of the Bush Presidential Library - that would be Bush 41, as he's known around here. This is just a quick drive from our house, and the parking situation was both plentiful and easy...gotta love a low-stress start to race day, right? The weather was decent for this race - it was 64 degrees, with 88% humidity, and there was a southerly breeze. At least it wasn't raining, or freezing cold. Still, it was the last day of January - a bit warm for winter!
Jeff and I, along with Julia, Cary, Brian, Cristy, Karen, and Diane, represented our Renegade Running Club. Fun fact: this race encourages running clubs to sign up, and somehow that's factored into their points system. We didn't know this, so we didn't sign up with our club name, but the finish line announcer (who did an awesome job) called out each finisher's name as they came in, along with "from XXX running club" - that would have been fun to hear, so maybe next year we'll be more organized when we register.
Going into the race, I had several goals. The first one was to not let my anxiety get the best of me beforehand, as it had in Houston. The second one was to run 2:1 intervals. The third one, since I would be running it by myself, was to power through the race without any unsanctioned (by me) walking, which is an easy thing to let myself do when there's no one around who knows me to bust me on that.
The race started and I ended up running through my first walk interval, just to get out of the pack of people that I was in. After that, I ran my intervals, and I was playing leap-frog with several other women who were also doing intervals. Two were doing 20:30, where they'd run for 20 seconds and walk for 30, and another woman was doing 30:30 - and I have to admit, it made me wonder if I wasn't taking the harder way with my 2:1 intervals, because they'd pull up even with me, or sometimes ahead of me, and then I'd run, and back and forth we went, leap-frogging down the road.
But right around the two mile mark, I finally lost them, and then something else happened that, combined with finally getting ahead of those women, gave me a big boost of confidence: I started passing people. I mean, I caught up to people who I hadn't been running with and actually passed them. That never happens to me in a race! Seriously, except for when CC and I finally managed to shake that little kid during the Houston half marathon, I am the one who is always getting passed. This was such a different thing to be doing in a race! When I looked at my splits afterward, I wasn't fast, but I was consistent, and I guess that was enough to steadily gain on and then run past quite a few people.
Because my Garmin mileage was so far off from the mile markers at Houston, I tried to not look at my watch during the race - I didn't want to be disappointed to hit five miles and know that I still was nowhere near the finish line. That turned out to be a good strategic move for me, because all of a sudden I could see the finish line! I hit the finisher's chute and saw a woman just ahead of me, and I had enough energy left to hit the gas and I passed her...now, I'm sure she didn't realize that she was racing me, but she was - and she lost. What can I say, playing those mind games helped me get through this race!
Finish time was 1:11 (distance on my Garmin was 5.11 - not too far off); my splits were:
Mile 1 - 13:19
Mile 2 - 14:17
Mile 3 - 14:07
Mile 4 - 14:06
Mile 5 - 14:06
.11 - 1:20
Average pace was 13:56, and how about those last three miles? I have a new middle name, and it's Consistency. I hit all of my goals for this race - the anxiety was almost non-existent, I ran my intervals, and not only did I not do any extra walking, but I made up for walking through the water stops by running a little extra over the next schedule walking interval. Success!
Once I had my medal and water, I grabbed my phone from the car (benefit of being able to park so close) and stationed myself at the finish line so I could watch my peeps come in:
Top left: Brian RACED two other men to the finish line - it was fun to watch!
Top right: Brian beat them. :)
Bottom left: Jeff left it all out on the course and was beat coming in (I recognized that expression right away).
Bottom right: Karen doing her JAZZ HANDS as she finished.
Top left: Cary with such a long stride!
Top right: Cristy with a similar long stride...you'd think they were sisters or something (they are, LOL).
Bottom left: Julia, just strolling in, all casual-like.
Bottom right: Diane powering through a rough race - I have to hand it to her, she's been running long distances since July and while she has her ups and downs with the races, she's still getting out there and doing them...good for her!
I have to give credit to the race organizers - this was a very well-run event. They had multiple speakers all over so you could actually hear the pre-race announcements, they kept up the energy of the crowd beforehand, the route was well-marked and they had volunteers at every turn so there was no danger of going the wrong direction, the water and Gatorade stops were plentiful, the post-race party had some decent food (breakfast tacos, bananas, soda, water, and mini muffins), they had chairs and tables set up to eat at, and along with age-group awards, every finisher was entered into a drawing for cash prizes! Ten people from the five mile group won $50 each, and ten people from the ten miler group won $100 each! You can bet we stuck around for the award ceremony just to see if any of us would be a lucky winner - sadly, we weren't, but that was a nice bonus to this race!
Jeff and I waiting around to see if we were big money winners...
After the race, we went to Blue Baker - on a Sunday! Our regular tables by the baker's window were taken, but we managed to find another place to sit and hopefully not offend too many customers with our race-sweaty bodies. We were having a great time, as usual, when the manager came by with a plate of chocolate chip cookie dough for us...now THAT'S the perfect post-race treat!
We didn't manage to get a group picture right after the race, so when we were finished with breakfast, we gathered in front of the Blue Baker sign for one:
Another race is in the books, and I can happily say that this one went really well for me!