All Out Trinity.....What an amazing, inspiring and FUN day for the DFW fitness community! The Trinity River Levee 10K is only one part of this day-long fitness festival (check out the schedule here) and I had a blast running it with some team members of the Dallas Running Club 2:05 Pace Group. If you missed it, check out my post about our training group here.
We're coming into the home stretch of our training session for Spring 2016, so I offered to run the 10K with any interested team members who wanted extra "pace practice" at our HM race pace, which is approximately 9:32/mile. In the back of my mind, I was thinking that the group was well equipped to run this course a little faster than that. If so, we could pad a sub-60 minute finish with a bit more of a cushion than there would otherwise be if we ran our HM pace, but I didn't want to scare anyone away, especially the new runners, by telling them my optimal race strategy for them. 😜
Since this was a totally optional event on our schedule, several in our group elected to race the event on their own, and some did the 5K for a bit of a break from the double-digit long runs we'd been putting in recently. But some brave souls made plans to meet up with me and test our goal pace out in a group under real race day conditions.
Even better, my sweet hubs Cody who has been sidelined after shoulder surgery in December was recently released to exercise, so he signed up to run the 5K on his own as a rust-buster of sorts (since he's literally not even run a step since the Thanksgiving 8 Mile Turkey Trot).
Cody and I picked up our packets Friday night at our neighborhood outpost of Luke's Locker. There's no expo for this race but you can't beat the ease of walking in and out with your race shirt and bib in hand in less than 10 minutes with a quick photo snapped against the photo wall. No complaints there.
We then started race day with a quick walk up to our neighborhood Starbucks. On the way, I had to text my sweet Alabama friend Angela, owner and designer at Alektra Runwear and advise that I was wearing my most beloved skort from her collection...turns out, she was wearing the exact same one headed to a race in Birmingham! Pre-race, I wore my Lux hoodie (another old fave) over the Keyhole tank (still available on Amazon here), both by Oiselle. A YETI trucker on top, just for fun and shade. Skechers GoRun5 (Houston Marathon Edition) on my feet. Boom. The street is my runway. 😎
I grabbed a quick breakfast of a banana, coffee and OJ for the road and met up as planned with Jennifer, a member of 2:05. Jennifer is new to racing but a strong runner who has been following the training schedule on her own on the days we don't meet, so I had big plans for her on the course!
The three of us hopped in an Uber to the start line; I didn't want to deal with parking, even though I think a lot of the parking headaches I'd heard about from racers of previous years have now been worked out. From what I can tell, the folks administering the All Out Trinity event have put a TON of blood, sweat and tears into making this a well-organized event for participants, spectators and vendors.
As we walked over to where we planned to meet others in our group, we saw lots of food trucks, a beer garden area and other tents getting ready for post-race events or already buzzing with visitors. Music was pumping and the air was definitely electric with runners ready to go.
Right before we took off on our warmup mile, I was sort of surprised to see a forlorn looking fox-type creature standing over my shoulder. I thought I saw a race bib on this formally-dressed furry thing....
...and when he turned and caught me taking his picture, I confirmed that yes, yes it was bibbed-up and presumably running the race. Alrighty then.
Kevin, Ashley C, Jennifer and I got a little over a mile done before the race as an out-and-back from the starting line so we weren't taking off from the gun with tight, cold legs. We felt great and ready to race.
After our warmup, we walked back over to the starting line where we met up with James, who ran the first mile or so of the race with us then raced the rest.
Even though we had a downhill break coming off the bridge, the starting chute and final warmup slowed us down a little off race pace for a time of 9:52 for that first mile. Being a believer in negative splits on race day, I knew we were still well within our plan. We all felt great and had no trouble hitting miles 2 and 3 under pace, both coming in steady at 9:25 and 9:24. Water and Gatorade were plentiful on the course, and we grabbed a quick sip when needed (or when I insisted to Jennifer that she needed it, lol).
We were starting to feel a little warmer on the exposed parts of the course, but hit some nice breezes at points on the trail, so all in all, the conditions remained pretty favorable for us. Mile 4 clicked off at a 9:17 pace.
Our plan was to see what we had left in us for the last 2.2 and run them accordingly. I definitely started seeing some doubt on Jennifer's face around this time, and after the race was over, she confirmed it. The race organizers knew this would be a gut-check moment, and put a very cool distraction in the form of a live drum set right under the bridge for us as we made the turn under the Sylvan bridge to enter the Skyline Trail! (And yes, I made the error of holding my phone vertically while I was filming...derp. Blaming it on my brain cells focused on the running part.) Mile 5 clocked in at 9:13 pace.
Once we made it to the last mile, I knew a sub-60 minute finish time was going to happen, but I wanted to convince some of my runners that this was so! I brought out a couple of my favorite mantras "I can do hard things" and "Run the mile you're in" and they definitely went over well for all of us. Our last full mile of the race was sub-9 minute pace (just under at 8:59, but still). But even better than that, my crew still had gas in the tank for a great last-minute power "kick" and pushed through to the finish line at a blazing 8:03 pace! I was so, so proud of Kevin, Ashley and Jennifer, and was really excited to have been running with them for their first time going sub-60min in a 10K.
Our final mileage on my Garmin (thanks to weaving and not running the tangents perfectly, but who does?) was 6.29 miles with a pace of 9:18 per mile. James was waiting for us at the finish line, and after a few more congratulations and sweaty hugs, we got a few more pics.
Jennifer, Cody and I all headed for the beer tent and enjoyed the sparkling beer-flavored water otherwise known as Michelob Ultra. They are tailor-made for race day, in my humble opinion. We saw Ruben and Eduardo, two of our pace team members who ran the event separately in the tent, and chatted about the race. I messaged with Valerie, another team member who ran as well and we all agreed it was a fun course and excellent race.
A great day of running with my friends and team...what a perfect way to spend a beautiful early spring day!