Many months ago, in the middle of my running middle life crisis, my friend and running coach told me that I just need to show up to some races unplanned, unannounced, and have fun. I’m finally listening. It’s exactly what I did this weekend. As I’m slowly increasing mileage for two half marathons this fall, the idea of running a 10k as part of my training run sounded fun. Water stops. Entertainment. Supportive spectators. And the course is a walk down memory lane. So many of my heart whispers started here.
The Heart of Ghent 10k didn’t disappoint. It was the perfect neighborhood race. Wonderfully organized and supported. I loved the course (even if we missed a block this year).
Laura picked me up before the sun was up so we could run a few miles before the start of the race. Our early arrival made parking easy. We ran nearly 2.5 easy miles before the race started hoping we had left some racing ability in them for the race.
Warm up Miles: 2.47 @ 9:46 pace
As we started, I vowed to not look at my garmin. We were running and talking. The course is filled with lots of turns which I love mentally.
Mile 1: 9:14
Mile 2: 9:07
Mile 3: 8:51
At mile 3, I gave in and glanced at my watch. The 8 in the front of my pace shocked me. While my legs were starting to feel heavy, the effort felt easy. Maybe, just maybe, there is hope for some speedier miles this fall.
Laura started having cramping in her back at this point and encouraged me to leave her, but racing wasn’t my objective for this run. I was there to increase my mileage and enjoy time with friends. We walked a few blocks and ran many more.
Mile 4: 10:23
Mile 5: 10:45
Mile 6: 9:53
The finish line showed up just as my watch hit six miles. While the course ran short, my total mileage for the day is my longest run since spring. Confidence in my running is starting to creep back into my thinking. It’s funny how that happens as soon as I remember why I run.
I learned a lot on the road yesterday. Happy miles are what I need right now. Sharing miles with friends is what I need right now. This is the first run in a long time when my brain turned off, panic mode didn’t take over, and I simply ran.
Garmin Time: 6.00, 57:42, 9:37 pace
Race Time: 57:40, 9:17 pace
Almost 8.5 miles for the day! Heart of Ghent, I’ll be back next year. You have become my new favorite 10k.