The Connection Runners + [training]

Martian Meteor 10k Race Recap

Amid the craziness of heading back to work last week, I kind of put running on the back burner. Er... okay, so it wasn't even on the back burner. It was buried somewhere in a big chest freezer in some old lady's basement, hidden among long-forgotten steaks and pints of butter pecan ice cream.

Translation: I didn't run a single step or lift a single weight (besides a 12-pound baby) all week.

So, when Friday evening rolled around, bringing with it a visit from our friends Matt and Kara, I wearily eyed Saturday morning's planned 10k with a bit of unprepared disdain.

In fact, this 10k was the first race I felt completely not ready for. It wasn't about the mileage - I knew I could pull out 6.2 - it was everything else that goes along with race prep: laying out the gear, figuring out parking, having breakfast ready to go. I didn't do any of it until about 6 a.m. on race morning, a rarity for this average racer.

Something else I've never done: actually raced a 10k. Sure, I set a PR at last summer's Belle Isle 10k, but I was about 14 weeks pregnant, thus not running to my full potential. Before that, a few Turkey Trot 10k's (for fun) were the only 6.2 experience I had.

So my eventual plan was to simply run and see what happened. I'd never run the Martian before, and although I've run parts of the course while marathon training last year, I didn't quite know what to expect and figured it would be, if nothing else, a fun training run with friends in anticipation of getting on the horse next week for Seattle RnR training.

So, we packed up five bags worth of gear, strapped a baby into her car seat, and the four of us settled in to the car on a misty Saturday morning and headed to Dearborn.

Parking at the Martian was a bit crazy; the race kicks off in a downtown setting, so we had to navigate through a tangle of traffic to find a good spot. On the flip side, the race's various distances (in addition to the 10k, there's a 5k, half, and full marathon, plus a kids' race) had staggered start times, and I think that helped to curb some traffic issues.

Kevin had volunteered to sit this race out to hang with Charlotte, so Kara, Matt, and I went off to grab our bibs. Since we'd arrived with about 20 minutes to spare, we had no problems getting pinned up with a few minutes left to stretch out and chat before the 10k started at 8.

Matt and Kara are currently training for a half, and Matt is pretty speedy, but we all ran together for the race. (You might remember Kara as my running bud from last year's Crim 10-Miler, and Matt from, among others, the Kalamazoo Marathon.)

We jumped into the start corral a few heads behind the elite runners (not that we're elite by any means; it just worked out that way) and soon headed out.

The course: The 10k was mostly flat with a few short, but rather steep inclines tossed in. It ran partially through downtown Dearborn where we were treated with views of some lovely houses before turning out in to the Hines Park system. Hines is decent; the roads are smooth and the surrounding area quiet, but the atmosphere can get a bit boring since it's not easy for spectators to get to the park with all of the closed roads.

Aid stations: We stopped at both, the first just after the 1-mile marker and the second near 4 miles, for sips of water and Gatorade. I thought the distance between the two was perfect. Some shorter races have too many aid stations, in my opinion, and that can lead to jammed-up courses.

Our splits: Matt and Kara pulled me right along, thank god. If they hadn't been there, I probably would've wussed out hard. Near the end, when Matt suggested we beat another runner who'd been pacing us throughout, we dug in, and I had to keep repeating things like, "You can do anything for a mile. You can do anything for a half mile. You can do anything for 200 yards."

Official finish: 55:31, 8:57 pace.
400/1454 overall
36/196 AG
Why that is so cool: #1: I ran this race two seconds/mile faster than I ran the Shamrock 5k a month ago. #2: I set a PR by about 2.5 minutes!

After nearly hurling in the finisher's chute again, we met up with Kevin and C, ate some cookies, and headed home for hot showers and a trip to IKEA. Who doesn't celebrate PRs (Kara got a PR, too!) with $.50 hot dogs and modern European furniture?

On a sad note: I missed Kimberly, who was in town for the half, and Megan, who ran the half as part of her Bayshore training. (Check out their blogs for recaps!) We'd planned to meet up, but by the time I got done, Charlotte was about ready to eat, and we were ready to get home. Maybe this means The Running Megans will need to take a Midwest trip to visit Kim for a race soon?

Who else had a great weekend of running? Race news to share? Long run successes? Tell me about it.