Pacing the TarHeel 10 miler

My recovery from Bull Run Run seemed to be going ok.  The first four days my quads were pretty sore, I babied them Sunday and Monday by only foam rolling them and gently stretching.  By Tuesday I was mentally ready to start running again (as was my dog!) So I went out for an easy trail run with friends around a less technical part of the trails, I had very unhappy quads but went home and rolled them, and by Wednesday morning they were loosening up. The rest of the week consisted of easy road miles so I could go visit with friends post race.

Photo by Elizabeth Towe, the 9:30 pace group

Photo by Elizabeth Towe, the 9:30 pace group

7 Days out, and I had volunteered to pace the 9:30 group for a 10 mile race here in town for Proaxis Physical Therapy and Balanced Movement Studio, who provide the racers with pacers.  The Tarheel 1o miler is put on by Endurance Magazine and is one of the largest races in town with a cap of 5000 runners.  There is an option of 10 miles or 4 miles, with the 10 mile having certain pacers that try to help runners reach their PR goals.  Its a fairly large event so the local running store hosts a training program to get encourage newer runners. Many of the other local wellness businesses get in on it as well, so its usually well organized and attended.  One of my favorite running apparel companies, CEP was one of the sponsors, so I took home some awesome CEP compression socks! Score!

I agreed  to run a 9:30 pace thinking that it was all my legs would be capable of doing, I was wrong, it was hard to hold back, but it was lots of fun!  The race begins and ends in the UNC’s stadium.  4 of us lined up and introduced ourselves to the group.  The course is fairly hilly and the start/finish is inside the UNC stadium.  Everyone must funnel through the tunnel, so we explained that we would try to make up the time and bank some time for the last hard uphill by running a bit faster on the first few flat miles.  The course begins fairly flat and winds around the campus, and up and down Cameron street and Franklin, the main streets around town.  It rolls into some of the historic neighborhoods near campus and from mile 6 or 7 there are no more flats.  As a matter of fact, the final miles is an uphill mile and they have a separate chip mat all the runners cross for the “Laurel Hill Challenge.”  Potentially a runner could bomb the entire race, and have the fastest time up that hill, and still win an award.  That final hill is quite infamous. The race is held at a perfect time of year, it started in the upper 40s with a nice breeze and finished around 50 degrees.  Because it winds through so many neighborhoods the crowds are awesome, and the scenery beautiful. April is when all of the dogwood trees and wisteria bloom, it was fragrant, sunny and cool.  Perfect for a run around town.

The competitive part of me cringed knowing this year would not be a PR, (very far from the last time I ran in it 2010, which was 69minutes)  However, another part of me was happy to take on the challenge of trying to hold back and hit a pace that was out of my comfort zone.  We were actually pretty close, our overall pace ended up being 9:21…not too far off.

My husband and his sister also ran the race, she flew down from NYC to join us.  He PR-ed with a 1:12 and she did great running about 8/min mile pace.

Afterwards Proaxis has a massage and recovery tent and there, there was a live band to pump up the runners during the start and finish, and lots of yummy food post race.

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