The Cherry Tree 10 Miler was my first "race" of the season.. though I signed up more as a way to hang with my teammates in Strong Hearts Vegan Power. I knew fitness wise I wouldn't really be there considering real training started only a month prior but I knew I could run the distance so I figured I'd sign up and not miss out on the fun.
The night before the race it snowed a decent amount which eliminated the microscopic chance of a 10k PR which was in the back of my mind. The morning of was actually really pleasant and most of the roads were clear of snow and only a bit of ice in the shade. I woke up and had a leisurely morning considering the team wasn't meeting until 9:15 due to the late 10:00am start. I ran a mile and change from my apartment to the gathering point which felt great though I my easy pace didn't feel so easy which was a bit worrisome. Seeing the gang was amazing as we quickly gathered and posed for photos before lining up.
I decided to drop my bag off at the provided bag check and ran to the start only to find I had forgotten to take my handheld containing my tailwind out of my bag. So, a mere two minutes or so later, I ran back to the check to retrieve it. Due to the chaos of all of us last minute bag checkers, the bag was buried and nowhere to be found even with the help of two volunteers. This left me with a minute before the start and no water or nutrition. I've been trying to focus on consuming 300 calories and 18oz of water an hour while running as training for longer efforts. Considering this was no PR race I wanted to use it as practice of doing just that, so I was a bit disappointed to know I had to rely on whatever sips of water I can get throw down out of a dixie cup at a decent pace. Due to my stubbornness to slow down, I really only had two sips of water the entire time, and no nutrition. However, the weather was pretty mild and I was decently hydrated before the race so this wasn't a huge setback. If anything, it just trained me in taking life's punches and changing my plan in a pinch.
I decided I'd take the first two 3.3 mile laps at a consistent but manageable effort to avoid the risk of bonking and dropping my pace significantly toward the end. Ultimately, I wanted to have a somewhat consistent pace the entire race taking into account the uphill at the beginning of the loop and the long and beautiful downhill at the end. The first two felt totally fine with nothing noteworthy at all to think of, the third also felt fine and at the start of it I worried I took the first two laps too easy. I didn't let that get into my head as I was still concerned with maintaining the pace through out the distance and I continued on with the same effort. Once the finish line was in ear shot I picked it up a bit but it was too short of a distance to really make up any time.
Overall I am pleased with my efforts knowing that training has just begun, and that I felt calm and energized the entire race. I wish I had picked up the pace even slightly considering how much was left in the tank at the end, but knowing from the start this was no hard effort race for me, it's fine. What I am most proud of is keeping things as consistent as I did. I have a bad habit of pushing off too fast, but this race I was able to keep my cool. Here is the race on my strava.
After the race I retrieved my (now found) bag and cheered on the other teammates. There was a party at a teammates apartment which had so much amazing food and great company. I'm happy to have the season finally start and eager for my upcoming races.