How was your weekend? Busy racing season continues and I’ve completed race #7 of 2016: the King of Prussia 10 Miler. While it seems like I’ve been PR’ing all over the place over the past few weeks, this race sent me back to reality. I still have a lot of work to do before the 1/2 Sauer 1/2 Kraut Half Marathon!
It’s Tuesday and I’m linking up with Patty, Marcia, and Erika for Tuesdays on the Run! Their overall theme this week is talking about ideal weather conditions for race day, so be sure to check it out. It’s very fitting considering the weather we had for the King of Prussia 10 Miler!
I’m also sharing this recap with Wild Workout Wednesday, hosted by Annmarie at The Fit Foodie Mama, Angelena Marie at Angelena Marie: Happy, Healthy & Balanced, Michelle at Fruition Fitness, and Nicole at Fitful Focus!Sharing my recap of the @KoP10Miler on the blog! #runchat #bibchat Click To Tweet
I am still pretty sore from one heck of a 10 mile race, better known as the King of Prussia 10 Miler. I’m so glad that I challenged myself to run a different race, still in the Greater Philadelphia Area, but definitely more under the radar and locally supported. While I didn’t get a PR (spoiler alert!) I didn’t really have too many expectations since it was my first time running this race. But I can tell you this was one of the toughest races I’ve ever run!
I wasn’t feeling very well over the past few days. As I mentioned in my weekly wrap, I was in DC for a conference and ate a lot of unhealthy food while I was away. So I was having digestive issues…I was really nervous that it would impact me for the race. I stayed hydrated as much as possible and laid out my clothes for the next day. I thought I took a photo, but I’ll describe my outfit: Cherry Blossom 2016 Finisher Shirt, Old Navy Shorts, Nathan hydration belt, Merino Wool Buff for my head, Puma socks, New Balance 880’s. This was the first race all year that I didn’t have on my Mizunos that I’ve grown a love/hate relationship with, and I was hoping that wasn’t a bad sign…
The race started at 8 am, but we needed to get to the race early to get our bibs that morning between 6:30 and 7:45 am. King of Prussia is about a 30 minute drive on an good day, so after some cereal and milk for breakfast, we left a little after 6:30 and had no traffic on I-76 as we headed to KOP. We were directed to a parking lot that was free and then walked over to Heuser Park where the race was taking place. Some people were complaining that the walk was too far (it may have been 3/4 mile), but I didn’t mind. I also realized that they were also having a 5K take place.
The weather was in the mid-50’s, which was perfect. Unfortunately, it was sprinkling outside. We’ve had such awful weather and I really thought we’d avoid rain for the race. It was around 7:15 am so we had a bit of time to wait around. I found an awning to stand under to stay dry along with some other folks that were pretty friendly while Bret took our finisher tee’s (that were very nice!) back to the car.
Before we went to the starting line, I noticed a couple of signs with the course map and elevation profile. Let me tell you…I was in for a hell of a ride. I knew there’d be hills but I had no idea they would be so steep! I tried to mentally prepare for that, which only helped slightly…
It was pretty difficult to even make out the location of the starting line. It was definitely the smallest starting line sign I’d ever seen! Since this was a small race with only a few hundred people, you weren’t going to find pacers or line up corrals. Everyone lined up where they wanted to with the 10 milers going first, then followed by the 5K runners a few minutes later.
I had my tunes ready to go on Spotify and was ready to get in the zone. I didn’t even realize we were starting until people started moving! And then we were off!
We started out the race essentially in a parking lot. I was surrounded by runners but never felt congested – the benefits of a small race! There were several speed bumps that we had to be careful to jump over as we made our way through the lot and out of the park towards the street. We barely went a quarter mile and we were already heading uphill. Quickly, I realized that this was going to be a really tough race.
I started out entirely too fast. If I was running a flat race, it wouldn’t have been a problem. I had a small group that I ran with the first mile, but it didn’t take long for me to burn out and I kept feeling myself getting slower and slower. People would pass me and I could never catch up to them…my legs just couldn’t do it. And every time I looked ahead, I saw a hill. A big hill. Two miles in and was wondering if I could even finish this race.
The course took us along the neighborhoods in King of Prussia. We passed a few strip malls and ran entirely on the road. The streets were “sort of” closed for us, meaning that we had several points where cars would drive past us while we ran. It made me pretty uncomfortable! I tried to get in the zone as I ran, but I found it hard to distract myself from the dreaded hills. Going down was fun, but going up was pretty rough!
When I got to the 5-mile clock, the time was just around 51 minutes. I was shocked. I thought I was going soo much slower. I felt like I was barely moving!
Splits: 9:11, 9:45, 10:46, 10:10, 10:34
So I pushed on. I have to tell you, 5 miles in I was thinking that this was far enough for this race. KOP 5 Miler sounded really good to me. While I never did stop moving, I did walk at the 6-mile water stop so that I could take my Clif Shotbloks and I think my body appreciated the short break. We continued to run, looking over our shoulders for cars, diagonally crosssing streets at random points, and somehow we ended up near the King of Prussia Mall and the I-76 highway.
It is embarrassing to even admit it, but I really didn’t feel “good” during this race until about mile 7. It didn’t feel like a race for me until that point. Isn’t that crazy?? Mile 7 is usually the point of a 10-mile race where I try to dig deep, and I did the best I could. We had some craaazy hills to contend with, my knees and feet weren’t feeling the best, it was humid as heck (thankfully it didn’t rain at all during the race!), and I just wanted this damn race to be over. Oh and I don’t want to forget to mention – there was a dead deer on the side of the road along the course. Bret said it smelled pretty bad, but I didn’t even realize it was a real animal! Definitely a first!
Thanks to looking at the elevation map before the race, I knew there was a big hill around mile 8.5. And it was huge, long, and endless! I trudged my way up the hill but as soon as I made it to the top, I had to take a brief walk break to get myself back together. I took one more Clif Shotblok and continued on. From that point on, everything was downhill (yay!) so I did my best to take advantage of it.
As I made my way back into the park I knew I was close to being finished, at last! I saw Bret, but at that point I still had at least 0.2 miles to reach the finish. So close, but so far. I really started to book it, passing a kid that I saw earlier on the course, doing my best to avoid those speed bumps, and finally, I was done!
Splits: 10:45, 11:18, 10:02, 10:46, 9:53
I finished the race in 1:43:28. I was so happy to beat 1:45 but again, it was rough. I was really out of breath and had to take a bit of walk to slow down my heart rate. But to give some perspective, last year, I ran the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler on a short course (9.5 miles) and ran 1:38, so I really have nothing to complain about. I’ve really improved and I’m proud of that!
We didn’t hang out too long after the race. My knees were killing me and even my upper body was feeling achy. I grabbed a bottle of water, a slice of pizza (a first for me at a race) and we made the long walk back to the car. As we were leaving, a woman called me out “Purple shorts!” I instantly recognized her as I saw her running and walking near me through most of the race. She said that she lost me in the last 1.5 miles and finished around 1:45. She said that I was “steady” and pushed her to keep going. Wow, I really couldn’t believe it!
Bret suggested trying somewhere new to grab brunch, so we went to Southern Cross Kitchen in Conshohocken, about 20 minutes away. I ended up ordering the Monti Christo French Toast, a bloody mary, and a mimosa. It was so much food that I had to bring some home! Bret had the Southern burger that looked absolutely amazing. This is definitely a place we need to return!
Once we had our meal we made our way back home and eventually I had a glorious nap. Everything was sore and I didn’t want to move! This race really kicked my butt!
The King of Prussia 10 Miler was a very challenging race, but I’m really surprised that I did as well as I did. Most of the way, I felt absolutely miserable, but all I can say is that considering how undertrained I was, I can’t complain too much! If you’re looking for a physical and mental challenge, this might be the race for you, but to be honest, I have to call this a one-and-done!
In any event, I’m glad that I tried something new and I know that if I could go through all of those hills in King of Prussia, it’ll be a LOT easier running the hills at the 1/2 Sauer 1/2 Kraut Half Marathon.
Do you enjoy hillier races? Do you have any more races coming up this spring?