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There's Something About the Plaza 10K!

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The short:

Mother Nature didn't want the Plaza 10K runners to have it easy this year, so she gave us 71 degrees with thunderstorms in the area and a dew point of 68.  Historically I haven't raced well in these conditions, so I lined up ready to give it my all and to be thankful for whatever that was, without any specific time or pace expectations.  I ran by effort and ignored my watch, and although I had an idea where I was at since the race had a course clock at the 5K mark, I was thrilled to see the finishing clock in the 36s as I came down the final stretch.  My official time of 36:52 is 18 seconds off my PR, which I ran in 56 degrees on the same course last year, but it almost felt like a PR because it was much faster than I thought I would run in the weather we had.  It is by far the best I've raced anything in temperatures over 70, and it felt so good after a disappointing 5K in similar conditions the previous weekend.

My official results are here, and my Strava activity of the race can be seen here.

I remembered not to stop my watch for once!


On my drive to the race, Psalm 23 popped into my head

The long:

I had a hard time getting pumped up for this race because of the forecast.  I was still feeling discouraged from the Brookhaven 5K, and the weather conditions were shaping up to be nearly identical for this race.  I thought my fitness was there, but I didn't feel good about showing it in crap weather - plus optimism and denial hadn't worked the previous weekend!

I was at this race solo, so this was my race day pic!

However, as always I got excited when I got in the race environment and began warming up.  This race is very competitive, so as usual one of my goals was to place as high as I could.  My other goals were to get the best out of myself that day, and to not be afraid to hurt.

The race started and I settled into the effort level that felt maintainable for 6.2 miles.  Several women went out ahead of me, and I began setting my eyes on the ponytail closest to me and working towards it.  I latched onto men here and there to help pull me up to the next ponytail.  I passed Chander, who I ran most of Grandma's Marathon with, shortly after the mile mark and encouraged her to work her way up with me.  The familiar course was comforting, although I caught myself thinking, "I remember how much cooler it was last year" a few times.

Mid-race focus

I was nearing a woman and feeling strong when we passed the 5K clock in 18:24.  I wasn't sure whether to laugh or to breathe a sign of relief, since the pace felt hard but it also felt do-able, whereas the previous week I'd been nearly dead after racing a flatter 5K in 18:23.  That gave me a nice boost and I accelerated past that women, encouraging her to work with me to catch the two ponytails ahead of us.

A couple of my male pace buddies around mile 4

After that point I worked with a couple of men for the second half of the race.  The effort was hard but I kept telling myself just to stay with them; they would get me in the 36s.  Although I didn't have a time goal when I started the race, I sure had one after I saw my 5K course split, and that was to run something starting with a 36!  I knew that wouldn't be an easy task, because the final 2 miles of this course have a lot of uphill and I've always positive split on it.  Also, my coach told me that humidity affects us most in the second half of a race, which seems like a good explanation for why I positive split everything in the summer even though in general I consider myself a good negative splitter...

I started to hurt really bad with 1.5 miles to go, but I was gaining slightly on a ponytail about 30 seconds ahead and wouldn't let myself give up, just in case!  Running near the men helped a lot, but as they sprinted in the final 0.2 I didn't have much left to give - by that point I also knew that I wasn't going to move up or get caught in my female position.  As I came down the final stretch, I saw that I was going to make it in the 36s and broke out in a smile!


I remembered to not stop my watch right at the

line in hopes of getting good finishing photos!


The woman who won my age group was from Flagstaff, AZ

Post-race, I ran an 8 mile cool down with great company, which has become tradition for this Sunday race that always coincides with marathon training (probably because I am always marathon training, bahaha!)!  I felt pretty good on the slow cool down until we climbed a massive steep hill in the final mile, in search of Sharon's car...

The race took about 8 photos of us finishing our cool down, hah!

The more I reflected on my race, the better I felt about it.  The woman who won the race last year in 34:36 ran 35:24 this time for second place, and she is in top shape preparing for the Twin Cities Marathon.  Another fast female who ran 35:09 last year finished in 36:09 this year.  I finished in front of a women I've never beat before, who ran 36:10 last year and 37:27 this time.  Thinking about it that way, I felt that being 18 seconds slower than my 2018 time was perhaps equivalent to a 30-40 second PR, and this was sure a better checkpoint than my race the weekend before!


Pretty happy with these grade-adjusted paces except for mile 6 and the final 0.24 -

those show I didn't have much left to give!


I wish mile 4 was instead mile 6

I wrote about my Plaza 2018 race here and my Plaza 2017 race here.  Clearly I need to keep running this race every year, because I have never come away thinking it could have gone any better.  I'm thankful I returned for the Plaza 10K magic in 2019.

Psalm 23:1:  The Lord is my Shepard, I shall not want...  23:6:  Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.



My course 5K splits were 18:24 and 18:27!


Post-race brunch company




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An excellent race! I had several people in one of my running groups do Plaza 10K and they definitely were commenting on how much the humidity impacted their race. 

Just curious, how are you liking the rabbit gear? Own any of their shorts? 

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8 hours ago, eliz83 said:

An excellent race! I had several people in one of my running groups do Plaza 10K and they definitely were commenting on how much the humidity impacted their race. 

Just curious, how are you liking the rabbit gear? Own any of their shorts? 

I love the rabbit crop!  I have a pair of catch me if you can shorts and they are comfortable but awfully short.  The shorts I'm wearing here are a pair of their 8 pocket trail shorts; I wanted some that I could carry 4 gels in and these more than suffice.

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On 9/19/2019 at 11:19 AM, ocrunnergirl said:

Nice quad pics!!

I never thought my quads were so massive in real life, hah.

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