Thursday, November 14, 2013

Race Recap - Riverside Mission Inn 10k

This past Sunday I participated in the 36th Annual Riverside Mission Inn Run in Riverside, CA. This run includes a 5k, 10k, Half Marathon and 1/2k and 1k kids races all benefiting the Mission Inn Foundation and Museum. This was the second time I have participated in one of the Mission Inn Run's; the previous time was for my first half marathon back in 2010. This year I opted for the 10k.

The Mission Inn Run is what I consider a "local" race as it is about 45 minutes away from my hometown. There are a good amount of participants and they really put on a pretty good event that definitely showed some improvements since 2010. This was also the second race in the Run Riverside Challenge that began with the Hometown Heroes Honor Run back in October.

A little background...

The Mission Inn is a hotel, a historical site, a museum, and an arts center all in one. I have had the opportunity of staying at the Mission Inn several times, as well as visiting their day spa on one occasion. It really is a beautiful building and is a centerpiece in the downtown Riverside area. Every holiday season they also do a Festival of Lights and deck out the hotel, along with the downtown shopping district that is pedestrian traffic only. Another cool feature of the hotel is they have horse-drawn carriage rides available.

Here are a couple pictures of the hotel:

It really is an absolutely AMAZING hotel and historical site. Absolutely breathtaking and full of all kinds of charm. I haven't had the opportunity to explore, but they even have some catacombs that run below the hotel that guests can check out. And their spa? To die for! (And no, they haven't paid me for these statements. haha). If you want to learn more go check out The Mission Inn Hotel and Spa's Website and if you are interested in the history you can click here to view the Mission Inn Museum's site.

The Actual Race...

So I shared my goals and strategy for the race last week and I went into it fully planning on sticking to that plan and pacing - basically I wanted to finish at no more than 1:16. I woke up with plenty of time Sunday morning after getting all my clothes laid out the night before and setting up the coffeepot to get started without me. I wrote my pacing out on my forearm then ate my regular breakfast of Maple Brown Sugar Frosted Mini-Wheats and a cup of coffee and had plenty of time to gather my items together before heading out to pick up my sister's kids just up the street (we had to travel in two cars since it was my mom, my sister, her hubby, and her three kids and both mine and my mom's cars fit only 5 people each). We still needed to do packet pick-up and my Mom's race - the 5k - started at 7:30 AM. We got there with time to spare and got everybody checked in. My sister ended up bumping down to the 5k race as well since she had been dealing with some sickness and wasn't quite up to par for tackling the 10k. So that meant I would see them off then be on my own for an hour before the 10k geared up. I hung out with my Brother-in-Law for a bit and my nephew and nieces then left them to their own devices to head over and get ready to go.

Here is where I had mistake #1 - I had gone to the bathroom soon after sending off my mom & sister, but didn't make another potty stop before lining up for my race that had a start time of 8:30 AM. So by the time I started running, it had probably been close to an hour since I had last gone. Even though I hadn't been drinking water yet, I definitely could have used that extra stop. I do not know what I was (or wasn't in this case!) thinking!

I had a GU Tri-Berry gel on my way to the start line and was feeling anxious to get going. The day was shaping up to be quite nice and I was super glad I had gone with a short-sleeve shirt and compression shorts because that is one of the really big mistakes I had made back in 2010 at this race - I wore a long-sleeve shirt and pants and it was HOT! Okay, it was probably in the 70's, but nowhere near warm enough to run in long-sleeves and pants. I was miserable; so lesson learned and it made a difference!

The gun finally went off and I stuck to my plan to start off slow, but I was still going faster than I wanted to. There was a very slight uphill at the beginning and then a good downhill and I was cruising. I think I was probably a high 10-minute/mile through there. The biggest thing that threw me off during this first mile was how steeply cambered the streets were, so I tried to stay towards the middle of the road as much as possible. Just before the Mile 1 marker we left the streets and headed into Fairmount Park which is quite pretty, but the road we were running on was not in terrific condition, but I was determined to just keep an even pace.

Mile 1: 11:16 - a little faster than the planned 11:38, but I wasn't too worried; however, in retrospect, this was the ONLY split that was anywhere close to my "plan"

Here is where things start to go sideways. After leaving the park we hit our second water stop and it really got congested, but I should have just settled down because after the congestion cleared there was the first hill and it was a doozy. I ran for part of it, but quickly realized that I was going to spend all of my energy if I kept it up like that, so I ended up walking. Looking at the elevation information from my Garmin it starts at 785 feet at 1.21 miles then climbs over 100 feet to 890 by 2.19 miles. I really realized here Mistake #2: I have not had nearly enough recent hill training and I should have been more diligent in keeping that up. I enjoyed the downhill that followed all the up, but was being super cautious because of my knee and not wanting to put too much pressure there especially since I can feel the downs more than the ups in that regard.

Mile 2: 12:27 - way slower than the planned 11:30
Mile 3: 11:46

We finally evened out for miles 3-5, but I was still struggling with keeping my motivation going and there were multiple times that my Garmin yelled at me because my heart rate was too high. That seems to be one area I have a really hard time with in races - during training runs my heart rate usually stays in a nice even range, but when I race it ends up going high. Not sure what I can do to change that, so any suggestions are welcome!!! However, I do realize that it probably coincides with Mistake #3: I really need to drop some pounds. I felt heavy and sluggish and I know it is because I'm carrying around way more than I need and am about 10 pounds heavier than I was when I ran my previous 10k PR. It makes a difference...

Mile 4: 11:53
Mile 5: 12:53

After a long mellow stretch we made our way back into Fairmount Park and I definitely enjoyed the scenery, but then as we exited the park I realized that we had to hit the hill AGAIN!! I don't know why I hadn't made this correlation earlier, but after passing the water stop again from Mile 1, there it was...taunting me. And I just didn't have it in me to even run a little bit of it at this point. So you can see from my Mile 5 split, I walked a lot during that mile taking my time up to a full minute more per mile.

The picture doesn't do the hill justice...but a hill at all was definitely NOT welcome at this point!
As I was walking up it I said out loud "I'm so DONE with these hills!!" and the couple behind me chuckled...I think they were feeling them too. Finally it was time to head more towards the city streets and the final stretch. I tried to keep a slow jog going but ended up walking several times anyways.

Mile 6: 12:45

Just as we were coming up on the final turn I was near a gal that I had been leap-frogging with the entire race (I called her purple tank top in my head as I would keep my eye on her when she was out in front) and she was walking so I said "come on, girl - we are almost there - let's finish this thing!" and she said in reply "thanks, I needed that" and started running again. She passed ahead of me, but I saw from the finish line photos that I must have passed her in my final delirious sprint to the finish line.

Mile .2 (actually shows as .3): 10:49

I'm there in the blue shirt and black hat - See the girl in purple tank to the right of the picture? Yep - that's her!
Final Garmin Time: 1:16:14
Final Chip Time: 1:17:10 (I did make a brief potty stop and the Garmin auto-paused so that accounts for the difference there)

Final Thoughts...

So, in other words, I did not meet my Good, Better or Best goals and even though I did RUN pain-free, my knee was definitely achy the rest of that day and into the next which made me very nervous. I actually didn't even tell anyone outside of my bestie on Tuesday that my knee had even been a little achy because I didn't want the family to panic. And I definitely didn't want my hubby to put a possible limit on my running out of fear that I would injure myself again. So this is just between us; don't tell him any of that...mmmkay? But I will say that now that I am several days out, my knee is feeling just fine again so no worries there, but it is definitely something I'm going to be keeping a close watch on.

Okay, so let me go back a little bit - you see the picture above of the hill? You see the guy in it wearing the blue hat and blue compression socks? Well, he was definitely one of my rabbits! We passed by each other throughout the ENTIRE race. I never got a chance to talk to him at all...we were both very much in our own zones, but I did see him afterwards posing with his medal and told him that he had kept me going out there and that he was one of my rabbits and he said the same thing! He said between keeping up with me and purple tank top (apparently he called her the same thing! hahaha) that we kept him going. It's always so fun to see how we all motivate each other and even when we are personally struggling that we very well may be the inspiration that gets someone else to the finish line! You can never discount matter how you personally feel about your performance. AWESOME, right?!?

I know this is overly long, but just a couple take-away's before I wrap it up. My previous 10k PR of 1:16:20 at the Idyllwild 10k in 2011? Wow - I really did NOT give myself enough credit for how good that time was considering the elevation and altitude factors! Here I was on relatively flat ground in the valley and I couldn't beat that previous PR (my Garmin shows a new PR, but if you go by gun time it is just shy). Second, even though I didn't meet my goals, I'm still happy with how I did because all things considering and what I've been through over the past year I am super blessed to even be out there running at all! And to just go bang out 6.2 miles after being in miserable pain and suffering just 9 months ago? Yeah...that's a big deal. Finally, I definitely need to have more runs at goal pace so I'm better prepared to step it up in a race environment.

Next on the schedule? The Holiday 5k in Pomona on December 14! I'm looking forward to it!


  1. Sigh, you make me miss Riverside. I used to spend the summers with my dad out there but never saw the Mission Inn...I now feel gypped! That was so great of you to motivate purple tank top girl at the end and that you and other participants were keeping each other on track. That sense of community is what it's all about! Rock it girl!

    1. Thanks girl!!! And hey - if you ever come out to Riverside for a visit you better make sure you let me know so I can come hang out with you both!!!!!! The Mission Inn is amazing, but is kind of one of those things that if you don't know, you just don't know. I take it for granted for sure...

  2. I think that despite you not meeting the goals you set for yourself, you had one heck of a training run. Rolling hills are so tough, and even more challenging when you are recovering from a serious knee injury.

  3. Good job on finishing strong. Regarding your heart rate, I know that when I'm doing my long slow distance runs, I usually try to keep a steady pace, so I've tried adding tempo runs so that I can adjust to the pace of the actual race. I too seem to get all excited during races, especially at the beginning of the race from all if the adrenaline in my body and the energy of the crowds and of the runners.

    1. Thank you, Luisa!! I definitely agree about keeping a steady pace and adding in more tempo runs to simulate the faster running that is inevitable in a race environment! :-)