Juneathon Day 11: My First 15K Race!

YES! I did it. My first 15K or my first 10-miler, pick one — a trail race to beat all! I’m still not sure how long the race really was. My bib read “10-mile race” but the banner said 15K? Their website said 10-mile in the header, but described the course as three 5K loops? I didn’t care enough to ask management. I was just glad to run it!

What a relief, considering that when I got up at 5am, my headcold was total immersion. Afraid to take cold meds for fear that would make me drowsy, I settled for 2 Advil to at least knock out a thick headache. The 3-hr. drive & hot coffee helped me cough out my lungs pretty well before we arrived at Great Glen Trails. Sorry for the icky deets, but hey, race reports are the good, the bad & the ugly, right?

Our friend Ian & my husband Ken did this race too, so the 3 of us posed before the start. Miraculously, Ian got bib #1. We had some fun with that! He did really well tho, came in 12th of the men, running the full course in 1:19:16 (8:22 pace)! Ken is posing to reflect the weather. Cloudy, spitting rain & temp in the high 50s. He shed the raincoat & ran a good race himself at 1:36:57 (10:00 pace).

Though off-my-game physically healthwise, I was still very excited emotionally. See that mountain view behind me in the pic above? This race course is stunning. I saw wildflowers everywhere — lupines in the fields, bunchberry in the woods, ladyslippers in the wet areas — and a really lovely stretch thru evergreen forest where layered pine needles formed the softest surface I’ve ever run on. Composed of 3 entirely different 5K loops, this is the first race I ever did that had no paved road segments. None! I was surprised that I completed Loop 1 in 32:06, as that’s not far off my usual 10 min. mile for a road race.

But Loop 2 was a steep one, lots of short climbs, single-track thru the woods, mud, slippery footboards, cobble-sized rocks… pretty but treacherous, thus 43:48. And the final 5K loop? It was moderate, some single-track thru woods but mostly gravel carriage roads & grassy field crossings. Easy under normal circumstances, but my throat & lungs were just hammered by then. Lots of coughing & wheezing while walking to get air… so, 42:08.

The last 100 yds. of the race was just crazy fun. A 50-ft. creek crossing that was up over your ankles & then an embankment climb 75 ft. long at 50-degree uphill! But when you reach the top, you’re only 50 ft. from the end… thank God, cuz your feet are soaked! When I came up over the top, Ian snapped me coming into the finish gate.

I’m laughing because he & my husband are cheering stuff like “Yeah! Sprint to the end!” & “Strong finish!” while this chunky older guy just finished a few seconds ahead of me. More power to him! He was the very same guy Ian had selected randomly from the starting crowd, saying to me “Stop worrying, you won’t finish last… see that guy over there with the big gut? You’ll finish before him!” HA! He passed me in the last quarter mile.

But Ian was right, I did not finish last. I finished 27 of 31 solo female runners. Of 46 solo male runners, only 2 finished after me. My total time 1:58:00, which is a 12:32/mi. pace. Slow even for me, but who cares when you consider I couldn’t breathe for nasal congestion or coughing much of race! I’m sure you can see I was thrilled just to finish.

Would I do it again? Absolutely! Gorgeous views, great race. When I committed to this one, my 2 goals were to finish & not get injured. Check & check! This was not an easy race. Ken saw one woman sit down hard after slipping on some wet bridge boards, but she scrambled up & kept on. Ian saw another racer limping & heard her say “game over” as her boyfriend asked if she could finish. In the parking lot afterward, we saw a guy with a bloodied chin & corresponding ice bag. Slow has its perks: I have only a few shin scratches & kept all my teeth, thank you.

Strangely, I’m not stiff or sore. Yeah, that means I didn’t run hard enough… but my muscles feel great, despite little stretching afterward & then crashing for some sleep on the car ride home. Yes, I had brought my pillow & it was safe to pop cold medicine now. The guys woke me for a pub stop of a celebratory beer & snacks.

Thus ends my 15K race day. Best of all, Juneathon continues. I can do a “recovery run” tomorrow, HA! And start my half-marathon training — well, OK, as soon as my cold wanes — cuz there’s a great local one in September. Ian told me about it today, the Swanzey Covered Bridges Half Marathon. If I can run 9.6 mi. on trails, I’ll bet I can run 13.1 mi. on roads already! And I’m a sucker for races with great views. A race course thru 4 covered bridges on mostly unpaved roads? I’m in! Maybe I’ll train for better speed on this one ;-)

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16 Responses to “Juneathon Day 11: My First 15K Race!”

  1. running_dan_w Says:

    I’d count it as a 10 miler – it’s 1k longer than a 15k!!

    • henniemavis Says:

      Yes, but since I’m not sure, I would feel like I cheated if I report 10 mi. on the Juneathon tally? I’m too honest, so I erred on the short side!

  2. abradypus Says:

    Congratulations! It sounds gruelling. Beautiful, granted, but gruelling.

  3. ballookey Says:

    That sounds so awesome and it’s very inspiring…I only wish our cooler weather lasted longer here. :)

  4. shazruns Says:

    So glad you managed your first race and felt well enough to do it, fantastic effort

  5. Mary Stebbins Taitt Says:

    CONGRATULATIONS! YOU GO GIRL! YAY YOU!! WOOHOO!

  6. Mary Stebbins Taitt Says:

    K says, “I don’t know how anyone manages to look so fresh and CUTE after a ten mile race!”

    • henniemavis Says:

      Tell K I was neither “fresh” nor “cute,” trust me! I had salt crusted on my face from dried sweat & I didn’t smell very nice. The hacking cough & phlegm, also not that cute :-)

  7. Jaime Says:

    Did you get any black flies in your eyes? Otherwise that would be false advertising! Congratulations, you made great time.
    Maybe I can do it with you next year? On 2nd thought maybe in 2 years, ya that sounds better.

    • henniemavis Says:

      No flies that day, as it was too cold (50s). Thank God, as I was not running fast enough to keep them off me! You could definitely do it next year, if you wanted… in 2 years time, you could do it and kick my ass! :-)

  8. notmuchofarunner Says:

    Great race report. And well done for a tough 2 hour run with a cold. Recover well.

  9. Giselle Says:

    Sounds like a fab race, well done!! Hope you are feeling better.

  10. archiehartwright Says:

    Great stuff, well done.

  11. mike Says:

    Thanks for further emphasizing the illogical distance.

    Hennie. There’s no way you were sick. You look so happy throughout.

    Um. No t-shirt, ya know so hopefully you stole that big sign.

    And you’ve learned a few lessons that you can apply to Septemberthon and your Half Marathon. Plus, you’ll never underestimate the guys with big guts.

    Great job.

    • henniemavis Says:

      Hey, Mike… you wouldn’t by any chance be a guy with a big gut, would you? ;-)

      And I did badger the mgt. about t-shirts! They had about 20 shirts leftover from prior years’ races, put out for sale @ $5 each… but they were over at the finish BBQ. By the time I finished the race & got over there — only 2 left, both XL :-( If I’d have done an 8 min. mi. pace, I could’ve had pick of the litter. Damn my slow legs!

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