Appalachian Power Festival 10K Run – Race Report

**I commited a blog fail today by neglecting to actually get a picture of myself to document my race… you will have to make do with my other pictures :)**

This morning started with a wake up call shortly after 5:00 AM. I ate a piece of toast with peanut butter just to wake up my stomach, we took care of the dogs, and were on the road to make the hour and 15 minute drive to Roanoke a little after 6. I intended to eat a Power Bar (my typical pre-race/pre-long run breakfast) on the way up to Roanoke but I completely forgot. That led to me feeling very empty and hungry during the race.

The race had race day packet pickup from 6:30 to 7:30, prior to an 8 AM race start. It was nice not to have to make a trip up to Roanoke on Friday just to get our bibs. We parked in the race-designated parking garage, which was right next to the start/finish line and packet pick up. There was no wait to get our packets so we easily got those, made a quick porta potty trip, and then went back to the car to pin on our bibs and drop off our packets (which included a unisex-sized technical race shirt).

Once we were ready to go we headed back over to the start/finish line with about 15 minutes to go before the start. We made another porta potty trip (only 3 people in line… if you can call that a line), and lined up at the start. The race ended up starting about 20 minutes late. I may or may not have made a joke about that being typical for Appalachian Power, who is our electricity provider and has a reputation for not getting the power back on when they say they’re going to.

The race was an out and back course that was described as “flat and fast”. And it mostly was, except for the two bridges we ran over in the first and last mile. Guess they forgot about those when they wrote the description? We started with running a half mile through the downtown area (and over the two bridges) and then turned onto the greenway, where the majority of the race took place. There was also a 5K that started at the same time. The two races ran the first half mile together and then the 5K’ers went left on the greenway while the 10K’ers turned right. Here is the elevation profile, according to my Garmin.

Not exactly my definition of flat and fast, but I’m also not complaining. I didn’t exactly expect to run a flat course in Roanoke.

I felt pretty good for the first 3 miles (including my calves and Achilles!!) and got into a rhythym behind a lady who was running a steady pace. Miles 1-3 clocked in at 9:20, 9:21, and 9:16. A little before mile 3 I saw Barry speeding by on his way in and we high fived. Shortly after mile 3 we reached the turnaround point. I was surprised that there was no timing mat, since the race was chip timed, especially for an out and back course. Unfortunately I did witness one cheater and I guess that’s on her concience but I hate to see it.

Roanoke Greenway

Once I passsed the turn around I tried to pick it up on the way back, but I started to falter. There was a bit of a head wind on the way back and my legs started feeling really fatigued. I just took it one mile at a time and finally we were making the turn off of the greenway to go back through downtown (back over the two bridges) and to the finish line. Miles 4-6 clocked in at 9:18, 9:35, and 9:25. Positive splits… oops.

I saw Barry as I came down the final hill and he cheered me on as I made the turn for the final 0.2 miles to the finish. As per usual, I developed my tunnel vision and focused on the finish line arch. After I crossed the finish line I immediately had to clamp my hand over my mouth to keep from embarassing myself. That’s right. Apparently I ran hard enough to induce potential retching at the finish line. This has only ever happened to me one other time at a Thanksgiving 5K two years ago. As soon as I walked out of the finish chute area, I assumed the hands on knees position and proceeded to fight my body while making lovely “throwing up” noises. This happened 5 or 6 times and I speed walked over to a grassy area to get some privacy, but luckily I kept the water in my stomach where it was and did not actually throw up. Crisis averted. Barry thinks I nearly got sick at the finish from forgetting to eat my Power Bar on our way to Roanoke.

I finished in 57:27, a six second PR from my last 10K in March. I also placed 6th in my age group out of 16. Barry ran a great race, finishing in 43:52 and placed third in his age group.

The race was part of a festival called the Appalachian Power Festival (duh) so there were a bunch of craft and food vendors. We walked around after the awards ceremony and looked at each of the booths, but didn’t buy anything. That’s really saying something especially since there was a fruit smoothie vendor and a craft vendor selling homemade Hokie stuff. Call it self control or call it only having $5 on me… which was not enough to purchase any of the above mentioned items.

Overall it was a great day for a race. The weather was almost ideal for running with temperatures in the mid-50’s with a light amount of wind. It got a little warm running, but there were shady stretches on the greenway, which runs along the Roanoke River.  I chose to carry my handheld water bottle today, as I have gotten really used to having access to water whenever I want it versus only at water stops. I’ve also found that I can drink a lot easier without breaking stride from my waterbottle than I can when I am grabbing a cup of water.

Speaking of water stops, the race had at least 3 as far as I can remember. The water stops were pretty much the only places where there were people cheering the runners on. The only other spot I saw spectators was at the start/finish line. It was a smaller race, though, with 212 participants in the 10K and 228 in the 5K. With the race being an out and back you got to see lots of runners on the greenway and we cheered each other on as we passed.

After doing two 10K races I’m not sure how I feel about the distance. I’m not in love with it, but I also had a pretty good time today (except when I was hating life during miles 4-5). I’ve got a half marathon coming up and then I’m planning to hop into a couple of 5K’s before I start marathon training.

Does it bother you when a race starts late?
Not really, but today was the latest a race I’ve participated in has started.
What style of race course do you prefer: out and back, point to point, or loop?

Do you prefer smaller or larger races?
Smaller.
For those who have run a 10K before, how do you feel about the distance?

5 Comments

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  1. Sorry that you almost got sick! That is a horrible feeling. Great job on the PR though!! I haven’t run a 10K, but I want to some time. I definitely prefer smaller races. As for cheaters–that really stinks! I hope she didn’t cross the finish line.

    1. It is a bad feeling, but I was more embarrassed than anything. She did cross the finish line and then proceeded to take a bunch of pictures with her family who was waiting at the finish line.

      You should definitely do a 10K! I hadn’t done one before this year, even though I started doing races in 2007. It’s definitely unique.

  2. Yikes! Getting sick at the end sounds like no fun at all. Glad you held back!
    I really like all of the racing distances. The problem with the 10K for me is that in the back of my mind it’s not a “hard” distance to run. It’s not a half, it’s not a full. I need to change my perspective about that race… it can be a really tough distance if you’re not ready for it, aren’t fueled well, or if it’s a mean course.
    Congrats on your PR!

    1. Thank you! I think even thought the length of the 10K is not a “hard” distance to complete, you can make it challenging by pushing yourself more than you normally would for a 6 mile run. The two 10K races I’ve run are the only two times I’ve ever pushed myself that hard over the course of 6 miles, except for my half PR back in November.

  3. Personally, I find 10Ks to be the MOST challenging distance to run. 5Ks are painful, but over quickly. Half-marathons are more sustained, but lower-grade discomfort (in my opinion). But 10Ks are supposed to be run hard, but sustained for >40 minutes. Ugh.

    I very much love smaller races. The most annoying thing about Singapore is that every race is huge (thousands of people). Ugh. Along those lines, I am bothered when races here start late, because I’m usually standing smushed into a starting corral with 5,000 of my NOT closest friends, who are sweaty, anxious, and ready to start. Not exactly comfy, to say the least…

    I like all courses! P2P have more variety, O&B let you see/cheer other runners, and loops are convenient yet with more variety. I guess I’m easy to please, provided the starting gun sounds on time! 🙂

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