Race recap: Bellin Run

The stats:

Heather O’Donnell  F3034     3185         126/1116    926/8884    27:40    57:32   9:16

The details:

Can you see that the wheels pretty much fell off after mile 4? The temp was 80 degrees by then and mile 4 doesn’t really have any shade.  I started out at 5K pace and ended up at half marathon pace.  It was really demoralizing to train so hard for this event and have the weather pretty much derail all my hard work.

Technically, I did get my PR.  My previous 10K PR was 57:45.  So, by a whopping 13 seconds, I have a new 10K time.  I had been hoping to knock a couple minutes off my old time.  So, even though it is a PR, I’m still disappointed with my time.

But, I have to say, that the good folks at the Bellin put on another great race.  They planned ahead for the heat and had extra water available at the water stops.  I do think it would have been a better idea to increase the overall number of water stops, rather than just put more water at the water stops they already had.  The water stops were really crowded and I ended up even skipping one because I just couldn’t get close enough to a volunteer to grab a cup of water.  If they had set up the water stations every 1/2 to 3/4 of a mile, there would have been more opportunities for water and potentially less crowding.  Honestly though, that is my only (minor) complaint.

The course is great.  I love that you don’t make your first turn until after mile two.  It is nice to have a long straightaway at the beginning to let the crowds thin out a little bit.  With more than 18,000 people registered, you know you are never going to have the course to yourself, but those first couple miles of straight running give you the chance to get a little elbow room.  The only negative about those first two miles (check the graph) is that it is a steady uphill climb.

I also have to applaud the residents who live along the course.  There were a lot of them who were out cheering and encouraging, holding signs (“Go person I don’t know”), and generally supporting the runners.  But I have to give a special shout out to everyone who had their hose or sprinkler set up.  On a day like this, it felt amazing to get a blast of cool water.

My race started well.  I was right where I wanted to be for my pace on the first mile.  The second mile slowed down a little bit because I had to weave around a lot of people who had apparently started too fast.  Mile three was a little faster than I wanted.  My plan for miles 4 and 5 was to slow down a little bit and try to stay at about a 9:10 pace.  Well, as you can see by the splits, that didn’t really happen.

My body started to quit about mile 4.  I was feeling a little nauseous, which is very unusual for me.  I figured that my body was rebelling against the heat.  I just kept plodding along at my slow pace.  I couldn’t have sped up if I wanted to.  I also started paying a little more attention to my heart rate monitor.  Typically, when I work out pretty strenuously, my heart rate will stay about 185.  Today it was higher than that for quite a while….even after I finished I had a hard time getting it to come back down.

I struggled through miles 5 and 6 and tried to kick at the end.  I really didn’t have much left, but I knew that there would be water and shade at the end.  Again, I have to give a lot of credit to the organizers and the volunteers.  There was ample help at the finish.  There were medical personnel available for anyone who needed it.  There were a lot of people who were handing out water and food and bananas.  Oh, the banana.  That was probably the best banana I have ever eaten in my life.  It was exactly what I needed after that run.  It was perfect.  The perfect banana.  I can’t say enough amazing things about that banana.  I was so exhausted and drained, and my body was covered in sweat and salt and that banana somehow made the world make sense again.  (I might be crazy, that’s okay.)

So, what do I take away from this race?  I had fun.  Even though I am ultimately disappointed in my time, I can’t control the weather.  I know that I worked my tail off.  I did speed work for the first time in my life!  (And I liked it…remind me of that when I complain about it.)  I know that I am capable of a faster time.  Maybe I’ll get that at my next 10K.  I have my local race coming up in just over a month.  Come and join me.  Register here.  And, hopefully, the speed work I’ve been doing will be a benefit during my marathon training.  It can’t hurt, right?

And, even though it was hot, the Bellin crew did another fantastic job.  This was my third year running this event, and I know I’ll be back again.  I have another PR to chase!


5 thoughts on “Race recap: Bellin Run

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