This was the first year that I had run the Hermes 10 Miler, but I knew in the months leading up to it that it would be a crucial race. With five weeks between the Hermes 10 and the Medina Half, I knew that whatever time I ran would determine how close sub 2 would be for Medina. With it being my second 10 mile race, the first one a month before, I still wasn’t sure how to race it, how to pace, or what I expected my time to be. The night before I joked with Darren that I wanted to run 1:32, a 4 minute drop from March’s 10 mile race, but realistically was planning on 1:35.
I woke up at 5:45, had my new pre race/long run breakfast of a Bagel Thin and Chewy granola bar and debated for about an hour or so on what to wear. I was a little nervous, but I was more concerned about the 45 minute drive and finding a place to park with enough time before the race. I finally decided on capris and my Flyte Long sleeve, still enough clothing to keep me warm, but light enough that I hopefully wouldn’t be sweating to death.
The drive up was fairly easy, but as I passed by my office I realized I need to use the restroom now, and probably couldn’t wait until the race. I stopped at McDonald’s and was in and out within a minute. About ten minutes later I pulled into Edgewater and struggled to find parking. After getting kicked out of a few areas, a bunch of us headed way back towards the entrance and I scrambled to get everything ready and over to the start line. Looking back I was thankful I stopped at McDonald’s when I did.
Lining up I felt rushed and still wasn’t sure how the race would go. My plan was to run a 9:30 pace or under and see how I felt. We started the race and I followed the crowd for a bit, trying to settle into a decent pace. Luckily I found myself right above 9:30 and so I tried to maintain the pace. Soon enough my headphones kept falling out so I fiddled with them, pulling the cord and pushing them back into my ears for probably a good half mile. It wasn’t until about a mile in that I realized my playlist was all wrong. I had charged my iPod the night before, but never put it back to my race playlist. So I pulled it out and started to fiddle with that as well. By this point we were well into our second mile and I just didn’t feel myself. I didn’t feel ready to run the rest of the race, and hoped it would quickly change.
It wasn’t until mile three that I started to feel like myself while running. I was now down to a pretty steady pace, still above 9:30, but I felt good so I kept with it. I was taking a small bit of water after each mile marker to make sure I stayed hydrated. I was starting to get a little warm, but once in a while a gust of wind came along and helped to cool me down. It was also during this part of the race where the leaders had turned and were heading towards us. It was a great distraction to watch them zoom by.
I made my turn and started to debate when I was going to fuel. I thought mile 4 would be a little too early so I opted to wait until mile 5. I kept running along, watching runners head towards the turn around and tried to keep my mind from doing math.
Once I got to mile 5 I waited a bit before taking my sport beans. I was halfway through and still feeling good. My legs still felt fresh and I wasn’t sucking air. I decided to stick with the pace as far as I could and as long as I stayed above 9:30, I knew I’d get my 1:35 or under. When I finally took my sport beans I struggled to get the bag in and out of my Flip Belt. For some reason, my hands just wouldn’t work. I definitely wasted more energy than I needed trying to fuel, and determined I’ll have to move them back to the pocket on my hand held.
Luckily it didn’t slow me down too much, but I tried not to push myself to get back to the pace I was running. It was during these next few miles that we started back in towards Edgewater. I was still feeling good and somehow kept creeping up towards 9:10. I slowed myself down some knowing that I was running in some uncharted territory for this distance.
I’m not sure how, but the next two miles seemed to fly by. I knew I was closing in on the miles and still feeling good, I wanted to test myself. I picked up the pace a little, but not too much where I was struggling. I was feeling strong until I saw the hill as we entered Edgewater Park. I was nervous that this was where everything would fall apart and my legs would be toast, but somehow I coasted up the hill passing people and barely changed my pace. I kept going and at that point I knew if I just kept the pace, I could definitely PR.
The last two miles were definitely the hardest. I was in an area of town that I was not familiar with at all. I wasn’t sure where we were going or what to expect. I lost satellite in the tunnels and somehow end up with a 11:xx pace when I came out. I started to panic, wondering how I’d lost so much in such a short amount of time. Luckily, my Garmin bounced back, but I spent too much time focusing on my watch than the road.
The small rollers and inclines didn’t help either. My legs were beginning to ache and I could feel myself break down. The wind started to become an issue and I really started to question what the last mile would bring.
It wasn’t until I passed the mile 9 marker that I really thought I could do it. I welcomed the downhill with open arms, but was smacked in the face with the wind. I made my way around the last neighborhood and back through the tunnel. I could see the finish in the distance, but it felt so far away.
I pushed myself over and over to get closer, but was concerned I was picking up speed too early, so I backed off a bit. I continued to fight the wind from Lake Erie and once I was about 200 feet from the finish I gave it everything I had. I saw 1:32:xx on the giant clock and was ecstatic. I gave it everything I had, and hit my somewhat of a joke goal of running 1:32.
I walked around for a bit after I finished, soaking in the race and the beautiful views over the lake. After a while I walked back over the beach and headed towards my car. I was still in shock of the pace I ran, amazed how close my pace was to running a sub 2 half marathon. It wasn’t until that race, that moment, that I fully realized that maybe sub 2 is a reality this year.
I had such a good experience with this race and I can’t wait to run it again. I couldn’t have asked for more perfect weather and a more perfect race day. Even though it was my “B” race for the spring, it feels almost as good as running sub 2 right now.
Age Group 25-29: 74/191