Last weekend, I ran the Hot Dash 10 mile race in Minneapolis. I have run the race the last 2 years as a part of the race series that I did leading up to the Twin Cities Marathon. I was never a huge fan of the race– it’s in the early spring when it’s hard to get out and train, and the course is really hilly. But, it’s always a nice butt kicking to kick off my spring races.
I’ve been following a McMillian Running half marathon training plan for my next half marathon in May. I really like the plan and have felt like its keeping my body healthy while adding mileage which is usually an issue for me. I’ve also been attending a strength training + running class once a week for the last few months that has helped me build strength and HIIT endurance.
The only thing I haven’t been doing, is getting a lot of quality outdoor runs in. We had a really long Minnesota winter and one of the snowiest Februarys on record. I try to run outside when I can, but the bulk of my runs were on the treadmill. I did a couple of long outdoor runs the week leading up to the race, and they didn’t feel great because I just wasn’t used to it.
The good news is that by the time race day rolled around, the streets were pretty dry and free of snow, and we had a sunny 32 degree temp at the start of the race. Usually the race is cold and windy, so it felt like a luxury to have such a nice day!
In order to hit my half marathon PR this year, I have to run at a 7:37 pace. I wanted to try this pace out for the Hot Dash and see if I could hold it for 10 miles. Since it’s kind of an odd pace, I decided to run with the 7:30 pacer. I knew it was a pretty aggressive goal since it was a little faster than even my 10k PR, but I knew I have been working hard and had the potential.
I stuck with the pacer for the first half of the race, but she hit a few of the first miles really fast (7:12 and 7:14 for miles 2 and 4), which was really fast for me. In the moment, I didn’t know if I should back off and run my own 7:30 pace, or just try to keep up. I tried to keep up and stayed with the group until about mile 6. At that point, I really started to feel that I had gone out too fast and my legs felt really sore, which usually doesn’t happen to me. I fell behind the pace group and just tried to maintain 7:30’s and not screw up how far I had come!
It was a miserable last couple of miles, especially on the last few hills. I barely picked up speed to the end because I didn’t have much left in me! I finished the race in 1:15:50 at a 7:35 pace, which I’m still really proud of. Last year, I ran the race at an 8:09 pace, and the year before at an 8:18 pace, so it was a huge improvement for me.
My takeaway from this race is to not doubt myself– in my ability to run at an aggressive speed and to pace the race how I know that I should, in order to not crash at the end.
The post race festival was really fun and I got to hang out with my friend Calli and enjoy some post-race hot chocolate! The race was a butt kicking, but also left me feeling really positive for the upcoming year!