Our Michigan race is in the books and it was a hilly course! The course ran on beautiful Oakland University in Rochester, MI. That is about 45 minutes north of where we were staying in Southgate, MI. The race included a half marathon, 10K and 5K. There were about 6,000 participants in the 3 races. The weather was nice at 61 degrees but a bit humid at 77%.
They started the 5Ks and 10Ks together. The start was downhill (which meant the finish was uphill!). There were a lot of people running this and quite a few strollers. It was a massive herd of people. Unlike most races where I can get a good pace at the start, this race there was nowhere to go so I was stuck at a slower start. Finally we got on the street and I was able to speed up a bit. I knew going into this race that the course was hilly but I wasn’t quite prepared for the hills that were to come. I decided to test out the Galloway method for this race. I run a half mile and walk a minute. However I refuse to walk a downhill. As a result I ran a lot during my “walk time” and walked some of the “run time.” The first mile had a nice downhill as you can see in the elevation chart below. My first mile pace was 11:40 and that was with a walk break! I was happy with that. There was a drum line that entertained us during this stretch. That was fun. The second mile had some steep hills that I tried to run most of them but ended up walking a lot of them. :( Our first water stop was just before a mile and half marker. I walked through that even though it was a “run time.” My mile 2 pace dropped to 12:14 but with the hills and water stop, I’m impressed I only lost 35 seconds. We had a cheer squad for us somewhere along this mile.
Right around mile 2 is where the 5K runners split from us and went up a hill to their finish. We had to run that hill eventually but first we had to run 3 more miles of hills. Mile 3 was mostly downhill with a few short up hills. I gained back some of the time I lost with mile 2 but not much as it was still 12:09. There was a jazz band playing that was cool. Mile 4 is when it fell apart for me. I was still doing the run/walk method but my legs were tired. The downhills seem to always happen during a walk break and like I said above I don’t walk down hills so than my run breaks would turn into 3/4 miles instead of a half mile. Maybe that caused my exhaustion too? A week before the race I did over 6 miles using this method and did great, most of my half mile run portions were under 6 minutes. That wasn’t the case with this race but I think that is mostly because I trained on flat surface and this course wasn’t flat at all. Mile 4 was probably the flattest of the course except for the long up hill to get to the end of mile 4. This was the worst hill on the course, I think. I’m not sure there were a couple pretty bad ones. My time for mile 4 was 12:32. There was a guy playing his guitar and singing on mile 4. He was ok but the jazz band was better
Miles 5 and 6 were constantly going up and down but not really long hills. You would think I could do well on this but that didn’t happen. Mile 5 had a women singing what sounded like Karaoke. I think part of my problem with mile 5 was I started out walking when it wasn’t a walk break because I just conquered the long hill at the end of mile 4. My legs were so mad at me at this point that I was not too happy. Somewhere was another water stop. I can’t remember where. Mile 5 came in at just under 13 minutes at 12:58. Mile 6 was worse at 13:09. My hope that I could do better than my Valleyfair 10K was gone at this point and my main goal now was to finish strong. I did a lot more walking during mile 6 than I should have but I knew that the finish was an uphill climb and I wanted my legs to be rested for a strong finish. I finished with a “sprint” and did the last tenth of a mile in a minute which is somewhat fast for me considering I was at the end of 6 miles. My finish time was 1:18.29. That was exactly 1 minute slower than Valleyfair’s 10K. I’m disappointed but it was a very hilly course where Valleyfair was flat. My next true test for the 10K is at the Marine Corps Marathon at the end of October. My next 10K is in Mankato but it is almost entirely downhill so that isn’t a fair test.
The Food and Parking
The finish area had plenty of food and water. They had a huge assortment of potato chips including Fritos and Cheetos! There were Oreos, Rice Krispy Treats and of course bananas, oranges and apples. It was a good spread. We made our way to the car and realized we were in for a long wait. The parking lot exit is onto the race course and we had to sit at least 45 minutes to get out. It was bad. That was really the only bad thing about this race. Normally it wouldn’t have been a big deal but we had a hotel 45 minutes away that still had all our stuff in the room and the checkout time was noon. If we didn’t get out of the parking lot soon, we would have been in trouble. Thankfully we got back to the hotel with enough time to take a quick shower and pack up our stuff.
Splits and Pictures