2018 Frostbite 15k
1:12:56 (7:50 min/mile) 11/47 AG 127/865 Overall
January 21, 2018 – The Frostbite 15k was my first race of 2018, and I was anxious to see if the speed work that Karen had me doing over the Fall and Winter was paying off. My doctor friend Tressa, was also running, as were several of Leigh Anne’s friends – Meg, Kristen and Rachel. There aren’t that many 15k races out there, and its a pretty fun distance. Long enough to feel like a distance race, but short enough to make you run fairly hard. I’d done the race in 1:13:37 in 2016 at a 7:54 min/mile pace, and my primary goal was to beat that time. My secondary goal was to average a 7:45 pace for the 9.3 miles.
In 2016 it was dumping snow, but the weather this time around was clear. It was a chilly 40 degrees, but warmer than it could have been for a Saturday morning race in January. Still, I dressed fairly warm, with long tights and gloves. I got down to the race site at the Amelia Street School and grabbed my bib, and shortly thereafter I ran into Tressa and her dog, Flicka. We did a short warm up run, and then ran into Meg, Kristin and Rachel in the portapotty line. By the time we finished up there, it was time to hop in the starting chute and get ready to race.
Miles 1-3 (7:51)(7:50)(7:55)
After the gun went off, we took off down a hill and Tressa gradually disappeared as she left me in her dust. We took a left at the bottom of the hill for a short out and back section. The first two miles were relatively flat, and I focused on running easy and keeping my heart rate under control. The course got hillier in the third mile, and I tried maintain a good pace without tiring myself out too early. I knew that I’d need decent legs when I got back to those same hills near the end of the race. I had planned to keep my pace for the first three miles between 7:50 and 8:00 – so all was going according to plan.
Miles 4-6 (7:45)(7:42)(7:41)
By the fourth mile, the course began circling the lakes near Maymont park, and the course was a little flatter there. I’d begun to get fairly warm, so I took off my gloves and shoved them into the side pockets of my tights. As I was crossing the bridge between Swan Lake and Shields Lake one of them fell out, but I wasn’t inclined to turn around and go back for it. I did stop to pick it up though, when I crossed the bridge in the other direction around mile 6.15.
I was very pleased with my pacing for miles 4-6, and had managed to run three straight miles at or below my goal pace. I was feeling pretty good, but fatigue was steadily creeping in. In the back of my mind was the fact that I’d have to traverse the hilly portion of the course again, culminating with a climb up to the finish line.
Miles 7-9 (7:47)(7:42)(7:38)
The last three full miles were tough, and my pace slipped a bit in mile 7 due to some more hills. There was a bit more elevation gain in mile 8 than there had been in mile 7, but I was able to push through it in 7:42. The average pace on my GPS was still creeping down towards 7:45, but I wasn’t quite there and knew that I needed a strong finish. Mile 9 was slightly flatter than the two before it, and I was able to turn in my fastest full mile of the day at a 7:38 pace. I was hurting pretty good at that point though.
Miles 9 – 9.4 (7:03 pace)
After passing the 9 mile marker, all I had remaining was a right turn onto Colorado Avenue and then a left turn to head up the final climb towards the finish. The GPS was showing a 7:48 pace, so I poured on whatever I had left and sprinted up the hill and across the line. After stopping my Garmin it showed 9.4 miles at a 7:46 pace. Dang, so close! Missed it by 1 second per mile – at least unofficially.
A 15k should be 9.3 miles, and my GPS had me dead on 9.3 in 2016. This time around though I was 0.1 miles long. Initially, I chalked that up to some zigzagging on the course, but later I compared my GPS map from 2018 to the one from 2016. There was a slight difference in the course around Fountain Lake at mile 5.2, which seems to account for the longer distance in 2018. Even so, I still beat my overall time and pace from 2016, but officially, I ran a 7:50 pace instead of the 7:46 pace on my GPS.
So, mileage discrepancies aside, I was very happy with my initial race of 2018. I’d paced myself well and very nearly hit my goal pace (unofficially). Heck, if I hadn’t had to stop and pick up my glove, I probably would have hit it spot on. Let that be a lesson to me for overdressing. Irrespective of the pacing, it was good to test my winter fitness level, and having a race on the calendar always keeps me motivated. My first triathlon of 2018 wasn’t until late April, so I still had plenty of time to continue with my speed work. Unfortunately, the injury and illness bug was about to set up shop in my house and throw a wrench into my well laid plans.