June 1, 2016

Chick-fil-A 10k Race Recap

Last Saturday, I ran the Chick-fil-A 10k as my first race back from a knee injury that started last fall. It's funny how a hiatus from racing for 7 months will impact your mental game. I had all kinds of crazy anxiety like what if I forgot what to do at the starting line, what if my legs wouldn't work, etc. Silly! It turned out to be a great race day and exceeded my expectations in so many ways!


Adam was gracious enough to join me on race morning and we had no problems getting up to Newport News and finding parking at Christopher Newport University. The walk to the starting line was about 10 minutes from the designated parking garage at the University and the signage to the starting line was great! Once we got to the starting line area, we had a little less than an hour of time until the start. We dropped off our canned goods and received our raffle tickets to hopefully win a year of free food at Chick-fil-A. Spoiler alert - we didn't win!

The finish line area was filled with vendors and tons of activities for kids. There were Chick-fil-A cows everywhere and I took an opportunity to snag a photo with the "royal" cows. Hilarious, right?
Yes, real princesses eat chicken! 
Around 8:00, the announcer instructed all the kids to head to the starting line for the kids race. We walked over figuring that they would have the 5k and 10k runners line up afterwards. We were wrong but it was a good thing. We got to see the start and finish of the kids race which was so fantastic! All of the spectators were cheering and clapping as each child and their family members headed to the finish line.

A few minutes after the kiddos finished up, the 10k runners lined up at the finish line. There were pace markings on the side and I lined up in corral 2 which was 7:00-9:00 pace. I felt like I was too close to the start but that was my intended pace so I went with it. First the hand cyclist was sent off and a few minutes, we were on our way. Like always, I found my starting line song to get me going.

Mile 1, 8:48 - The entire time I was telling myself to slow down. I didn't want to kill the first mile and ride the pain train to the finish. We started at the Mariner's Museum and made our way toward the water.

Mile 2, 9:10 - My pace was much better here. This mile of the course was GORGEOUS! We ran right along the water and made a turn back into the neighborhood and ran past some beautiful homes. There were a few rolling hills in this mile and I tried to take the uphills conservatively.
Obviously not a photo from the race morning but this is the water we ran along
during mile 2!
Mile 3, 9:03 - I planned to run 9:00 pace here and this was right on. We turned away from the Museum and headed out over the bridge with the lion sculptures. I started focusing more on my pace here and trying to stay comfortable. We were running in direct sunlight and I was really noticing the warmth.  
Not a photo from race morning but this is the section of bridge that took us out
from mile 2 and to the finish from mile 5 on

The lion sculptures are really beautiful on this bridge section
Mile 4, 8:51 - During this mile, we headed through two out-and-back sections of the course. I tried to use these sections for motivation, to see the runners ahead of me. While I really picked up the pace this mile, I still felt pretty good. 
 
Mile 5, 8:16 - When we hit mile 5, we merged back onto the bridge to go back toward the starting line and it was here that the course became somewhat crowded because the 5k racers were out on the course. Most of the 5k racers I encountered were walking or running pretty slowly so I did a ton of weaving here. I also found myself yelling "on your left" or "on your right" frequently. This was a bit frustrating as my legs were tired and I was really going all out. 

Not from race morning - The museum area has some really
neat sculptures that dot the paths
Mile 6, 7:56 - The final mile was a battle. I simply told my legs to keep going no matter how tired I was. When I looked down to glance at my watch and check out my pace, I was shocked to see that I was consistently running a 7-something. I went with it though and was so excited when we rounded the bend towards the finish line. I figured Adam would be in here somewhere and I found him sprawled out under a tree in the shade. I saw him before he saw me and yelled his name and did a half wave. No time to waste with the finish line so close! 
Thrilled with my finish! 
Final time, 53:29 - When I saw the finish line clock at 53-something, I gunned it hard. My overall time goal was 54-55 and honestly I figured a 55-something was realistic. To come in about 3 minutes off my PR was really sweet.

Post-race festivities: I would strongly recommend this race to anyone interested in a family-focused race. There were bouncy things for the kids, a petting zoo, and tons of booths with kids activities. Of course, there was also plenty of Chick-fil-A! I was so hot that I didn't really eat much of my sandwich and Adam happily finished it for me. I figured that was a small reward for him coming out to support me.
A little excited about this sandwich post-race! 
Baby piggie at the after party! 
Packet pick-up: There were 3 options - one on the Peninsula, one in Norfolk, and on the morning of the race. Since I work just down the street from the Norfolk location, that was easy for me and I was happy to get my bib before race morning. I noticed that the packet pick-up line on race morning was very long and in fact, the race start was slightly delayed because some people were still registering right up until the race started.

Swag: With our entry fee, we received a t-shirt, bib, a coupon for a free Chick-fil-A biscuit or sandwich, and a medal upon finishing the race. This was pretty adequate for the race and I was actually happy I didn't get a tech shirt. I know that sounds crazy but I can use a t-shirt more than a tech shirt at this point.

In summary, this race was fantastic! It was well-organized, the course is gorgeous, and the post-race festivities are fabulous. If you are looking for a fun 10k in the Hampton Roads area, I would definitely check this one out.

Happy global running day! Wishing you lots of fun if you're participating in any of the festivities today!

What's the best post-race food you've ever had?
{Christine}

29 comments:

  1. Great job! You really kicked up the pace on those back miles! You're baaaacckkk!

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    1. Thanks, Wendy! I was so surprised to see such a fast last mile.

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  2. Great job! This sounds like a fun race and I love that they had all those post race activities. The baby pig is adorable :)

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    1. Thanks Chaitali! I was pretty into that baby pig. :)

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  3. Congratulations on a great race! You ran awesome splits and a smart race, so you've still got it even if it's been awhile since you raced. Plus it was probably very warm out, and I know once you get back into the swing of running more, you can beat this time. Looks like a gorgeous course, too.

    This series looks like so much fun and now I'm online looking for one near me (it seems like one I'd be willing to make a road trip for). Races like this get non-runners into running too. But... sorry you did not win the free CFA :(.

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    1. It's funny - I didn't even know there was a CFA race series. I don't think this one is part of the big race series but it's been around for a while.

      Yes, I was really stoked by my splits and I was surprised that I ran the paces I planned. I assumed my race plan was a touch ambitious but it was a really nice treat to be able to see my body respond as I hoped it might!

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  4. Congrats on running a strong race, Christine. Coming back from an injury is never easy, but you showed that injury who was boss! Having Chick-Fil-A waiting for you at the finish line sounds like a great post race treat.

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    1. Thanks, Kathryn! It's nice to be racing again for sure!

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  5. You really came back strong girl! Way to go! Sounds like this is a great race and one to do annually! -M

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    1. Thanks, Meranda! I was really really happy to be back and having fun racing again.

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  6. WOW! Sounds like an awesome race, and you totally killed it -- WTG!!!

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    1. Thanks, girl! It definitely exceeded my expectations, both in terms of the race itself and how I ran.

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  7. You crushed it! Congrats!

    I wish I could tell my legs to keep going no matter what my brain says -- I can do it when it's cool, but not when it's hot. I can almost always expect negative splits when it's hot. And I've got a warm 5k this weekend . . .

    Fav food after a race was clam chowder & lobster roll after smuttynose! It was a raw, rainy day and man that hit the spot!

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    1. Aw thanks, Judy! When the going got tough, I kept telling myself that I busted my butt all winter in hopes of getting back to running and that helped my mental game.

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  8. How exciting! Great job, Christine!!

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  9. Congrats! It sounds like you had a great race and did a fantastic job on your first race back! Love that you got Chick-fil-a at the end, what a great post race meal. Maybe next time you'll win free chicken for the year!

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    1. Thanks! I really appreciate your support throughout this crazy injury recovery journey. It felt great to be out there again!

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  10. Wow!! Fantastic race and mile paces. You ran a perfect race with those splits! I haven't run a (non-trail) 10k in more than a year. I really enjoy the distance & should try to find one, but maybe it's already to hot outside! Anyway...best post race meal? One time there was a build-your-own chili bar after a snowy trail run. It was fantastic.

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    1. Wow that sounds amazing! I have mixed feelings about the 10k distance...I always think it's a challenge to balance a smart pace with going hard enough for it to be a shortish race.

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  11. great race recap and it sounds like a good time! I am so glad you were able to keep such a good pace!

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    1. Thanks Juliana! I appreciate your kind words :)

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  12. What a great come back race girl!!!!! It looks like it was a great course and a fun race!

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    1. I was so pumped, Mindy! You could not wipe the smile off my face :)

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  13. So funny that races here are so different on certain things. Post race food ? What's that ? ! We always have bananas or oranges, maybe some raisins. That's about it !
    Congrats on your time.

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    1. Haha it doesn't surprise me at all that Europe is more low key with post-race food.

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  14. HUGE congrats. It's so great to hear that you had a great return to racing after that injury. And the fact that you ran that last mile so fast means that you ran a smart race and perhaps are even fitter than you thought! Yay! This also looks like a really pretty course.

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    1. Thanks, Elizabeth! I love the area of this course - it's where my husband and I got engaged and often take the dog for trail walks so it's a special place for me.

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  15. Wow, awesome overall pace and great fast-finish. You are killing the comeback. So happy for you.

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