I feel like I just posted (because I did), but I can’t help but feel like I should write a post that gives the Virginia Ten Miler the credit that it deserves. This is a GREAT RACE. I’m not just saying that because it’s where I live and I’m not just saying that because my employer is a sponsor and pays for my entry. I’m saying it because it’s 100% true.
According to the race website (found here), next year’s race is 367 days, 18 hours, 32 minutes and 50 (49, 48, 47) seconds away. That should give you plenty of time to make arrangements to attend. There’s also a 4 mile option and this year they introduced a 2 person relay as well. If you have kiddos, there are kids’ 1/4, 1/2 and 1 mile distances the evening before the race. I’m always very impressed with how the kids’ races are handled. It isn’t easy to herd a bunch of kids that age into various races.
Speaking of the kids, 2 of mine ran on Friday and I was very proud of both of them. I already posted this picture in my post on Sunday, but I’m gonna do it again. What’s that? You didn’t READ my last post? I’ll give you ONE more chance.
Packet pickup is a simple process. You can pick it up on Thursday, Friday or the day of the race. There isn’t a whole lot at the packet pickup as far as merchandise and gear go, but I don’t mind. I have enough trouble as it is with buying too much. I was in and out of there in 5 minutes. The packet came with information about other races and charities and not much else. Some races come with various trinkets (spell check?) that usually end up in my trash can so I was sort of relieved not to get any. The shirts this year were AMAZING. They are usually pretty good, but they definitely stepped it up to a new level this year. Another perk of the race is that Molly Huddle was in town to speak and spend a little time in Lynchburg and at the race. I wasn’t fortunate enough to meet her, but several of my running buddies did. Some of them may or may not have freaked out a little. You know how running groupies are.
The 10 miler course is certainly not boring. As you can see, there are plenty of hills to be climbed (and descended). It’s challenging not to try and gain some time on the initial downhill. I’ve made the mistake of going too fast there (I think I ran around a 5:40 first mile once). I think that miles 1.5 to 3 are what can make or break your race. It’s a long, sharp climb and if you go too fast you end up thinking about how crappy you feel with so much race to go. It’s important to run this part to effort and not to pace. The halfway point is at Riverside Park, midway through a steep little hill. Once you make that climb, you can get a sense for how the rest of your race might go. If you feel optimistic coming out of the park, that’s the time to step on the gas. The final climb (known as Farmbasket Hill) is a little over a mile. Many runners have turned into walkers (myself included).
To be totally clear, I ran the course TWICE as part of my marathon training. My experience this year isn’t exactly the normal experience. I’ve run the race for the last 10 years though, so I’ll just have to think back a little.
The race starts promptly at 8:00am. I decided to run my first 10 before the race so I showed up at around 6:30, figuring I could run the first 10 at around 80 minutes and then quickly get ready for the actual race. When I got there, plenty was going on around me. The bands were getting set up, as well as all of the various sponsor areas and other amenities. There are massages. MASSAGES. I didn’t get one, partly because I didn’t have time and also because I would never subject another human being to rub down my sweatiness.
My first 10 went about as planned. I reminded myself that it should be EASY, since I would still have to run the course again. I took it easy enough on the climbs to not take too much out of me. My biggest issue was that it was already so warm and humid. I was sweating like crazy. I drank about 16oz of Tailwind, but that wasn’t enough.
Bands were setting up along the course. A few spectators were already out during my first 5, even more were out by the time I was heading back to the start/finish. I saw some familiar faces that I love so much to see. I can’t tell you spectators how much of a difference that you can make in a person’s race. Thank you. Even when I was hurting, I tried to look happy for you all.
People were joking with me that I was early. I was joking with people that I was winning. Speaking of winning, in case you’re wondering what the time to beat is, the winners came in at times of 47:25 for male and 54:31 for women. So yes, the Virginia Ten Miler does being some elites to town.
My second 10 went somewhat horribly. I tried to hype myself up by talking with friends and staying optimistic, but the weather was taking its toll on me. I scrambled to the start line already sweaty and somewhat disoriented. I had trouble even putting my race bib on my new shirt. Luckily, running buddy/caretaker Alissa helped me out a bit by picking up all of the safety pins that I repeatedly dropped.
I drank as much as I felt I could before the race started and refilled my bottles with Tailwind. Unfortunately, I dropped one of them less than half a mile into the race. There went half of my hydration supply! I ran a fastish first mile and it didn’t feel that bad, but that’s because it was downhill (see profile above). Once I got to the first hill, I remembered quickly that I’d already climbed it once. The second time was much harder.
I don’t want to get into the suffering of the rest of the race again, since I wrote about that on Sunday. I’ll just post my times here.
I finally crossed the finish line clearly you can see that I was worn out and not super excited about it. I was just drained. Completely.
Fortunately, I was rewarded with another pretty cool medal and a fairly typical post-race spread. There was pizza (I LOVE post-race pizza) but no beer (I also LOVE post-race beer). There was a post-race celebration at a local brewery on Sunday that I wasn’t able to attend. I don’t think any beer was free, but I imagine it was fun and I know the beer is good. Another thing to add is that the pictures taken during the race are FREE. I know some races charge quite a bit for that perk, so I thought I’d mention it.
My favorite part of the race didn’t happen this year. The Virginia Ten Miler has been a thing for 44 years and there’s an older gentleman that has participated in over 40 of them (I don’t know exactly how many). In previous years that I’ve run, late in the race the announcers will let the crowd know that he’s on his way to the finish. Many runners and spectators make their way to the finish to loudly cheer him in. I love it!
I hope that my post gives this great race the credit that it deserves. I’ve loved it for 10 years now. If you’re looking for something new to run, come to Lynchburg and I promise you won’t regret it.
Those that have run this race, feel free to chime in and add anything that I may have forgotten.