Downtown 10k Race Recap


The curse of the bad race day weather continues. I had big hopes for a 10k PR coming into this race, but it wasn’t meant to be. The weather on my phone said it would be 64 degrees (perfect), 89% humidity (ok, not so cool), and 17mph wind with gusts up to 40mph (uh oh) at the start. I should’ve reassessed my goals going into the race, but I was still very hopeful for a PR. My workouts had been going great and I felt ready.

starting out. I look like I'm about to fall asleep

Starting out. I look like I’m about to fall asleep.

The race started on Church St before heading down to the bike path. The first three miles the wind was kind of at our backs, but I was still feeling some gusts off the lake. I tucked in behind a couple men and felt pretty comfortable for the first half. However, when we turned onto North Ave reality struck. I was hit by a wall of wind, which I had to battle for the next 2.5 miles. Someone drafted off of me for a bit, then I drafted off of him. Going up a hill, though, I couldn’t quite stay with him and lost my draft buddy.

I hadn’t been looking at my watch at all, but took a glance approaching the end. When I realized I wasn’t going to PR I reassessed my goals and decided to outsprint as many guys (there were no girls near me) as possible at the end. Turning onto Church St. I turned it on. At least, I did my best to. The wind was coming straight at me and I’m sure my form looked horrendous. The last .3 miles were pretty painful as the finish line was in sight, but it felt like it took forever to get there. I felt my usual “don’t puke, don’t puke, don’t puke” sprinting in, which I guess shows that I gave it a good effort.


Charging down Church St

Looking a little silly. So much focus!

Looking a little silly. So much focus!


Also, big thanks to Caitlin for coming to watch me race and taking these awesome photos! You’re the best!

Overall time: 43:09. Definitely not pleased with my time as my PR is 41:43, but I guess I should accept it, as the weather wasn’t the best. On the bright side, I improved my time from last year by 13 seconds, which was in near perfect weather. I also moved up four spots (9th woman to 5th).

It would’ve been a nice confidence booster to come away with a PR, but I guess it wasn’t meant to be. As long as the weather for my marathon is all right then I won’t complain. Reading Sarah’s similar feelings about the race in her recap made me feel better.

The Science

Here’s the thing with wind. Some people might think that because the race is a loop, the wind would cancel out – the headwind would equal the tailwind and therefore wouldn’t affect my time. That’s not the case, though. The amount of extra effort it takes to run into the wind still ends up being more than the energy saved by having a tailwind. I’ve heard stats that say you only get back about half of the energy put into a headwind when you turn around have a tailwind. I’m not sure exactly how true that is, but I do know that it takes more energy to run the same time when it’s windy out.

The same goes for hills. Even if the net elevation is zero (same amount of uphill as downhill), it still takes more energy to run hills than to run on flat terrain. The amount of extra energy used climbing is still more than the energy saved running downhill. That’s part of the reason times from track races are almost always faster than cross country races. There aren’t any hills on tracks!

A quick video I took down on North Beach. Hopefully the audio can give you an estimation of just how windy it was.


Race details:

Besides the weather, it was still one of my favorite races. It was right down the hill from my dorm and I know the entire course like the back of my hand as I’ve run those parts many times. There was also a 5k added this year, which gave some more options for people. There were raffles at the end and some prize money to the top 3 men and women, which Sarah won! Yay! The volunteers were very friendly and helpful. Overall, I thought the race was pretty great.

A Side Note:

I apologize for the delay in posts lately. This semester is turning out as I expected – insanely stressful. I had two big tests and a video/paper project due today. That should just be illegal. I felt the urge to cry after leaving my last exam because I was so relieved to be done. I think I did fine, but being my normal type A self this week has been pretty tough. It’s never felt so good to crawl into bed. Next week starts my taper. You would think I’d be excited for it since I don’t have to run as much, but ironically it seems to just add to my stress. At least, that’s according to my posts from last spring. Let’s hope I don’t become as crazy this time around!

Have you run any races lately? Ever raced in the wind? Do you go crazy when you have to taper?


5 thoughts on “Downtown 10k Race Recap

  1. Pingback: New Year | Joy Runner

    • Thanks so much! Yep, gotta look at the positives. PR’s can’t happen every time, but there are good things that came out of this race for sure. Thanks for reminding me. 🙂

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