The Groundhog Run is a really popular winter race in Kansas City. There is both a 5k and a 10k race. The cool thing about the Groundhog Run is that it’s underground. It’s in an office park, inside of a cave. Super cool, right?  According the race organizers, it is only sanctioned 10k course that is entirely underground.

I ran this race last year as my very first 10k race. I hadn’t ever 6 miles at that point, but I decided to go for it anyway. I remember that I felt very proud of myself for just finishing the race and for running the entire way.

I got to this race determined to meet my goal, which was to run a sub-1 hour 10k. After running my first official sub 3o-minute 5k in October, I knew that one of my next running goals would be to run a sub 1-hour 10k. I mean, it just makes sense, right?

This was also a PR attempt. My previous 10k PR was 01:01:34 at the Plaza 10k in September. I felt pretty good about my chances of hitting both a PR and my goal time before the race began. I had done some specific training for this race and I felt good.

And then the race began. Within the first mile of the race, I was already feeling the effects of being in the cave. I felt overheated. And according to my watch, I wasn’t running fast enough. But I felt like I couldn’t go any faster without burning out, so I kept my pace and decided to see where I was when I hit the first mile marker (you can’t use the GPS underground, so my watch could only estimate my distance, and so it was difficult to really calculate pace).

I hit the first mile marker at just over 9 minutes. I was going too fast without even realizing it, because my watch wasn’t even close to estimating a 9 minute pace. My watch had been telling me that I was running at a 10 minute pace. Of course, the distance was also wonky too, and my watch thought I still had .3 miles left before completing the first mile.

So, I had to start doing mental math based on when I hit each mile marker. I was on target pace (9:40 min/mile) for the first four miles. When I hit the fifth mile marker, I thought I might be just a few seconds behind. Because it was so muggy, I had stopped at a few water stops and gotten a drink – I was regretting doing that at this point because it wasted previous seconds!  I was finding it really difficult to push the pace, not just in the last mile, but for the majority of the race – I found that the mugginess and lack of air flow affected me more than I had anticipated. It was also difficult to push the pace when I really didn’t know my true pace.

Ultimately, I ran the race in 01:00:27. Just 27 seconds over my goal time! I felt a wave of disappointment. And I felt myself feel disappointed for a few minutes. I mean, it’s only natural to feel disappointment when you’re that close to the goal. I couldn’t help but wonder what I could have done differently in those 27 seconds.

And then I decided to focus on the positive. This was a PR. It was more than a 1 minute PR! That’s awesome!

And because this race was my first 10k, I would able to compare last year’s course time with this year. Last year, I ran this same course in 01:13:53. Since I ran it almost 14 minutes faster than I did last year, I’d say that this was an overall win.

 

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