Race Report: St. Leo’s 10k
Saturday morning brought both St. Patrick and St. Leo. St. Patrick’s Day for everyone, and St. Leo’s Road Races 5k/10k runs for me and over 1000 fellow runners.
The race was held at a local school and parish in the next neighborhood over. I spend a lot of time running in that area, but the race took turns on some roads I’ve never been on, so it was enjoyable to see a variety of different homes. It’s a nice neighborhood and the houses are well maintained and in all styles of architecture which keeps it interesting to look at, compared to planned developments with cookie-cutter homes.
I jogged to the start, about 1.25 miles, for a warm-up and to avoid parking woes. Nice to stretch out before the race, as I generally start cold, even for short races. Met up with a few friends who were running in the races, some in the 5k and some 10k. Most of the runners were wearing a bit of green in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, myself included. I even had some fun argyle knee-socks which got a number of cheers but were admittedly warm as the temps climbed through the morning.
The 10k began at 8:40 and I’ll be honest that I was not ready. My Garmin had not located the satellites as I was still milling around, so I didn’t get it started until 10-15 seconds into the race. No big deal but it stressed me out a little at the time. One friend, who was doing his first race in quite some time, jetted off toward the front. My other friend and I started together, and though I told her a couple times that she could go ahead if she wanted to pick up the pace, we ultimately stayed together the whole way. Both of us credited the other for pushing each other along. I’d have slowed a few times if I hadn’t had her company.
The route was out and back, looping through the neighborhood and rolling up and down a fair number of hills. I’d call the course challenging but fair. Only one water stop along the way, which we went through twice. Though the temperatures probably never got above 65 degrees, the sun was beating down and the air was very still and rather heavy. It felt warmer than that and I would have enjoyed another cup of water had it been offered.
Toughest part was probably the quarter-mile hill around mile 5, which was both a challenging hill on the legs but also on the mind as you could see the hill approaching for a while, knowing the climb was ahead. However, we knew the end was getting near so our splits on that mile were still strong. Splits for the whole race (keep in mind I lost 10 seconds when starting my watch late): 8:39, 8:17, 8:27, 8:37, 8:27, 8:09 then 6:37 pace for the last 0.2. Not incredibly steady, but decently so. My friend and I pushed it hard at the end (“catch the girl in the green shorts – go!”) and crossed the finish line together. A number of other friends were also along the finish line cheering, which is a great boost.
Final time was 52:10, which is an average pace around 8:23. I’m very pleased with that as it was a PR by almost 5 and a half minutes! Granted, I haven’t raced a 10k in over a year, and that was on trails. As a matter of fact this was my 5th 10k but only 2nd on roads. But I will still happily take the huge PR!
While we crossed together, she received 3rd place in our age group and I received 2nd place, out of 25 women. Not sure how they decided that – she is alphabetically first but my bib number was lower. It might just remain a mystery. We finished right at 100th out of 326 runners in the 10k. There were 704 finishers in the 5k, and my friend who ran the 5k also received 2nd place in her age group. I’ve been lucky enough to place in a number of races, and this was one of the nicer generic medals I’ve won. It has a label on the back reading “St. Leo’s 10k” (well first they gave me a 5k medal! – glad I noticed and got it switched out) so I’ll be able to remember which race it is for. I’ve got a couple that I can’t remember what race the generic medal was for!
While the parking was apparently a challenge for those who weren’t able to get to the race on foot, apparently this was the largest edition of the St. Leo’s Races so far, and it was quite well organized. Plenty of water and a wide variety of fruits, breads, cookies and Krispy Kreme doughnuts to select from in the gymnasium after the race. They even had chocolate milk. I will certainly consider running this race again if it fits into my schedule next year, and would recommend it to others.
After the race I celebrated in the appropriate St. Patrick’s Day fashion – with a Guinness.