Race #54 – Hit the Brixx 10k/5k – Charlotte NC – 09/26/09
The Hit the Brixx 10k and 5k are among the most eagerly anticipated races of the year in the Charlotte area, and with good reason — a great downtown Charlotte start and finish, lots of free food and beer afterwards, two separate starting times so you can run both races, and it’s the 8th race of the 9-race Run for Your Life Grand Prix series.
It was a special race for Linda and I, being the first race that we have repeated since we became runners back in September 2008. We both ran just the 5k last year; this year we both ran the 10k. Last year’s race was the first 5k that Linda completed and today’s race was her first attempt at a 10k. Although she’s had some problems with shin splints lately, thanks to some new calf guards from 2XU she finished her first 10k in fine form with no pain at all.
Before the race I heard that the first two miles were mostly downhill, then it leveled off for a couple miles, and the last two miles were mostly uphill. Luckily that seemed to be an oversimplification of things. The race did start off mostly on a downgrade for maybe a half mile, then there was a lot of up and down as normally is the case in Charlotte races, and I was pleasantly surprised that the last two miles weren’t nearly as difficult as I thought they would be, although the last half mile or so was pretty much uphill (mostly the hill we had gone down at the beginning) but not really all that steep.
I had actually registered to run both races (it was only 5 bucks more) just in case I hadn’t had enough after the 10k. While I’m not completely opposed to running more than 10k (as evidenced by two half marathons in the previous two weeks) I was tired enough after the 10k to be satisfied with feeding my face until the awards ceremony began.
Although I didn’t get a new PR, I was happy with my time of 44:22 and 2nd place in the 55-59 age group. I almost always start out too fast (still working on how to pace myself) but after looking at my Garmin data I was happy to see that my mile splits were pretty consistent (for me)…
Mile 1 — 6:30
Mile 2 — 6:54
Mile 3 — 7:12
Mile 4 — 7:22
Mile 5 — 7:13
Mile 6 — 7:19
As usual, I took a few short 20-second walk breaks, but only 3 this time, as opposed to 15 in last weeks’ half mary and 17 the week before. The walk breaks do seem to help me regain strength and give me a much needed break. I’m not positive how much they help or hurt my time in the end, but I figure three 20-second walk breaks only take up 1 minute of time. Considering that during that time I’m walking maybe half as fast as I would be running anyway (maybe 4 mph walking versus 8 mph running) the additional time taken would only be about 30 seconds. If it’s true that the walk breaks rejuvinated me a little, then it’s very possible that I make up the 30 seconds by running faster. Does that make sense to anybody besides me? It’s based on Jeff Galloway’s run-walk-run method (sometimes called Gallowalking). If you’re interested, last week I just started a new Gallowalking user discussion group over on the Running Ahead website. You can find it here…
Ultimately what matters is how fast you get to the finish line, whether you’re running, walking, skipping, or doing cartwheels. If you’re 25 years old, in great shape, and running 5-minute miles, taking a walk break may seem laughable, but if you’re not in tip-top shape or not that young anymore, inserting some walk breaks into your races might be helpful.
The weather for this race was a little on the gloomy side, and it was a little drizzly and kind of cold when we first arrived, but the rain held off and the early autumn coolness felt pretty good during the race. I remember at last year’s Hit the Brixx it rained pretty steadily during the 10k race, then dried up a little for the 5k. Speaking of rain, if my memory is correct this was the closest we’ve been to having actual rain in a race in this area since early March — six months ago (feel free to correct me if I’m wrong).
Sorry I didn’t get any photos for this race. With the threat of rain I thought it would be better to not risk ruining my camera. By the way, I shouldn’t be the one taking pictures anyway. Aren’t there actual photographers that do that kind of stuff? One huge letdown of all of the Run for Your Life Grand Prix races is that there is not professional photography of some sort. Just seems reasonable for the big races.
My one other complaint is, as usual, the awards. Please. I’m begging once again. Could you stop trying to get creative with the awards? I mean… a pizza cutter? Okay. Brixx is a pizza place. I got that part. I’ve also got a trophy case in my living room that looks like I’m selling stuff at a flea market. Last year I got a really nice medal for finishing 3rd in the 5k race. It’s great! A year later I get a pizza cutter? That’s not progress.
After the race, of course, was arguably the best post-race fare ever. The downtown Brixx was full of runners being served pizza and pasta as fast as they could devour it. If every race could have food like this we’d be (a) among the happiest runners in the world, and (b) among the fattest runners in the world. So in the coming weeks, we’ll eat our post-race bananas and oranges, healthy eaters that we are, and secretly look forward to the next Hit the Brixx.