The Crimestoppers! Race Against Crime (formerly known as the Azalea race) is one of my favorite spring races in Savannah.

I’m a sucker for tiny races where I can win medals!

I got my first division medal from this race in 2015 (3rd place). Last year, I got 2nd place (and my current PR).

What was in store for this year?

Crimestoppers 10K Starting Line

Crimestoppers 10K 2017

This timed and lovely course goes around Forsyth Park, up Bull Street, down gorgeous Washington Avenue to Daffin Park and back. The race funds the reward for the Crimestoppers! Tip Line here in Savannah.

I was actually not planning to push hard this race.

I just finished half marathon training, and I haven’t run that fast for that long in many, many months.

But, I just got started with a running coach to take over my training plans, and she requested that I race so we could both see where I was.

Good idea, coach. And also… meh.

But, when I woke up to a beautifully cool morning – 55 degrees, the nervousness intermingled with some excited anticipation.

Crimestoppers 10K - mantraPR and Mantra

My PR (personal record) for the 10K is 51:41 on this course, last year. Trying to reach that time after all my slow running felt laughable. In fact, I did laugh.

But despite that I hadn’t prepared specifically for a 10K, I still believe I’m becoming a better runner in general. So, I wrote the average pace for my PR on my hand. As well, as a reminder not to laugh at it.

I didn’t want to be scared to reach for that time. I didn’t want to sell myself short.

Smile in confidence. Don’t laugh.

10K Self Talk

Porta-potty line selfieI always say that the 10K is my favorite race distance.

It’s not “I think I’m going to die” fast like a 5K. And, it’s not “here is a lifetime inside a race” long like a marathon, or even a half.

The 10K is about pain management.

You run hard for about an hour. You feel your body pushing back.

The physical discomfort always seems to churn up uncomfortable thoughts. And there’s a lot of time to sit inside there and dissect it. How you react, treat yourself, and talk to yourself determines the outcome of the race.

How long can you sit with yourself and manage pain?

It’s good practice for life. And it’s manageable – there’s a finish line.

Yes, the 10K remains my favorite race distance, even when I’m not properly prepared.

Crimestoppers 10K Race Recap Title

Beating out the competition

I had 8:19 written on my hand, but every time I reached toward that number, I couldn’t hang on.

It was out of reach, just like the racer ahead of me that I couldn’t even try to pretend was not in my age group. I knew it. She knew it.

I had followed her the entire race. When we started, I tried to stay on her heels, but she pulled away – just like that 8:19. She ran steadier than me and I lost even more distance mid-race.

In the last mile, she slowed a bit as I sped up a bit. And in the last length of the park, she started to give way more.

My last push would give me a chance, but did she have a last push, too? I made my move before we turned the corner to the finish.

As I came up to her side, she saw me and picked up speed – a lot of it. I didn’t know how long I could hang, but I matched her sprint.

It hurt.

But in just a few paces, I was ahead and she dropped off. I slowed down from the sprint. With no moves left, I ran to the finish afraid that she’d be arriving at my side any moment.

Thankfully, I didn’t need any more moves that day. I finished 11 seconds ahead.

Crimestoppers 10K Finish

Crimestoppers 10K second place

Official time listed as 52:05, averaging 8:26/mile.

I placed 3rd in my division of 6 women and won 2nd place (our top woman finished in overall). I was 6th female overall.

I’m pleased with my race, super thankful for the competition at the end, and am already missing that cool weather.

Runners: Do you ever pretend someone isn’t your age group?

The one in the 2017 Boston Marathon headband? Yeah, definitely not my age…