As you all know, yesterday morning I ran the Tarheel 10 Miler!
And man, I’m just going to propose it be changed to the “TarHILL 10 Miler” (I know, I’m hilarious), because good lord was it hard.
I didn’t set a new PR, but that’s totally fine with me — I ended up deciding the morning of the race to run for fun instead of time. I know I wrote on Friday that I was going to go out there with the aim of getting a new PR (but with the overall goal to just have fun), but when I arrived at the starting line on Saturday morning, I just wasn’t feeling it.
At the Tobacco Road Half Marathon a few weeks ago, I felt super pumped and was full of nervous energy at the starting line. I knew I wanted to kill it. I knew it would be hard, but I was ready for it. And kill it I did (just barely — read my race recap — I fought hard for that PR). But on Saturday morning at the Tarheel 10 Miler, I felt totally different. I was standing with my running buddy Elle, who had plans to just run the race for fun vs. time, and the more I thought about it, the more I realized it would mean more to me to just stick with her the whole time and enjoy our last race together in our Carolina stomping grounds. So I turned to her and said: “You know what? Screw the PR. Let’s just stick together and have fun with this one.” She was excited to have a partner in crime. Pushing yourself is fun and I’m a big fan of competing against myself, but I think you also need to know when to dial it back and just enjoy yourself. And yesterday was one of those days.
And honestly? I don’t think I could have run a second faster than we did, anyway. This race was no joke.
Let’s back up to the start of the race. My friends Tim and Lindsey came to pick me up in the morning and we had what will probably forever be the easiest commute to a race start ever. We drove 5 minutes, parked a 2 minute walk from Keenan Stadium, where the race was starting, found Elle with no problem, and in we went. Total win.
Here I am with Tim and Lindsey! And yes, this is the Lindsey that just had a baby 3 months ago. Are you as impressed as I am? She finished the race in 1:41 with just over a 10 minute mile pace and I was SO proud of her. Especially given this was such a hard first race back! Tim finished in 1:15 with an average pace of about 7:29. Hot damn that’s fast. I was impressed!
Please also note their Wake Forest themed bibs — the race let you select your school pride of choice, although non-UNC people ran the risk of getting some friendly harassment along the course, particularly if you ran supporting Duke.
And here I am with my girl Elle! UNC pride.
After the photo opps, we headed in to the stadium! This was such an awesome race to do as my very last road race (I say road race because I’m doing the 5k Primal Mud Run with Matt and friends next weekend) in my second to last week here at UNC-Chapel Hill. I loved that we started in the stadium — not only was it cool, but it also meant there was a plethora of bathrooms!
We lined up down on the outskirts of the field based on expected pace.
Elle and I ended up starting somewhere between the 8:30 and 9 minute/mile groups. Perfect!
Ready to rock!
Oh and yes, I totally wore a sparkly UNC shirt during the race. And yes, I already owned this shirt and wear it to class sometimes. I like shiny things. Don’t judge.
At 7:30 a.m., the race officially began — and we were off!
Like I said, this was a HARD race, but a fun one, because it was basically a combination of all the various running routes that Elle and I (and our friends) have done through Chapel Hill, UNC’s campus, and the surrounding areas over the past 2 years. We just don’t usually do long runs in these areas because it’s so hilly! Within the first mile of the race, there were two very steep (but relatively short) hills — my legs felt smoked before we even hit mile 2. Yikes.
Elle and I focused on enjoying the scenery, chatting, and we also stopped to take a couple super quick pictures. Like when we ran by the UNC well!
It was right next to the first water stop. To the random dude who looks like he might keel over: I feel your pain, buddy.
Like I said, the race took us on a couple loops through the hilly campus before heading out towards Carrboro and then doubling back down Franklin Street.
From there, we wound through some of the outskirts of Chapel Hill, through some absolutely beautiful (but still hilly) neighborhoods, and then headed down a MASSIVE hill — uh, oh. That means we have to go back up…
We’d heard that at around mile 8.5 in this race there began a relentless, soul-crushing hill that went on for a whole mile. The street it’s on is called Laurel Hill — and it was so intense that they literally set up a separate timing station to time your speed on the hill mile! Those who got the fastest splits on the “Laurel Hill Challenge” got a prize. Kind of cool, huh?
Clearly Elle and I didn’t break any records, but we made it up without stopping to walk, which we considered a large victory given that our legs were totally wiped by this point.
Finally — the stadium came back into view and we knew the finish line was SO CLOSE. Almost done! We also saw our grad school buddy Lauren right before we entered the stadium — she came to cheer us on! So sweet of her to come and it gave us the boost of energy we needed to bring it home strong. Elle and I held hands, sprinted (and by sprinted I mean ran slightly faster…) towards the finish, and that was that. Tarheel 10 Miler success!
We even got a high five from Rameses as we came through the finish line.
Aren’t the medals they gave us cute?
We finished the race is 1:31:00 with an average pace of about 9:06.
Here are our splits according to my watch!
- Mile 1: 9:05
- Mile 2: 9:10
- Mile 3: 8:58
- Mile 4: 8:31
- Mile 5: 8:50
- Mile 6: 9:06
- Mile 7: 8:43
- Mile 8: 8:56
- Mile 9: 10:04 (majority of this mile was the Laurel Hill challenge!)
- Mile 10: 9:25 (ending the hilly challenge)
I also plugged in my Garmin watch so you guys could see the elevation — note the couple super steep short hills in the first 2 miles, plus the really long climb from miles 8ish to 9.5:
Whew! Tim, Lindsey, Elle, and I all went home to shower, then headed out for a celebratory brunch with Matt. I’m sure you can guess where we went and what I got — my favorite, the open faced biscuit sandwich from Jessee’s.
The perfect reward after all those hills.
Happy Sunday, friends!