The Possum Trot 10k is one of those races I’ve always heard about from different people in the Atlanta running community. For Atlanta runners, it’s a (rare) flat course in a scenic area by the Chattahoochee River.
My friend Amy was planning to run the race to PR, and I decided to tag along. Since running very positive splits at the Sweetwater 5k in April, I’d been doing some unstructured training here and there – a fartlek one week, hill repeats another week. Nothing fancy, but I hoped I’d be in a little bit better shape as a result.
I had also begun strength training in earnest about a week before the race. I didn’t back off the strength training before the race (since I had just started!), but I was content to get out there, race with my friend, and see how my fitness was progressing.
Race packet pickup was at Big Peach Marietta, and it was easy to navigate and well-run. The registration fee the week of the race was $30.
The race itself was at 7AM, and the race instructions clearly stated that participants should arrive before 6:30 AM to make sure to have time to park and get to the starting line. They weren’t joking; I drove up right around 6:25 and the lot was nearly full. As I was driving up, I couldn’t help but notice a lot of fog coming off the river, a sure sign of a muggy morning.
I met Amy in the parking lot and we jogged to the start for a warmup. I had to go to the bathroom, but the portapotty lines were long so I found a
nice spot in the woods, and had the briar patch scratches to prove it.
As we were waiting to start, I remembered my last race experience and vowed to start easy and relaxed.
Mile 1: 8:51
I DID IT, Y’ALL! I started out easy, didn’t push the pace, and let myself settle into a rhythm that felt like a good pace to hold on to for just over 6 miles.
Miles 2-4: 8:45, 8:43, 8:43
I wasn’t monitoring my pace at all other than when my Garmin beeped at me, so I was a little surprised to see the miles ticking in all right around 8:45 pace. It was flat, I felt pretty good, and my glutes felt like they were really working!
Mile 5: 8:54
My glutes started feeling super tired, and holding good form became more challenging.
Miles 6-0.2: 9:20, 0.26 in 2:14 (8:35/mile pace)There is one hill on the course, and it broke me and my tired glutes. It didn’t help that there was an immediate turnaround and a repeat of the same hill. I was getting passed left and right. The only people I passed were walking. I saw Amy near the turnaround, and I knew she was going to get her PR!
The most exciting thing that happened at the end of my race was surging past a muscly guy in barefoot shoes who had crushed me on a hill. It’s the small things.
Amy did in fact PR AND she beat her mom’s old 10k PR, so we had a yummy breakfast afterwards to celebrate.
There was a nice hospitality area past the finish line to get the typical post-race assortment of goodies – our only disappointment was not being able to find Gatorade or any other type of sports drink.
The t-shirt is a standard cotton tee – I’m not in love with the design, but I do appreciate that it’s white.
The race goody bag was also surprisingly useful. Rice, a travel size man’s deodorant, and this berry squeeze applesauce that I liked pretty well when I was in desperate need of carbs post-race. I have already put the deodorant to use in my gym bag.
Overall, I can’t say that I was particularly pleased or terribly disappointed with my performance. I had hoped I was in 54:xx 10k shape, but it didn’t pan out for this race. I was really happy with myself for starting the race somewhat conservatively, even though I faded in the end. I wasn’t sure how much the fatigue from strength training affected my race, so I resolved to back off of strength training a few days before Peachtree so I could compare how I felt in the two races.
How about you: do you “taper” off of strength training before a race?
Leave a comment below or send me a tweet: @racingoprah.