This past weekend was filled with football and running as we visited the Dallas area to see my Texas A&M Aggies play the Razorbacks, the Cowboys play the Falcons, and to participate in a 10K race to boot!
We had planned over the past several months to visit the Dallas area for the football games, but signed up for the race a few days prior to us arriving since Braden started getting his mileage back up to where he could run 10K distances again.
Like I had mentioned in the previous blog entry, Braden had been struggling to put together any decent training runs and I was getting concerned about his distance, especially since he had the Chile Pepper 10K Grand Prix race coming up the first weekend in October. Knowing that there was a 10K race close to where we were staying, I told Braden that I would sign us up for the race only if he could show me on a training run that he could do the distance. For a change of scenery I took him to the Tucker Creek trail in Conway and Braden finally put together a really good run that prompted him to say that he had got his "running mojo" back! With his self-assured confidence, I signed us up for the race knowing he was finally good to go.
The only thing that didn't excite me was the 8:30 start time. Even though the morning temperatures were more comfortable, it was still too warm for that late of a start. What made it even worse was that the 1-mile fun run was the first event and because it took a lot longer than what was anticipated for the runners to finish, the start time for our race got pushed back another 15 minutes.
Most of the runners ran the 1 mile and 5K events, while there was only 62 who participated in the 10K. I was kinda amazed that Braden was the only one in his age group (boys or girls) who was running the 10K distance in McKinney, a suburb of Dallas. I guess I figured there would have been a few more kids his age from the area that would run it. Apparently, when we lined up to start, the other runners thought it was unusual for a kid his age to be running that distance as well.
I considered this race more of a training one and because of that I wanted to push Braden to see how he would do, so we took off at a pretty quick pace and settled into the run. It was a very nice run that luckily had a lot of trees to provide some shade as we were running into the sun for the first half of the out and back.
Our splits for the first 3 miles were as followed:
Mile 1 - 8:28 pace
Mile 2 - 8:52 pace
Mile 3 - 9:05 pace
During the middle part of the course, he was slowing down and I could tell that the sun and heat was getting to him, so I encouraged him the best I could. Thankfully at the turnaround we had the sun to our back and Braden was getting a lot of thumbs up and well wishes as we passed the runners coming towards us and those that were ahead of us. One lady was very nice and chatted with us and she told him that he better be in front of her at the finish (which he did). I told Braden that we were going to ease up a little on the fourth mile, but he needed to turn it on the last couple of miles.
He responded very well and started to pick up the pace the last couple of miles. Towards the end, we were passing not only the 10K runners but the 5K walkers as well and luckily the trail wasn't too congested to where we had any issues passing. We made one final turn and Braden turned on the jets to finish with an official time of 55:11. His time was only 3 seconds off his personal best and for the first time in many races he did not throw up at the finish line!
His splits for the final 3 miles were as followed:
Mile 4 - 9:18 pace
Mile 5 - 8:57 pace
Mile 6 - 8:37 pace
Last .2 - 8:15 pace
Being only the second 10K distance he had run since May, I was very proud of Braden's effort and ability to bounce back. I have no doubt that he will be able to shave a lot off his 10K times over the next couple of months and he'll get his first chance at the Chile Pepper race in Fayetteville on October 3, where it will be a lot cooler, but it will also be his first cross country race as well. Unfortunately, I won't be there to run with him, but I look forward to the results!
After our race, Braden went swimming, then we had some great Mexican food, and finally we took in an exciting football game as the Aggies won in overtime. Even though the Cowboys lost the next day, we had an awesome weekend in Dallas and look forward to going back to run there again!