2016 Space City 10 Miler Recap: Slower, Stronger, Sorer

Sunday, I ran the 2016 Space City 10 Miler. The course hugs the Clear Lake Marathon Trail and starts and ends at the University of Houston – Clear Lake. Like last year, I planned to use it as a training run. This year, I set a pace goal. I wanted to run it between half marathon and marathon pace (8:30-9:00 minutes per mile). I’ve been off the racing circuit and was barely two weeks into marathon training.

What could go wrong?

Saturday morning, I woke up with a tickle in my throat. It felt like I could be coming down with a cold. I drank a lot of water and rested: foam rolling, a little stretching/mobility, and a nap.

The morning of the 2016 Space City 10 Miler, I woke up with an upset stomach. Not good is an understatement. I choked down my peanut butter and jelly sandwich at 5 a.m. and dozed for half an hour, then got out of bed and got dressed.

2016 Space City 10 Miler: Flat Christine
The Speed Shorts are everything.

As I reached for a banana to eat half an hour before the gun, my stomach said, “No, ma’am.” I thought I was going to meet Pukie in my kitchen. I left the banana on the counter and took a bottle of water.


At 6 a.m., I am not in charge of my mental facilities. Waze took me on a Magical Mystery Tour of Clear Lake. I got there, foam rolled, and checked Facebook to see where my MRTT group was meeting for a pre-race picture.

2016 Space City 10 Miler: The before picture
The “before” picture.

Then I did all the things I usually do before a race: dynamic warm-up, frantic last-minute porta-potty run, and making sure my playlist is queued up. I carefully surveyed the corral and lined up behind the tall, skinny guys at the front. I know my abilities, and lining up in front of them would have been foolhardy.

As a side note, the weather was absolutely beautiful: high 60s, a little breezy, low humidity.

2016 Space City 10 Miler: We’re Off!

We started with a pre-recorded national anthem, and then we were off. It was still a little dark, with the sun barely peeking up on the horizon. My legs felt sore from Friday, and I knew immediately that I wasn’t going to be setting any PRs. When your first mile is 8:43, you know it’s going to be a challenge. Here’s what my splits looked like, courtesy of my Garmin:

  • Mile 1: 8:43
  • Mile 2: 8:36
  • Mile 3: 8:42
  • Mile 4: 8:39
  • Mile 5: 8:39
  • Mile 6: 8:32
  • Mile 7: 8:36
  • Mile 8: 9:00 (lead legs)
  • Mile 9: 8:53
  • Mile 10: 8:49
  • The .1 mile Garmin added: 21 seconds.

My official chip time was 1:27:20.5, with an official pace of 8:46/mile. It was exactly where it was supposed to be based on my goal, and exactly what I should be running my mid-tempo (i.e., 5-7 mile) runs at.

2016 Space City 10 Miler
Post-breakfast taco smile.

About 2 miles in, that annoying CrossFit clown tried to get me. I held back and kept running. I ate gels at Mile 3.5 and Mile 7; I hadn’t eaten that banana, so I was hungry. I remember seeing the sun come up about 3 miles in. The sun rose over some beautiful prairie-like landscape near NASA. The area around UHCL is a nature preserve, and running through it made me thank God for being able to run. I felt grateful for my health and strength. Around Mile 7, I also started slowing down; my legs were so sore from the past week. I kept pushing. Anyone can do anything for 3 miles, right?

As soon as I saw the finish line, I kicked it up. I went into an all-out sprint. My Garmin stats tell me that I crossed the finish line running a 6:08 mile.

Afterward, I met up with Kim, who had crossed the finish line before me. I had to excuse myself for a breakfast taco, some frozen yogurt, and a post-run fist in my hamstring, courtesy of the physical therapy tent. Then, I went to cheer for Esmie and chat with some of the other women in my group.

On the way home, I texted my husband to prep me an ice bath. Yes, my legs were that sore. Yes, the ice bath was cold. But yes, I did feel a lot better.

Each race is a learning experience, even when you’re using it for training. I learned that I absolutely should not go to CrossFit the Friday before a race. I also learned that I should eat that dang banana, or at least bring it with me in case my stomach settles.

No harm, no foul. I still crossed the finish line, I met my time goal, and I’ve got a race under my belt for the season.