Amway River Bank Run 10k Race Recap
Two weeks after running the Rivertown Races 10k, I was back at the starting line for another 10k! This time, I ran the River Bank Run which is always one of my favorite days in Grand Rapids. I registered for the 25k last year, deferred my entry to this year, and ultimately dropped to the 10k distance after Rivertown. While I was disappointed not to run the 25k, I knew it was the right decision.
I knew the weather was going to make things interesting. The forecast called for low-40s at the start which is a weird in between temperature for me – too warm for my winter gear, but too cold for spring. I opted for my lululemon swiftly tech long sleeve crew and a pair of fleece-lined pants. The lulu top is one of my absolute favorite pieces of running (and athleisure wear), worth every freaking penny. The pants ended up being too much and I was overheating by about the 5k mark. Otherwise, it was not a rainy mess, which is the norm for the River Bank Run, so I was thrilled on that end.
With a finishing time of 1:11:54 at Rivertown two weeks prior, my goal was to finish in under 1:10:00. The course felt a little more challenging with a couple big hills in the second half, but it seemed like a goal within reach. I decided to use the same strategy in terms of running and walking breaks. I ran as far as I could without stopping to start. For the remainder of the race, used the start of each new song as my cue to run again if I had taken a walk break.
For the first mile, I felt really great The Riverbank Run is a huge event in Grand Rapids and the energy of the day and the crowds motivated me. I met up with one of my best friends before the race and we ran together for the first 1.5 miles which added to the fun for me. Although I don’t generally run with people, I was grateful for the chance to see her. Plus, it was a gorgeous morning, which is relatively unheard of for the Riverbank Run. It is almost always raining and miserable. All in all, I was really enjoying myself. It felt amazing just to be out there.
I ran without stopping to walk for almost two miles. While I tried to make it to that second mile marker, I couldn’t get my breathing under control. Taking a minute or so to walk was enough to help, and I got going again. At this point, I started using my run/walk playlist strategy. My pace for the first two miles was in the 10 minute range! That’s really strong for me these days. While I look forward to the time when that’s consistent, maybe even easy, for today I celebrate these wins!
Early in the week, I hurt my hip while running. Nothing serious, but I had some lingering pain for a few days. I worried a bit how it would impact me come race morning. At the beginning of the race, it hurt, but as I started moving, the pain subsided. It started flaring up around the 5k mark and never faded. This course features a couple hill climbs in the second half, including one that is a long, slow climb around mile four. That one really hurt and I walked most of it.
I started to fall apart, a little physically, but mostly mentally. The last two miles felt so challenging and my head game just isn’t where it needs to be. I knew my goal time was out of reach at the five mile marker and I felt defeated. My pace for that last mile was just shy of 13 minutes. I walked a lot and honestly shed a couple of tears. Running is a physical sport, to be sure, but there is an undeniable mental component that failed me that morning.
While the temptation to walk off the course was strong when we ran past the ramp where I parked, nevertheless, I persisted. With less than a mile to go at that point, I couldn’t give up on the race, but more importantly, on myself. I am just getting back into the running game and I needed this win.
I finished the race in 1:12:37 (full results), only a few minutes shy of my goal. More importantly, I finished the race with a smile. I set my 10k PR on this course in 2014 at 59:49. I would love to get back to that pace someday. For today, though, I am proud of what I did this year. It hurt and was a reminder that I have so much work to do, but I am excited to dig in and start