Monday, May 04, 2015

2015 Race #7 - Run! Ballantyne 8k

This was my fifth time running this race, but the first time they were offering an 8k distance. Last year, I finally broke an hour doing the 10k, and, similar to last year, I haven't been training for this distance. I did the Elizabeth 8k a little over a month ago and that one I just ran for fun with a friend for her birthday, so this time around, I wanted to see how fast I could go. I was hoping to get down around 45 minutes. The weather was good for the race, in the low 50's with a bit of humidity (welcome to the south), and there were a lot of people from my company running both the 5k and 8k options, so I knew a lot of runners out on the course.
  • Mile 1 - 9:11
  • Mile 2 - 8:46
  • Mile 3 - 9:09
  • Mile 4 - 9:04
  • Mile 5 - 8:55
Average pace: 8:59
Official time: 45:19

Most of the first mile was uphill and then the second mile, we got to come back down those hills, so my second mile was easily faster than my first, even with a water stop. I had been debating before the race weather I wanted to wear my hydration belt or not and I decided to just take one GU before the race and use the water stops. Given my goal, I decided I wasn't going to use the run / walk method and just see how fast I could go and then take a walk break as needed. It ended up working well for me because I was able to recover at the water stops and not use a full minute break which helped keep my time down. 

The course change this year was a much better solution than the 10k the previous two years. Last year, we had to do the 5k course twice (the turnaround was almost at the top of a hill) and for us middle-of-the-pack folks, we got to run through the walkers from the 5k which started after our race (not sure exactly how long after). This year, the only problem area was where the 10k doubled back on itself and the lead runners had to weave through the rest of us since there was no one directing people to stay to the outside around the turns. The lead female actually was yelling out asking where she was supposed to go because there were only a couple of guys in front of her and a whole throng of people coming towards her. By the time I ended up at that same corner, there were only a handful of people coming through, so it was much easier for my section of runners to navigate. 

The other part I was impressed with was the parking availability. This year, since the starting line had moved to a new location, we parked in a different section of the Ballantyne Corporate Park and they were all surface lots, so it was much easier to get in and out of than the parking garages we used the past few years. I will admit, I was skeptical that people would be able to get parked without having to wait in long lines because there was only really one entrance to each of the parking lots open. There was a bit of a back-up to get into the first parking lot, but because I knew where the second one was, I just went down the road a little bit and easily got into the second lot. 

Overall, this a good, family-friendly race and because the course is fairly looped, it's a good course for spectators too.


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