Tim Kennard River Run 2015: My first snow race

Soon after I and plenty of others began the Tim Kennard River Run 10-miler this morning, there was full-on snow.

Here I am after running the Tim Kennard River Run 10-miler on March 1. (Michael Piorunski photo)
Here I am after running the Tim Kennard River Run 10-miler on March 1. (Michael Piorunski photo)

It was a unique experience for me. In the more than 10 years I’ve been running, I’d never before done a race in which snow was falling. Doing a race in the snow was certainly very interesting, and although it probably contributed to slowing people down, it was kind of cool in a way.

The Tim Kennard River Run, which starts and ends at Salisbury University, is a race that’s generally on my schedule. Including the first time I ran the 10-miler in 2010, I’ve done the 10-miler four times and the 5K once. I didn’t run the race in 2011, but I was still there.

I’m friends with the race directors and organizers (my boyfriend is among the people who help), and it’s just one of those races that so many people in the running community seem to come out for.

Despite the cold weather for the race today — Sunday, March 1 — I was happy to see all the energetic and happy people on different parts of the course, along with plenty of people who I know who ran the race.

I started out with about an 8:25 pace. I didn’t wear my watch — for the most part, I haven’t been wearing a watch at races for almost a year — but I heard the people at Miles 1 and 2 say that I was at 8:25 at the first mile and 16:50 at the second mile.

Unfortunately, though, my shins were hurting, and I told myself I’d take a quick break at the first water stop, which was a little after the second mile marker, to roll out my ankles and try to get the pain to go away. It didn’t go away, and I stopped another time to try to get rid of the pain.

I would estimate somewhere around Mile 4, the pain went away, and I didn’t have problems with my shins for the rest of the race. By the time I got to the area of Mile 5 — the relay exchange point — I saw that my time was at 45 minutes and some amount of seconds.

Even though based on my lack of speed work and because I hadn’t been running enough, I hadn’t planned on beating my personal record of 1:19:42 from 2012, I still wanted to run the race in less than an hour and a half.

According to the time I saw at the relay exchange point, I ran a negative split — the second half faster than the first half — as I finished the race with a 1:28:59 chip time, an 8:55 average pace. It was actually my slowest 10-mile race time, but aside from the shin splints during the first part of the race and a bit of a raw-feeling throat from the cold, I felt great and felt like the race went by pretty quickly.

I didn’t have the normal feeling of over-exerting myself, and I probably stopped for a mini-break at more water stops than I could have — almost all of them. But after dealing with dehydration issues in the past, it really is an accomplishment just to finish a race successfully, and I appreciate that.

My race bib from this year's Tim Kennard River Run 10-miler and my third place female 20-24 award are shown. (Vanessa Junkin photo)
My race bib from this year’s Tim Kennard River Run 10-miler and my third place female 20-24 award are shown. (Vanessa Junkin photo)

I also was able to earn third place for my age group, female 20-24. I was fourth of six runners in the age group, but the first place runner in my age group placed among overall female runners.

So, it wasn’t my fastest race. But it was unique — there was the snow; there were some icy spots (although as others who I spoke to noted, there were warnings for these places); when I was on mile six or so, there was some sleet; and I felt like I could taste snowflakes in the water cups when I stopped for water. And, I of course enjoyed the opportunity to spend some time with friends and see so much of Salisbury’s running community.