Tim Kennard River Run: Great friends, fans and weather

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Here I am with my water-bottle award from the 2016 Tim Kennard River Run. (Veronica James photo)

The Tim Kennard River Run was a great kick-off to my 2016 racing year.

It’s a race I always want to make part of my running calendar. I always see so many people I know there, and it’s a fun way to start the spring racing season. I also am friends with the organizers and volunteers, one of whom is my boyfriend. I felt like I waved to or shouted at (in a positive way) so many people during the race, and there were people who cheered me on by name, too.

I haven’t been super fast recently, but I went into the race today, March 6, with a somewhat loose goal of running the 10 miles in less than 1 hour and 30 minutes, which is a 9-minute-per-mile pace.

I didn’t meet that goal — my time was 1:32:52 — but I still feel great about my race, which was nearly four minutes faster than the last 10-mile race I ran, the Redneck Romp in November.

And, that’s a 9:20 pace — much faster than I would have run for that distance on a regular run.

I worked at the packet-pickup/expo on Saturday at the Eastern Shore Running Club table, where we were signing up members for 2016. (The Eastern Shore Running Club, of which I’m secretary, is also a Tim Kennard race sponsor.) It was fun to see a bunch of people I knew there, too.

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Members of the 11:30 Club gather for a photo before the start of the Tim Kennard River Run on March 6. (Veronica James photo)

Like other 11:30 Club members, I wore my blue 11:30 Club shirt, which served me well during the race. The weather was great, and I was comfortable in shorts and the short-sleeved shirt.

I started out at a good pace, but I started feeling some shin pain around the one-mile mark.

I waited until I got to the first water stop to take a short break to roll out my ankles, which was at about Mile 2.5 or so. As usual, the shin pain went away around Mile 3-4, and I felt great during the second half.

The race seemed to go by quickly for me, and I think I did negative splits. I’m not positive, but when I crossed the halfway mark, the clock read about 47 minutes, and that would make my second half faster.

During the second half, I saw a lot of friends running the other direction, which was nice, and Salisbury Police Chief Barbara Duncan, who was running the second half of the relay, helped keep me encouraged.

I took a technique from my friend Veronica and tried to go all-out during the last mile. I thought it ended up being my fastest mile, by one second, but now it looks like my watch logged both my first and last miles at 8:42, so they tie for my fastest today.

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Here I am with my friend Taylor, who I run with a lot. (Veronica James photo)

There were also lots of people out cheering, some with signs, and also some music along the course. It was more people cheering than I remember during any of the Tim Kennard races I’ve done.

Last year’s race, of course, was not the best weather for spectators — snow — but I still think it was the most I’ve seen, and it was really motivating.

Today was my sixth time running the Tim Kennard, and my fifth time running the 10-miler. One year I did the 5K, and I didn’t run the race in 2011, although I was still around that year.

I ended up placing second in my age group today — actually third out of 11 runners, according to the results — but the top person in my age group was actually the first overall woman, and you can’t win twice.

It was surprising to me that I placed, particularly because I’m now in a new age group, 25-29. Actually, the only year I did not win an age-group award was when I PR’d at 1:19:42. It was a nice surprise, and now I have a new water bottle!

Now, I’m only two weeks away from the Yuengling Shamrock Marathon. Taper time!

Splits, according to my watch:

Mile 1: 8:42

Mile 2: 9:05

Mile 3: 10:18

Mile 4: 9:24

Mile 5: 9:44

Mile 6: 9:04

Mile 7: 8:58

Mile 8: 9:29

Mile 9: 8:59

Mile 10: 8:42

Extra (I’m not good at running the tangents and my watch logged 10.06 miles): 0:26

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