I showed up at Sunday’s Tim Kennard River Run in my short-sleeved Eastern Shore Running Club shirt and shorts, and I’m sure there were people who thought I was crazy for wearing that. But it worked for me, and I had a good race.
As I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts, I always look forward to the Tim Kennard River Run. This year’s race was the 15th annual, and this was my eighth year running it — I have run the 10-miler seven times and the 5K once. It’s always a fun kickoff to the racing season, and it just seems like you get to see nearly all of Salisbury’s running community. I am also friends with the organizers, my boyfriend is on the committee, and my running club, the Eastern Shore Running Club, is a sponsor.
Race weekend started Saturday, March 24, at Evolution Craft Brewing Company, where there was packet pickup and the Rob’s Run for Kids. I worked the Eastern Shore Running Club table with friends, and we were able to sign up a few new members and sell some merchandise.
The race started at 8:30 a.m. Sunday, March 25. I was actually captured in a nice group photo from the start of the race that was featured in The Daily Times/DelmarvaNow.com (where I used to work). I think I saw that temperatures were in the 30s at the start, but it was very sunny, and I was fine in shorts and the short-sleeved shirt.
The first mile was fast for my current running level: 8:49. I had decided before the race that I was going to try to only look at my watch when I got to each mile. I didn’t completely stick to that, but I did a decent job of doing so.
I was pretty sure I wouldn’t be able to keep up that pace, but I would have liked to come in under 1:30 — given my current training level, I figured that was probably unlikely — and I figured I would see how long I could stay around the nine-minute pace.
The next mile would be my second-fastest of the day, at 9:11. The first water stop was at about 2.5 miles, and I did stop at each of the water stops. I have had hydration issues in the past, and I like to make sure I am staying hydrated even if I don’t feel like I need it — and I like the brief break, as well. I was pleased that even with water stops, I was able to keep all my miles under 10 minutes.
I don’t usually run with others during a race, but I ended up running with a friend, Christel, for at least a mile, maybe closer to two. That actually turned out to be helpful for me, although I did tell her to go ahead as I could tell I was fading a bit around the Mile 6 marker.
I have been running with the Tim Kennard River Run training group most Sundays, and the previous Sunday, I had run the course with two friends and then added on six miles for my marathon training. Between the training runs and my previous years running the race, I know the course well. On the Sunday before the race, there were also mile numbers spray painted onto the ground. So, during the race, I was mentally picturing where the next mile marker would be.
Runners start out at Salisbury University and go through nearby neighborhoods before heading down Riverside Drive, looping in the downtown area and heading back to campus. I enjoy the course, and it was fun to see plenty of friends along the way.
Although I felt a little strange at the last water stop — I asked for two water cups and I feel like my voice came out weird — I felt I had enough energy to step it up after that brief stop, and I tried to have a strong finish, which I did. I saw someone that I thought might be in my age group (and it turned out she wasn’t, and I’m pretty sure she beat me when it came to chip time anyway), but that did help, and I made sure to speed up enough to get in front and keep going.
I was able to earn third place of 10 runners in my age group, female 25-29. I know the overall female winner was also in my age group, so I am glad that she took that prize and was not counted in the age group results! I really liked the awards, which were teal insulated cups. The awards are different each year.
There were also printed-out papers at the packet pickup where you could see who had signed up in your age group. I don’t remember seeing that at any other race, so it was nice to be able to see who else was running. I know a lot of runners, but luckily for me, many of my friends are in different age groups. I have friends who finished ahead of me but unfortunately did not get an age group award, but I did because my age group was less competitive (hey, I’ll take it!).
The first two races I have run this year were hilly, so it was a nice change to run in my hometown of Salisbury on a flat course.
It clearly made a difference: I ran the Tim Kennard nearly 10 minutes faster than the hilly Maryland-District of Columbia RRCA 10-Mile Club Challenge last month.
However, I talked about consistency in times in my last post, though, and there was consistency, too — the time on my watch was exactly the same as my time from the Seaside 10 Mile Run that I ran in October 2017, down to the second — 1:34:45. My watch did have the Seaside course as short, but I found it crazy that my times were that close.
My official time at Tim Kennard was 1:34:43, a 9:29 pace, according to the results. I am happy to see that I kept up a consistent pace. The results have me at a 9:28 average pace after the first five miles and a 9:29 average pace at the end of the race. That’s a lot faster than I have been running for this distance on a training run — or even for shorter distances — so I was very pleased.
Even so, I’m still going to try to work on decreasing my times in this and other distances to get closer to where I used to be. I don’t want all of my personal records to be behind me at the age of 27!
After the race, it was nice to enjoy chili and other food and drinks inside at SU’s Maggs Physical Activities Center. I also had coffee, water, a piece of a chicken salad sandwich, a bagel and a banana. I could have eaten more, but I was too busy talking to friends — which was great.
The race is named after Tim Kennard, who died of cancer, but his memory is kept alive through this event. It benefits Coastal Hospice, Horizons Salisbury and Coalition of Caring.
Mile 1: 8:49
Mile 2: 9:11
Mile 3: 9:33
Mile 4: 9:23
Mile 5: 9:39
Mile 6: 9:52
Mile 7: 9:45
Mile 8: 9:34
Mile 9: 9:33
Mile 10: 9:20
My watch was right on — I had 10.01 miles on my watch, and my official time was 2 seconds faster than what my watch logged, which was accounted for with the .01. This course is certified.
Want to learn more about the race? Visit www.TimKennard.org.