After coming in just 10 seconds slower than last year’s time at the Maryland-District of Columbia RRCA Club Challenge in February, I wanted to beat last year’s time at the Tim Kennard River Run last Sunday, March 24.
The RRCA Club Challenge and the Tim Kennard River Run are very different courses. The Tim Kennard River Run is held in the city where I live, Salisbury, Maryland, and it’s super flat. The RRCA race, in Howard County, has plenty of hills. Both this year and last year, I was about 10 minutes faster at the Tim Kennard River Run than the RRCA race — which is a minute per mile, a significant amount.
I’m happy to report that with a time of 1:34:12, I was able to come in about half-a-minute faster than last year at this year’s Tim Kennard River Run. Last year, I ran the course in 1:34:43.
Although I’m still far away from my 10-mile personal record, which I set at this race in 2012, I’m inching in the right direction. Sunday’s run was my fastest 10-miler since the Tim Kennard River Run in 2016.
It was a nice day for a run. It’s hard to know what to expect in March, but the high was predicted to be in the 50s for race day. Although it was cooler at the start, I wore my short-sleeved Eastern Shore Running Club shirt and shorts, and I was fine for the whole race — getting a little hot, but not too hot, toward the end.
Before the race, I ran a half-mile warm-up. I’d originally planned to do a mile warm-up and a mile cool-down, but I just ended up doing the half-mile because of time (and then I didn’t feel like running more afterward). I’d been having hamstring pain, so that warm-up was a bit of a test. Thankfully, it did not bother me all in the warm-up or at the race. I’d recently taken some unplanned rest days, which helped the slight injury heal.
The Tim Kennard is a race I never miss. This was my ninth one, and the only year I haven’t run since 2010 was 2011, when I was watching a fellow participant’s daughter. I also recently joined the Tim Kennard River Run race committee and have been helping with Instagram, Twitter and some small tasks. I also got a free entry through the Eastern Shore Running Club’s involvement in the event.
In addition to all the people I saw at the race, I also worked the Eastern Shore Running Club table at the packet pickup the day before, so I got to see people there. We had plenty of members who took part in the race.
I knew I’d started out fast in the 2018 Tim Kennard, so I wanted to see if I could stay around a 9:10-9:15 pace to keep it consistent, rather than starting faster than what I could maintain. Although I did not do that precisely, I was happy with the consistency of my splits. The last mile was a bit of an anomaly at 8:56 (which is the best time to have an good anomaly, in my opinion), but for the previous nine miles, the splits were all between 9:14-9:41, with six of those between 9:23-9:35.
I think much of this consistency could be staying near running friends Chuck and Sabine during the race.
I tried to keep them in my sight, and after Sabine stopped briefly to take off a layer, I ran with them for a couple miles through the downtown area. It helped to try to stay with them. Knowing I had to speed up in the last two miles to meet my goal, I gave it what I had once we hit Mile 8.
I stopped at all of the water stops except the last one, at Mile 9, which I decided to skip since I felt good. I knew I was very close to last year’s time and would have to run a fast last mile to beat it. I was able to run the last mile in 8:56, my fastest of the day. The time on my watch was 1:34:16, and the results had me down with a time of 1:34:12.
With this being a local race, I knew many of the participants, but it was also fun to have three people recognize me by my blog name. I’m pretty sure I ran near two of those people for the entire race.
Afterward, I chatted with people, including a fellow Instagrammer who I’d never actually met in person, Jen, and went inside to get some food — a bagel, chicken and dumplings, little chicken salad sandwiches and popcorn.
Although my time was a little faster than last year, I didn’t win an age group award this year (I did last year with a slightly slower time). But I met my goal of beating last year’s time, so I was happy.
I enjoy the course for the Tim Kennard, which starts and ends at Salisbury University and goes into nearby neighborhoods, along the Wicomico River and into downtown Salisbury. I had a chance to see some runners on the out-and-back on Riverside Drive, but not the ones who were closest in pace to me.
This year, the women’s shirts were pink, which I was excited about.
My average of 9:26 per mile on Sunday made me more confident going into the Salisbury Marathon on April 6, at which I hope to run a sub-4:45. A 4:45 marathon is an average pace of 10:52, and allowing for the fact that my watch may not show exactly 26.2 and to give myself a small cushion, I am planning to aim for a 10:45 average pace. That still allows me to have an extra minute and 19 seconds per mile compared to the pace I was able to run at Tim Kennard.
Mile 1: 9:15
Mile 2: 9:16
Mile 3: 9:33
Mile 4: 9:26
Mile 5: 9:35
Mile 6: 9:35
Mile 7: 9:32
Mile 8: 9:41
Mile 9: 9:23
Mile 10: 8:56
Time on watch: 1:34:16 (9:26/mile pace); official time: 1:34:12