I figured the Easter Sun Run 10k and 2 mile races would be a great way to get in a long run workout while visiting my parents for Easter. I also hoped to make it onto overall female podiums in both distances to net some prize money. My left piriformis started bugging me a few days before the event, so I almost didn't run at all (I had not pre-registered since I wasn't sure how my 50k recovery would be going) - but I went to the race and started warming up, felt fine enough, and signed up. I ended up doing approximately: 4 miles warm-up, 10k race, 3 miles easy, 2 mile race, 2 mile cool-down for a 17+ mile day, and my piriformis didn't bother me at all when I was running fast. I won 1st overall female in the 10k, 2nd overall female in the 2 mile, and 1st masters in both - they allowed double dipping on masters prize money too. Then I got to spend the weekend with family, so it was truly a win-win-win!The long:
I have run the Easter Sun run three times before, in 2016, 2017, and 2018. They cancelled the race due to COVID in 2020 and 2021, and I don't recall why I didn't run it in 2019, but it's always on my radar because I love to visit my parents for Easter and the race offers prize money. The downside of the race is that the courses are long, but I'm less bothered by that since I'm aware that's the case in advance, plus I am not in PR form anyway [nor will I ever again be for a 2 mile!].
My piriformis started bugging me after a big workout on April 4, which was possibly done a bit too soon after my March 25 50k - but I really think it was the riding to and from St. Louis and run-cheering on April 1-2 plus a new pair of prototype shoes I'm trialing... (surely not the 50k, lol!). I also got car sick riding to my parents' the day before this race. I went to bed the night before telling my family I wasn't sure what I was going to do and would decide in the morning.
I felt okay when I woke up on Saturday, but not 100% ready to commit, so I decided to go to the race and jog for 10 minutes, then decide. My piriformis loosened up nicely during my warm up, so I registered for the 10k, making sure I could add the 2 mile for the combo registration fee if I felt up for it. The race organizers were very gracious with me making things complicated! The 10k started at 9:00 and the 2 mile at 11:00, so there was going to be plenty of time between them to
change my mind 12 times update my registration. I kept running until a few minutes before the 10k start because it kept my slightly annoying muscle loose.
I was hoping I could win the 10k without running too hard. I figured when it started I'd just feel it out, but was hoping I could go with the first woman, and that wouldn't take much faster about 6:45 pace. As I looked around on the starting line, that seemed reasonable, then a couple of minutes before the gun, Julie, who I ran most of the 2019 Chisholm Trail Marathon with, jumped onto the line. I knew she'd be the one to beat, for both overall and masters. We said hi to each other and talked briefly about working together in the race.
|Around 2 miles in|
After the race sorted out, Julie and I were side-by-side tied for 2nd OAF. The woman in 1st wasn't too far ahead and I felt very controlled. I told Julie we could reel #1 in and she agreed. We passed the woman around 1.5 miles in, and continued on side-by-side. I felt like I was holding back and got the itch to push, but also kept reminding myself there was no reason to run any faster than I had to to win. The course was marked in kilometers, and I started thinking about when I should try to "go" (8k or 9k?). Our first 3 miles were 6:16, 6:25, 6:25. I didn't look at my watching during the race but if you'd have asked me what pace we were running, I'd have said about 6:40. It's always nice to feel that way - I have also had plenty of days that are the opposite, when 6:30 feels like 6:00!
|This was taken 5 seconds after the|
previous photo after we rounded a corner
Around the 5k mark, we passed a man who asked if he could run with us. I said "of course" and encouraged him to latch on and that "it's always easier with others!". He did until mile 4.5 or so. Mile 4 was 6:23. I started thinking "only 2 miles left!" and wondering when I should try to take the lead. I felt really good, but I also very much enjoyed working with Julie and it's always easier and better together.
A different man came up on us from behind at about the 8k, and as he went past I decided I needed to go with him. I knew hanging onto him would make speeding up easier, and I'd rather not leave any race outcomes to a final sprint if I can help it [spoiler: the 2 mile ended up that way and my mind is still recovering]. Mile 5 was 6:18 so I'd picked it up a bit. I put a gap on Julie when I went with that young man, but I doubted I had much of a lead. The man asked me what my goal was for the race, and I said simply "Win!" and it made me really happy that I felt strong enough to put that out there.
|I don't think I'm a very good turner|
That man left me behind in the last half mile, but I ran mile 6 in 6:14 and the final 0.4 also at 6:14 pace, which was good enough for the overall female win by 18 seconds. I had to run faster than I'd hoped to (I averaged 6:19), about 10 seconds/mile off of what I think I'd race it all-out right now, but I still felt reasonably good and most importantly my piriformis hadn't hurt one bit during the race. There is something to running more efficiently at faster paces!
|My mom found the creepy Easter bunny|
After finishing I talked to Julie and my family, ate half a banana, and told my family my piriformis felt fine when racing but tightened up when I stopped, so maybe I should skip the 2 mile, especially if they gave me both overall and masters money for the 10k. The 10k awards were supposed to be at 10:00 and I spied the large checks for photo ops, so I jogged some but stayed close. As I moved again my piriformis felt better. I came back for the awards ceremony and told Jon I was going to run the 2 mile and would go register after the awards. He was nervous it would be too late, but the website said the 2 mile registration was open until 11:00 and I figured if for some reason I couldn't get in at 10:30 that just meant I shouldn't do it.
The awards happened around 10:15, and I got my first big check of the day, which was super fun! The announcer was great and mentioned my big smile multiple times - my dad's video is here. I also received first place masters prize money, and was pretty excited they let me double dip! There are different opinions on this, but I think if someone in masters runs fast enough to also place overall, they should get both. It's not easy getting old you know [see 2 mile outcome below].
|Top 2 masters were also top 2 overall|
From there, Jon went to sign me up for the 2 mile, which went seamlessly, and I jogged until a few minutes before the 2 mile start. I'd planned to do that anyway to get in a long run, but it ended up that I needed to do it to stay loose. I ran about 3 miles during that time, putting me at over 13 for the day at the start of the 2 mile. I was feeling a bit like I was bonking, so I also took a gel about 10 minutes before the start and did a couple of strides. I wasn't sure what to expect for the 2 mile, but I was hoping I could podium (ideally win), but the problem with place goals is that it all depends on who shows up.
|Fan-girling Deb Tornedon before the 2 mile|
Unsurprisingly, I was in about 20th female initially, with a lot of young girls and teens out quick. After a couple of minutes I'd moved up to 3rd female, with a middle schooler out front and a fit looking woman in second. I was working quite hard (i.e., there was no way I was moving up at that point), and I focused on staying strong. I passed teenage boys, but by halfway I was pretty confident I was going to take 3rd female. I had no idea how close anyone was behind me so didn't let up.
I saw the 9k marker left from the 10k, and told myself, "only 3:00 left" (even though I was not running 3:00/k pace!). I was gaining on 2nd at that point, and though I felt like I was in cardiac arrest, I also thought I had a change of moving up. I reeled her in and was ready to pass with about 0.25 left. I really coached myself to pass with authority, and prepared myself to fight with all I had. The pain of a short race and gasping for air is quite different than that of a 50k (or even a 10k!), but I knew I had to push with all I had to make it happen. I was able to do that and came across in 2nd female! My splits were 6:08 and 6:09, so pretty even. I think I could have run 5:45-5:50 had I not already run 13 miles, but this was all I had with the 10k and 13 miles on my legs. The first place woman ran more like 5:35 pace, so there would have been nothing I could do even fresh. It gave me a little blast from the past; I remember when I was in junior high beating adult women in 2 mile races! I looked her up hoping I could say she'd won youth nationals, and found that she was 3rd in kid cross-country nationals 5 months ago.
After I caught my breath and congratulated the third woman who finished right behind me, I took off to finish my 17 miles for the day, 2.x more. My piriformis hadn't hurt one bit during the 2 mile, but was tight during the cool down, though not any worse than it had been at the start of the day. I then found my family again for the 2 mile awards.
|2 mile awards|
I got another big check and nice shout out from the announcer. - my dad's video of that is here. These race organizers were so amazing! The event raises money for a Christian organization, they do BBQ for all of the runners and spectators (e.g., my family had 5 meals at the deal), the announcers have so much energy, the volunteers are enthusiastic, and the awards ceremony is such fun. My only complaint about the whole thing is that the 10k course is about 6.4 miles and the 2 mile about 2.1. The race runs on paths through a park, and starts and finishes in the same place, so they do what they can with those limitations (I'd suggest moving the starting line, but, oh well). It really didn't matter this year, as I wasn't setting any fast times, but a low-39 in 10k results does look better than a mid-40. I can't think of a better way to get in a long run workout the day before Easter. Every race is a blessing, and being able to start and finish these reminded me of that yet again!
"10k" (6.4 mile) results are here.
"2 mile": (2.1 mile) results are here.