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Jun 26, 2011

Solstice 10 mile race report

Rest day was scheduled today.  I ended up doing about 12 miles on the bike at Stoney Creek as a recovery run.  Legs felt great.  I'll take my rest day tomorrow.  I'm thinking of changing my schedule so that I bike on Saturday or Sunday morning so that I can do it on the weekend at Stoney Creek.  Usually my cross train day is on Monday's but I would have to ride the bike out my door and I'm not sure it's practical to get in the miles.  Decisions, decisions.


This is a long post - if you want the results, scroll down near the bottom!

The Solstice Run 10 mile race was the first race that I ever did double digits.  I ran this race last year and the weather was nice.  It was perfect conditions for running this year.  Cool, overcast sky, a breeze the entire time - really, what more could you ask for at the end of June?

The day started at 4:30am.  Yikes.  That's early.  It's scary but I woke up on my own without an alarm clock.  I got ready and ate my traditional half banana and granola bar for breakfast with some water.  I had to pick up my running buddy and his co-worker at 5:30am at his home.  I got there about 5:20am and waited.  He came out at 5:30 but his co-worker had not come yet.  So we waited...and waited....and left.  Oops.  Later on we found out that he was running late and didn't think he could make it to my running buddy's home so he just went straight to the race.

We got to package pick up at about 6:30-40am.  There was not many people there but when we left there was probably 50-60 in line.  We got our shirts which are really cool.  At least I think so.  It was a Hawaiian theme.  Cool.

Then we went to where the starting line is.  The package pick up and starting line were about 0.25 away from each other.  I think it would be better if they did the package pick up right near the start but it worked out fine.  The start of the race was at Northville Downs, a harness racing track which is closed for the season(I think).  Anyway, we took a picture of us on the track.  The first 1/2 mile is on the track which is cool.  Ken from Eastside Stoney Creek actually took the picture.  He was out there volunteering for the race.  We also saw Ken at the end when we were leaving cleaning up things near the start.  Nice job Ken - The race would not be as successful without volunteers like yourself.
Horse race track!
After that, we went to the bathroom.  They had port-o-potties there but because I had been to the race last year, I knew there were regular bathrooms at the race track so we headed into there to use the regular bathroom.  The 10k started about 15 minutes before the 10 mile race so we stayed in the race track viewing area and watched the runners start around the track.  Good view.  I wish I had had my camera.  After that, we went to line up ourselves.

There was still runners from the 10k running out of the track and there were so many people around, they had to run around us 10 milers.  Oops.  Probably needed some marshals there to help keep the people out of the way from the 10k runners.  Granted, it was the slow runners and the walkers but still, they paid their money to race too and shouldn't have had to go around us like that.

Then it was our turn.  There was 739 10 mile runners lined up at the start.  We went around the track which was nice.  I started off a little slower than I normally do because, remember, I was supposed to be running this as a training run.  Right.  I just can't seem to do a training run when I'm at a race!

We headed out of the track, into the parking lot, and left down the street where our first hill started.  I personally feel that this is a really challenging course.  It's hilly.  Now I did tell some of you that I thought this was as hilly as the Brooksie Way.  Wrong.  It's not.  The hills are not as steep and also not as long but there are some good ones mixed in there.  The race takes us through the subdivisions of Northville.  There is some awesome homes in the area which I enjoy seeing and the neighbors come out to watch and cheer us on.  The crowd support is not great but I'll take anything that I can get to keep me going.

There was a girl at about mile 9 that was a volunteer that was also cheering us on.  She was the perfect person to put there.  It's right where we needed a pick me up and that gave it to me.  We then finished up by running through downtown Northville and over to Ford Field(not the Detroit Ford Field).  This took us into a park with a track around it where the finish line is and they had an announcer calling off names which, I think, is always a really nice touch.  It feels good to hear your name being called off at the end.

The volunteers were right there waiting to give you your medal - which are AWESOME by the way!  WAY better than last year's medal.  We also got a lei since it was Hawaiian theme!  Thank you volunteers!!!  Both T and I decided to wear our Bayshore Marathon shirts.
Sweet medal
After the race - cool lei and medal
From there, you go through a line to get water, snacks, food and a little expo.  I actually like the expo at the end.  It's nice because you get some freebies and some additional food from the vendors.  It's just a nice touch.  Because it was Hawaiian theme, they had three Hawaiian girls dancing on a stage with music.  Cool.  They also had pizza with ham and pineapple.  haha!  I'm not a big fan of pizza(especially at 9am) but my running buddy, T had some and said it was really good.  Panera was there so I got a bagel plus some water and a half banana.  Target was giving out all kinds of granola bars and fruit snacks so I got some for my kids.  There was also a company giving out rice krispy treats so I got some of these for my kids too.  I also grabbed a couple more bagels to bring home for my wife and kids.  I certainly did not walk away empty handed.  Haha!

Overall results -

Chip time of 1:20:15(8:02/minute pace)
Garmin time of 1:20:35(7:57/minute pace) - actual distance 10.13 miles; this time make sense because I forgot to turn off my Garmin at the end so chip and Garmin are what I expected.  They would have been identical had I not forgot to turn it off.
177th place overall out of 739 finishers
148th place for men out of 444 finishers
31st place for men 40-44 group out of 74 finishers - there were some fast people in my AG!

By the way, the winner finished in 50:57.  Same guy as last year.  Crazy fast!

Overall, I like really like this race.  It's well organized, has a few bands playing, lots of nice volunteers, a challenging course, a nice start and a great finish with an expo.  Not bad for a 10 mile race.

As an added bonus, I got to run Adam's The Boring Runner's virtual 5k at the same time.  I took this picture after the race.  If you take the first the first 3.1 miles, I ran his in about 24:38.  Slower than my last three miles.
Sweat your Thorns off Virtual 5k!
By the way, I did something incredible rare for me.  A negative split for the race!!!  Check out my splits:

The other thing that I did that I rarely do is have such consistency throughout the entire race.  Check out this pacing chart.  I don't think I could get much more consistent.  Plus I included the elevation change to show you the hilliness of the race.  I'm more happy that I could keep that kind of consistency with the hills thrown in there.
So that's what I did with my Saturday morning!

Did you race this weekend?  Do you enjoy racing as much as I do?

Have a great day and.....Keep Running!!!!!


  1. I feel stupid asking this, but what is a negative split?

    I ALWAYS forget to turn my Garmin off at the end of a race. Never fails! I really love the shirts for the race and the medals. How fun!

  2. Jeff, glad you had a great race experience.

  3. So I decided not to run this race because it was just too far away. I thought of you guys though. That is one sweet medal!

    My husband and I ran a half marathon today...GR Marathon hosted a half to benefit Joplin, MO. They had a half planned there but they couldn't run it due to the tornado damage. All $$ went to them. We even got their bibs and medals. We hadn't planned on running 13.1 (especially since my husband is not a runner and has ZERO training) but we ran/walked out way through it in a pretty respectable time 2:36. It was such a nice run.

  4. Great job!! Congrats! And I think it is a great race shirt. :)

  5. Good job! It sounds like a fun race. Liz

  6. Congrats on a great race! I love the shirt, medal, and lei!! Fun!

  7. Congrats on the race and the negative splits! I don't like racing; I much prefer the journey getting to the race because I always choke on race day.

  8. Megan - I ran the second half faster than the first half (negative split)

    Ken - It's a good race!

    tahoegirl - that's a great idea having the race in GR. Unfortunate, but cool.

    Suzy - really? Just go to have fun. If you have fun then you can't choke on race day.

  9. Awesome job Jeff! I agree that this race was so much fun, well organized and I loved the expo stops after the race!

    I just logged into garmin connect for the first time and I can't figure out how to save my split chart to put in my blog. I see you do it all the time - will you share how?

  10. Rose - I have an apple computer with a program called Grab. I can basically copy anything on my screen and save it as a file so I save the file as picture and then post it on the blog.

  11. Wow, great job Jeff! You are certainly becoming a speedy runner!!

  12. Jeff, Great job on the race! It was only my second 10k, but I enjoyed it immensely. I ran a 59:00 which was 3 mins faster than my first 10k in April, so I was pleased. Not your pace, but I did work that day.
    Now for my questions, you mentioned the brooksie way race, and the hills. Are you familiar with teh Crim route also ? In your subjective opinion, how do the hills/routes in Flint compare to the northville route?
    Thanks and great job


    P.S. I wore my 10k medal all over the house sunday harassing the familia by saying "I thought everyone was wearing their medals today"...was pretty funny.

  13. Mark - If you can do the Solstice, you can handle the Crim. There are hills and everyone talks about the Bradley hills but I don't think they are as bad as everyone talks about. It's challenging but not crazy. It's an amazing race because there are SO many people there. The biggest race I have ever been in.

    Brooksie - I think the brooksie is harder than Crim but also a great race.

  14. NIce work!!! You know it is going to be a good race if you run negative splits. That medal is really cool too. Did you train specifically for the 10 miler?

    BTW - got your recap up on my blog - sorry for missing it!!