Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Art Ship 10K: A Family Affair

Recently, my 10 yr old son had asked me to find a 10K race so that he could attempt that distance. He has run several 5K races in the last 4 years, and he loves racing the 1600m at his track events.  He asked me how far 10K was during a 5 mile run together about a month ago. When I told him it was 6.2 miles, he was not deterred.  "I can do that!" he replied.  So, I started searching out local races looking for a 10K.  I found the Art Ship 10K Race in Shippensburg, PA. It was recommended by the local running store employee (who happens to be the winner of the race last year, with a course record!).  The race was only 30 minutes from home, and would be followed by a wine and art festival at Shippensburg University.  My father and his wife would be visiting from out of town, and we could make a day of it, with them watching us race for the first time.  Perfect!
 I registered myself, my husband, and my son for the race and we made sure that he would be ready for the race.  He just finished his track season a couple of weeks ago, so he was in good shape. My husband ran a 6 mile long run with him the week before, just to make sure he felt comfortable with the distance. 
  As race morning approached, we watched the temperature and humidity increase throughout the week. I knew this may affect our paces, and we made sure to hydrate well in the days before the race.  Luckily, we had lots of Nuun to drink, so we prepared our selves as well as we could.
 The race had a late start time of 10:00, so by the time we arrived at Shippensburg, it was already 80 degrees.  My husband decided he would run with my son and pace him so that he wouldn't go out too fast.  That turned out to be a great decision, as my son felt that he could go faster at the beginning and had to be held back.  I originally had the goal of running a PR of  a sub 51 minute time, but quickly changed my mind at the starting line.  I was hoping to just go out with an average pace of 8:30/mile and survive! I was able to stay close to my husband and son for the first 3 miles, with splits of 8:19 and 8:27 and 8:22.  By the  time we reached the turned around at halfway, I was feeling the heat. My breathing became labored, and I began to feel nauseous. I watched my husband and son go, and was happy that they were able to maintain their pace.  I dropped my pace down to the 9 min/mile pace and just tried to hang on.  I drank water at the 2 stops on the way back, and poured some water on my head as well.  My mantra became "just don't walk!". Luckily, the race was mostly run on the Cumberland Valley Rail Trail, and there was some shade from the trees. Soon enough, we were back on the Shippensburg University campus, and the finish line was in sight.  I finished as strong as I could, with a disappointing time of 55:38. I did pass 2 people at the end, which I will count as a small victory. 
 I met up with my husband and son, who despite the heat, finished very strong.  My son ended up finishing the race with a time of 49:26! That is an average pace of 7:57/mile!! What an amazing time for a 10yr old, at his first 10K race, and in such heat! I am beyond proud of him.  He was the youngest finisher at the race, and won his division of boys 12 and under. He won a nice pottery medal and bag of cookies. The biggest surprise was that I actually won the Masters division! I won a nice pottery wine cooler and a bottle of local wine. My husband also placed 2nd in his age group while pacing my son.  We all brought home prizes!  We stayed for a while after the awards, since the wine and art festival was starting. We enjoyed freshly squeezed lemonade, crab cake sandwiches and smoked turkey legs before heading home.  My son told me on the way home in the car that he can't wait to find another 10K race. He said "I know I can run faster next time if it's not as hot." I think he's hooked on running!


  1. I just ran my first rail trail race (a marathon in York, PA) and really enjoyed it. It's great that your son likes to run. Congrats to all three of you for racing well, even in the heat!

  2. Rail trails can be a real challenge. Well done to you all!