Racing as an Elite; Crim Festival of Races 10 Mile Recap

Happy Marvelous Monday! Today is a special Monday post as I raced this weekend. Next week, Deborah and I will begin co-hosting our Meatless Monday Linkup (and thumbnails will be back), so please spend this week thinking of recipes to share! I am all packed up, but hanging around in Michigan for an extra week, as we cannot get in our apartment till the first few days of September….and motorhome life in Morehead is not the best way to prepare for Chicago.

Michigan is a pretty big “running state”, (especially when you compare it to Kentucky!), and that meant there were always lots of races to chose from. In college, coaches made the choices for us, and since then I have been able to work with Steve to choose. There were two races that everyone seemed to talk about; Run Thru Hell (mostly for the name), and the Crim Festival of races. I put a mental note that someday I would do them, but did not really think much of it until a few weeks ago.

I decided to run this race only about 10 days before, and thankfully, Greg Meyer (Elite Athlete Coordinator) was gracious enough to let me in the race, and give me a room to stay in the night before. I kept this race pretty quiet, as I have been struggling in my marathon training as you know. I also had my highest week of mileage ever last week, reverse taper anyone? Therefore, I did not want to kick up a big fuss about racing. That would add more pressure (from myself), to counter the pressure I am trying to take off.
After my 2.5 hour drive down from Big Rapids, I picked up my packet from the Elite Check in and was given my room, sharing a suite with two other girls; Alexandra Niles and Meghan Peyton.
Crim is not just one 10 mile race, it is a whole weekend of events (1 mile, 5k, 8k). The city of Flint (as well as most of Michigan) looks forward to this weekend all year. I decided to walk over to watch the men and women’s elite mile on the Friday night after the pasta dinner. A few friends were racing, and road miles are always fun to watch.
NicoleΒ Sifuentes won in 4:44, which believe it or not, is actually slow for her! After a little more walking to stretch my legs, I went back to my room to relax and get a good nights rest….well, as best as you can the night before a race. We had an elite hospitality room with snacks if we needed, and breakfast in the morning.
The best thing about this rooming situation was that the Start line was 3 minutes away, yes, you read that right. I was in my room (peeing for the 100000th time) at 7:47, and by 7:50 I was on the start line! How is that for a great set up!!!
Somehow, I found myself on the start line near the really big names; Dathan Ritzenheim on one side, and the eventual men’s winner on my other side. I ended up being in a lot of photos, including this gem from the mlive website. Captain serious, yep thats me! Don’t seem so nice now, do I?
Other than a random woman trying to take a selfie in front of all of us as the horn sounded, things went relatively smoothly in the first part of the race.
Do you see me? Do you see the guy with t-shirt and camel back who HAD to be on the front line? I wonder where he finished….
I had heard this course was very hilly, and it was extremely humid, so I tried to remain conservative the first half. This meant running by “feel”, which I am pretty good at. I was quite far back in the elite women’s field, but there are some major hills (the Bradley hills) around 6 miles, and I did not want to crash and burn so I remained just under 6:00 pace. Once I passed the hills, I slowly began to crank down the pace, but this was difficult as the hills take a lot of the power out of your legs.
I felt pretty good; hamstring was fine, I was relaxed, and other than the rolling hills most the rest of the way (that elevation map definitely makes it seem a lot easier than it is!), I was happy with my race. I finished in 58:55, to place 15th woman. Β I am definitely not where I want to be yet, but I am trying not to compare to last years training segment. Steve is great at his job; his athletes consider him king of peaking at the right time. I am therefore trusting that I will be ready for Chicago come October 12.

Thanks to Run Michigan for covering the events, and providing me with a few of these photos to use on my blog. You do such a great job covering races, and I know everyone looks forward to seeing their photos on your site!

I have shaken the monkey off my back, he is still hanging around, but I am ready to get rid of him for good, and focus ahead. This was a good indicator that things are coming together, and there are over 6 weeks to go to make final preparations.
I had a nice, easy (8:30 pace) cool down with the lovely Meghan Peyton and Heather Kampf (2nd in the elite mile the night before, and ran 58 mins in the 10 mile, how is that for range?!). I showered, and enjoyed a nice big burger and cottage fries with my friend Jackie and her husband Jimmy before heading back to Big Rapids.
If you are ever in Michigan, or anywhere close around the end of August, I would wholeheartedly recommend this race. It was a lot of fun, and definitely a race to do again.
What is on your bucket list of races? Any questions for me about racing as an elite?

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  • That really is quite the elevation spike in the middle, but I kind of like it–it's as if the race organizers were thinking to themselves, “let's see if they are paying attention!” It would have been cruel to have it at then end. And great race–10 milers are great for figuring out certain strategies, but I don't think the selfie at the beginning was in that person's best interests.

  • carla birnberg
    August 25, 2014 11:25 am

    really really really interesting to this nonelite runner!!

  • Tina@GottaRunNow
    August 25, 2014 11:42 am

    Congrats on being the 15th woman! Looks like great training for Chicago. Nice race photos, too!

  • You are a beast!! I'll never be elite but I love your recaps, they make me feel like I know more than I do about running. What a course?! Those inclines are no joke for 10 miles. Great grit face at the start line…. πŸ™‚

  • How cool you got to run with the Elites! Great job on your race and your place!

  • Those are fantastic pictures of you–the essence of what you are; a fantastic, determined athlete! Everyone looks so fit and strong in those photos πŸ™‚

  • Oh Tina, you are crazy amazing. So fun to hear how ran UNDER 6 min miles. That's INSANE…and then you're all…I'm still not where I want to be.. haha.
    You can tell you're looking at a pro race when everyone runs in their undies, thought that was funny. You're amaaaazing!!

  • I love reading your race recaps and I love your honesty. It's comforting to know that you still get nervous the night before a race and that you also pee 100 times before as well. It blows when I watch women run this fast. It's really truly impressive for this middle of the pack mama. You continue to inspire. πŸ™‚
    Confessions of a Mother Runner

  • Great job, Tina, especially in shaking the monkey off your back. I love hearing the inside details from you and getting all this grit and honesty. I think sometimes we average joes figure it's easier to be an elite, but it's not at all, is it? Great set of pictures and love your serious face in the first one!!

  • That's an awesome photo, you look ready to do business. I love that the race was only 3 minutes from your hotel because I would have to pee about a 1000 times too πŸ™‚ Good for you knocking something off your race bucket list. And I think you're right to trust your training although I'm sure it's tempting to compare yourself. In the metaphorical sense, it's a marathon not a sprint πŸ™‚ xx

  • Lauren Edwards
    August 25, 2014 2:08 pm

    I LOVE the pictures (especially that first one) and this recap. You did so great and I'm so happy that things are coming together for you with time to spare! I actually have family in Flint…maybe one day I will need to visit for this.

  • Great job!! You did awesome Tina! I've never heard of the race.. we don't hear much about downstate in the UP πŸ˜‰ I wish I could link up my Meatless Monday recipe today! Just have to wait for next week πŸ™‚

  • Nice work! I love the photo of you right before the start of the race–you look so bad@$$! Your photos answered my question about running as an elite–I was wondering if you run with a GPS watch. πŸ™‚ Are you allowed to run with one at major events like the Chicago Marathon? I hope the monkey continues to slink away into the shadows where he belongs!

  • Mike @TheIronYou
    August 25, 2014 2:39 pm

    That's impressive Tina, great job.
    I love that picture of you at the start line: hands on your hips, laser beam concentration, ready to kill it!

  • Courtney Moore
    August 25, 2014 3:28 pm

    You look SO serious in that first picture but I love it! I will never be an elite runner but it is amazing to read something from your perspective, keep up the awesome work!

    Also, when is the selfie craze going to end and why would someone think it was a good idea to take one right when the race was starting?!

  • Heather @fitncookies
    August 25, 2014 3:30 pm

    Great job! You really look like you knew what you were doing and knew how to take this race. That's fantastic! I know you'll be great at Chicago!

  • That's a great photo of you before the race! Talk about focus! Nice job in the race too. You ran smart, as you usually do, and paid attention to your goals without getting caught up in the excitement of racing.

    I love road mile races! They are so exciting. Back in the late 90s, my husband and I would go almost every year to do the Honolulu Marathon, and the day before the race they had the Waikiki mile. All the best milers of the time would be there and it was really cool to see them run.

  • Great job – I love that you started out conservatively and didn't get bothered by trying to be at the front right away!!! The pictures are all awesome!!!
    Funny that a guy felt the need for a camelback in a 10 mile race and then positioned himself near the front!

  • Martina Di Marco
    August 25, 2014 7:10 pm

    Great job girl! That course was seriously no joke and 10 miles is a pretty hard distance in my opinion. You really have to know how to pace yourself correctly, which you obviously did.

    Question for you as racing as an elite: during a race, do you keep the Garmin on auto lap on or do you manually hit lap at the mile markers? Thanks!

    PS: let's get rid of this monkey once and for all πŸ˜‰

  • Jackieonair .
    August 25, 2014 7:14 pm

    I love your updates! Your racing experiences are so different than the norm its awesome to read about!
    Keep it up!

  • Danielle Anne Guttinger
    August 25, 2014 7:26 pm

    WOW woman, you are BRILLIANT beyond belief, fantastic!!! it blows my mind how fast you elites are, so super-human yet you have normal life things too, like you actually prepare food and such. In my head you have little flying monkeys that carry you plates of special elite athlete food to you on gold trays while getting massaged and resting for your next big race. LOL yeah quite an imagination here. I love reading this though, it's so motivating. You do make this race sound fun, I may have to put this in the mix for the future. I love out of town races and don't do them enough. My boyfriend went to school in Flint so he'd love to visit πŸ˜€
    Great job, high fives all the way!

  • Congrats! I love how down to earth you are… even in the photos I feel like you look so much more relatable and friendly than others πŸ™‚

    My bucket list of races is a Napa to Sonoma Race, NYC Marathon if I decide I like the marathon distance, and Hood to Coast (relay, but whatever lol).

  • the kiwi's best mile is 415… that crazy! but i am so freakin proud of you.. way to go! and love your face

  • NutButterRunner
    August 26, 2014 12:52 am

    You are amazing!! I love the fact that someone took a selfie at the start! Ha. I am confident you are going to do so well this training season!!

  • Danielle @ itsaharleyyylife
    August 26, 2014 1:27 am

    You are so awesome! One day I hope to see you race! (: sooooo come back to PA πŸ˜›

  • Cassie @ Rural Running Redhead
    August 26, 2014 1:46 am

    Great race! I need you to teach me how to run by feel. I'm such a slave to my Garmin sometimes!

  • Congratulations Tina! That is a fantastic time and I absolutely LOVE that “game face” picture of you at the start line.

  • Great job! I'm terrible at holding back in the beginning of races, as good as I know negative splits are.
    I had a good laugh about that guy in the t-shirt & camelback. Quite unique.

  • You look like you are gonna eat the competition for breakfast in that start line photo! Love it!

  • Awesome pictures!! I can't wait for Chicago – I will definitely be out there cheering you on! πŸ™‚

  • Jonathan Scooby Bolha
    August 27, 2014 1:14 pm

    Way to go! Running your highest mileage week ever and then still racing decently should be a confidence booster. I'd love to run a marathon with you someday!

  • Congrats on a awesome race!!! Thanks for the inspiration!!!! XOXO Laurie #wowlinkup

  • Alysia @ Slim Sanity
    August 27, 2014 3:09 pm

    Awesome race!! The elevation of that course looks tough!

  • When you said Nicole Sifuentes won in 4:44, is that her running pace? #wowlinkup

  • I mean she ran 4:44 for that 1 mile race. She was not in the same race I was. That would be impressive even for a man to run that for 10 miles haha!

  • Thanks so much! It was!

  • Thanks Laurie πŸ™‚

  • Thanks Jonathan. That is why I am pretty happy with it, initially I wasnt, but its always good to reflect. That would be great!

  • Thanks so much Amy, that would mean so much to me!

  • Thanks, haha you mean I don't look like a nasty person?

  • Thanks Amber, yeah it can be tricky to rewire your body not to do that, but once you get used to it, it works out much better. I know! What an idiot!

  • Aww thanks, haha well I can't believe some of the positions you get yourself in when you show your yoga poses! Thanks for your support lovely lady!

  • Thanks Allie πŸ™‚ Haha its pretty funny!

  • Thanks so much Cassie! You need to cover it so you can't see it, you will race much better πŸ™‚

  • Thanks so much lovely lady! I am sure I will be back to PA!

  • Thanks so much Morganne! Hahaha I know, she almost got mowed down by one of the guys! I sure hope so πŸ™‚

  • Thats very impressive! Thanks lovely lady!

  • Thanks Cassie, haha really! I feel like I look like…..well, you know what πŸ˜› But thats nice knowing I still look like a softie underneath! Yes! NYC is on mine. Napa to Sonoma…what is that? πŸ™‚

  • Thank you so much Danielle πŸ™‚ We are only human….I have a picture of me tying my shoes at the start line. Do you wanna see that? Or did you think we had shoe tying professionals hired to do it? πŸ˜› I love your imagination….but I am afraid I am really not that interesting. You should definitely go do the race someday!

  • Thanks dear friend πŸ™‚

  • Thanks Martina, yeah it was tough! Thank you for your lovely support!

    I do have it on auto lap during the races, I hear it beep, but I have taught myself to ignore it now. I just like to look through it after!

    I am shooing him away…..lets see if he goes….I may need to stop eating bananas first πŸ˜‰

  • Thanks Kim, I have become quite proud of swallowing my pride and let people go off too fast in front of me. Love reeling them in πŸ™‚ Hahah I know, he is ridiculous!

  • Thanks so much Debbie….define great photo haha! Thank you so much for your support!

    That is awesome! I had no idea, they did that as well, but sounds like a lot of fun. Do they still do it?

  • Thanks friend. I hope so!

  • Hahaha so serious, or so stupid to be that mean looking. Thank you for your support! I know its crazy, she was almost mowed down by the crowd…that would have made headlines haha

  • Thanks so much Mike πŸ™‚ I am happy with it. Do you know Rachel Hannah? I know she is Canadian, but didnt know who she was before….or much about her now. Good idea about the meme hahah

  • Thanks Mike πŸ™‚ I do a pretty good mean girl impression!

  • Thanks haha, I feel like I look silly! Yes, I definitely wear one, and you are allowed them at the big ones, but I have just trained myself not to look at it other than after the race.

    Yes, lets keep banishing that monkey!

  • Thanks Leigha! I think the peninsulas are pretty separated in their lives aren't they? Yes, we have a great linkup ready for you! Cant wait to see what you bring this week!

  • Thanks so much Lauren πŸ™‚ It definitely seems to be, and yes! You would LOVE this race, it was a ton of fun!

  • Thanks Ursula! Yep, we are definitely not exempt from that…..probably need it even more actually as we are always hydrated! Good metaphor!!! Didnt think of that, thats clever πŸ˜‰

  • Thanks Amanda. That really means a lot, and yeah, we are all the same when it comes to racing…apart from the guy in the camel back haha, he's in a world of his own! Yep, I am a meanie!

  • Thanks friend. I definitely get nervous, and yes, peeing rules my life in the hour before a race. Thank you for your lovely words!

  • Haha thank you πŸ™‚ Sorry, I didnt mean for that to come across as arrogant, I just know I can do better…and I am hard on myself….but aren't we all. hahaha yep, I did that in college, but do not have any desire to anymore!

  • Thanks Linda, that is lovely to hear πŸ™‚

  • Thanks Renee πŸ™‚ I always love your comments. I am not sure there is much to know about running really, just putting one foot in front of the other πŸ™‚

  • Thanks Tina πŸ™‚

  • Aww thanks Carla, glad you enjoyed πŸ™‚

  • Yeah I know! Hahaha well they even had a sign saying “Welcome to the bradley hills”…actually it wasnt just a sign, it was a giant inflatable arch!!!

  • It is a great photo! I love your look of intensity.

    No, they stopped doing the Waikiki Mile a long time ago. Too bad. They raised money for school children, and in addition to the elite runners they also had kids run the race. They did three races, 7/8, 9/10, 11/12, and they all ran the full mile. It was amazing. Those kids were so funny/wonderful!

  • I didn't know who Rachel was either until she won a major race here earlier this year, the Toronto Yonge St 10k. Apart from my training team saying hi to her a couple of times on our Sunday long runs, that's all I know of her

  • Great job! I hope to do an all women's half marathon one day!

  • You did look SERIOUS and you are a BEAST! Nuff said! Sub 6 pace? EGADS! #wowlinkup

  • Great race as always, Tina! We definitely have a similar competition face, except mine doesn't work as well for running lol. I know you still feel like you have a ways to go but you always inspire me. Congrats! #wowlinkup

  • A cool look into one of your races! My summer 5K PR is just a hair faster than your 10K time! πŸ™‚ Congrats on a great race! My bucket list? I have a couple races that I want to do and work my way up to an actual half! Definitely the Rock n' Roll series!

  • Sarah @RunFarGirl
    August 30, 2014 12:46 am

    So glad that monkey is off your back! I can totally relate to keeping races quiet to try and help de-escalate the stress. Sounds like a tough course, but a great race. Well done!

  • I love what you consider a nice easy pace. So that's what the runners at the front of the start look like. Very serious. You're amazing!

  • Catherine Basu
    August 30, 2014 11:28 pm

    I've never even been to Michigan, but now I'm definitely interested in checking it out for some racing πŸ™‚ Very col pics and recap. Thanks for sharing!

  • Great job in your race and awesome pictures! That course elevation looked intense!

    Amy @

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