This past weekend I competed in my longest race to date- the 30th annual Kensington Challenge 15k race at Kensington Park! I registered for it several weeks ago, as I had begun to panic about when I could fit in a longer practice race to gear up for the Freep.
The Kensington Challenge was a really nice course this year- somewhat hilly, which was tough, but a beautiful course though! It was chilly that morning- I must have taken on and off my top layer 10 times, trying to decide whether or not to race with it on. I opted to leave it off, which was a good call in retrospect.
I tried to start off the race at an intentionally slow pace, aiming for a negative split in the second half. It was a tough mental feat to talk myself through those 9.3 miles- that's quite a distance to run without a race buddy! I eyed several potential people and finally settled on a couple of fellow runners with a similar pace to me to be my secret pacers.
Once I finished the first 5k, I was feeling pretty good. When I finished the 2nd 5k, I was just focusing on finishing strong. At mile 8, I tried to kick it into gear for the last 1.3, and had a strong finish, coming in directly behind my anonymous pacers- thanks guys!!
My finishing time was 1:29:59 - an average of 9:40 minute mile. I'm really happy with the time! My main goal for this race was to run the entire thing, no walking breaks, which I did!
I'm glad I did the Kensington Challenge. I feel much more prepared for my half marathon now! I still have a few other races coming up in between; the Heroes on Hines half on October 5th, and Run Scream Run 10k on Oct 12th. I'm looking forward to each one, and hopefully bettering my times!