Icicle 10 Miler (1:07.36)

There have been a handful of races I can say everything went as smoothly as the Icicle 10 miler did.  I believe if I had raced a flat race this would have been a 10 mile PR for me.  Sadly a flat 10 miler will have to wait until the Broad Street 10 miler.

I woke up Sunday morning later than I hoped. My goal was to wake up at 6 and drive to Wilmington at 7. I planned to arrive to the race at 7:45, warm-up and relax. I woke up at 6:42 and left at 7:30. Wilmington, Delaware is a much bigger city than I thought.  I scrambled for a parking space and got to the starting line 5 mins before the race began (with a 1 mile warm up). All of the rushing around no time to be nervous for the race.

The first mile was downhill. I hit the first mile in 6:42. By previous races in this training cycle (meaning I had run 5k mile splits in 6:42), I knew that was aggressive.  I questioned whether was smart or not. My A goal for the race was to finish under 70 minutes.  After the first mile it felt like an overwhelming goal.  There were 2 other females and myself battling for 2, 3rd and 4th place.

running 2

The second mile was up hill and I ran a 6:50. I didn’t feel bad or tired but the uphill forced my pace to slow.  After mile 2, I realized this would be a challenging course.  I began to have a lot of self doubt.

The third and fourth miles were similar stories as the second. By mile 4, I was tired of getting slower. Like I said, my primary goal (without looking at an elevation chart) was to be under 70 minutes. Realistically my splits were getting slower and I was watching that goal be thrown out.  We hit a dangerous ice patch and I had no interest in powering through that. My fourth mile was 7:15. I got really down on myself.

Mile 5 I saw the leaders come around. The overall male was 40 seconds ahead of 2-3 (who were both at least another 1-2 mins ahead of everyone else). After that mile something clicked for me. I’m not exactly sure what but I literally said…I’m going to make a move.

During mile 6 I began to feel confident and surged up a hill and ran 6:46.  Usually after the halfway point, you blink and the race is done.

During mile 7, I reminded myself I only had 3 miles (and around 21 minutes left). I surged and placed myself as 3rd female overall. The second woman was into my sight.  I started to build a lot of confidence and it carried me through the rest of the race.  Mentally I felt strong and physically my body followed through.

Around mile 8 I grabbed water and positioned myself in front of two more men (6:32).

running 3

I was gaining confidence in my race as quickly as it had left. I decided to surge and leave everything on the table. I had no clue where it would take me but I was ready. I surged and placed myself second woman. We finally found ourselves going downhill and I ran 6:14.  I could not believe my eyes when my Garmin read me the time.  I had disbelief in myself that I was running that fast.

We continued running downhill. I knew we must climb again eventually to reach the finish line (I just had no idea where we would go back uphill). At the 9.5 mark we reached the final water stop.  We still had not reached the elevation of the finish line. The water stop ladies were screaming “second woman” and I high fived several. I was on a speed kick I have not seen in six months.

We finally began to climb at mile 9.6. It was truly one of the most intense hills I have ever tackled (In was equal to running straight up mount Trashmore). I was on such an endorphin kick that I powered through. It was tough and I think if I had not been having such a good race, it would have mentally knocked me out. It was only a minute but it felt like half the race.

The downhill at the beginning allowed me to gain a lot of speed (to make up for the hill)

By the time we were done with the uphill climb, there was 1/10th of a mile to go. I crossed the finish line in 1:07.36 and my final mile was a 5:58. I finished as second woman overall.  The first half of my race had an average pace of 6:55 and the second half was 6:35.

Overall thoughts:

I can’t really describe the feelings I had.
Grateful to be running healthy and strong.

I know the results of my race came from two different factors:

1. I haven’t raced at an optimal race time in an entire month.  My last two races were back to back.

2. Since this week was a recovery week, I was well rested.

I don’t have any races for a few weeks.  My plan is to get more bulky training in and continue to prepare for the marathon.  I think I’m in better shape than I originally thought. I believe I have the ability to run a 6:30-6:40 flat half marathon right now (which would put me in the 1:26-1:27 range). I am really happy with my results and have no complaints. It wasn’t a PR but it was the confidence I needed.

Questions for you:
What is the hilliest race you’ve ever done?
What was your last confidence booster?



  1. It’s amazing what a difference it makes when you’re feeling mentally strong. It’s always hard to calm the negative thoughts mid-race. I’m really happy for you, Hollie! I hope your training continues to go well.

  2. Reading this made me so happy!! Seriously proud of you for making a move and going for it!! Congrats on a very smart race and impressive time & placing!

  3. Congrats on a great race, well done.
    The hilliest race I have run is The Great Bay Half marathon in New Hampshire.

  4. So glad to read about your strong race and that you overcame the self-doubt you felt at first to finish so strong. Congratulations!

  5. Sounds like you had a very well-executed race by all accounts. Congratulations! It’s SUCH a good feeling.

  6. Amazing, Hollie! What shoes did you race in? They look Nike-ish? It’s always awesome when you surprise yourself. You should be super proud – but it’s due to your smart recovery and patience and not rushing anything. A great example for all of us!

  7. I love that you overcame your self doubt and crushed it with a huge negative split! I have a tendency to get really down on myself if I don’t feel great early on in a race. It’s nice to see someone overcome that and finish really strong! Congratulations, and I’m so glad you’re running healthy again!

  8. I had one of my best races ever when I scrambled and got there late…maybe it’s the adrenaline of almost missing the race? haha! Good job, Hollie! 🙂

  9. I remember when you posted about this race on Facebook, my jaw hit the floor when you mentioned your 5:58 closing mile. That’s just insane…in a good way, obviously! Talk about a fast finish. Ice patches scare the Hell out of me – I can’t stay upright, let alone run a 7:15 mile. I’m glad that didn’t play on your mind for the whole race and you were able to power through any initial doubts.

    Most of the local races I run are hilly – that’s just the terrain around here (unless you’re on the coast, in which case there are a few flat races). The two toughest were the trail half marathon I ran in the summer of 2014 and the fell half marathon I did in 2011. After those, every other race seemed like a breeze in terms of elevation…though not in terms of putting in a good time :/

    I haven’t had a confidence booster since May 2013, so I’m really hoping I’m due for one soon!

  10. Wow. Great job.! It’s so amazing when everything clicks finally and you have that “moment” of i can do this. And you do.!! It’s great 🙂 way to go girl

  11. I love your exciting race recaps! I ran a 5k once that started up an almost completely vertical hill. It has to be the steepest hill in the entire state of New Jersey. I don’t think I would like to run a hilly ten miler too much though – that’s why Broad Street is my bestest friend. 🙂 Congrats on the killer race!

  12. That sounds like an awesome race. You’re amazing. There is no way I would willingly wake up at 6 am or 6:45 to go run in the cold. Great job!

  13. The hilliest race I ever ran was my first half marathon. It was called the Monster and went up and down a ski mountain. Needless to say it took me another two years before I attempted another half. Now I’m loving it!

  14. What a fun read! I’ll never be that fast, so it’s interesting to see what it’s like.

    Hilliest runs I’ve done are at the Biltmore in Ashville, NC and the Run the Bluegrass Half – both are wicked! The Atlanta Marathon was pretty hilly for the first half, as was Nike San Francisco. Cincinnati Flying pig also has a few mean ones!

  15. Yes yes yesss, reading this made me smile! I am so happy that this race went so well for you; it’s a great feeling when you realize things are starting to click. You kicked some serious butt out there, I basically wanted to puke just looking at the elevation profile of this race.

  16. Ahhhhhh I have always, always, always wanted to run a 10 miler, I am so jealous! Something about that distance seems like it is the perfect distance for me.

    Hoy. Cow Hollie! That is a friggin incredible race! Seriously, that is so cool you had such an amazing race congratulations! 6:35 for the second half of a 10 miler is crazy awesome, all I can say is get it girl!
    My hilliest race was definately the City of Oaks half in Raleigh.
    Oh – and I am glad to hear about someone else who talks out loud to themselves on the run about their pace haha.

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