Icicle 10 miler (1:05.33)

Last Sunday, my coworker, husband and I ran the Icicle 10 miler in Wilmington, De.  Last week was a strong training week, and my body was tired.

Even though it was warm, the weather left a lot to be desired.  It was raining and windy.  I raced last year and enjoyed the course, so I knew I wanted to go back this year too.

We arrived with no issues and warmed up two miles.  The race was well put together and started right at 9 am.

The first mile is downhill.  It’s hard to dial in the pace and after the first mile, you realize you probably don’t feel as good as you think.  I was running with a pack of several people and we hit the first mile in 6:19.  I thought to myself: “good time for the bank.”  Since I raced the course before, I knew the first mile was the easiest.

The second and third mile began to climb a few hills.  The hills were small, but I started to feel down.  My goal was to run faster than last year (1:07.36), but I ran each mile in 6:40 and 6:44.  I was drastically slowing down, and I was beginning to feel demotivated.

The fourth mile was almost entirely uphill, and I ran a 6:56.  Despite having a hard training week, I knew I was in better fitness than 2015.  I felt as if I was not going to beat last years time.  I let myself wallow in a pity party for a second and then got over it.

The fifth mile energized me, and I began to feel better.  I started to pick up my pace and finally got out of my pity party.  I hit the halfway point at 33:17.  I thought to myself, great I’m still on track to be faster than last year.

Since it was a loop, I passed several of the leaders who were already coming back.  I saw my husband as well as the first place woman.  I was second women where I stayed the entire race.

During mile 6, many people were cheering from the opposite direction.  An Oiselle athlete cheered “go LOLZ”, I wish I could have you post race.  I ran the sixth mile in 6:36 and began feeling more confident.

The seventh mile wrapped through a park and climbed over a few more hills.  Despite feeling tired, I felt motivated.  Better late than never but I began to feel strong during the race. I started passing several people and focusing on the finish line.

Both mile 8 and 9, I ran alone. They were boring, and there were several people about 20 seconds in front of me, but I was alone. I ran mile 8 in 6:33 and mile 9 in 6:22. I was shocked and motivated when my watch beeped a 6:22 mile for number 9.

I knew the tenth mile was going to be challenging. I remembered it from last year, and I had run by the uphill. The first half was flat and then we turned a corner and up we went. There were many spectators at both the bottom and after we reached the top. With hills, I just tell myself nothing lasts forever. By the time I knew it, we were at the top.

The last quarter of a mile was a sprint to the finish. I ran the last and hardest mile in 6:36 and crossed the finish line in 1:05.33. I was second female overall.


I was pleasantly surprised with my time! During the middle of the race I had hoped to “just beat” last year, and I ended up negative splitting the race by just over a minute.  Plus it was a challenging course on a difficult day.

It shows me that I ran 6 seconds faster on a harder day, course and untapered versus Broad Street 6 months ago (Cliffs Notes: Broad Street is the fastest ten miler in the country and a straight line course and normally on a beautiful day…2015 it was).

Right now I know I’m in great fitness and I cannot wait to see where Spring half marathons and even Broad Street this year goes.  I think I’m capable of running a 1:03 10 mile race tapered.

Questions for you:
Do you like hilly or flat courses?
How do you taper for big events?

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  1. Great job Hollie! I can’t believe how much time you were able to take off last year’s race. That’s amazing! I prefer hilly races, so I feel like I would really like this course. I might have to check it out next year!

  2. Congrats!! I know I’ve mentioned this before but I really want to run Broad Street with you this year. Have a great vacation this weekend!

  3. Awesome job! You are so fast, wow! You took off a lot of time from last year which is such a great sign of progress. I prefer flatter courses with some hills thrown in. I think hills keep it interesting and keep me pushing.

    1. Thank you for stopping by Angie and I agree. I think small hills keep a race or event really interesting!

    1. I used to think that too Lauren but I’ve come to realize my legs get more fatigued with a really flat course!

  4. Congrats! it’s awesome to see such big progress and be able to compare year to year. Maybe one day I’ll actually run Broad Street. I signed up one year and then deferred… and never actually ran it.

  5. Congrats on the great race, Hollie! That’s definitely a nice chunk of time shaved off of last year’s race, and with a tired body at that. I’m not the best with hills, but I do like a couple of easy ones thrown in the mix just to keep things interesting and make me push a little bit. Otherwise I tend to get a little too lax 😆

  6. i like how you let yourself have a pitty party for a second then snapped yourself out of it. thats hard to do for me, but its really essential if we want to have a good race. im a little of the same way on longer runs, it takes about 4-5 miles for me to really hit my groove and start feeling great. i cant wait to see how your 2016 races go from here, its really awesome to see all your progression since you are already so dang fast!

  7. Nice going! Way to shut down the pity party and run a strong race. It’s incredibly how much more you can push when your mind is right. I’m still figuring that one out, ha!

  8. So impressed with your running right now! you’ve been working and it is paying off, see some good spring races in your future.
    I would usually say flat but I ran a really great race on a hilly course Thanksgiving (thought it was a flat course, lol the whole time as I saw hills like cat hill in CP). I think I just psych myself up and hold back when a race has hills. I just saw the elevation for my NOLA half marathon – doesn’t even hit 12 feet! flat all the way.

    1. One of good friends is celebrating her birthday at RNR Nola. That race is definitely on my bucket list.

  9. Congrats!! That’s so exciting and must be a great feeling to finish the race pleasantly surprised. I’m kind of a pansy when it comes to hills.. I don’t mind little baby hills here and there but, mentally, I just don’t like them!

  10. Impressive time and great race, Hollie! It’s clear that your training has been smart and hard and that it’s clearly paying off now.
    I prefer false flats for racing – not completely pancake flat, but just a few little rises and dips to keep things interesting.

  11. Solid time on your race, congrats! 10-miler is one of my favorite distances. We have a really good one here in Memphis that I do every year. Memphis is notorious for being flat, but this one is in the suburbs where there are a few rolling hills. My hometown (Nashville) is super hilly and I prefer a balance between the two just to break up the run a little bit!

    1. I’ve heard Memphis is pretty hilly. I’m with you that I like the balance of hills and flat terrain.

  12. I’ll say up front that I suck at running, but I loved your detailed description of starting, the pity party (LOL!), then picking up motivation. Way to beat your time and changing things around mentally. The brain is sometimes half the battle. As for hilly vs flat for me – I’d pick hilly if I can have downhilly. 😉

    1. Ha Adrianne you are too funny. I would agree though that the mental battle is at least half the battle.

  13. Congratulations on a fantastic race. Negative splits are tough and you killed it! I’m sure you’ll be able to crush more of your upcoming races.

  14. FANTASTIC!!! I love a good 10 miler and I think there needs to be some hills just to change it up a little. I don’t think I have ever run a race without them!! Nice work and so cool someone in the crowd recognized you from your blog. #superstar

  15. Damnnnn sister! SPEEDY! 1:05 is the stuff my dreams are made of. I finally cracked 1:10 and squeaked in with a 1:09 in one last year. Congrats!

  16. I feel like your sweet spot is definitely that 10 mile- half marathon distance. (Though I’m super excited for you about the new 5K PR- I know a long time coming and you worked hard for it & killed it! 🙂 ) Congrats on a great race. You so fast!!

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