A 10k on a Monday? Sure, why not. I don’t think I’ve ever done a military base race that is not a weekday. Anyway, on Monday, April 11, we were experiencing high winds on Edwards AFB. I’ve run many races in the wind, but I think this particular race was the windiest I’ve done. EVER!
Living in the desert, there is nothing to block the wind (like buildings), and of course, runways are located on miles of open land. Windy days on Edwards range from 20-50 mph winds. We’ve had trampolines take flight, and last Monday was one of the days.
But, I wanted to run on the runway, and I was excited to do so. Obviously, it was a rare chance to do so. The other component was since you were running on a secure runway, there was no place to warm up. So I didn’t.
The Base 10k went off at 6:30. There were more people than anticipated for the 5k/10k. (maybe around 50). The feels like the temperature was about 35, and it was windy and cold. We were directed to follow the cones and stay on the path. “If you get tackled by security forces, you’ve gone too far.” We got to start next to one of the B-1s, which was fun.
Both the 5k and 10k started on the same 1.5 miles. Then the 5k turned around, and the 10k continued onto the lakebed. The first 3 miles had a tailwind or crosswind, and the last 3 miles mostly had a headwind.
Another woman and I separated ourselves from the pack during the first mile. Despite not warming up, I felt good. I knew the later miles would be windy, and I just stayed focused on making it through halfway. I crossed the first mile in 6:50. It felt sustainable.
During mile 2 of the base 10k, I found myself alone. I ran the rest of the race alone. I kept myself occupied by staring at the different airplanes. There were several fun planes, including the KC-46s.
I was staring at planes and just kind of trucking along. The thing about running on the runway is you can see for miles. I could see where we would turn around 2.5 miles, and I could see more cones a mile in the distance.
I did my first right-hand turn and was running into a crosswind. Ok, this was not so bad, I told myself. I slowed down and grabbed some water. I crossed mile 2 in 6:49. Since it’s on the runway, you couldn’t just drop the cup, and I made sure to place it in the trashcan. Plus, there was one volunteer, and no way they would be able to chase dozens of cups around. I continued until around 3.5, where we made the next right-hand turn. This turn made us run into the headwind for about two straight miles.
Once we turned, it was the windiest race I’ve ever done. Even with similar winds at other races, we had buildings to block it. In the desert, there was nothing, and the wind just kept rolling through. It was just me, running alone, on a runway and battling 30 mph winds. I wanted to stop several times, but I also wanted to win. Also, stopping meant I would most likely be escorted off the runway, and I didn’t want that either.
The next 2 miles were challenging. It seemed like I was convincing myself just to keep going with every step. One step: keep going. Another step: keep going. My eyes were watering, and the wind was rolling through. I ran an 8:30 mile, and it felt like I was running “all-out.”
Then finally, with 1.5 miles to go, we met up with the 5kers again. For some reason, I thought when we met up with 5kers, we would not deal with wind. That was not the case, and we dealt with headwinds until mile 5. At mile 5, we turned again and got a crosswind. It felt like weights were being lifted off my legs. The wind had taken it out of me, but I kept going. I thought the wind was over, and I told myself that several times.
Finally, around 5.8, we turned another right-hand turn and headed back into the wind. The finish was into the wind, and my eyes began watering again. It felt like the longest few strides towards the end.
I crossed the base 10k in around 46:22. With the headwind and lack of warmup, I am fine with it. I can truly say that was the most challenging race I’ve ever done. But I am happy I went out there (since it was 2 miles from my house), and I got to run on the runway. On a good day, I think I could run around 6:45 or faster and feel good for a 10k.
You can see more race recaps here.
Questions for you:
What is the most challenging race you’ve done?
Have you done a windy race before?