Women Run the Cities 10 Mile Race Recap (2022)

Last weekend I laced up my running shoes and toed to starting line at the Women Run the Cities 10 Mile. I signed up for this race way back in December when I signed up for the Hot Dash 10 Mile.

The 10-mile distance is one of my all-time favorites to run. I first ran it years ago when I did the TC 10 Mile for the first time and fell in love with it. There’s just something about the distance that it’s challenging enough, but not too much.

Now that I’m 8 months postpartum, I’ve been getting back into distance running so this distance is perfect for me.

Training

I signed up for this race at the same time I signed up for the Hot Dash 10 Mile, so my plan was to continue to build off that training for this race. My goal for Hot Dash was to run the 10 miles, so my goal for Women Run the Cities was to improve on my time. I finished the Hot Dash 10 mile in 1:37 and felt like I had so much left in my tank.

After Hot Dash I decided that my goal for Women Run would be to increase my time so I reached out to a running coach to help me do that. Previously I was using the Run with Hal free app to make a training plan, but I wanted someone to be able to customize my plan a little more. Plus, I wanted to monitor how I felt since I’m only a few months postpartum.

My running coach was great! Shed scheduled my workouts 2 weeks ahead so I could get an idea of what was coming up. She used the app Training Peaks, which synced right with my Garmin so she could see her workouts. It was also cool that the workouts she programmed would automatically sync to my watch, so during speed workouts the intervals were already programmed into my watch.

Peloton Training

For training, I would follow her training plan while doing the runs to a Peloton workout. The first half of my training was primarily treadmill-based since it was still pretty cool out, and then the second half (and most my long runs) were outside.

I have to say – the Peloton runs with my training were exactly what I needed. I loved having a running coach (my faves for endurance are Becs and Matt Wilpers) in my ear, and getting advice as I ran. I did end up running out of longer runs so started doing the tread classes outside. Unfortunately when I do the tread classes outdoors I don’t get credit for my miles run in the app, but the classes do count towards my annual times and class counts.

Related Post: How I Train for a Race with Peloton

Tempo Training

In addition to running, I also added in strength training 2-3 times a week with my Tempo Studio. My coach warned me not to go too heavy with my weights so I stuck to the Runner specific classes, which generally tended to be more full body and lighter weights.

I also started doing Tempo’s pre-run warm ups, stretches, mobility and guided foam rolling sessions. I will be the first to admit I never really prioritize stretching or warming up, but as I get older I’m realizing just how important it is to do if I want to keep running.

Related Post: Tempo Studio Review

Training Schedule

With Peloton and Tempo, my training schedule looked like this:

Mondays: 30-45 minute strength training on my Tempo Studio, Fartlek run (I’d usually listen to my own music for this one and not use a Peloton workout – however, if I didn’t and did want to use a Peloton workout for this class, I would recommend doing a Intervals run)

Tuesday: 20-45 minute strength training on Tempo, Easy 30-60 minute run (I’d do a Peloton 60 min endurance run)

Wednesday: 30-45 minute strength training on Tempo, 30-45 minute Tempo run (I’d do a Peloton Tempo Run with Becs, just adjust my tempo running time to whatever my coach scheduled).

Thursday: 30 minutes easy run (I’d use a Peloton 30 minute run, keeping it easy despite what the instructor called out)

Friday: Long run – I would stack my Peloton runs, either a 60 minute and 30-45 or split it into 2 45 minute runs. I found that while I liked stacks, it got kind of annoying when class would end and then the app would make me rate the class, then go back into my stack to start the next class. I wish it was a little more seamless.

Training Recap

Overall my training for Women Run went amazing. I was able to make every single workout, ran 10 miles a few times in my long runs, and had my fueling and race plan down. I was feeling really confident going into race weekend that I was on track to break 1:30 – or even my 1:25 PR!

About 2 weeks before the race, I had a session with my coach to chat about the course. We went through the elevation and were really surprised that the elevation maps looked pretty flat. Both of us aren’t originally from Minnesota, but the runs and races we’ve done are usually pretty hilly – so this was a very nice, and welcomed surprise.

Packet Pickup

Usually, I pick up my packet on race day, but I was a little nervous about race day pickup because the event mentioned that there weren’t any dedicated parking lots for the event. So I decided to drive over to Summit Brewery and pick up my packet during my lunch break on the day before the event.

Packet pickup was a breeze! I went about noon-ish and there were maybe 5 others there. I got an e-mail a few days before with my bib number so I was able to walk right up and get it. If you didn’t have your bib number, they had a computer available to look it up for you.

With my bib, I also got my long sleeve shirt that came with registration.

I was done with packet pickup in about 5 minutes. It was incredibly smooth and easy! That’s one of my favorite things about running Twin Cities in Motion events is that they’re always well organized and efficient.

So now with my packet in hand, I was ready for race day!

Race Day

Race day came and brought a cooler than usual morning. I made a last minute change of plans and added on my windbreaker jacket (that also converts into a vest). I decided to stick with my shorts since it looked like it was going to warm up quite a bit over the morning.

I arrived to Minnehaha Falls about an hour before the race started. I was so nervous about street parking, but thankfully, I could find a spot pretty easily on a side street.

The race area wasn’t too busy when I arrived and unlike Hot Dash, there were way more vendor booths and things to do. I have to say it felt amazing – it felt just like it used to in the pre-pandemic racing days. Everything seemed back to normal!

I decided to use the porta-potty while there weren’t any lines, and then start my 1-mile warmup. After that, I returned back to the vendor area and noticed it had gotten quite busy. I was hoping to check out the Athleta tent before the race started but the line looked crazy long so I decided to skip it and head back to the porta-potties one last time.

It was impressive how many porta-potties this race had. There were 2 separate areas with lines of porta-potties. There was one section near gear check that had a crazy long line, while another set of porta-potties had no line.

Gear and Fuel

Before I get too far, I should share what I ended up wearing and using for race day. The temps were in the mid 40s for start, but it was sunny and usually that means in the Spring that it’ll heat up pretty quickly.

flat lay of my 10 mile outfit

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I wore:

Long Sleeve Under Armour Shirt

Senita Sports Bra (this has a pocket in the back for my phone so if I ended up not wearing my jacket I had a spot to put it in)

Lululemon Speed Shorts

Procompression Socks

Nike Windbreaker that turns into a vest (I got this from Clothes Mentor when I was just starting out running postpartum and cannot for the life of me find something similar anywhere!)

Garmin Venu

Lululemon Hat

Goodr Sunglasses

Brooks Launch 8

and for fuel I planned to take a Ucan Edge about half way through.

Related Post: Do Goodr Sunglasses Live Up to the Hype?

Start

After I went to the bathroom I started hearing calls to head over to the starting line for the 10K and 10 miler participants. The start line was really close to everything, so I was able to make it there with a few minutes to spare before the race started.

The 10K and 10 mile participants all started together, while the 5K race started I think about 10 minutes after our start. There weren’t any corrals for this race, but instead there were markers on pace timing and where you should begin (all on the honor system). They also had clearly marked pacers in the corrals to help you figure out where to start. The faster the pace the closer to the starting line you’d start.

I decided to start near the 1:30 pacer since this was my goal. My race day game plan was to listen to 2 45 minute intervals Peloton classes. I like these types of classes because they help me pace myself, and it makes me feel good that there is a recovery built-in. I have a tendency to get caught up at races and go out too fast, so this helps me pace myself a little better – and keep my mind occupied by just following along with Bec’s cues.

After a quick speech and the National Anthem, it was time for us to start the race!

starting line of women run the cities

Miles 1-5

I started the race with a goal of staying between 8:30 and 9-minute miles. The first 45-minute class I took had a 3 or 4-minute warmup, so my goal was to maintain this until the workout began. I kept an eye on my watch, but at this point, my watch was giving me all kinds of paces since there were so many GPS watches in the area, so I had to run more on feel.

When it finally caught up, I realized I was going a little too fast and scaled back. By this point, we were almost to the first mile and the workout began.

I followed along with the cues that Becs called out and that carried me through most of the first 5 miles. It was a mix of tempo running, followed by recovery for 3-4 minutes. I did start to notice that this mostly flat course ended up not being as flat as I thought it was going to be.

Mile 4 was a long downhill so I embraced it, but I knew coming up that I’d have to run right back up this long, slow hill.

Miles 5-7

Before I knew it, I made the turnaround and started my climb up the hill. All during my training I added in lot of hills (to be honest – it’s hard to avoid hills in my area!) so hills aren’t new to me. I did notice that this hill just felt so…hard. It felt like I was really pushing myself, even though I had slowed down a bit.

I decided to check my watch and saw that my heart rate was in the 180s. This is towards the max end of where my heart rate usually gets in workouts, so that explained to me why I felt how I was feeling. I decreased the pace a bit and my heart rate maintained in the 180s.

Once the hill was done I tried to shake it off, focus on my breathing, and tried to lower my heart rate by continuing to stay at this slightly slower pace.

Unfortunately, it didn’t work. My heart rate kept climbing and by this point it hit the 190s.

Miles 7-10

When my heart rate hit 190 I was afraid. I have never seen my heart rate this high, and I don’t know if it was mental or what, I was starting to feel a little lightheaded.

Since about 3 months postpartum I had concerns about my heart. My old Apple Watch would notify me that my heart rate at night often would drop below 40, which made my Apple Watch alert me. Usually, this wouldn’t be too concerning if I was an athlete, but I hadn’t really been working out too much towards the end of my pregnancy/ early postpartum.

I worked with my doctor, and had a few heart rate tests done including an EKG and everything came back normal. The only explanation for my low heart rate was being postpartum.

So now seeing this crazy high heart rate was concerning. I decided to stop and walk as my heart rate reached 197. As soon as I stopped to walk, my heart rate started to decrease. Within a minute of walking, my heart rate dropped to the 150s and I no longer felt lightheaded. I decided to try to pick up running again, but as soon as I did my heart rate spiked back to the 180s.

I ended up doing run/walk intervals for the last 2 miles, with slightly longer walk intervals. By this point the 1:30 pacer had passed me but I was more concerned about finishing and feeling good. I ended up seeing my coach on the course about this time and explained what happened, and she agreed with my plan.

After what felt like forever, I finally saw the finish line and ran over it. I ended up finishing the race in 1:34, a 3 minute improvement from my Hot Dash time and my 2nd fastest 10 mile race ever!

me with the finisher medial and shirt

After the Race

After finishing the race, I walked to the post-race brunch area. It was so busy! The race came with a mimosa, beer, and brunch bar but the mimosa and brunch bar lines looked crazy long to me. I opted for the shortest line – the beer line – and grabbed a beer before consulting Dr. Google about my heart rate.

It turns out that one of the medications I recently started taking for my allergies had a common side effect of increasing heart rate. All week leading up to the race I had easy runs so never really noticed it because the runs were lower intensity. My heart rate at this point had returned to normal, and after reading this I wasn’t as concerned.

After this I ended up running into my Instagram friend Denise, grabbing a mimosa and walking around the post-race area for a bit. By now the lines had died down quite a bit and it was less busy in the race area. It felt so nice to be back at an event, and it felt so normal!

Overall, I highly recommend this race. The entire race was women only (men can register, but this year no man ran the race) and it felt empowering. The race is extremely organized and very welcoming, especially for newer runners.

The course, as I learned, is a hilly one so prepare for hills throughout the course! It’s not crazy hilly, just enough to notice. The race is put on by Twin. Cities in Motion, the same group that puts together the TC Marathon Weekend. I will definitely be back to run this race again!

What’s Next?

So now that the Women Run the Cities is over – what’s next? I have a few 5Ks and 10Ks scheduled but am focused on the fall and picking an event to train for. I’m not sure yet if I want to attempt the 10-mile again at the TC 10-mile or jump back into marathon training.

I have a few weeks to figure out my next plan and as soon as I do I’ll post it here! Regardless, if I do the 10-mile or TC Marathon I’ll continue to use Peloton and Tempo to train for the race. I feel like both of these helped me be both mentally and physically prepared for the race.

Final Thoughts

I enjoyed this race and am so glad I did it. I’m disappointed with not hitting my goal, but I am happy I listened to my body, and was able to shave 3 minutes off my last 10 miler.

Author

  • Ali Van Straten

    Ali Van Straten is the founder and journalist of Champagne and Coffee Stains. She is a Peloton expert, certified running coach and certified nutrition coach. Champagne and Coffee Stains provides information and resources on Peloton Interactive, running and recipes.

    View all posts https://www.champagneandcoffeestains.com

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