The Lost Dutchman 10K: Running for the Gold

This weekend, I ran the Lost Dutchman 10K in Apache Junction, Arizona. I was super excited about this race for a couple of reasons:

  • First, in spite of the fact that I’ve done a lot of runs of 6 miles or more, I have only ever done one previous 10K race, and it was awful. This race was bound to be a PR for me, but I wasn’t sure what to expect. I hoped I could get under 1:10, but I suspected I might be able to do even better than that.
  • Second, I’d been wanting to race in the Lost Dutchman event since the first year I’ve lived in Arizona. The scenery seemed great, I heard good things from other runners, and the medals are nifty. There’s even some interesting lore behind the story of the Lost Dutchman and his mine, and those sorts of tales just fascinate me. In past years, the date of the race didn’t line up for me, but this year it seemed meant to be.

My BRF (Best Running Friend) Bean and I went up to the Phoenix area yesterday to get our packets and prepare for the running fun. She was planning to do the half, which meant getting up extra early today–her run started 45 minutes before mine. Here are some pics from the Apache Junction area, including a couple winning pics of this morning’s sunrise.

View at the Expo Center

Sunrise at Apache Junction

Another great view

Overall, the race went great for me. I think Bean and I both have the same complaints about the event, which are minor overall: parking was limited, and those who arrived late had quite a hike to the start; line-ups for the start of the various events (half marathon, 10K, 8K, 2 miles–the marathon started at a different location) were not clearly announced, leaving some runners surprised when the gun went off (the guy in front of me was texting at the start of the race!); and the course was a bit different than what we expected. The 10K was advertised as an out-and-back that was slightly uphill the first 5K, downhill the last 5K. In fact, there were rolling hills all the way. I’m pleased and surprised that I was able to power through the way I did.

The good news: The course was beautiful. While we were on roads the whole time, the area is mostly undeveloped and there are great views of saguaro, desert brush, and the Superstition Mountains. Roads were also completely shut down for us, giving runners space to spread out, and support along the course was great from volunteers and spectators. At the end, there was plenty of food and some entertainment (which we didn’t stick around to see). The medals are all beautiful, and the shirt is also pretty snappy.

Great medal!

This was a PR for me by 10 minutes, and I came in at around 1:05. I credit part of that to my last-minute decision to fill up my water bottle with Zico coconut water, which helped give me calories and energy along the way. I hate most sports drinks and usually just take water and Gu on longer runs, but coconut water has been working well for me. It kept me going strong long enough that I didn’t even need to take my gel. Don’t get me wrong, I was exhausted at the end of the race, but holding a 10:30 pace throughout is a big deal for me! Bean did pretty well, too, finishing the half in about 2:08.

Given all of my issues and insecurities lately, today was a confidence builder that I really needed. I have to admit, though, the whole experience got me thinking about building up some more distance. I can’t help but feel ambitious when I’m surrounded by so many marathon and half marathon runners. Besides, with all the running medals I’m getting, I’m going to have to buy a medal rack soon. Might as well fill it up! Happy Sunday, everyone!

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6 thoughts on “The Lost Dutchman 10K: Running for the Gold

  1. 10:30 My goodness, you are my hero! I am running my first 10k on April 21st. My only goal at this time is to finish standing! Any half marathons in your future?

    • Thanks! 10K is an interesting distance, at this point it’s long enough to be a challenge for me, but not so long that I’m in pain today. I’d like to do a half marathon later this spring, but I’m finding scheduling to be a challenge. Most of the races out here (in AZ and CA) are right around the time I’m giving final exams. But running is more important than work, right? 🙂

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