Run for the Parks 10k
|October 3, 2011||Posted by Emily under Uncategorized|
Racetober=best idea EVER.
Yesterday, I learned a lot of things about racing and race preparation, though none of them particularly shocking.
First, I learned that even when I’ve only gotten one hour of sleep, I am still thrilled by the sound of my alarm going off to rile me out of bed for a race.
Apparently exhaustion does not impede my enthusiasm for racing.
Second, I learned that racing is exponentially more fun with friends. Perhaps “learned” is not the best word choice, something along the lines of “confirmed for the 1,201th time” might be more fitting.
I was more than thrilled when my friend Tris not only agreed to race with me, but recruited one of his friends to join as well. The more the merrier definitely applies to races.
Lastly, I learned that 17.5 miles of long running at a fast-for-me pace coupled with an hour of sleep the day before a race is not exactly conducive to strong race performance.
Shocking? No. True? Abso-frickin-lutely.
I also learned that my lower leg does weird twisty things when I’m fatigued.
So let’s back up for a second. When I decided to celebrate RACEtober, I knew that each race was not really going to be a race race and rather just whatever workout I still needed to get in for the week.
While I had a training week of epic proportions last week, I did not exactly do a lot of speed work. Some faster long runs, some marathon goal pace miles, but no gut-busting, balls to the wall speed work.
Yeah, that’s right. The girl that doesn’t track mileage to save her life actually used Daily Mile last week. Don’t expect it to last…
So I decided to tackle Sunday’s 10k as either a partial tempo workout or a recovery run if my legs really failed me when the gun went off. After spending Saturday running 17.5 miles at a pace scarily close to my current marathon pace, I was not expecting a whole lot from my body.
We had to arrive at the race start early to pick up our race packets, which happened to include rather nice Saucony hoodies and race specific pint glasses. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, pint glasses are the best race SWAG ever.
Hoodies with hot pink detailing are not such a bad catch either.
While we were waiting for the race to start, I asked Tris what his strategy was going to be, in hopes that we could just run it together, and if he happened to be running 8 minute/miles instead of really pushing the pace, well, I would have a built in excuse to save my legs from total annihilation.
Tris, never having run anything other then a marathon did not really have any idea what to expect from the 10k distance. He assured me that he planned to run 7:30s tops, and see how he felt. Well, as I mentioned last week, boys are usually lying by at least a minute/mile when it comes to matters of pace. And by usually, I mean always.
So we lined up at the start together, let out some giddy squeals, high fived, hugged and got ready for the gun to go off.
And as soon as it did, I saw just how little intent Tris had to adhere to his plan of “maybe 8 minute miles.”
I should preface this all by saying that Tris has a bit of a history with overly ambitious race racing. His first marathon, he started somewhere around a 7 minute mile before fading to a more sustainable pace. In a marathon, going out too fast will slaughter you. But in a 10k? Not so much.
When I looked down at my trusty Garmin and saw that Tris and Ben had started the race somewhere around a 5:49 pace, I quickly dropped back and let them keep sprinting ahead.
But when Tris realized that he had lost me and had no Garmin of his own to consult, he reined it in a little and fell back into stride next to me, where he stayed for the next few miles.
We maintained remarkably consistent miles leading up to the turnaround point on the out and back course: 6:44, 6:43, 6:44, but as we neared the halfway mark, it became increasingly obvious that something was a little off with the mile markers. When we hit the 3.1 mark by my Garmin (which I realize is just that-my Garmin, and not the official course) we still had a ways to go before we got to turnaround. I looked down at my watch and realized I was precariously close to being on pace to PR the 10k distance, but with even an ounce of extra mileage, it probably wasn’t going to happen.
I’m sad to admit, this was the point at which I began to feel a little defeated and my legs started to reflect that change in attitude. Tris could tell that I was starting to fade, and he was doing anything but, so he extended a invitation for me to attempt to keep pace, but politely informed me that if I was unable to do that, then our time together was going to have to come to an end.
Knowing there was no chance in hell that my 17.5 mile steamrolled legs were ready to surge with 3 miles to go, I cheered Tris on and watched him sprint away.
The next few miles got a little ugly. I dropped to a 6:55 pace for mile 4, and then my body gave me the middle finger, said F You, Em and slowed down even more. Apparently my legs were less than impressed with the pace I was trying to sustain the day after a long run at an 8:02 pace (which, ps, is not all that far off my current marathon pace) and the morning after 1 hr of less than solid sleep.
If you’re wondering what my least favorite mile of a 10k is, it is most definitely Mile 5. When I reached this dreadful mile yesterday, I was not having fun. So I decided to back off the pace, because RACEtober is supposed to be all about fun right? And very little about the fatigue in my legs during Mile 5 seemed fun. 7:19. Yes, that’s near a :40 second difference from my first 3 miles and yes, that’s the same speed I ended my 17.5 mile run at on Saturday.
And then I put my big girl pants back on, manned the f up, and reminded myself that I am not the kind of girl who gives up Mile 5 of any distance race. Mile 6 was tough as shit, but my pace got back down to 7 minutes/mile.
As I rounded the corner to the finish, some guy decided to make his move and pass me.
I probably don’t need to tell you how I felt about his decision to do that or what happened next.
This picture tells the story quite nicely.
Oh, and this one.
Nice try sucka.
I ended the last chunk of the race at a 6:41 pace and finished in 43:33.
The biggest win of the day was most definitely the fact that Tris had a blast and agreed to accompany me to several more local race. (I may have made up the word “several” but I’m pretty sure he’d be okay with it.)
The second biggest win of the day was the massive quantity of bagels at the finish line.
I’m not going to tell you how many I took, but it was comfortably into the double digits. Hoodies, pint glasses and bagels. This race was clearly made just for me and the kick off of RACEtober.
Bagels. Good for eating and awesome race photos. We are see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil, in case you are not fluent in bagel poses. We may be slightly out of order, but I think we could go pro in bagel art.
And a sign from above, decided to join us at the end of the race, confirming that races are the very best way to spend a Sunday morning.
You may not be able to fully see it, but trust me, it’s there.
Happy Monday/start of the training week! I’ll be kicking it off with a healthy dose of recovery from a weekend of running awesomeness.