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Run for the Parks 10k

Racetober=best idea EVER.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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This picture tells the story quite nicely.

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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.)

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The second biggest win of the day was the massive quantity of bagels at the finish line.

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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.

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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.

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DOUBLE RAINBOW.

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.

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30 Responses to Run for the Parks 10k

  1. Boys are always liars when it comes to running. But they’re also low maintenance!! :)
    I couldn’t imagine a better way to spend a Sunday morning, either. Love race mornings!!

  2. I ran this race too, and it was great – LOVE the hoodie and pint glass, well worth the entry fee. I ran my fastest pace ever, and guess what? It was all bc of a boy lying about his time! He acted like he just wanted to go easy and finish the distance, and then we took off at a pace 45 seconds faster than we agreed to. But I stuck with it and surprised myself by running better than I thought I could. So yes, boys lie, but this time it was to my benefit. :)

  3. Great way to spend your Sunday! Also, I’m always so jealous that you live in DC.

  4. Awesome race, Emily! You’re definitely motivating me to get off my butt post-marathon and start cracking down on some shorter distances. Need to get that speed work in before it starts lake-effect snowing here. ugh.

  5. You may have convinced me to do more races in October. Love the hoodie. Great swag…worth the price of the race.

  6. Great pace after your 17.5 mile run! I ran a 10k yesterday and by far my least favorite mile was also 5. For me, however, it was due to this hideous hill dropped onto the course out of nowhere. Somehow I still managed a 12 min PR – but it was TOUGH!

    Hoodie & pint glass? Why don’t the races I run give out things like that?! That’s awesome

  7. Awesome job! You are so speedy, I’m really jealous!

    I love that you got a hoodie, that would definitely make it worth it for me! I can’t wait to hear about the rest of your racetober races.

  8. 10Ks can be SO PAINFUL! Way to hang in there and make it count for the finish – that dude clearly did not know who he was messing with.

    And they really need to start serving up cream cheese at races, don’t ya think??

  9. Color me jealous! All I got from my 10K this weekend was a silly drawstring bag. Boo! Ok, it is good for putting my sweaty running shit in after my long run, but still a hoodie and a pint glass! It’s just not fair. Anyway. Em, thanks for the inspiration after reading you were doing a 10k and 18+ miler, I decided that I could handle my 12miler and 10K weekend and everything went well!

  10. FAST!

  11. hahaha. Love that you pass him back at the end. And love that you are wearing your boston shirt (I love the way mine fits!!!).

    Anyways you are an amazing racing badass and it’s just that simple!

  12. Great race Emily! And great photos! Looks like Racetober is off to a fantastic start! Can’t wait to see you at MCM…and NYC…and Philly? We should just change the name of Autumn to Racetumn…I’m down!

  13. That is some nice race SWAG! Nice race :)

  14. That sounds like quite a weekend of running! You are amazing!

    I cannot believe there was a double rainbow at the end. That is beautiful!

  15. Awesome!! What a GREAT weekend of running! Sweet picture of the double rainbow too – wins all around last weekend!

  16. Hoodie and a pint glass?!?!!? My swag this weekend was a coupon for a toothbrush. And bruises. Did my first obstacle course race.

  17. ugh, 10ks are the WORST race distance! you’re right, mile 5 sucks, but it just hurts the whole time. nice bagels!

  18. You got hoodies at a 10k?? How much was the entry? nice!

  19. You are too awesome…7 minute miles…on a bad day…after running almost 18 miles the day before…CRAZINESS!!! And I love that you didn’t let that guy pass you at the end…what in the world was he thinking?!

  20. Delurking, but nice job, especially after that long run. The course threw me off a bit too. There’s a certified accurate course for Hains Point — I have no idea why they didn’t use it. I’d love to know the exact distance of what we ran…

  21. I love the rainbow pic and it looks like it was a fun race even though you didn’t get much sleep.

  22. Now all this blog needs is some unicorns ;-)

    Awesome job gutting it out, Emily! Glad your RACEtober is starting off in such stellar fashion :)

  23. Way to go, Emily! Yeah – one hour of sleep could hinder a performance;) Great job, regardless!
    Love the donut picture :)

  24. I’m sure you read SusanRuns (maybe?) but just in case, thought you should see this…especially after those photos of blowing that dude out of the water right before the finish: http://www.chicked.com/?page_id=2

  25. Love this post. Envy your race swag. Love the bagel speak pic in particular. You have a crazy number of pics for this race, many good ones. If you decide you don’t want your hoodie I could find a home for it.

  26. you are too freakin cute!! I so want to be speedy like you…I’m workin’ on it but man you are amazeballs

  27. Good work Em!1 you are a stinkin rockstar and you are having sooo much fun. Love it!!

  28. Your speed (and ability to race in long sleeves) amazes me. Wow. Great job!

  29. omg, you are a CHAMP. a 43:xx 10k the day after running 17+ miles AND only getting an hour of sleep?? i really like the idea of weekly races as speed workouts – something i will keep in mind for the winter when i’m struggling with motivation :)

  30. you are my hero – love how you don’t let some of the fastest guys pass you. congrats! great recap!