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RRCA 10 Miler Race Report

This morning was the RRCA 10 Miler. The race that I planned to try and run at MGP (marathon goal pace) with my friend Tris as part of a long training run for Vermont.

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It didn’t really go as planned, because (SURPRISE!), I’m not very good at planning things.

My first race execution fail came bright and early this morning. I would argue that since I wasn’t technically conscious, it wasn’t really my fault.

Tris might argue otherwise.

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So yeah. I slept in a little. I went to a book group last night and things got a little rowdy: irresistible thrillers , whisky, wine, pigs in the blanket, Ja Rule and J Lo rocking “I’m Real” on Spotify. It was wild. Now I know. Book groups + race eve=no bueno and no waking up when the alarm goes off. Noted.

Since we were planning to get there early to run some miles before the race, it wasn’t the biggest deal. It just meant splitting it up so we did some before and some after.

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Matching socks and a forgotten handheld also casualties of the alarm fail.

When we got there, we checked in and headed out to run a few miles and get to the start. All fine and dandy except this start line was like the unicorn of race courses.

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I swear we ran every road in Columbia, Maryland trying to find the damn thing with no luck.

To make matters more confusing, there were a ton of runners out doing the exact same thing as us and getting in some miles for a long run before the race started. And they were doing it in every direction ever. And none of them seemed to have any idea where the start was. So we ran around clueless until a traffic cop type person whistled and laughed at me and kind of flailed his hand in the opposite direction to indicate the general direction we should be heading.

Super helpful.

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Anyway, we got there in time. Eventually. But looking at the course map probably wouldn’t have been a terrible idea.

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It also wouldn’t have been a terrible idea to look at the elevation profile prior to telling the internet I’d be running 10 goal pace miles.

Details details.

Luckily, a new friend from the ‘hood clued me in to my foolish plans when I posted about the race on Friday.

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Hills aside, I still thought I could run a 7 minute-ish average no problemo.

Turns out, I seriously underestimated the severity of hills on this course.

A quick summary of the course profile: UP, DOWN, UP, DOWN, UP, DOWN, UP, UP, UP, UP, UP, down, UP. down, UP, UP.

The number of meters of flat terrain was somewhere between 0 and 2.

The first half of the course went pretty well for me. I was still at goal pace at the halfway point. After that, it got a little ugly on the hills. That’s a lie. It got a lot ugly. Turns out, I still need to do some serious hill training.

Ugly hills and all, I (spoiler alert) wasn’t far off from my target speed. I finished in a 1:10.(something) for an average of about 7:04/mile. Even if it wasn’t quite at goal pace, I was still really happy with my race.

Because the thing is, had I actually done my research and planned out an informed workout, I never would have chosen this race for a goal pace workout. The course profile was not remotely close to any marathon I’ll be racing…hopefully ever.

In my mind (and remember I am not an expert), goal pace workouts are helpful for two reasons: you work to hit your target splits on tired legs and you learn what your body feels like running at that pace so it’s natural come race day.

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With a straight up hilly course, you’re never cruising AT your pace. You’re under on the downs and over on the ups. It’s not consistent, it’s not steady. And it’s not remotely similar to what I’ll be running on May 26th. While I think this type of run is useful and productive and helpful for making you stronger and faster, it’s not what I originally planned on doing for today’s goal pace workout.

All that being said, this was still a fantastic workout and a successful first quality long run. 16 total miles with 10 very hilly ones at a 7:04 pace. I’m f-ing happy. Less than a year ago, I was not running this pace on any 10 mile course. Now I’m doing it in the middle of  a long run, on an endless round of ascents and descents, during week 3 of training coming off of an injury. And during the very few moments when we were on flat-ish sections, I was easily cruising under a 7 minute mile.

So, goal pace success? Not so much. But really solid, really fun training run? Totally.

As for Tris

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Obviously the kid nailed it. 1:08. Feel free to join the “We Hate Tris for Being so Athletic and Fast and Perfect” club.

We both left feeling pretty good about where we’re currently at and what we’ll be capable of running 3.5 months from now.

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We celebrated by spending the next two hours driving around Columbia, Maryland trying to find chocolate donut holes and spinach feta wraps. Apparently start lines are not the only thing impossible to find in that damn city.1242013182419

I hope everyone else had a sweatastic weekend of running and racing! I’m heading back to the west coast this week and need to (over) pack. If anyone wants to take a break from watching/drooling over Bradley Cooper tonight, please feel free to come on over and do it for me. I have chocolate donut holes and a stocked fridge for the first volunteer. Bueller? Bueller?

15 Responses to RRCA 10 Miler Race Report

  1. haha i hear ya – i did what i thought would be a ‘easy’ 10k in columbia and it kicked my ass. big time.

    not to mention, i tried to run a road runner’s 5k the weekend before and couldn’t find the starting line either!! i ended up missing it completely.

    glad you ended up doing well, way to kill it!

  2. omg. I have relatives in Columbia and the entire town looks alike, making it impossible to find anything! But it is a great town (with excellent trails!) once you get to know it a little better.
    As far as the hills: Think of this as an awesome hill workout that is just making you stronger. I just ran hills for 26.2 in Austin last weekend and, although I PR-ed by 2 min, it was not the PR I know I am capable of on a flat course. It was much more fun than anything flat, though!

    • I didn’t hate the town, I just got uber lost in it!

      Congrats on the PR! If you ran fast at Austin, you’ve got a massive PR coming on a flat course!

  3. I think you should just date Tris.. :)

  4. I need some hills in my life but…not that many! Geez! On another note, hair looks great. How do you get nice hair post race?! Mine always looks like a salty bird’s nest.

  5. I live near Columbia (never run there) and had no idea there were so many hills. I was planning on doing this race but I’m glad I didn’t after hearing how hilly it was.

    I just have to say it, you and Tris would make a VERY cute couple :)

  6. Hey, way to pretty much go and get it on a very hilly course. You have to take them where you can get them and being four seconds off pace with that many hills, eh it’s no big thang. Nice race! :)

  7. Columbia is the most confusing and hilliest place to navigate. I’ve spent quite a few runs and races there and each time I curse myself for returning. Nice run.

  8. Things I learned while living in Columbia: 1) no place on earth has stranger street names; 2) there are a lot of effin’ hills; 3) everything is hidden–grocery stores, gas stations, restaurants–but when you find them, they’re pretty decent.
    Still, the downhills can make for fun racing (site of my 1/2 marathon surprise PR).
    But nowhere near your swiftness!! Love reading about your races :)

  9. Just figured I would send you the heads up :) Awesome job on that course though!
    Columbia doesn’t want to ruin the aesthetics of it’s beautiful “planned community” with signs of any sort. Glad you finally found the race and the donut holes!

  10. Tris is super hot!

  11. [...] far as running goes, last week was a good week. Track, hills, long running, racing, long running with racing, easy miles, recovery, rest. I did it all. Some other things could use some work (cough cough [...]

  12. That’s a training run???? You’re friggin fast! Holy smokes! Anyway, was in Hong Kong over the weekend for the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon (just the 10km since I’m coming out of an injury). It. Was. The. Best. Weekend. Ever. Friends. Food. Shopping.

  13. That course was killer, right?! I managed a 7:47 pace but wanted something closer to 7:30. Oh well. So happy to see DCRR represented!

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