I know I've said it before but I will say it again: I HATE 10K's. I always question why I sign up for them, but who am I to pass up a local race? Just like last weekend, the race was just 15 minutes away and I wanted to join my cousin Sarah and her sister Katie for the day. The day was perfect for racing, or so I thought, with the temps in the 50's when we arrived for check in. But that was pretty much the highlight of the race.
Let me back up to the night before though, where my first mistake would later come back and bite me during the race. I went out to dinner with a girlfriend from college at a local brewery. The beer was tasty (I thought of you Jamoosh!) and the company was fantastic. But I made a rookie mistake and instead of ordering a decent meal that would fuel a great run, we had chicken wings, quesodilas and nachos! What was I thinking? Wait, I wasn't because I washed it all down with three very tasty beers :) I really wasn't putting much thought into my race the next day. Sure, I wanted to PR. I wanted to hit my coveted sub 45. But apparently three beers and chicken wings does not make for PR days!
I also made the mistake of running 9 miles on Friday. I was supposed to run them on Thursday but decided to move it to Friday and go for a nice 17 mile bike ride with the hubbs instead. I also did a mini brick workout and jumped off the bike and ran 3 miles. Yeah, probably not the smartest thing to do just a few days out from a 10K. But I fashion myself a distance runner, not a sprinter and just thought I would see where my cards landed.
As Sarah and I stood at the start line, there was the usual suspects we keep seeing at our local races. One in particular is a rather tall gentlemen, who always wears compression sleeves (really dude? for a 10K?), short black shorts and no shirt. He looks badass but always seems to burn out early. He also has a wife that looks pretty fit, but she never performs as well as her outfit does :) I was also sizing up the competition and trying to see who was in my age group. This was the first year for this race so needless to say there was little competition and the race crowd was small - perfect for ensuring some top finish status!
One thing I have learned in the past is never to trust a race director who claims all over their web page and at the beginning of the race that the course is FLAT AND FAST. Even at the start line, bull horn in hand, she was yelling that the course was flat and fast. Well, in two words: it wasn't. I regularly, with Sarah, run this path. It is rolling hills the whole time- little ones mind you, but they're some good climbs at times - not flat and fast. When she finally said, "go," I took off in the lead pack and didn't look down. The first part of the course was on a dirt road, for about 3/4 of a mile then we hit the bike path. When I could see the first mile marker ahead I knew I had gone out too fast - I looked at my watch and it beeped 6:48 - not good! Way too fast if I was going to survive 6.2 hilly miles. I scaled it back and my second mile came in at 7:21 and was feeling pretty good. I was also chasing two chic's ahead of me. One, excuse the expression, had some cottage cheese thighs that I just couldn't understand was carrying her so fast! She was moving though and I set her as my first target. I finally was able to pass her around 2.5 miles as she was starting to loose gas. Now, all I had ahead of me was a pretty lean looking lady with a green shirt on and I set my sights on catching her knowing she was the first woman.
At the turn around, they had a water station. It was already getting pretty warm. My shirt came off at the first half mile and I was still warm. Since this was a pretty local race, and they had the local HS football team manning the water stations, no one was handing out the cups of water, they were just all lined up on the table. My mouth was dry (probably from the beer the night before!) and attempted to grab a cup off the table. Yeah, that didn't go so well. Not only did I NOT get a cup of water, I think I knocked off about 6 other cups in my haste! Oh well, I had a green shirt to catch up to! She was about a minute ahead of me - no time to waste drinking!
I was cruising along okay, but it was warm and I could feel my legs becoming tired from the heat and the rollers. I was running out of gas. By mile four, those chicken wings reared their ugly heads. I couldn't stop though. There wasn't a potty in sight on this trail and the path was crowded with runners. I actually stopped, gathered myself and started running again. It was tough, but by now green shirt lady had gained another minute on me. Ugh! I was cursing the 10K, I was cursing myself for running it, I was cursing myself for my dinner of chicken wings and beer! I knew though with only two miles left and about 2 minutes to catch someone I had to work hard! I had hit the 5K mark at about 23:xx and knew that I was not on goal pace to break my 45 mark. I had to pick it up if I wanted to even get close. It was warm by now though, my tummy was angry and I just wanted to be done!
I put my head down and pushed in those final miles. Unfortunately, they were sad miles. My watch beeped at mile 5 and that mile was an 8:1x or something - really? An 8 minutes mile in a 10K? I couldn't believe it, but really, that was all I had in me. I was cursing myself again since I had ran a 43:xx 10K on Tuesday with my speed work and now I was struggling just to keep 8 mintue miles. Damn chicken wings!
My final mile was also in the 8 minute mile rage but it didn't matter, I wanted to be done and I crossed the finish line in 48:33. I never caught green shirt lady but I saw that the heat had gotten to her as she was just a mintue ahead of me when we finished. 48:33 is a PW for me but it was good enough for second female over all and first in my age group! I love small, hometown races!
When I finished all the chatter with the runners was that the heat was miserable. AND the course was difficult. I chugged a two bottles of water when I finished, which I blamed on the heat, not the beer :) Sarah came in with a PW, too, it seemed no one was having a great day out there.
The race was very well organized, everyone was super friendly and I will totally run this again next year (if I ever run a 10K again!). I got a pin for winning first and a Jamba Juice gift certificate for coming in second - not too shabby! Over all, it was a day full of lessons for me. I enjoyed running a local race. I enjoyed spending my Saturday morning with Sarah and her sister Katie. And I enjoyed supporting a local race. But...I learned I really do hate 10K's. It's a miserable distance. You are sprinting the whole time. Maybe I just haven't learned the art of short distance running. Maybe I haven't learned the benefits of racing one while in marathon training. I do know though, that I am not putting any 10K's on my calendar any time soon!
I know I set myself up for disaster with a hard training week, a medium long run the day before, a brick workout just two days before and a dinner of beer and chicken wings the night before. I have to say though, I wouldn't change any of it - well, maybe just the pre race dinner :) I had a great first week of marathon training and cross training, and am excited to see what the summer holds :)
I went home on Saturday after the race and ran another 4 miles by myself. They actually weren't too awful and cursed myself again for shutting down during the race. Oh well, I really did have a great week of running and wanted to focus on that. I decided to take Sunday off and rest as my left knee was not happy with me. It has been aching a lot lately, and very tight when I start running. Lots of ice and rolling and it felt pretty good yesterday when I went out and ran 12 miles on that same route as the 10K was on Saturday. It is such a beautiful trail but it is hilly and the temps around here have finally started to warm up. I think summer is officially here :)
It looks like you were all busy this weekend so I'm off to catch up! Hope you all enjoyed your Memorial Day weekend!
Happy Tuesday and Happy Running peeps!