Monday, November 14, 2011

Veteran's Day 10k Report

Yesterday, I raced in the Veteran's Day 10k in West Potomac Park.  This was my goal 10k of the fall season, and a big test in my ability to gut it out in a race.  If you don't remember, I did a 5k race simulation with my friend/coach and she paced me through an all out 5k - faster and harder than I had ever ran.  She said that I should feel that tired throughout the whole thing during these short distance races.  And so, going into this race, Sarah said to run fast from the start, accept how uncomfortable it would be, and just go for it.  She said to aim for going under 42 minutes, which meant about 6:45 pace - old PR from October (Boo! Run for Life) was 42:48.  That's a pretty decent drop from just 4 weeks ago.  She said not to try to negative split, but just take it out hard.
I was really nervous - 10k is a long time to be uncomfortable.  And while my training tends to go well, the past month, I was a little inconsistent.  I had a long cold, my tempo runs were never anything spectacular, and well, 6:45 for 6.2 miles just felt fast.  I toed the start excited and nervous all rolled into one.  I knew that some of Sarah's teammates (who have qualified for the Olympic Trials) were going to be there, so I stood a few rows back from them.  I was certainly not going to aim to keep up with them, and I knew that there were just going to be a ton of fast people running.
And the gun went off, and I took off.  I could not believe how many people were in front of me - this was a big race (2000 people and $500 cash for the winner) and a lot of fast people were there.  I came through the first mile in 6:25, which was way too fast (she said to aim for 6:35 for the first one).  I pulled back a bit - and got through 2 miles in 13:28 (which meant almost a 7 minute mile) and close to averaging out race pace.  Come on!  I needed to get into a groove and just starting running more even splits. I picked it up a little at this point, but it is certainly a risk with only a third of the race done.  I got through the first 5k in 20:56 - 6:44 pace.  This meant I had just a little time in the bank, and even if I positive split, I could break 42.  But it didn't feel easy, for sure.  I don't remember what I hit for mile 4, but I knew that the last 2.2 miles were going to hurt.  I tried to pick it up a bit - I had been swapping places with a few people, and I was ready to finally do some passing.  It feels good when you do battle with someone, going back and forth, and finally are able to pull away.  I know my 5th mile was 6:37 - I was bound and determined, and I didn't care how much it was going to hurt.  With about half a mile to go, someone cheered, "Go Jess."  Now, I am not Jess, which meant someone was very close behind me.  And then there it was again, "Come on , Jess!"  Nope, I am not going to let this Jess pass me at the end.  I was trying so hard to move quickly, but I couldn't really speed up - I was just hanging on and breathing hard.  As I could see the time clock at the finish line, I was so stunned to see what awaited me:
41:26 (6:40 pace)
31/1139 Women
9/296 Age Group
Oh my gosh!  Oh my gosh!  I was spent, but I was excited.  This was over a minute PR from last month.  I did not think I could knock off that much time so quickly.  But I pushed, and pushed, and it happened!  And the more I think about it, I probably could've even went out harder (not in that first mile though).  And if I can learn to run more even pace (my splits were all over the place, but I did managed to negative split again - 20:30 for the second 5k - very close to my 5k PR), that will help a lot too.  
This was me at home after, very happy and excited.
This bodes very well for the Philadelphia Half Marathon on Sunday.  I won't be aiming to go out quite as hard, but I am hoping that half marathon pace (to be determined - I am meeting with Sarah this afternoon to discuss both races) will feel much more comfortable and doable.
I know I've said it before, but this short distance racing is a lot of fun!

1 comment:

  1. What's scary is that there is actually anyone faster than you in your age group!

    Awesome race home skillet. Can not wait to see you soon. I ran four miles on my lunch break today. The runs are picking up. More soon!