But I did race in December, and as part of my foray into mega mileage, I did want to occupy a bit of digital space recapping the Jingle All the Way 8k. This is my raceiversary. It was my first race in 2008, and I had no idea what I was doing. I was jockeying for positions, wearing a Mickey Mouse watch, and when the race was a 10k distance, pleased to finish in 55:04. 2009 - 46:01, then in 2010 - 44:45. A lot has changed! The race has been shortened to an 8k (4.97 miles) and moved from West Potomac Park to downtown DC. In 2011, I ran 33:31 for the 8k.
This year, I was just racing for fun. That week, I had already run 58 miles in what would be my highest-mileage week ever. I did not plan to PR, as most of my runs felt slow (as expected) - I just wanted to go out and have fun. I even went to a Christmas party the night before and got into the Christmas spirit(s) too...
It was pouring race morning - not exactly ideal weather. But I didn't care - I was nearing the end of my big week, and I wanted to culminate it with this race. I got to meet British Olympian Claire Hallisey - who lives and trains in Arlington. I've seen her at this race before, and last year I even stood near her at the start, but I told myself that if she was back to defend her title, I would say hello. I did, and said I was a big fan, and she was very gracious. It is very cool that in the DC area, the competition is deep enough to include not just Olympic Trial Qualifiers, but Olympians!
|A very well-dressed and speedy runner|
But really, I just wanted to lock in on a reasonably comfortable pace, which ended up being alongside fancy pants man. I had no idea what the pace was, but I was having fun watching everyone (there were almost 5,000 runners, and a lot of costumes). When I got past mile 3, I started to work at picking off some girls. Honestly, this is probably one of my favorite parts of racing. Often referred to as being the hunter, when you come from behind and pick off people. Ir is much better to be the hunter than the hunted, running scared (which I've also done). It makes me not think about the pace or distance left - my sole charge becomes working to pass each one. It's a great distraction.
|A really fast elf|
Yes, a big costumed runner who I just could not pass. I was doing everything I could to kick, but the legs weren't having it.
I finished in 33:13 - techinically a 20-second 8k PR. 6:41 pace.
A couple of points to keep in mind - I've run both 10ks and a 10 miler at a faster pace. But not on such mileage.
And I was reflecting about this too, because in my first week of mega-mileage, I ran a 40:24 10k. That's 6:31 pace - how come I was running 10 seconds per mile slower for a shorter race? Well, 3 weeks in, and that cumulative mileage began to set in. Instead of just a few days of high mileage, these legs had covered 182 miles in under 3 weeks - no wonder I was running slower.
|Running happy and light in my 10k PR|
This week, we are back to a 68 mile week as I begin cycle 2 of mega mileage. Happy to have arrived home today - where I'll certainly get good home cooking to fuel those runs!