Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Thrice run: Pike's Peek 10k 2014

Since I started running here in DC in 2008, I've been able to sample many of the great races that this area has to offer. One of my favorite races is the Pike's Peek 10k in Rockville, MD, which is run on the Rockville Pike. You make one turn out of a parking lot, and then it's six miles of straight rolling hills. I ran it 2012 (40:55) and 2013 (39:28), both netted PRs. Last year's race was particularly meaningful because it was right after the Boston Marathon bombing, and so there were a lot of tributes at it. It's now one of my favorites - it's a sign of spring, it's a fast course, and the festival after is a lot of fun.This spring my training has been pretty good. I've missed some workouts, but I've also had a lot of good ones as well, and when I've been able to get all of my miles in, hitting about 45 miles per week. I told Sarah a month ago that my A goal was to get close to my April of 39:28, and my B goal was to go sub 40, which she thought was attainable. After all, I wasn't prioritizing running this spring, so my expectations weren't too high. I had also caught a cold last week (only made better by these beautiful tulips...and rest too), so there wasn't really a chance for a race week workout to put some spring in my step.Easy 5, 4, and 3 miles were it. Strangely, I woke up on Saturday with the tightest calves ever, and no explanation as to why? Any thoughts? It definitely freaked me out.I had a good warm up this morning along the course, and even though my legs felt tight, they felt better than when I first woke up. I saw my friend Ken for a minute, but I was rushing around, so we didn't really have a chance to chat. I got into the first corral (this is one of the greatest things about the race, is that they do wave starts, so it doesn't get that congested). Ths year, they even had pacemakers, even one for 40:00. I figured I would keep an eye on this guy, and just try to stay a few paces ahead of him. We were off and I was going fast - too fast - through the first mile in 6:15. It didn't freak me out though, it just meant I could ease off the gas, and averaged the second mile at 6:25 pace. Things had spread out a bit, and then I was falling into step with the pacer. This gave me a push to pick it up a little, and try to get ahead. I went through the 5k mark in 19:52, which had me right on track for today's goal. Sometimes it felt like it was getting hot, but a few times we hit a great breeze that felt heavenly. I like to pick up the pace at mile 4, and I feel like it is the 10k that I have the best handle on pacing. I was running between 6:20 and 6:24 pace pretty consistently and feeling strong. I was holding off on the bigger pushes until mile 5, when I finally started to get closer to some of the people I was chasing. This is a rolling course, so once you finish climbing a hill, you go back down. I knew that towards the end, it's all downhill, but I couldn't remember exactly when. I just kept waiting for that point where someone is yelling "It's all downhill from here!" That would be the time for the all out kick. And finally, I created the last hill, and was using gravity to propel myself for the finish. I told myself I wouldn't check my watch anymore, just run hard until the finish. I was happy as I saw the clock ticking, because I knew I had made this race a good one.39:336:22 paceOnly 5 seconds off of my PR121/2370 overall16/1241 women7/127 in age groupWhat's crazy is that I got beat by 2 50 year olds!It was a great race - not perfect, but pretty close. It means I've retained my fitness, and with more work, will be able to nab a PR, whenever that happens. Yes, I haven't set any PRs since last October, but Sarah says at this point, it's more about consistency. I'm not at a plateau - it just means PRs don't come as easily. I was happy to have more time to catch up with my buddy Ken afterwards (who scored a great PR), and I found out later from facebook that there some other friends of mine there - this wasn't one to miss! Although the Nike Women's DC Half Marathon was that day too, which meant 15,000 women were at that. I compared my results from PP last year, and I had placed 32 among women, and having run nearly the same time this year leads me to believe that a lot of the competition was running downtown that day. Regardless, it was a great race - my last race as a Taylor before I come a married lady - 18 days to go! 

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