It's finally here! 20 weeks of training and I've completed my goal race, my first 10k.
Way back in January I pegged a target time of 39:30, which is one of my goals for 2016. This was not COMPLETELY pulled out of thin air, but sort of. At the time my fastest 5k was 19:12 from September of 2015. That was my last race, soon after I hurt my ITB.
I started a new, 20 week plan in late December which includes runner specific strength work, ITB rehab routines, slowly increased my mileage, and doing "smarter" speed work.
In March I ran a 5k as a "tune-up" race - and finished in 18:41, a 30 second PR. Nice. And I was only in week 12 of my 20 week plan. I did some taper for the race, but not a lot, and this got me thinking that maybe I can run a 10k closer to 39:00, than my original 39:30 goal.....
So after considerable "contemplation", and a couple more "tune-up" races later (an 8k and 5k) that were not as fast, I decided my goal time should be 39:15. That said, the idea is to run the first 3 miles around 6:20 pace, pick it up a little if I'm feeling it, then see what I have for the last half of the race. I have yet to run a negative split race...I always go out too fast and then hang on at the end trying to hold off the inevitable slow down.
I've been trying to get better at "running by feel". But, my longest race so far has been 8k. So, I'm not sure what mile 4 of a 10k should "feel" like. So, screw it. Run at 6:20 pace, adjust accordingly for hills, and see what happens. I'm GUARANTEED a PR after all.
I picked this race, not because I've always wanted to run this particular event, but because it's a 10k close to my house and is on the right date. The 10k course is two loops of a 5k course and starts 10 minutes earlier. So, I might start picking off slower 5k runners around mile 5. In "theory" I'll be catching 29:00 - 30:00 5k runners right around the finish line. I will attempt to use that as motivation to pick them off one at a time and see how many I can pass. The only trouble I might have is slower 5k runners waving at friends and meandering across the course - and in my way. I saw this happen last year at the Dulles Airport 5k/10k last year, and it was not pretty....two very near misses of wipe outs.
The race start time is 8:00. I set my alarm for 6:00. Had my usual pre-race small breakfast of oatmeal and coffee, run around the house to get my legs warmed up, "process" said breakfast (and dinner from last night), and left the house around 6:40. Arrived at the race, parked, etc. around 7:15. Walked around a little and did a couple miles of warm-up and a few strides. Stood around hopping back and forth and getting all antsy until the race started (the usual deal for me).
My wife joined me....she's the best......to get up so early on a Sunday, just to watch a bunch of goofballs run around a local shopping area and neighborhood. I love when she can make it to the race because this way I have my own support crew to carry all my crap....no need for bag check or any of that. Plus, I always get a good morale boost toward the end when she screams for me as I go by. For this race, since it's two loops for the 10k she'll have a chance to yell for me twice. I always ask her to stand about 1/2 mile from the finish instead of at the finish line for the emotional boost....she sometimes listens.
Weather Report: mid-40's F - GOOD. Winds: 20-30 MPH - UH OH. Well, I've never run a race before in heady winds, but I'm sure it's not good. Not sure how to adjust, except to go by feel.
So, how did it go?
- Mile 1: 6:13. Some downhill and I "think" a bit of a tailwind. All is good.
- Mile 2: 6:20. Okay. Pretty much level and seems to be perpendicular to the winds.
- Mile 3: 6:21. This was a tough mile! Uphill and part of it dead into the wind. There was a guy about 50m in front of me, so I made a push to get behind him and shield from the wind. Breathing pretty hard now.
- Mile 4: 6:19. We finished out first 10k loop at the end of mile 3 and hit a wall of walkers who had recently started the 5k. The guy I'm following says "Uh oh", we have no where to go except to run on the outside of the coned off race route...dodging oncoming cars every now and then. Mile 4 is the same as mile 1, so I was able to catch my breath some. During mile 4 I also took the lead and let the guy I'm running with draft off me. When I was drafting behind him it felt like I was going too slow, then when I took the lead the wind hit me and I knew why he was slowing down.
- Mile 5: 6:21. Still running around the outside of the marked course, it's still wall to wall with the 5k folks, but now they're doing more of a slow run as we pass. The other runner and I take turns leading and drafting. I'm sure this really helped me.....
- Mile 6: 6:30. Like mile 3 - uphill and dead against the wind which has gotten stronger (or, I'm just more tired!). Plus, now we HAVE to get back inside the marked off race course as we crossed a busy street and all get funneled toward the finish. Lotsa dodging and weaving and yelling "on your right" as he and I run in the right hand gutter before the final two right turns to the finish line.
- Last 0.3 Mile: 1:33. Yes, 0.3 miles (about 5:58 pace). I think I ended up running longer because we had to go really wide quite a few turns on our second loop of the course as went around the 5k runners / walkers.
Total Time: 39:57. At first I was not happy with this time. But, now that I'm home and thinking about it, it's not bad. My overall pace was 6:20 and I was running in really heavy wind.
I don't know how much time I'm calculated to lose in 20-30 MPH winds, but I did read that in 10 MPH wind at 6:00 pace I would lose 12 seconds / mile heading into the wind and gain 6 seconds / mile with the wind, for a net 6 seconds / mile increase in pace. I don't know if doubling wind speed doubles this number or not, but it makes me think my effort today in no wind would be 6:15 / mile pace or better.
So....that's it! My goal race for the Spring. I plan to take next week off, and think about the rest of the year. I'm 5 seconds away from my 5k goal for 2016, and 27 seconds off my 10k goal. I will try to beat my goals in the Fall. And...for the Fall 10k I choose I will try to find a 10k ONLY race, if I can, to avoid the problems today with the 5k crowd.