Sunday, September 25, 2016

Race Report - "Perfect 10" 10k in Reston Virginia

Today I raced my 2nd 10k ever, the "Perfect 10" 10k in Reston Virginia.

The start and finish are at South Lakes HS, and the runs support the Cross Country and Track teams.   The race ends on the HS track, which I think is pretty cool.  I feel like I'm really doing something when I "kick" to the finish while on the track.  It looks like they have a couple runs each year, with a 10k or 10 mi option.

My first (and only) 10k was in May this year, with a time of 39:57.  That race was super windy (like 20 - 30 MPH), and we ended up running about 6.3 miles because we had to run around the outside most of the 2nd half of the race as 5k jogger / walkers / strollers clogged the course.  So, having said all that, I was hoping for a significant PR.

The hot and humid summer weather gave way some today; at the 8:00 start time, the temp was 56F, humidity 60%, and dew point of 49F.  This is nice relief from dew point of 65 in the 5k last weekend, and gave me hope of good race time.

Speaking of which, what should my goal time be?  Well....last weekend I ran a 5k in worse conditions in 18:51 (6:04 pace), and my PR 5k of 18:41 (6:01 pace) was set in 40F temps.  So...let's going with 18:45 5k, use a race conversion calculator at McMillan, adjust for the hills, and my head cold which I got the last couple of days....39:15 have become my goal time.  I gotta run 6:20 average pace to do it.  Okay.

The course is a little hilly, but at least most of the up hill parts are in the first 3.8 miles, and then mostly downhill the last 2 miles.  This is not an out and back race, so I really appreciate if someone did the work and planned it this way.  Having said that, I will try and get through the first 4 miles under 6:25 pace, and "bring it home" the last 2.4 miles.  This is a big task for me....I have yet to complete a good "negative split" race, even tho I PLAN one EVERY time.  I usually end up just "hanging on" the 2nd half of races.

Course profile below:
 Race Details:

  • Night before - I felt pretty bad all day Saturday with a head cold.  Living on DayQuil and plenty of fluids.  I had to travel for business on Thursday and Friday, and got home pretty late Friday night.  My wife was nice enough to handle all the family / children errands and chores on Saturday.  She even stopped by the running store and picked up my bib.  Nice!  Thanks Honey!
  •  Morning of the race - set the alarm for 5:45.  Breakfast of instant oatmeal and coffee.  Short jog around the neighborhood.  "Process dinner and breakfast" and out the door around 6:20.  I arrived at the race about 7:00.  Perfect. Unlike 5k's I don't get as "over-excited" for longer races - don't know why, but it is probably a good thing.  I think I don't feel the need for a "fast start", or I just don't have as much experience / expectations.  I'm ready to go, and excited, but not overly so.  I "think" this is probably good, as I'm "wasting" less energy with "monkey thoughts".
  • Warm-up -  Did my usual pre-run dynamic stretching and lunch matrix.  2 mile warm-up and a few strides.  I'm not feeling stressed or rushed.  My head feels a little better, or the adrenaline is helping.  Cool.
  • Start of the race - not a big race, maybe a couple hundred 10k and couple hundred 10 milers, at the start line.  Interesting, it's not obvious who is running which race.  Our bibs are different, but of course on the front of our jerseys, so I don't know while racing.  Another reason to NOT start out too quickly, chase down a guy that looks my age, and then find he's doing the 10 miler.  Do'h!   I line up few rows back from the start...and we're off!
Race notes by mile:

  • Mile 1 - (6:21) "Don't be stupid" is my mantra.  I'm feeling really comfortable.  No issues.  I pass a few folks who went out too fast for their overall pace...the usual.
  • Mile 2 - (6:23).  Still feeling comfortable, controlling my pace.  Trying not to expend too much effort on the uphills, and trying to be smooth on the downhills.
  • Mile 3 - (6:22).  Starting to feel it some, but still feel under control.  Overall pace very close to where I wanted to be.
  • Mile 4 - (6:39).  Ouch!  The big hill on this mile hurt.  I think somewhere along here the 10 milers peeled off and I can see two guys on the 10k course about 10 seconds ahead of me.  My focus now is to not let them get further ahead.
  • Mile 5 - (6:17).  Ah....the downhill.  Spent this mile recovering from the last hill, and still focusing on the two guys in front of me.  I can't close the gap, but I'm not losing distance either.  I don't feel bad, but I'm afraid to pick up the pace and blow up.  Being sick the last three days is in the back of my mind.
  • Mile 6 - (6:15).  At 5.6 miles my watch beeped that I'm 90% complete of my planned 6.2 miles.  I decided, it was time to close on the guys in front of me, or die trying.  I gradually increased my pace just slightly, and right about the 6 mile mark I caught them, but did not pass.  Just ran with them, preparing in case one of them kicks early to get rid of me, but neither did.  
  • Last bit - (1:19).  The race ended on the HS track, so we had to wind around / thru the parking lot and take some tight turns which slowed us down some, and one of the two slipped ahead of me.  When we hit the track I was in 3rd position.  We had about 100 meters left, I've wasn't able to catch the one guy that got a few second lead, but I was able to pull around and pass the other guy with about 40 meters left.  My watch says my pace was 4:25 at the finish.  Turns out the guy I passed is in my age group so the sprint finish really mattered...sweet.  (The other guy was much younger....) 
Total time:  39:36.  First in my age group (45-49) by 4 seconds, and 5th overall.  Got a $25 gift certificate to Potomac Running stores.  Missed my goal by 20 seconds, but I'm satisfied considering how I'm feeling, and how I finished.

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