Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Racing and Not Racing - 10K RR

I came into this one with tired legs and little motivation. The Grand Canyon last weekend beat me up pretty good, so I was sore for about 4 days, and sluggish on my two mid-week runs. But this is one of my favorite local races, so I signed up anyway. All my running group buddies would be there, and 3,000 other locals. This would be my 14th time running this 10K. Tradition counts for a lot.

So I put on my Club uniform and got my butt out there. Warmed up for about half a mile, nodding to all the others wearing the same uniform (about 50 of us- most of whom kicked my butt). And I lined up to race. My strategy - go out and see how I feel and adjust. I had a very small hope that I could PR (6:59 pace). In case Loop magic brought a miracle. If I wasn't so tired I would have had a good shot. But realistically I planned to be conservative and just run. Run hard, but no need to hurt myself.

So off we went. I had to dodge a lot of newbs who lined up in the front, but soon got on track. First pace check was 7:25, but it was dropping. I chased a few of my teammates and got into a groove. Pace dropped to 7:18, 7:14, 7:12. Went through mile 1 in 7:08.

The first mile was fun! I thought ...just maybe....but then it started to get hard. A short hill hit me harder than it should have and I was struggling a little. So I eased off a bit and tried not to huff and puff too much. By the time I felt better my pace was 7:30 and I had another little hill to climb. Nope, it wasn't going to be a magical PR day.

But I was still working and trying to stay on the edge of not dying. I found a new comfort zone and it was kind of fun to be running at 80-90% effort instead of 100%. Hard, but not so painful that you wonder what the hell you're doing. Miles 2 and 3 were 7:28 and 7:31.

I started racing a little more after this. Found people I wanted to pass. Pushed a little more into race mode. Mile 4 was 7:17. Then in mile 5 we hit the big hill which always brings me to a gasping shuffle. Survived that in 7:33 and found myself at the last mile along the beach heading for the finish.

Normally I am suffering big-time at this point. It was fun to be at tempo effort and able to push it and pass people without feeling like I was going to puke and collapse. Mile 6 was 6:58 and then the last 1/4 at 6:25 pace into the finish.

Final time 45:33. Over two minutes slower than last year. But I felt good. It was a nice 85% effort tempo run on a warm day and I got a cool t-shirt. 10K #97 in the books.

Then to punish myself for not trying, I went out Sunday and did 11 to get back into marathon training. Still tired legs, but not bad considering. Averaged 8:30 pace and finished strong on a hot day.

Now I've got a few more weeks to build endurance for NYC.

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