Lexington Race against hunger 10k
Big race in the Columbia area, established for 10 years. 880 entrants. I hadnt had a chance to preview the course because its about 40 minutes from my house. It has been billed as pretty tough with lots of hills. I hadnt run a road 10k since late summer last year, PR was set on a flat to downhill course at 45:05. No idea how this would turn out. I know my fitness had improved substantially but the course description and reputation was scaring me. Its an out and back course with two loops into neighborhoods off the main highway. Basically first mile and last 1.2 are fairly flat. The middle 4 miles are up and down big hills. I had planned to go out in 7:00 pace the first mile and see what happened. This is the second race for the crazy blue super light racer shoes.
First mile felt pretty good, I was fighting the urge to go faster as the 7 minute pace felt leisurely compared to the sub 20 attempt 5k last week. Did some maneuvering through the crowd and settled in with a few friends that had also agreed on the 7 min pace. Hit the first mile right on schedule at 6:57. Right at the mile point started the crazy hills. Constant rolling the whole 2nd mile with an apparent net decline in the last quarter. This inspired fear, because I knew we would have to make up the decline at some point. Sure enough, at 1.9 came a monster hill, long and steep. I was starting to get pretty winded, and looking at my 2nd mile split told me why – 6:38. Way too fast. Slowed down some to get my breath back and to stay with my plan. Next mile was just more of the same, big hills that were hard to make up on the decline because of the steepness. Splits were 7:15 and 7:32 for the next two miles. Seeing the 7:32 apparently lit a fire somewhere because I was getting mad at myself for hemorraging so much time. At this point the hills started to even out more as we prepared to get back on the flat section. With this in mind I just decided to go for it. Picked up the pace to just below 5kish, got back some seconds on the 5th mile with a 6:53 split. I felt a great second wind at this point for some reason – maybe because I knew the hills were over and was totally warmed up (race temps in the 30’s -low 40’s). Ramped up the pace further and started flying, passed several people. The sense of speed was magnified by a lane of 5k walkers parallel to the 10k course. Felt fantastic at this point, hit the 6 mile at 6:36 and kept it up the last 0.2.
Finished in 43:19, PR by 1 minute and 46 seconds! No age group placement though – 3rd was 39 minutes and change. Very competitive race. Just an awesome feeling at the end. Hope I can continue the hot streak! I’ll post the results when they come out.
…Results just got posted:
A second faster than I remembered – woo hoo. Still only placed 34th in a super competitive race.
Almost skipped this one today with a head and chest cold still wreaking its havoc. Absolutely beautiful today in Columbia – low 60’s and sunny with a nice late race time of 10 am. The course was mostly flat, some small rolling inclines. Pretty good turnout today,about 150 people. I did two separate 1 mile warmups, did not feel particularly good on the first but the second seemed better after I shed the warmup sweats and put on my new racing shoes (Adidas Adizero Adios). Decided at the last minute to give it a full effort, as I had been contemplating making it a tempo with the junk still in my lungs.
The first half mile of this race felt like crap, my lungs were trying to get rid of some gunk, and finally at about the half mile point I was able to cough a good bit of it out. Yummy. After that I felt MUCH better, and I was no longer coughing. Legs felt surprisingly good. I dont know whether it was psychological, but the light racers certainly make you feel faster. I hit the first mile at 6:25 and decided to really give mile 2 a good go, as I have a habit of letting up too much in that mile. I killed the first half of mile 2 , lost one of my friends pacing with me and passed a ton of people. The last part of the mile was the first time I started breathing hard, but the legs were still with me. Hit the second mile in 6:27. After seeing the split, I basically decided to go all out, as hard as I could, because the carrot of the sub-20 5k has been killing me for months. This was my first realistic chance after 2 miles to get it. I was definitely starting to hurt at this point, but i kept telling myself it was only 1.1 left. It was just me and the course for mile 3 – there was a small group ahead of me but no one around me. There was definitely some rough going during that mile, but I kept the thought of that 19:xx on the clock to keep me going. I turned the last corner and there was about a half mile of straightaway to the finish. I could not make out the clock but the sight of the finish line was an incredible motivator. At the last cross street before the finish, I could make out 19:37 or so. I was absolutely cashed at this point but threw every last bit of energy into a finishing kick. Crossed the line in 19:58 with a feeling of overwhelming relief and joy. I established the sub 20 goal in the middle of ’09, and had a hard time with a plateau in the 21’s, but finally things are starting to break through again.
Today is a good day!
Race for the Place 5k
First 5k of 2010, seemingly attended by most of the competitive runners in Columbia. My first 5k since a disaster of a sub 20 attempt on 12/26/09 (finished in 20:53 but felt absolutely terrible). Temps were right around 40 degrees and cloudy. I showed up an hour ahead of the 8:30 start and decided to jog the whole course. My mileage has been consistently in the 30’s for over a month, so I felt comfortable doing this as a warmup. Jogged it in about 28 minutes, felt good.
Since there were a lot of familiar faces around, it made it easy to assess my approximate pace at any point in time. I went out pretty fast with the gun, and I was amazed how crowded it was at low 6 pace the whole first mile. This race was even more competitive than I thought. I ran close to two friends of mine, one almost with the same 5k times, the other about 30 seconds slower. The course was slightly rolling but mostly flat, with no real hills to change your pace much. Hit the first mile in 6:15 by a volunteer’s watch, but my Garmin had it at 6:22, which seemed more accurate. I was excited to be at sub 20 pace and tried to keep it up. At about 1.5 miles in I started struggling a little bit keeping a good rhythm to my breathing and pace, so I might of backed off a little. I got passed by 2 guys, but I was able to maintain their pace behind them and not get gapped. Hit mile 2 at 13 minutes flat, a 6:47 Garmin split. I was pretty bummed with this. Tried to push it in the last mile. I did feel better for the first half of mile 3 as I finally got into a good rhythm. I ended up leaving the two frinds I was running with behind and stayed with a group ahead of me. Those guys started to die towards the end but were persistent on holding their position. I got kind of boxed in and didnt have the strength myself to go around them. At 3 miles I was definitely sub 20 but I couldnt see the clock. Rounded a turn with about maybe 30 meters to go and saw the clock at about 20:10ish. Dissapointed with that, but pushed it as much as I could behind the pack in front of me, which limited me a little. I dont have the official time yet but it was right at about 20:20, which is still a PR! Unfortunately the field was so strong that the 30-34 group 3rd place was around mid 19’s. Oh well, I’ll be 35 on March 3, so maybe that will help some. I am happy with the time, though getting closer to sub 20 makes it even more agonizing not to get it. Plus, I would at least hope to get some age group schwag for my efforts, but when all the studs show up, it makes it difficult.