RR: Father’s Day 10K; AKA The Accidental 10 Miles
Today was the Father’s Day 10K, a race that I really love because it was my first 10K in about 10 years last year. Last year I had a pretty good race and came in better than I expected but it was the type of race where I fought and dug tooth and nail to get myself across the line. Leading up to today’s race I was worried (see my blog about nerves), but got myself psyched up and per Toby’s advice, paid a lot of attention to my nutrition and hydration.
I woke up at 5:45 before my alarm at 6. I had some cereal and a cup of coffee and was rearing to go. Chris was on the fence about, well, everything. He wasn’t sure if he was coming and he wasn’t sure if he came if he was going to run or not. This delayed us a bit, but we got to the race about a half an hour before the start, enough for me to grab a chip and get stretched. Last year the start was a combo 5K/10K start along a pretty narrow riverwalk which made for a very slow and congested start. To counteract this I tried to seed myself closer to the front, but thankfully this year the race organizers split the starts so the 10K went and the 5K followed 15 minutes later. As a result, it was actually a very fast start- probably the fastest I’ve ever had.
My first three miles were solid and I was keeping pace. I made a friend, Nathan, who was running next to me for a while. I introduced myself and said at this rate we were going to be each others’ rabbits. He was slowing at an uphill on ramp so I told him “what goes down must go up!” and what-do-you-know the sucker passed me (but he cheered me on while he was doing it!). At the three mile mark I actually came over a minute faster than my most recent 5K and I lost Nathan after I passed him. This stretch was hard because it was very windy and it was on a gravel trail. Looking at my Garmin I slowed down a LOT, about thirty seconds per mile below my goal pace. At this point I was feeling good but not feeling strong enough that I could have made up that time. So, I decided to have fun. I continued to thank the volunteers. I was cheering for the runners around me “If you’re gonna pass me like that, you’d better finish strong! Don’t let me catch you!” I was also cheering at the accidental spectators… yesterday was a Kenny Chesney concert so drunk concert-goers were waking up on their boats on the river to start to drink again. Nothing like yelling at drunk guys to cheer for you!
This is a hard finish. It’s about a 1.2 mile straightaway so it’s very hard to gauge when to kick. Last year I kicked too early and this year I kicked too late. But the real kicker? Without trying I finished less than 30 seconds slower than my time last year! And I had more fun than I’ve ever had on a run. It sucks a bit that I could have had a course PR today, but there was nothing like cheering people on and running on a beautiful day by the river… screw 30 seconds on a clock! And unlike last year I wasn’t fighting tooth and nail and gritting my teeth and digging deep for all I had… I was laughing and smiling and having a blast. This is the way to run a race, my friends.
I was so hopped up on endorphins Chris wanted to kill me. I was like a 5 year old who just got back from camp and had 10 cups of coffee… “And then I was running, and then I cheered someone on and then I saw….” He wanted to go to the gym so I thought I’d keep him company since he was a good sport at the race. I had so much energy I thought I’d run another 2 miles so I’d knock out 8+ for a long run today. Well, I started and I felt so good that I decided to run another 5K. So I did! Not only did I run another 5K, I ran it so fast I beat my 5K PR for the season. At this point I had 9.3 miles under my belt for the day so it only made sense to run a little further to make it 10 miles, so I did!
TONS of fun
2 good runs 🙂