It was perfect race weather the morning of the 10k; so nice that I debated wearing a jacket for the race, because it was a little chilly. Lucky for me, and my super sweaty soaked self, I opted to ditch it before the race. Phew. I didn't get in my warm up, or any stretches, leg swings, nada. In fact, I didn't know where the start line was when a person with a hand speaker started saying incomprehensible things toward the crowd. Until I realized that it was the start, and we were to go. Ok then!
When I got to the corner that the guy was on, I started my watch. As a no frills, no timing, donation-based event I was cool with the laidback nature, but as I approached people going two different directions I realized I didn't know which why I was supposed to go. Luckily some guys instructed me to go left. From there I knew it'd be an out and back, so easy peasy. Others weren't as lucky as they were trotting along with us only to realize that they were planning to do the 5k and that we weren't doing a double loop as has been done in the past. Oops!
Prior to the race, I had messaged my buddy Jacqueline to see if maybe I could pace off of her for the race. She wanted to know what I was thinking I could/would run, and I said 8:40s maybe 8:30s. I also slipped in that if I was having a super excellent day, maybe 8:20s (as some race calculators have predicted off of a speedy 3 mile this fall). She let me know that she usually starts slower and speeds up and I said that was my usual plan as well, but I've sucked at doing lately. I saw her before the race, but after the weird start, I just ran.
Mile 1 8:33
Mile one felt good but I usually slow down after that first mile, so I mentally prepared for this race to be in the 8:40s. Which would still be awesome! I ran a 5k in the 8:40s this summer, two maybe even. And my 5 mile last spring was 8:50 pace. Around mile 2 Jacqueline and her friend ran up on me. And were chatting away. And tried to engage me in chatting. Sorry ladies, this is far too fast for me to converse during.
Mile 2 8:37
They went ahead of me shortly and I tucked in behind them, and I was surprised to see that our pace was picking up but I was still feeling just as good. Hmm..... It was during this mile that I like to distract myself during an out and back race by counting places. Just shy of the turn around I was in 5th place for females and 25th overall.
Mile 3 8:35
We hit the turn around and I was shocked at how good I was feeling. I failed to look at my watch at the turn around so I wasn't sure what my overall time was going to look like, or if the course was long/short, which is probably for the best (foreshadowing).
Usually miles 4 and 5 of a 10k are the worst because you've hit the turn around but all of that fatigue starts to hit your legs and you feel like you're the weight of an elephant. But nope, not today. I started to realize that I was running on my buddies heels, and that I needed to go around them because I was feeling GOOD.
Mile 4 8:35
(Did somebody order some super consistent splits or what??)
I told the ladies I was going to push the final two miles because I refused to let mile 5 be the shit show that it typically is, and they told me to go on ahead. I knew that Jacqueline wouldn't let me go, because she has the same competitive brain that I do, so that kept me pushing ahead. Despite running my fastest mile split of the day, I still had tons of people pass me this mile. I actually lost track, but a few women and quite a few men flew by like they were just out for a jog. I guess maybe they were out for a jog since no one had bibs on, but it was such a huge crowd and so disorganized at the start, I'm guessing they just started out way behind or accidentally went with the 5kers at the start.
Mile 5 8:27
During the final mile, my friends again passed me, and I vowed to stick to them like glue knowing they'd help me along for a nice finishing sprint. I kept calculating my final time based on an 8:30 pace, but then couldn't really think of what a good 10k finishing time was. Derp. I was following my friends and working so hard that my brain said "I think they all missed the turn for the finish" my brain responded "they've done this race for years! surely they know!" I caught up to them when they realized their mistake and I hauled up 3 flights of stairs to make up ground and get back on track. So much for that 8:30 pace. Grumble.
Mile 6 8:36
I knew my race was going to be over 6.2, but I wasn't sure how much and I was getting tired. And now there wasn't any one in front of me to chase. And I knew we started on a nice little downhill, so the opposite was my finishing stretch. I noticed a few people walking from the 5k looking at me funny when I was crossing the train tracks, and just after I crossed them I realized there was a train coming right toward me. Uff.
.33 2:42 (8:09 pace, 7:20 max pace)
I finished the 6.33 miles in 54:08 for a pace of 8:33.
It felt so good to run so strong, and mentally be in the race. 10ks are SO HARD. And will always be the hardest race distance in my opinion. 5ks you can hurt for 23-24 minutes, nbd, half marathons you pace yourself so really only that last 40-50 minutes is hard, but a 10k is that crazy all out mentally tough distance. And I'm so excited at how I did!
This 10k is tied for the second fastest 10k pace ever, which was on a short course (like almost a half mile shorter than this course) so I'm excited for this to be my last race of 2017 (and as a 33 year old!) and to lead into the 2018 year.
P.S. Did I use the word excited enough? Because...uh... yeah. I am.