46:05, I Survived!
Slip & Slide
Twist & Turn
B Race, Be Careful
Zone 4, Ouch
I gave myself an extra day before writing this race report to allow me to gain some perspective. Because I was not really pleased right after my race. I'd hoped to run a negative split and finish in 46:00 or better. Instead, I ended up with a positive split and 5 seconds over my time goal. 5 SECONDS!!!
BUT, when I set that time goal awhile ago, I had no idea how technical the course would be: 25 turns (click on the map above to enlarge), half on uneven brick roads (yuck!) and quite wet and slippery thanks to two days of heavy rain. Have I mentioned that I train almost exclusively on fairly straight, smooth roads and bike paths that are relatively free of puddles, slick leaves, slimy algae/moss and toe-catching surfaces?
Man, my heart rate was over 100 just waiting at the start. Coach's last instructions to me echoed in my head:
Be very careful with the cobbles and the crowds - this race is a tough one because of the course and people - stay out of harms way.
Plus, he'd assigned me a 60-mile bike ride to do after the race and a 10-mile run the next day. Gee, thanks Coach ... Perhaps that was his way of making sure I didn't overdo things at this 10K. After all, it was only a "B" race while the half iron tri next week is my "A" race.
Yet, at least I'd made it to the start line. Since my last post, I actually had some serious doubts. On Wednesday my left calf mysteriously began feeling like I'd done a hundred heel raises. WTF? I haven't a clue why but it was same calf that bothered me most from the half marathon back in December and I was quite worried. I bailed on all runs this week and only swam, stretched and foam rolled hoping I could run by the weekend. By Friday it was better, thankfully.
Before the race began I found Running Geezer 26.2 and Sheri (photo of us above but from after the race), who'd run 10Ks before and this particular course a couple times. I wanted to make sure I didn't start out too fast and hoped to run with Jim the first mile or so as he'd told me he'd be shooting to run 7:30-ish pace. But, that was before we knew the course was going to be slick. At the start he told me he was going to back off his original pace to make sure he didn't slip and fall. The gun went off and I followed him for about the first half mile through two 90-degree turns until the crowd thinned out. I hit mile marker one where the course clock said 7:30. Right on target.
But how long did it take for me to get across the start line?
Of course, that answer would have been easy if I'd just looked at my Garmin and computed the time difference but I was WAY too busy. Avoid running on slippery leaves! Don't run on the painted line! Pick your feet up on that brick! Watch out for sneaky depressions! Stay clear of puddles! Whoa, felt a little slide on that last step -- be careful! Don't slip, don't trip and whatever you do, DON'T FALL!
And all the twists and turns on the course were driving me nuts. I never felt like I could get into a rhythm. Ack, another turn! Which line to take? Hop up on the grass to avoid the big puddle? No, go wide, go wide! No, don't go wide, there's someone passing on that side! Slow down and get up on that grass! Eeks, it's squishy. Don't roll an ankle! Whew, made it. Now speed back up!
So they say this is a very scenic course but all I saw was the ground below me. I ran mainly by effort but began feeling like I was working way too hard by mile 5. There wasn't much shade on this stretch of road we were on and the temperature was now about 60 degs F, which with 90% humidity felt hot (esp. having run in cooler, drier conditions much of this year). Blech! To make matters worse, we went around a traffic circle that made me think I was still somewhere back on mile 4 (I got it mixed up with a lake we were supposed to go around, a lake that I missed seeing!). AHHHH! Slow down, you've still got 2 more miles to go!
Obviously, I'd lost my mind at this point in the race. I'd lost count of the miles. I'd forgotten the last course clock time. I finally glanced down at my Garmin, saw 83 and assumed it was 4.83 miles (it was HR 183!). I glanced down again a little while later and it still said 83. Gah, screw it, just keep running!
But a couple turns later I saw a familiar stretch of brick (like the road we started on) and glanced up to see finish line straight ahead -- Woohoo! There were two women not far ahead of me, one further front who was in her 20's and another one who was possibly in my age group (AG). Is it just me who wishes people's ages are written on their calfs at every race? The second one kept turning around to see where I was and made me decide to drop the hammer and leave nothing out on the course. I'll figure out how to do the bike ride later!
As I passed her she told me "good job" and I tried to say "thanks" but I think all that came out was a grunt. After that I just focused on the bricks to make sure I didn't do a face plant on the final stretch. I didn't even see the finish line clock as I ran under it!
Gun time: 46:12
Net time: 46:05 (7:25 pace), 5/113 F45-49, 41/979 Female
FWIW, here are my Garmin splits:
mi 1, 7:23, AHR 165
mi 2, 7:21, AHR 177
mi 3, 7:15, AHR 184
mi 4, 7:19, AHR 185
mi 5, 7:29, AHR 183
mi 6, 7:35, AHR 183
0.27 mi, 6:34 pace, AHR 184
Tot 6.27 mi in 46:07, 7:21 pace, AHR 180 - zone 4*
*Ouch. Perhaps I started out a bit too fast but I think the slippery, twisty course really made me work a LOT harder than I expected!
Whatever, being my first 10K, it's a PR either way :-)
I stuck around afterwards to watch my friend Marathon Chris finish with a 2:32 PR. Congrats, Chris!
Then a couple hours later, Dave and I rode 60 miles on one of the windiest days this year (steady winds shown in the left, gusts in the right). Averaged only 16.9 mph, but I'm just glad we were able to get it done.
Sunday (today), 10 miles run on a cool, breezy, low humidity day. 9:10 avg pace, AHR 153. Zone 1 bliss!
Next Sunday, the Gator Half Iron Tri!!!