For those of you living in other parts of the country, this past weekend was the start of the NCAA Basketball Tournament. I am typically (8 of the last 10 years) in Las Vegas for a guys trip during this weekend. Due to lots of factors, including the fact that I'm getting too old for five days in Vegas, and we have a new baby at my house, I decided not to make the trip this year - in fact, none of the usual crew went.
The Rodes City run is always run on the same weekend as the start of the tournament - so I've only run this race twice before. A 10K run is a distance I'm familiar with because it's how far the run is in an Olympic distance triathlon - which I've done around 10 of in the last 4 years. But going out and only running a stand-alone 10K (6.2 miles) is a different animal all together.
My previous times for this race were 52:17 (2001) and 44:07 (2011). So instead of just trying to PR for this race, I decided to set a goal of 42 minutes; which would be hard, but is more in line with my 5K time from a few weeks ago and what I thought I could do if I really pushed it.
After my 5K experience with my Garmin watch, I knew that I couldn't rely on my watch for an accurate pace, so I just knew that I wanted to do each mile around 6:40-6:45. If I did that, I could finish in under 42 minutes.
The race starts out pretty flat. I ran the first mile in 6:41. The second mile is pretty much all up hill and I was still feeling strong and managed a 6:46 mile. I grabbed a water at the aid station and took a few sips. I could tell that my heart rate was starting to elevate during the start of the third mile.
Mile three has a big descent followed by the biggest climb of the race. After this hill, every incline felt more and more difficult. I managed a 6:38 mile thanks to the descent at the beginning of the mile.
During the fourth mile I really struggled to maintain my pace. It felt like I was constantly looking down to make sure I was holding close to 6:45 or so. I had my watch set up to show total time, current pace and total distance. There were a few times during mile 4 where I slipped over 7 minute per mile pace. I kept telling myself that it was less than two miles to the finish. I ran the 4th mile in 6:44.
Mile five has lots of rolling hills and was difficult for me. I was setting small goals like trying to hang with people that were close to me or trying to pass runners up ahead that I could tell were slowing down (more than I was!). I kept looking at the total distance on my watch...which was a mistake. It's like watching water boil. Every tenth of a mile seemed to take forever. My legs were burning and I was breathing like I was doing speed work around a track! Mile 5 took 6:43.
The sixth mile starts with a hill and ends pretty flat. Despite that, I was slowing considerably. I just told myself that my goal was within reach as long as I pushed through the finish. I saw my mile split time of 6:52 when I finished mile six and knew that it was going to be close. The last two-tenths are down hill, so I started to sprint, while glancing down at my total time as it crept closer to 42 minutes. I ran the last 0.2 miles at a 6:16 pace and crossed the line at 41:49!
After missing my 5K goal by 4 seconds two weeks ago, it was a good feeling to get this one. I demolished by 10K PR by over 2 minutes as well. I've been doing lots of short, high-intensity runs since I finished Ironman in August of 2011 and it's clearly paying off. No way I would have been able to hold this pace for 6.2 miles two years ago!
Avg Pace Per Mile: 6:43
Division (M 30-34) Place: 32nd out of 374
Gender Place: 138th out of 2877
Overall Place: 161st out of 6572
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