Winter Series #3: 10k
The 10k distance has become one of my favorites. Longer than the all out rush of the 5k, but shorter than the endurance and patience needed for a half marathon. This would be a test of how fit I felt, as just a week previous I had run the Hangover Half Marathon. I had PR’d that race, and while I was not injured (as was the case with my first half marathon) I had taken almost the whole week off to rest. Having run in my New Balance Minimus’ in the previous race, I wanted to return to my Bikilas. I missed the ground feel and the light openness the offered.
Toeing the starting line my legs felt good; the weather was brisk, with stronger gusts than the week before; and I wondered whether I should attempt to run hard or not. I was actually in mid-conversation with an acquaintance when the race started—the time on my watch wound up being a good 10 seconds slower than my finish time. It took me a few moments to get my bearings and work my way through the large starting pack, but I felt like I could push towards the front. I knew that a number of the faster runners were doing the 25k, so there was a good chance of getting a good finish.
Having run the same course a week previous I knew when to conserve some energy on the straightaways, when to push through the uphills, and when to fly through the downhills. I slowly moved through the racers running the 3 mile race (which had started from a different direction) and tried to settle into a good pace. The entire pack began to thin out as the 10k/25k racers separated from the 3milers and the long first straightaway became very lonely and quite. Just the wind and the slapping of my feet on the pavement. I actually didn’t realize I was at the front of the pack until about this point (see picture below) in the race—which is actually almost the end. I didn’t see that many people ahead of me, and I had a hunch that I was up there close to the leaders. I was really pushing it, trying to ensure that nobody caught me, which they didn’t. A guy behind me actually said he was trying to draft off me, but that he couldn’t keep my pace. That makes me feel pretty good!
Final Thoughts The race was great, and showed how far my endurance and recovery between runs has come. Also, I am really impressed with my foot fall in both of the pictures: landing flat, with a mid foot strike. Trying to keep good form at the end of a race is not easy, so I am glad to see that I look somewhat presentable. Now, the one thing that really irks me is that while I PR’d (40:30) and finished 6th overall, I still finished 4th in my age group! Come on 30-somethings! Cut me some slack!