Friday, April 12, 2013

Monument Avenue 10k Strategy

Back in January when I was seriously waffling about whether or not to even sign up for this race, I had a few caveats for participation, and I quote:

"If Lizzie comes early, I won't be running the race. And, if I am experiencing any pain or discomfort after the 10 miler, I won't be doing the race either."

Well, neither of these things have happened. Krystal and I chat every day and she has informed me that Lizzie is not going anywhere any time soon, though I really do wish she would hurry up and come out to play. And, 3 days out from the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler, I feel 100% fine. 

So it looks like I am running the 10k this Saturday. 

When I signed up, Greg and I made the deal that we were only running this race if we raced it: all out, balls-to-the-wall, do or die, kick some serious assphalt - all those fun things. So we  agreed that if/when we run the Monuemnt Avenue 10k, we are aiming to break 49:00. 

For me, that is a very ambitious goal. My last 10k PR was last year's race during which I ran a 53:22, average pace of 8:36 minutes per mile. To make the 49:00, we're talking about shaving off 4 minutes and maintaining an average pace of 7:54 minute miles.

Um... I've never done that math before. Eep.

ANYWAY, because we have set this insane, sepcific goal for ourselves, we need to do something that I've never really done before when it comes to the actual racing part: strategize. 

Usually my race day strategy consists of things like "don't pee yourself, don't poop yourself, don't fall down, don't break anything, just keep running, and finish."

These basics aren't going to get me to a 49:00.

So here is the grand strategy Greg and I are employing in hopes of getting there.
  1. Choose a very visible race day outfit. This is a very crowded race and we are going to have to do bobbing and weaving. At Cherry Blossom, Greg wore a gray shirt and when we would be temporarily separated as we worked our way through dense traffic, it was very hard for me to spot him again. I was wearing white, so it was probably not much easier to spot me. So, I'm wearing a neon pink top along with neon pink compression knee socks and Greg is wearing orange or yellow.
  2. Proper pre-race precautions including refraining from running on Thursday and Friday so that our legs are as fresh as they can be on Saturday morning (stretching and walking are cool/encouraged); proper fueling strategy; don't eat any Mexican or drink wine on Friday night; go to bed early; etc.
  3. Start as far to the front of our corral as possible. Initially I was assigned to seeded corral G and Greg was in C but I sweet talked the "problem fixer" at the expo into moving me into corral C, so we'll be trying to be as far forward in the corral as we can get to cut out more traffic.
  4. Choose a designated pacer/leader. Again, because of the crowded nature of this race, we will likely not be able to run side by side. One of us will have to be the leader to find openings and cut through other runners, while the other simply follows. Greg is taller and faster, so he has been designated as our leader - I'll be doing my best to keep with him.
  5. No Facebooking, photo taking, bathroom breaks, or water stops. We won't be running tourists this time around. No time for any of this. Weather is looking like high 40s and low 50s during the race, so we can easily make it through without stopping at water stops. Obviously if one of us absolutely has to have water or make an emergency bathroom break, we will. If it's an emergency. 
  6. Have fun, like we always do. I love running races because I love to feed off the energy of the crowd and have fun. This is why I usually don't set ambitious time-based goals for myself. To me, every mile and every race is a big accomplishment no matter how long it takes to do it. I don't want to lose sight of that this year.


  1. I will be rooting for you ... from behind. I'm in Wave F. I hope you and Greg crush your goal!

  2. Hi! We just moved from Columbus, Ohio. Love reading your blog! Awesome time today running 10k!!

    1. Hi Erin! Welcome to RVA! I hope you learn to love it like I have. Thanks for reading!