Monday, April 25, 2016

Redemption Part Deux: 10k

I was really unhappy with my Monument Avenue 10k performance this year. It just left a bad taste in my mouth, even though I know I was sick and therefore had a "valid" excuse for it.

I think excuses are crap, valid or not.*

Over the next few weeks as I recovered from the marathon and Plague 3.0, run after run felt very slow and sluggish. I felt like my legs had forgotten how to go fast.

At the beginning of last week, I told myself that if I was able to run some 10k PR pace miles on Monday or Wednesday, then I'd sign up to run the Carytown 10k and try to redeem myself. To me, there was no point in running another 10k right now unless I was going to set the personal record that I had wanted to achieve at Monument Avenue. My standing PR was set last May at Stratford Hills, with a pace of 7:11/mile, so I was targeting 7:05/mile as the goal for Carytown.

Then, I didn't manage to run a single mile at PR pace during any of my workouts. But at the end of Wednesday morning's run, I decided to go ahead and do Carytown anyway. Even if it wasn't going to be a PR effort, I knew that it would be more enjoyable than Monument Avenue and I wanted that bad experience to be erased.

The morning of the race, my stomach was giving me some trouble so when I arrived early to pick up my bib and to meet Kit for a little shake out, I wasn't feeling very hopeful. GB was also running the race and we connected while milling around waiting for Kit to arrive, so he joined us on a little half mile warm up. BFF Steve has been having me do butt-kickers to try to get me further up into a mid foot strike, so I did some of that to loosen up as we slowly ran our warm up. It also makes me feel lighter on my feet, even though I look like a doofus.

 For those who don't know what butt kickers are...

Our warm up route took us to the starting area, where the three of us lined up together near the front of the pack. Carytown 10k is not a huge race - this year there were 785 finishers - but it does tend to attract a decently fast crowd, as most races organized by Richmond Road Runners Club do. Therefore, starting up front can be very dangerous. I did that at the Moonlight 4 Miler last August and ended up running a 6:30 first mile or something, trying to keep up with the lead pack (not a good idea, by the way). It's easy to get swept up, but it's also nice because you can just take off and run your pace immediately without tripping over the people in front of you and dodging/weaving until you find a comfortable spot and get into the groove.

Anyway, with the usual "Runners Set... and GO!" commands, we took off. Kit and I ran together for all of 2 blocks before he said, "Alright, see you at the end!" and then I found myself side by side with GB for pretty much the rest of the race. As Mile 1 ticked off, I noted that I felt about 1,000 times better than I had at the end of Mile 1 at Monument Ave.

Greg and I traded "leads" through 2, 3, and 4 with one or the other being just a few steps ahead at various points. I was pleasantly surprised at my performance thus far, which was on pace for a PR. We've never said it out loud, but GB and I definitely have a bit of a friendly rivalry going on at the 10k distance (admit it, GB). I know he was thinking, "I'm not letting her get ahead of me," while I was thinking, "I'm not letting Barch get this one." It actually serves us well and because of it, we push each other when we may have otherwise let up. This is exactly what happened during the second half of this race, where we were often running elbow to elbow, neither one of us giving in.

Then, in the last mile, we hit the tiny incline of Nansemond Street and per usual, GB got ahead of me going up the hill and I never caught him again. Not surprising; Barch is a hill beast and I don't think I have ever beaten him up one, big or small. He also has a great end-of-race kick that I can't match, so double whammy.

Excuses, excuses, Kathryn.

There is a happy ending though: I managed to pull out that personal record with a 43:30 race. Greg beat me by 15 seconds with his 43:15, also a PR. Kit rounded out the trifecta with his own super speedy PR of 41:59.

Victorious!

Making the morning even sweeter, Kit got 3rd in his age group and I got 2nd in my age group - a field of 72 women - and 7th woman overall. 

We even got ribbons!

My improvement was 1 minute, 14 seconds or around 10 seconds per mile. That doesn't sound like much, but for a 10k, it is actually not too shabby. Interestingly, that's nearly identical to the margin of improvement from my Erie Marathon pace (8:10/mile) to Wrightsville pace (8:01/mile).  

Hmmmm.

It's also 6 whole minutes ahead of my disaster Monument Avenue time from 2 weeks ago.

That's almost a minute a mile.

WHOA. I just now did that math.

I feel quite redeemed now.

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*Only when it comes to running; not when it comes to procrastinating on house cleaning or other responsible grown up stuff.

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