Sallie Mae 10K

April 17th, 2005

It was just Pam and me for the Sallie Mae 10K this morning; we stuck together for the first two miles, as my legs started to loosen up and I just enjoyed the fresh air and the sun beating down and shining off of the Potomac River. After two 10:30min/miles, I picked up the pace a bit; I knew that my previous best for a 10K was at a 9:50min/mile pace, so all I could think in the back of my head was that I’d ended up "80 seconds behind". That doesn’t sound like much but when the entire course is only 6.2 miles long and you’re already 2 miles in, that’s a lot for me. I’d been doing a 4:1 run:walk ratio and I kept it up for miles 3 and 4, where I started to shave off a little bit of time; after mile 3 it was down to 70 seconds behind, and after mile 4 just 50 seconds behind.

I took one final walk break about halfway through mile 5 and then it was running all the rest of it in; when I hit mile marker 5 I was "behind" by just 20 seconds. I knew that if I kept up the pace I was on I was pretty well set to beat my old PR. As I hit the final marker with two-tenths of a mile to go, I glanced at my watch… tons of time to spare, thank goodness. I was now ahead of schedule by about 30 seconds. I got one final boost when about 250 feet from the finish line someone started sprinting past me, and I wasn’t ready to let this stranger win; I picked up the pace myself and ended up racing him across the finish line. (I won, ha ha.) The final result, 1:00:21, knocked 39 seconds off of the previous PR.

I have one more 10K scheduled (the Capitol Hill Classic 10K) on May 22nd. I think if I drop the walk breaks after the first mile or two I can knock off some more of those remaining pesky 22 seconds; it’d be nice to get a sub-hour finishing time one of these days. Until then, I’m happy with today’s victory. (Pam did really well too, coming in about ten minutes later. No PR for her, unfortunately, but I know she will next time. Things just didn’t seem to be aligning for her today.)

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Cherry Blossom 10-miler

April 3rd, 2005

Considering that I haven’t run since March 22nd, I’m awfully thrilled with this result! But OH GOOD GOD WAS IT WINDY OUT!

I’m not kidding here, we’re talking the weatherman warning people about killer gusts of wind. With pointy teeth. Well, maybe not with pointy teeth but you get the idea. What I’d underestimated this morning was the effect of the wind blowing off the water, so while a jacket and t-shirt would have been fine if I’d been running on the W&OD Trail, waiting for the race to start in West Potomac Park was nothing short of nightmarish. *shiver* At least I’d had the good sense to put on running tights instead of shorts, unlike poor Chris, who made me colder just looking at him. It was ultimately cold enough in the waiting zone that I took my number off my shirt and pinned it to my leg because I wasn’t sure the jacket was ever coming unzipped. And of course, with Daylight Savings Time, that’s one hour less sleep. Ugh. I felt like a popsicle zombie.

Once we got moving, though, things were much better. There were just five of us from my group this year (a combination of sicknesses and personal tragedies kept the others away) and we stuck together for the first two miles before one of the runners dropped behind. By the time we cleared Memorial Bridge and were heading into Rock Creek Park, a combination of protection from the wind, a little bit of sun peeking out, and being moving even meant it was safe to unzip the jacket for a while. When the wind did show up, it seemed to almost push us forward on the course throughout Rock Creek Park. I like that.

Around mile 5 it was just me and Randy, and the two of us picked the pace up a little once we hit the turnaround point at mile 6.5; up until then our times were ranging throughout the mid-11s, but we pushed it up to 10-minute miles for the last few. With about half a mile to go, Randy took off and I remembered the times when I used to be able to do the same sort of thing. I think this is a clear sign that I’m now running more to the extent of my abilities; I just don’t have so much unused energy that I can blast through the last half-mile of a race. Last year’s finishing time for me was 2:13:53, so I was pretty happy to nail a new finishing time of 1:49:02, which comes out to a 10:54min/mile average.

Then came waiting for the rest of our group (cold! so cold!) and standing around for 20 minutes as the wind started picking back up—big time—may have been a mistake. By the time the last of our group showed up and we started walking back to the Metro, my legs were beginning to cramp up (which disconcertingly made my toes curl up, something I’d never have happen before but talking to others apparently is not that uncommon). Finally it was back home to a warm shower and then a soak in the tub… the latter of which I managed to fall asleep in. Whoops. Oh well, that’s one for the books. At least the water hadn’t gotten down to freezing temperatures before I woke up; the last thing I need is to catch pneumonia from falling asleep in the bath!

Oh, and for my records (and other people’s curiousity), my mile splits, in order from mile 1 to 10: 11:52, 11:17, 11:54, 11:14, 11:13, 11:24, 11:10, 9:56, 9:54, 9:04.

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