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.)