Race Report - Army/Navy 10k

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The weather was b-e-a-utiful on Saturday for this run. The race began at 9 am and I comfortably wore shorts and a tank top. My goal for this race was to break my current PR of 46:00, to average under a 7:00/mile, and eventually to run under 40:00 minutes (long term goal). To accomplish this I was going to try to run a negative split. This means run the second half of the race faster than the first.

Chilling before the race begins.
Pre-race: These base sponsored runs are always so unorganized and low-key that it makes them have a strange feel. There were no t-shirts or swag or snacks or really anything. They didn't even have a start line. We literally just kinda grouped up by where the timer was and a guy blew a fog horn for us to begin. Oh well, just run!

Look at the really fancy registration table. These base sponsored runs are so podunk it's comical.
Mile 1-2: I started off with the lead group of men and we took off around a 6:20 pace. I knew this was faster than what I wanted to run (or could sustain), but I went ahead and let myself run fast for the first 800 meters. It felt great to run fast and in the back of my mind I thought "I could run this pace forever!" Lies. Fortunately I've run enough races to know that my brain will try to trick me during the first few minutes of a race. After the first 800 meters I began to pull back some and settle in. This was hard to do. Especially since I had taken a few days off from running to rest up my legs. My legs wanted to run fast. They had plenty of stored glycogen and it felt good to use them. My goal was to run about 5-10 seconds slower than my goal pace here. Mile one: 6:45, Mile two: 7:02

I don't know what I'm doing in this photo. I think we were just about to start.
Mile 3-4: My goal here was to run a bit faster than the first two miles, right at my goal pace. The course was full of small rolling hills, nothing crazy but just enough to keep it interesting. Going up hills I let myself slow a bit and going down I went faster. My strategy on hills is 'equal effort' not 'equal speed'. Around mile 4 I found myself mostly alone. The really fast men were pretty far ahead and there were only a few people near me. I was running slightly behind the lead female and around mile 4 she started to fade a bit. I charged ahead of her and put up a pretty fast mile.  Mile three: 7:07, Mile four: 6:46

Mile 5-6: After passing the lead female I felt a cramp/side stitch coming on. I think I was paying for the fast pace and the surge. I forced myself to relax (is that possible?) and I changed up my breathing. The cramp never came on fully and I was able to continue on without slowing much. I passed one more male who was fading at mile 5.5 and then I was truly alone. The closest person was about 30 seconds ahead of me. The last half a mile was painful. I was definitely hitting some sort of wall.  I kept looking at my GPS watch thinking "am I even moving?" and "will this mile ever end?" My brain told me that racing was stupid, to never do this again, and that running fast is not fun. I ignored my brain and told my legs to just keep moving. I crossed the finished line like a panting dog in 42:17 which is a new PR!  Mile five: 6:58, mile six: 6:53

The base has some historic lighthouses on it which made the run very scenic
Post-race: I placed 13th overall (not a big race though, maybe 150 people) and 4th in my age group. I also kept my heart rate at an average of 157 bpm. That is about 80% of my max which is surprisingly where experts say I should aim for a 10k race. I think that means that I was giving about my max effort for where my fitness level is right now.  I am very grateful to have met my goal of beating my PR and averaging under a 7/min mile pace. It was a fun race and a great experience for my first 10k. Now I just need to aim for a sub 40 minute 10k. That sounds really hard!

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