Friday, June 17, 2011

Running With The Wolves 10K Race Report

Photographs courtesy Richard Willmott, who will be compensated with baked goods. Thanks Richard!

Before the race
I've been told by members of the Highland City Striders that this race has been in a different month for the last three years in an attempt to get a day with better weather. This year's date was a weather success! It was about 74° with a cool breeze, and most of the course in the shade. My goal for this race was to be around 8:50 min/miles with a finishing time of 54:55. Well, that was the idea anyhow...
Pre-race silliness with Colin who wanted to moon
the camera moments after this photo was taken
Mile 1
It's not noticeable from the picture above, but I was quite far forward in the starting pack this time. After the corporate challenge, I gave up trying to be honest about where I belong in a pack. The absolute worst thing is getting trapped behind a gaggle of people who are slower than you. I have decided my newest strategy is to be as far forward as possible and pull off to the right to allow people to pass me as best they can. I nailed my first mile in 8:50 despite having a slight cramp in my lower left abdomen.

Mile 2
Mile 2 makes me want to punch every single runner who races with headphones on in the face. I'm not sorry to admit this. If you're running a race on a relatively narrow path, and you have your headphones on and up so loud that I can hear your crappy music choices and most importantly that you can't hear me yelling, "On your [right/left]", then you're a jerk. That's just terribly bad running etiquette. Despite briefly being elbowed by previously mentioned runner, I nailed 8:53 for my second mile and my slight cramp went away when my breathing pattern stabilized.

Mile 3
This was the best mile of the whole race for me. I felt strong; my breathing pattern was regular and well-established and my legs had found their rhythm.I hit a roughly 8:55 pace then the turnaround came...

Mile 4
It's all slowly, and consistently uphill from here on out. This is where it started to take it's toll on me. This was the point where I took a tiny sip of the water out of the cup they provided and my stomach told me that that was going to work. I just dumped it on my head and neck instead, which is why you'll notice my shirt was soaked. I don't even recall my mile time for this mile and honestly, it wasn't even a factor to me at that point. I was too busy marshaling my mental grit.

Mile 5
I thought 4 was bad, 5 was worse. I took up a mental chant of 1.25 miles to go, and kept checking my Garmin to update the chant in my head. I started thinking about the race in track laps and pushed through.

Mile 6
HEARTBREAK MOLEHILL! Ok, not quite, but coming around the corner at the 6 mile mark there is a short, but steep, incline to get back to the finish line. I knew how close I was to the finish line at this point and pushed up the stinking hill. I think I passed a couple people on the way too, I don't really pay attention to that.

The finish
I came around the corner and into the field and saw the timer clock off in the distance. I look at it, and maybe it's because I'm exhausted and I have sweat and water in my eyes, but I think the clock says 59. In my head, I start screaming, "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO" and start to pick up the pace. I passed someone in the home stretch, and did not even realize it until after I saw this photo:
I did not under any circumstances want to finish in over an hour. I knew, I KNOW, I am faster than that. However, as I get closer to the clock I realized that it had said 56 and not 59.
noooo!!! must beat 60 minutes!
 pink blur!
I finished the race in 57:56, and while it was a goodly two minutes slower than I wanted to finish in, I'll take it. I didn't actually train for the 10K like I train for 5Ks. No speed work, no tempo runs, nothing but long runs. Next year we'll see how much I can improve by actually training for it!