Monday, August 3, 2009

Saturday's brutal 10k

So, Saturday morning I ran a 10k. It's only the second 10k I have ever raced. The first one I ran was back in February, and I finished it in about 1:02. It was a very flat easy course. At that time, the longest run I had completed in preparation for that 10k was 8 miles, and I had only run that once. So, obviously I am in better running shape now than I was back in February. I set a goal for this 10k to finish in under an hour. I thought that would be pretty easy considering all the speedwork and tempo runs I have been doing.

What I didn't realize was that this 10k was at Coonskin Park and that there would be some hills involved. Lots of hills actually. Once I realized what was in store for me, I really started to doubt the under one hour goal I had set. The first mile was decently flat, and I started off at about a 9:30 pace. The first lengthy hill slowed me down a little bit, but nothing major. The second hill started separating people a little. I started passing some people, yay! Then, there was this huge downhill. We ran to the entrance of the park, then turned around and headed back. Realizing I would have to run up that huge hill I just ran down, I slowed my pace a little. Then, the most annoying thing happened. These stupid cars were trying to get by us. We had runners on both sides of the road, and some of the runners had stupid iPods in their ears and couldn't hear us yelling at them to let the cars by. I am guilty of running with my iPod, but I always keep the volume low where I can hear things going on around me. I could tell the driver's of the cars weren't very happy. I don't think the race organizers did a very good job of trying to control traffic. There were only a couple signs up that said watch for runners. I mean, it's a state park with little to no traffic, but still.

Anways, back to the race. At the top of this hill, there was a flagger person waiving the 10k people to the right, up this crazy steep hill. I look up and my heart sinks. This is probably the steepest hill I have ever seen, much less attempted to run up! I saw 3 people ahead of me, and they were walking the hill. Very smart idea. I decided I would walk the hill too. That was even really difficult! It was not just a steep hill, but it was long. My calves weren't used to that at all and were aching. I got to the top, huffing and puffing, my strength drained. The people ahead of me were still walking, so I walked a little more to get my strength. The rest of the course on the hill wasn't bad, just small rolling hills. The 4 of us started running again. There were 2 guys and a girl in a bright pink shirt. It took me a good 1/2-3/4 of a mile to get all my strength back. But once I did, I was right back to it. I passed one of the guys. Then I passed the other guy. It was down to me and this chick in the pink shirt. I'm actually very glad this girl was in front of me because she really seriously motivated me to run harder. I was determined to catch her!

So I'm on this hill loop, which is a good 2 miles, trying to pass this girl. GOSH, I can't catch her! I'm picking up my pace in the straight, flat areas. I actually felt a lot stronger on the second half of this race, particularly the last 2 miles. We are starting to get close to heading back down this steep hill. I'm still trailing this girl by about 200 yards. I start down the giant steep hill, half afraid I'm going to fall down because it's a little wet, and half afraid I'm going to hurt my knees if I run too fast down it. I made it to the base of the hill and the flagger is cheering me and tells me it's all flat from here. I have 1 mile left. I know this, and from somewhere deep within me, I start running this incredible pace. I don't know where it came from, but here it was. I was running so fast, and it felt amazing. It didn't feel like anything could stop me. I'm glancing down at my watch and I'm in the low 8's. I couldn't believe it! I'm running faster than my 5k pace, and all that after running that damn hill! I see this guy ahead of me, and I pass him. I have my eye on the pink shirt. She's tired, drained, and I am on a mission. I surge past her, and keep going, speeding up a little. I hit the 7's. WTF?? I've never run under an 8 min pace! I'm huffing and puffing and feel like I'm going to die, but the finish line is just ahead. I make it. They didn't have a time clock, so I looked at my watch and it was 58:41. I couldn't believe I finished in under an hour! I thought the hills definitely ruined my chances for that. I walked for at least a minute. I felt so victorious. I'm not sure how I finished in my class because they haven't posted the results or official times. I know I didn't get 1st or 2nd, though. It didn't matter to me. I passed the girl in the pink shirt, and found this speed locked away deep inside me.

I guess those 12 mile long runs and 8 mile tempo runs really help out. When those other people were struggling at the end, I was running the fastest times I have ever run. I'm posting the splits, but these aren't accurate because my Garmin only read 6.01 miles, not 6.2.


After looking at my HR during the run, I realized I didn't push myself hard enough. I think I was being very reserved at the beginning because I was afraid I was going to lose steam and not be able to finish. I actually really psyched myself out before the race, thinking to myself that I couldn't do it, couldn't finish, couldn't do it in under an hour. The mind can really screw with you. Now I know that I had plenty more in me and I could've finished even faster. Next time, I'm going to go into a race telling myself that I'm a running machine (lol) and I'm going to give it all I got from the beginning. I'm well trained, I've put in the speedwork, I've put in the tempo runs, and I've put in the long runs. Why did I doubt my ability?


  1. WHOA! Good for you!!! Congratulations!!!

  2. Hello! Thanks for coming and reading my blog!! Always nice to know someone is reading what I write. I just have to say that I cannot believe you ran a 10K in an hour. That is AMAZING to me. Maybe I could finish a 5K in a little less than an hour. But a 10K?? Not happenin'!! Looking forward to reading more of your blog! Christine

  3. good work! That is great about your ending! I am the same way very conservative at the beginning afraid of not finshing at all. I also worry about my knees on the downhill. How did you feel the next day? Keep up the GREAT work!
    Kristin :)