The name of the 10K I ran today was actually "Jingle All The Way" 10K, but I wasn't doing much jingling, as I opted not to wear the bells on the shoes that they gave me. The weather was about 36 degrees and misting rain. This race sets the record for the coldest race I have ever run. The windchill at the half marathon last week made that race seem colder at times, but when it wasn't windy, it wasn't that cold. And it's different when it's sunny and you're dry-- like last weekend. Today was a very dreary, cold, wet day. In spite of all this, I toughed it out in my red snowflake skirt.
Carlton and Michael Hayden came up to run the race with me this weekend. We're quite a team! Carlton was hoping to set a new personal record, and Mike wanted to run his fasted 10K of the year. My goal was to break 49 minutes. I definitely thought this was an attainable goal, given my current fitness level and my past races. However, the 10K has always been my worst distance. I am never sure how to pace myself. I can run negative splits at marathons and half marathons, and I can gun a 5K pretty well (usually) but I am still uncertain what the best 10K strategy is.
My PR for the 10K was a 49:55, which would have been a lot faster, if there hadn't been such a huge hill during the last mile. I can't ever seem to catch a break with the 10K distance. It's always too hot, too windy, too hilly, or too cold!
I think I went out too fast. Carlton disagrees, but a 7:35 pace was way too ambitious. I felt good during that first mile, but then slowed down shortly afterwards. I was thankful that I had warmed up because my legs were freezing and so was my face. If it hadn't been for the run from the car to the start, I would have been frozen solid!
There was a very slight hill here, but nothing really noticeable. Otherwise, the course was flat. And I had run most of this course during the Marine Corps Marathon. My nose was freezing. I managed to run a 7:46. Perfect! This was the pace I was hoping to maintain for the rest of the race.
During mile 3, I saw Carlton on his way back toward the finish line. I was really surprised to see him, because I fully expected Michael Hayden to be ahead of him. I was excited for Carlton, but wondering what happened to Mike. I saw Mike shortly after, and he was very focused. I felt like I was maintaing my pace, but I actually slowed down to a 8:00 pace for this mile.
I passed the 5K mat at 24:24. However, when I looked at my watch, I misread it to say 24:12, which was faster than my Turkey Trot 5K! I was psyched! After that, I think I got over-confident and felt like I didn't have to run as hard to do well. I slowed down again to yield a 8:07.
I was uncomfortably cold and I was struggling to maintain pace. People started to pass me. I was getting sick of the race at this point and I just wanted it to be over. I just wanted to maintain my pace and "survive" here. Pace for this mile was 8:08. I started to get mad at myself for slowing down so much. I really wanted to break an 8:00 average pace. I needed to gun the last mile.
Carlton came back to run with me at about mile 5.7. He told me to run faster and I screamed that I couldn't. Carlton was running ahead of me and I tried hard to catch up with him. He kept telling me to run faster and push harder, so I sped up at the end of the mile to get a 8:03. The first part of the mile must have been really slow!
The last 0.2
I decided to really give it my all at this point and makeup for my slower running earlier in the race. I felt like I was sprinting, but according to my watch, I was only going at a pace of 8:25.
Looking back on this race, I really wish I would have pushed harder. I pushed as hard as I could while Carlton was there, but I think I lost a lot of motivation and enthusiasm once I saw how much time I "banked".
My finish time was 49:23, an average pace of 7:57.
I placed 25 of 357 in my age group.
I placed 124 of 1291 women
I feel lukewarm about this. I was happy to PR, but I thought that my 10K PR was really not reflective of my running abilities at all. According to most running calculators, I should be able to come in well under 49 minutes. Baby steps, right? I don't know when my next 10K will be, but it might not be until June, when I run the Lawyer's Have Heart 10K.