The long awaited 2021 is here. And what will it bring?
For starters, the first race in the Northern Virginia area (that I am aware of) held on closed roads: The New Day*New Year 10K. All the local races that I ran in 2020 starting in March were either in Washington DC or on roads open to traffic (Fort Hunt 10K). Here's a quick recap:
- Outer Banks 5K (in North Carolina)
- Fort Hunt 10K (open road in a park area)
- Hanover Half Marathon (in Pennsylvania)
- Harrisburg Marathon (in Pennsylvania)
- Cranberry Crawl 5K (in Washington DC)
- Christmas Caper 10K (in Washington DC)
This race offered a 5K and a 10K option. I wasn't sure which one I wanted to do, but looking at the course made it an easy decision. The 5K course ended on an uphill and part of it was on a neighborhood path. The 10K course ended on a downhill and there was no neighborhood path; it was all road.
The race started at 9:30 so it was easy to take my Maurten Drink Mix 3 hours beforehand at 6:30. I used the same fueling strategy that I used in the Christmas Caper 10K from two weeks ago when I set a PR.
- I wanted to save my adidas Adios Pro for my next marathon, as I will likely not be able to obtain another pair before then. (Due to my high cadence, I wear through shoes very quickly).
- There was a chance of rain, and there is no traction on the Adios Pro, whereas the Nike Vaporfly has decent traction.
- I thought it would be good to get a true comparison of the shoes. I never thought the Nike Vaporfly Next% made me any faster than normal shoes, but now that I had the Adidas Pro to compare them to, I wanted to try again.
The neighborhood path was at the start of mile 3. There was a downhill stretch, but then that momentum was killed by having to get up onto a curb and make a sharp turn onto a path, and then another sharp turn onto a wooden bridge/boardwalk type of surface. I was very thankful that it wasn't raining because this had the potential to be slippery. And then a few more turns through a parking lot before we were back onto a road. Annoying, but manageable.
|A 5K runner in the background|
I was so ready to be done with the race at this point. There would be no more fast downhill miles, just the long uphill stretch to the finish and another run through the neighborhood path. Thankfully I passed some 5K runners shortly before getting onto the path, so I didn't have to pass anyone while on the narrow path. I was encouraged with my 6:43 for mile 5, but I simply didn't have the gas in the tank I needed to run uphill for the long stretch.
I came through the finish in 41:44, which pleasantly surprised me. I had been projecting 42:xx. I felt like this race was so much slower than 10K from two weeks ago, and yet this time was only 11 seconds slower - my second fastest 10K ever!
There are positive and negative ways to look at my race today. I guess instead of negative, I should say "constructive" lessons I learned to improve on for next time.
- Officially my second fastest 10K ever
- Fast time on a hilly course, with a half-mile uphill stretch at the end of the race
- 2nd place female
- Pushed really hard, got a great workout in
- My heart rate didn't get all that high, I believe I had the fitness to go faster
- I let negative thoughts seep in; I shouldn't have let the course annoyances bother me
- I was only 11 seconds off of my PR, if I had just pushed harder I could have beat it
- My Garmin pace was 6:45, and I have run about 5 other 10Ks at this pace, so it's not like this race shows a big fitness gain