10K #2: Cary Road Race Recap

When last we meet I had prepared for myself a training schedule after a disappointing first 10K. I wanted at least a three-minute improvement over my first 10K. I knew I could get under 1:18:00. In training even with walking segments I had done a little over 1:18:00. My secondary goal was 1:15:00. I had added some new speed workouts and hill training into my preparation hoping I would be able to see some relatively quick results. I knew I wouldn't be able to run the course prior to the race so I also needed to do some research.

A quick google search yielded a runner's forum about the race so I knew there was  a big hill in the first mile. Since it was a modified loop, we would hit it again in mile 3. My strategy was to go out relatively slow in the first mile or two to pace myself, then pick it up in mile three. In the previous race, I picked it up in mile 4 and that was way too late to make enough of a dent in my time.

Thursday I gathered all of my running gear to pack for my trip up there. My mom picked me up on Friday so we could make this a dual purposed occasion. I would run my race and we'd also hang out with my sister to celebrate her birthday! I was very excited! The girls would be back together! And Rashan really hates getting up for races. It turns out he was up before 8:30 (the start of the race) anyway without me waking him up.

Friday night, I'd decided to cook Thai. But both of them were not interested in the coconut milk. Seriously? So I made my old stand-by of angel hair pasta with diced fire roasted tomatoes, garlic, onion & crushed red pepper. I switched it up a little by adding spinach and mushrooms. It was delicious but everything takes longer in an unfamiliar kitchen so my feet were hurting by the end. Ugh.

I don't usually sleep well pre-race but I had slept terribly the entire week previous so I knew I'd be able to get some decent sleep. Except... I went to sleep around 10 knowing I'd need to be up at 6 to eat. When I woke up before my alarm, I felt extremely rested but hungry and a little thirsty. I decided if it was 5 something, I'd just get up and eat. Except when I looked at the clock, it was 1:18!!! Are you kidding me? Before my last 10K, I used that mid-sleep hunger and ate something at 3 a.m. It worked pretty well. So this time I got some pasta and did a load of laundry. I know!! I'm nutty. I finally got back in the bed around 4 but couldn't fall asleep until about an hour later. That made me a little groggy when it was time to get up but like I said, it's become a race morning ritual so I'm used to it. And I'm in good company. Lots of people share the same inability to sleep pre-race.

Race morning, I had to corral my mom and sister to get them out of the house on time. The bad thing about racing is that I have all of the energy and excitement of the race and sometimes it's just another morning of being up way too early for the people who are with me. I need them to be way more excited. Plus they were moving too slowly and I wanted to be out of the house at 7:30. We were 9 minutes late and I had an attitude. This wasn't going well. When we got in the car, I was cramped into the back seat of my sister's tiny G5. THEN there was some radio "discussion" foolishness about snitching. I can't. I requested music and she always has fast-paced stuff so my spirits picked up immediately.

We get to the race site and I get my timing chip then go to the bathroom. We are now 5/5 in non-portable toilet race bathrooms!!! I was quite happy! There were bread samples pre-race so I got some Great Harvest cinnamon chunk deliciousness to knock off the pre-race hunger I often get. I had brought tangelo slices as well just in case. This was the first time I was running with a reusable chip that attaches to your shoe. Every other race, I've had the foam chip attached to my race number. I decide to do a little warm-up then get my mind right so I leave them about 12 minutes out. I had written the times I wanted to hit each mile on the inside of my forearm so I reviewed those again as well. Organization was bizarre here. There were signs for registration/chip pick-up/packet pick-up but none for the start of the race. What?? So I asked one of the chip volunteers and he had no idea. I had to just follow the other runners. Usually there are bullhorn or microphone announcements prior to the start. It was even set up for that with a podium & mic but nothing. The horn went off and we started moving. I was in the back so it was really the guy who was calling out the countdown clock who helped me know the race was starting on time. Umm... I guess.

I wanted to hit 12:30 in my first mile. I started off a little fast as race day can do to you but I knew I needed to conserve in case there was something crazy happening on that first hill. There were multiple people who were ahead of me and two or three behind. I was in a little pocket of Jameil by myself. And I heard the end of the race sweeper cart way too close. Like I turned around like what is that??? I was like okay I'm really not going THAT slow for you to be doing all that. I started to catch the group of 8-10 people who had sprinted past me so as not to be last but 1) we weren't to the hill yet, 2) I didn't know how fast they were going, 3) I have to run my own race. I had to remind myself that some of those people may be running their first 10K and they will burn out. I don't want to be burning with them.

When I hit the first hill, it was long and steep. The group in front of me was walking up it. I decided to run it but then I realized I was expending a little too much energy and could get up it faster by walking. I still passed several people in the :10 or so it took me to get to the top then started running again as I would do the rest of the race. I knew there would be volunteers to call out times at each mile so I was looking forward to 1) hearing how close I was to my projected time and 2) seeing how off my Runkeeper GPS was as far as mileage. Pretty close. This time my GPS was behind. That's very unusual so I wondered what was up. I took a little hit in my time and ended up hitting the first mile at 13:04... my official average pace for my first 10K. Ummm... NO. I knew I felt like I was barely moving even while running at some points but that's just unacceptable for me. I kicked it up and decided to count my steps per minute. You pick a foot and count the steps on that foot for one minute and you should hit 90 or more. It gives you a short stride and helps you be more efficient in your running. It was like magic when I tried it on Tuesday so I knew I'd be pulling it out for the race.

Waving at my family!
When I hit mile two, I had made up that time and was right around my target time of 24:30. By the time we rounded into mile three, I was seeing my family. Yay! I love seeing my people on the course! (I have no idea why in that picture it looks like I'm running alone! LOL I was also about 1:30 faster than where I needed to be and still feeling strong. I was ecstatic! I spilled water on my already finicky headphones (shout out to Apple for those God awful headphones that have the controls on them) and they shorted out around this time. Because I do at least every other run without music anyway, I was prepared. I was also coming up on the second hill. I saw people walking again and had already picked out two nominees for the next people to pass. They were walking up the hill together and talking. It was time to attack. I took that hill just like I do in training... WITH GUSTO!! I chanted to myself, "Kill the hill! Kill the hill!" As I was about to pass the nominees, one saw me coming and said, "Let's run again." They were doing a run-walk pattern so I knew even if they were running now, by the time they started walking, I would pass them. I decided to ride their pace for a minute or so to give them the false sense of security they apparently needed since they started running when they saw me but also so as not to waste too much energy on passing two people I knew I would eventually pass anyway.

Putting on the game face
I dropped them heading into mile 4. And I didn't see them again. I had lost a tiny bit of time though so I knew it was really REALLY time to kick it into gear. I looked at my mile 5 goal and decided I was still on target to crush my sub-1:18:00 goal and in a good position to beat my sub-1:15:00. I found my next nominees. They were separate. One woman started running again when she heard me then raced on the downhill. I was chasing her hard at first then I remembered what I read about downhills seeming fun but having the ability to trash your quads so I slowed down a bit. I knew I would catch her. I also knew I was still picking up some good speed and making great time to hit my own goals. At the end of the hill, the lady who was racing was exhausted. I passed her easily when she began walking. I had a lot left so I kicked it back into gear for what I knew was mostly flat from here on out (the best part about a loop on an unfamiliar course). By mile 5 I was ahead of my now set sub-1:15 target by almost 2 minutes. I dropped the other girl who also started walking. We both did a cheer at our mile 5 times and got around the lake. (You might think running around a lake is pretty and scenic... but you could be wrong. It was brown and kind of murky-looking. But it wasn't a big deal.)

About to overtake some people nearing mile 6
I left them behind and set my eyes on the next nominee. I got a little water to drink (not from the lake) and bore down. Did I mention the weather was PERFECT??? It was a little chilly pre-race but once I was moving and the sun was up a little more, the temperature was right around 60 degrees. Your performance can begin to suffer for every degree over 60. I was feeling great! I love running in that weather! You don't need a whole lot of clothes and can just strip off the layers plus the cool air keeps the sweat in check. My next nominee was doing a good job with her pace and still looked strong but I was closing in. We were about 3/4 of a mile from the finish and I wanted to gun it at the end. There was a small but steep hill right in front of us that I thought I could attack and push past her and I was right! I caught her right after the hill! Then I saw my family again and I must've looked very serious and determined(/worried???) because my sister asked me if I was okay. SURE AM!!! I saw two more passing nominees. I thought, can I really pass two more people??? Hmmm... This is the last quarter mile! GO FOR IT!!

Right before we hit 6 miles, one nominee (ringing a cowbell!!! LOL) turned and said to the other, you can do it! I used it for myself and pushed past them. You should have seen the encourager's face. I basically came out of NOWHERE and shocked them! I hadn't been less than 1/4 mile near them all race. At mile 6, I heard, "72:12" and thought "OMG!!! I CAN GET SUB-1:14:00!!!" .05 later I  was starting to fade a little but refused to be caught in the last .2 miles!! As I rounded the last corners (it was really winding in this portion), I saw the finish line clock was at 1:13:30. WHAT?!?!? I kept pushing and crossed at 1:13:46!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Basking in the glow of my PR!
OVER. THE. MOON!!!! More than 7 minutes off of my previous time, I paced myself better AND I beat 1:18 AND 1:15!! I would like to thank all of the many articles I read on the subject of 10Ks and running in general, speed work & hill repeats! How was the water container empty when I got to it, though??? That's a fail. I had my own but I was still not pleased. I got a piece of bagel then got in line for the free Tijuana Flats chicken tacos! Yes! That was the first restaurant Rashan & I went to when I moved to Gainesville so it has a special place in my heart. I also won a frisbee but a kid won a free dessert and asked to trade with me. Um of course! LOL I also got free stretching. When the dude cracked my back, I yelped and mom heard the crack 100 yards away! Insane!

For some reason at this race, the fun run is AFTER the main races. What??? My sister was running it so we had to wait until almost 11 for the start. You know I was ready to eat 8 or 9 horses, right? I had burned 847 calories! Yeah...  After that, we went back to my sister's apartment and my mom cooked breakfast while I made bellinis then promptly fell into a deep sleep. I am usually awakened by everything. They left and went to the mall and I didn't hear them until they returned. Then my sister took a nap. I went back to sleep for another hour or so until it was time for dinner.

A couple more things about the race: they announced it was short on the first turn so it wasn't technically 6.2 miles so the course record, which a guy hit by 7 seconds, wouldn't count. How awful is that? Poor thing. He passed me twice running his little heart out with the closest competitor two minutes behind at the end and a simple mistake cost him a course record. Not cool. I hope he gets free registration for next year. It's only $13 but still. If you didn't want them to keep time for you it was only $10. That meant I passed more people than were on the race docket. Cool with me! And of COURSE I'm counting this PR!

Overall, I had a great time! I now know I can run a little faster at the outset and go a hard pace and probably be even faster. I'm going to take it a little easy this week. I'll clock no more than 10 miles of running versus my usual 12+ and next week I'll begin training for a half marathon!!!! I'm so geeked! I expect to have at least two months before my next 10K should I run another one so my goal for that one will be sub-1:12:00 with a secondary goal of sub-1:10. If I'm even faster in training, with continued speed work & my long runs getting to be so much longer than a 10K, I might adjust even more! Wheeee!


K. Rock said...

Great job and fun recap! Congrats on the PR. Sounds like you really have you flow going now. You are eating 10Ks for breakfast!

gradydoctor said...

Go 'Meil!!!! You DID that!

Trish said...

You make it sound like so much fun!! I told myself yesterday that since I am on break from school that I seriously need to start exercising. I just hope I can stick to it this time. Fantastic job on your improved time!!

Ladynay said...

Kill the hill! Kill the hill! Hooray for you chicka! *standing ovation*

The Goddess said...

Love your recap. That is so AWESOME that you KILLED your previous time. Good job!!! This is so motivating. Makes me feel like I need to hit the gym.

Anonymous said...

Great job! That was me with the cowbell! I had finished the race and went back to run my friend in the last half mile. I don't remember you passing us but I'm glad it helped!

I think the course was short (I'm looking up other race reports to confirm). I def dont want to steal your PR's thunder...just hoping you know for next time, in case you have a harder time than expected beating this PR. It was closer to 6 miles. Congrats on your progress!

Jameil said...

They announced at the awards that it was short. I'll still kill my PR!