I signed up for this 10K a few weeks ago in my post-half-marathon frenzy. It was only $8 and it was on Hains Point, a place simply guaranteed to be flat. But then I took 2 weeks almost completely off and then I rededicated myself towards making my house really really fat and then I basically completely forgot about it until Emily reminded me early last week. I kind of thought that my coach would pull it or have me run it easy, but according to her June is still pretty far away and I could have one last brain damaging race before settling in for the winter. So, done. I had an all-in-caps mandatory warm-up and cool-down to do, but other than that, no plan or strategy going in. I sorta kinda thought that maybe I could PR, but I haven't done any speed work in weeks, so probably not, but my PR is from when I was coming back from injury, so maybe, but I was kind of tired, so maybe not. Complete dedication to racing, that's me!
I committed to wear shorts and a long sleeve when I left the house by not bringing any other clothing with me (other than sweats). It wasn't that cold out but it was WINDY. I always forget that Hains Point is a peninsula surrounded by a giant vacuum and is never ever NOT windy. So I did my warm-up, cutting it short when I heard the call to line up, but then realized that they were yelling for the 5K folks so I just hopped and shivered for a little while.
The 5K lined up and left, and then I stood around at the start line for a while with my friend Kayte, wondering where all the 10K people were, and then we noticed that the official 10K starting line was about 50 feet behind the flag.
I pretended like I was going to run a 32 minute 10K and stood here for a few minutes, but then dropped back before the race started. It was nice to feel fast for just a little while.
Someone yelled "go" and we were off. I've completely lost the ability to run by feel, so I had lap pace showing on my Garmin. There was a 1K spray-painted on the road, and I looked down at that point to see 8:11 pace. I slammed on the brakes, hard, but it felt so easy. So nice! So bouncy and I love running! And then we went around the corner of the point and straight into headwind hell. The 10K course was an out-and-back you did twice, so we were only running into the headwind for a few minutes before we turned around to head back to the start, but that included turning back around the point and back into over a mile of headwind hell. And the extra fun thing about a 5K/10K loop is that all the 5K people got to crank up the gas and bullet into the finish and the 10K people had to turn around in the middle of the road and do it all over again. The biggest of sighs.
I decided rather ambiguously somewhere in my first headwind that as long as I was running in the 8s, I'd be happy. I hit the 5K mark at 26:26 and knew that a PR wasn't happening, so I stopped to help myself to a cup of water (shut up, I know I don't need water in a 10K) and then headed back out for loop 2. I tried to run a little smarter on the second loop, running hard when the wind was as my back and not fighting so much when it was in my face. My 4th mile looks slow, but once I subtract the 20 or so seconds of walking I did to drink, it was actually fine. Mile 5 was into the wind and then at my back, and mile 6 was hard into the wind all the way home.
I could list the enormous amount of reasons why I'm not unhappy with this but I think it's simpler to say just that. I will note the huge breakthrough of being able to race in loose shorts for the first time in my life without chafing, which speaks strongly to how much my form is improving (except for the last .2, see below). But this was a good hard honest effort, it's what I can do right now based on where my fitness is and now I don't have to run fast again for about 5 months. And hopefully by the time I do, I won't look like this 10 steps before the finish.
I don't even want to talk about all the things wrong with this picture. Also, Emily is whining about running a 20:04 5K with perfect form in hot pink shoes, you can go slap her here.
How was your weekend? Did your form fall apart at the end of a race or is it just me?