I signed up for this race a few weeks ago since the 10k distance is kind of rare around here and you couldn't beat the $15 price tag. Other than that I really had no investment in this race. I wasn't planning on running hard because my foot has been bothering me since the Tar Heel 10 Miler. In an effort to let it heal, I have not been running too much since then. Since I was treating this as nothing more than a mid-distance training run, I didn't wake up with my usual pre-race excitement.
It didn't help that it was cold and windy and just....cold. (North Carolina is getting a little grumpy lately since we haven't seen the sun in about 2 weeks.) I briefly considered bailing for a hot coffee and some breakfast.
I met Bang at the start and we sat in the car as long as we could to stay warm. By the time we got to the start line I had committed to my two main goals of the race:
1) Stick with Bang. She is much better than I am at consistant splits. I've already mentioned several times here that in races I have two paces - asshole and walking. I have to really work on pacing myself.
2) Commit to doing the entire race through the Galloway method. This is pretty much an extension of goal #1. I've been doing long runs with Bang at 4:1 intervals - meaning run for 4 minutes, walk 1 minute. I'll probably have another post on this sometime soon as I experiment more with it. But I've seen people have great success with Galloway and I'm becoming convinced that this may be the right thing for me as I look ahead to the Fall. But I digress...
This was definitely the smallest race I have ever done, with only 124 people running the 10k (and about 220 running the 5k). There was no starting gun or horns, just some dude saying "Go!". We set off running our first interval pretty strong. In fact the entire first mile went pretty well, clocking in at under 11:00, which is usually a decent effort for me without the walk breaks. I was digging that.
Towards the end of the second mile there was a good downhill and I started to pull away and run at my "a-hole pace" even when I knew it wasn't in my race plan and that it would be hard to maintain with the rolling hills that made up the rest of the course. What happened next is predictable: I wore myself out within the next mile. Mile 4 ended up being my slowest and most painful. I reminded myself of my game plan and set myself back on track.
The last two miles were a real mental struggle for me. Even though I had originally set out to run this race "easy", by the time I was a couple of miles into it I was ready to give it everything I had. Since the later part of races is where it all tends to fall apart for me, I wanted to not give up and finish strong. I was excited to see at mile 5 that, barring catastrophe, I could PR.
I kept it in my mind to keep Bang in my sights and just finish. I'm so glad she was there. If it weren't for her I would have definitely phoned in the last mile and been pissed at myself in the end. Having her with me gave me the motivation I needed to push past the point of being uncomfortable.
I crossed the finish line with an official time of 1:07:47, which is a minute and a half PR.
Mostly, I am proud of this race. My splits were way more consistant than they usually are. Also, I wasn't as afraid of the hills as I have been in the past. (Insanely hilly long runs are paying off, I do believe). However, I didn't trust my plan from the beginning and fell apart for a couple of miles. Luckily I was able to get back on track and get myself right again. All in all, it was great race to see the progress I have made and it let me know what I need to be working on for my next big goal race this Fall.