Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Florence Forth 10k

As I started back running last Fall I was determined not to repeat my 2014-2015 cycle wherein I work my way back into running only to get injured again and have to start all over. In a couple of shorter Fall races I was seeing paces in the 9:30's, which was really exciting for me. I decided a good and realistic (albeit slightly scary for me) goal to get through the winter was to shoot for a sub-60 10k. I could keep my mileage a little lower and have time to focus on my much-needed strength work as well. I would need to run 6.2 miles at 9:39/mile to clock a 59:59. I hit that pace in the Bull City Race Fest 5 Miler in October and in the Gallop and Gorge 8k in November. My goal was to be able to add one more mile and, most of all, not re-injure my hip.

I started seeing a new physical therapist in December. I decided to start going when I wasn't actually injured as a preventative measure to strengthen my glutes and correct all of my imbalances in order to avoid having to take 4 months off for the third year in a row. My new PT is amazing. She is also a runner and understands my desire to do whatever it takes to keep running. So with a focus on core and glute strength, I set out using the Another Mother Runner 10k Own it Plan as a guide. I followed the plan's weekly interval and tempo runs. I added one or two easy runs during the week when I did my core/hip work and then long runs on the weekends.

The training cycle went well but I still wasn't very confident going into this race. I struggled to maintain tempo pace in a few runs and just wasn't sure I had it in me to go sub-60. As the race approached I was most grateful to have made it through the winter without any major hip issues. I've missed March races for the past two years so I was primarily happy just to be at the start line. I was hoping that some race day magic would get me to my time goal.

I got to the start early and did a very easy 2 mile warm up around Duke's East Campus and some strides before the race. I was nervous about keeping the pace because I've heard that the course is hilly, particularly in the second half. I was comforted by the fact that this is my home town and I was vaguely familiar with most of the route. When the gun went off I just ran and told myself to do what I can.

Mile 1 was mostly uphill and I was surprised to find myself running a bit faster than my planned race pace while chatting with an acquaintance. When I saw my Garmin beep at 9:14 I knew I had to back off and settle down a bit. Miles 2 and 3 are a net downhill with a few rolling hills. I slowed down but was still hitting paces in the 9:20's. My watch hit the 5k mark at 28:56, which is a PR time for me. I started to get a little excited but knew I still had half the race to go and the biggest hills were still ahead of me.

Mile 4 had a pretty steep and long hill. I was certain I would have to walk part of it, but I shocked myself by making it up the whole thing without ever stopping. It took a lot out of me but my mile split was right on target at 9:35. The last big hill came in the last mile or so and by this time I let myself walk for a few seconds knowing I had a little time in the bank. The last mile is part of my weekly tempo run route so I knew exactly what to expect. I was pretty tired by this point and just wanted it to be over.

As I crossed the finish line my watch said 59:00 and I was so excited!

I found out soon afterwards that the race only counts the gun time, so my official time was 59:32. I was a little disappointed in that, but it is still sub-60 and knowing I can go faster than that will give me some added confidence in my next 10k.


  1. How did I JUST come across your blog. Great recap, Rose (although I knew what happened from IG) - well earned PR :) Jennifer @ Run Jenny Run

    1. Ha! Probably because this was my first post in about a year! I am the worst blogger, but I realized that I love going back and reading my own race reports, so here I am. I am hoping I can start blogging more regularly since I am running a lot more now!