Sunday, April 3, 2011

Ukrop's 10k Race Recap

Top 7 and 35:45

3 mile warmup
10k race in 35:43 (18:02, 17:41) with mile splits of 5:42, 5:47, 5:54, 5:45, 5:45, 5:39, :69 for 12th place overall female
2.5 mile cooldown for ~11.5 miles total

Just glancing at the breakdown of events above, it is clear that I made a conscious decision after the 5k mark of this race to get my rear in gear and pick it up a bit.  I'll get to that later though...

After packing for much warmer weather than what actually was the case in Richmond, I loaded my things into my car on Thursday night and drove up to Matt's parent's house to spend the first night of my Richmond adventure there.  I am extremely grateful for Matt's parent's generosity as this was my second time staying there for a race. 

On Friday, I picked up my race bib and number.  Luckily for me, the Elite Race Coordinator Thom was holding my race bib and chip at the Double Tree downtown so that we could avoid the traffic near the expo for the 42,000 person race.Thom was so helpful.  He told me about the women's field, during which I made a silent mental note to myself that getting top 7 was not going to be realistic any more. They provided me with a room to myself that was only three blocks from the start and one block from the finish.  It was such a great opportunity and I thank the Richmond Road Runners and Road Runner for their support during this race.

Race morning finally came and I warmed up 20 minutes with Paul.  I met another guy who is the Treasurer of the Richmond Road Runners and he held our bags at the start line so we could dump our clothes into them.  I was stupid enough to think that it would actually be warm in Richmond this weekend, so I didn't bring much in terms of cold weather gear.  I only had my Craft tights and a GoreTex shirt that Jordan had given to me.  Usually I don't write much about the gear I wear, but I was so impressed with how it blocked the cold wind from getting to my skin!  We had a pretty nasty headwind on the first mile of our warmup, and I felt all cozy and warm with just the shirt on and nothing else.  Too bad they don't carry GoreTex in any of the Charlotte Running stores.  Jordan tells me my best bet is at the Fleet Feet in Winston-Salem.
Showing off my new Gore Tex shirt pre-race
After lots of drills and strides, I put on my Zoom Marathoners and stood in the Elite corral.  I met Emily Potter again (US Army Athlete of the Year) and exchanged some pleasantries with her.  A tall, slender woman looked at me and said "I need to run 5:45 pace" and situated herself behind the first row of Kenyan runners.  I told her I was hoping to do the same.  We decided to try to work together for as long as we could.  I learned later that she is Samia Akbar, a 2:34 Marathoner.  I'm sure I'll be seeing her at the Trials!

I also wished Megan Wright good luck - last year's winner.  She went to WVU and is Canadian.  She was really nice.  I saw her at the turn around and wished that I could look as speedy as her at the 4 mile mark of a 10k.  In case you wondering, Megan ended up winning and Samia surpassed her goal of running 5:45 pace. 

The race went off with a uneventful "Runners, set, go" by a woman.  Samia and I situated ourselves in such a way that we were getting passed left and right from the male runners from the A corral.  I glanced at my Garmin about 800m and saw 5:20 pace and eased off the pace a little bit. I didn't want to get myself into oxygen debt 1 mile in.  

Mile 1:  5:42...Perfect.
The perfect pace, but I wasn't feeling too good. I could feel the slight incline affecting me.  I accidentally spit on a guy and actually cared...If I was really focused I would have ignored it.  

Mile 2 - 5:47...Slowing down.
I told myself it was just the slight incline and that the next mile I would be back on the 5:45 goal pace.  Samia had already gapped me by about 5-10 meters, so I could tell she was right on the target pace that I was supposed to be at too.

Mile 3 - 5:54...What?
I saw this mile split and lost a breath or two.  A few strides later, I crossed the 5k mark and saw my watch tick 18:02.  I started calling myself bad names.  I cursed myself, and thought (clean version):  "Caitlin you came here to run sub-36 and you are not going home without that.  So pick it up."  Guess what?  I did.  I listened to myself.  I willed myself to pick it up and to achieve my goal.  Ok - so maybe the slight decline also helped me pick it up, but at least I made the decision to actually start trying. 

Mile 4 - 5:45...Here we go
I found a guy wearing a Fleet Feet Winston Sale jersey and vowed that he would not beat me.  He was my bait.

Mile 5 - 5:45...Even.
I kept my eyes glued to a guy wearing a blue jersey.  I eventually caught him and then surpassed him.

Mile 6 - 5:39...Rolling
I passed 4-6 guys here, but I think that they all passed me in the final 400m as they went to their sixth gear and I switched to a measly third gear.  

Finish - 35:43. 
I crossed the finish line, stopped, bent over, and then suddenly gagged. I was able to hold back for the first gag, but for the second gag, I actually threw up. I hadn't done that since the Adidas National Track Meet in 2003.  I was slightly embarassed so I stopped myself from throwing up more (I definitely had some left), grabbed my bag from the Elite guy, and found Paul.  I didn't want to face anyone who may have seen me throw up, and fortunately Paul missed it.  I'm waiting for the professional photos to come out so I can see if my fine moment was caught mid-stream.

Yes, I did achieve a PR but I wish I had stayed more laser focused for the first 3 miles of this race and gotten closer to 35:10.  I didn't commit myself to the first three miles of the race, and I paid for it in the final 3 miles.  However, I am proud of myself for making a decision to stop being a baby and to really race with all my heart.  

All in all, I am pleased with this effort right now, especially given how my training was off to a rough start for the first 8 weeks of 2011.  I want to be able to run my marathon at 6:00 pace, and this is a stepping stone to get me there.  I think it is a good indicator that I will be able to run sub-6:05 pace at the USA25k Champs in May.  I would definitely run this race again as there were bands every block and that definitely kept my mind occupied.  

Matt, Caitlin, and Paul post-race (and post-puke for me)


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