Saturday, October 26, 2013

HFFA 10k Redemption

10k @ Half Marathon Pace Tempo effort

~3 mile warmup with strides and drills
10k race in 34:56, 1st female, 3rd overall to John and an Army guy
3 mile cool down for 12 miles total

In 2010, after Twin Cities Marathon, I ran this race in 38:13.  I remember feeling like total crap and hating all of the hills that crop up in the second half of the course.  I also remember coming with the expectation of prize money and getting a blanket instead.  This year, I knew that there would actually be prize money because of the big stink that Allen started last year.  Opting to not race the Runway 5k, which features a $500 voucher for two US Airways tickets, I wanted a good 10k effort and headed to the race with my roomie John (see, I don't ALWAYS run the races with the best prize money).

John and I headed up to the race all bundled up in an assortment of running clothes since the temperatures were the coldest we've seen this year--32 degrees.  After registering for the race, we grabbed our packet and embarked on our cold warmup, for which I wore: Lululemon mittens and headband, Lululemon rulu long sleeve, GORE running jacket, and my new Duke sweatshirt that Garrett's mom gave me.  I wanted to be as toasty as possible before I had to strip off all of my layers at the start.

With 5 minutes to go, I pulled off the multiple layers of clothing, changed into my Nike Flyknit Racers and headed to the start line with John, where we hung out with Allen.  Quickly, John and I scoped out our competition and right before the gun went off, I half-joked:  "Shoot, John, maybe you should just run with me." I figured he was thinking, "yeah, right" but when the gun went off and one guy took off in front of us, John hung with me.  After the steep downhill, the guy in front, who I'll call Army dude, settled back behind us a couple of meters.  John and I exchanged some words through the first two miles and then we stopped talking.  I had no idea what our splits were like because I had missed the 1st mile marker and didn't care to look at what our two mile split was.  Around 2.75 miles, John made a small move on an uphill because Army dude was still drafting behind us.  I watched them pull very slowly away from me and continued to just push myself.  In the entire race, I only saw my third mile split, so I guessed I was running a little fast in the first half to make up for the uphills in the second half. Turns out the first 2 downhill miles were run in 5:25/5:26 and then I came back with a 5:34 for the third mile uphill and when I got dropped.

For the second half of the race, I watched the battle for first take place from behind and tried to maintain my composure on the hills from mile 4 to mile 6.  Most of these markers were completely off, so I'm not sure what the splits actually were. After I passed the fourth mile marker, I started to pass the 5k racers who started after us. It was actually quite helpful to have them there to pass and provide some extra motivation since the boys up front were beginning to get a little further out of my range.  Soon, I realized that I was about to pass the 5k leader, so I sped up just to demoralize them and to boost my own confidence.  The 6th mile marker was completely off because apparently I ran .2 miles in 1:40, which is entirely not true since the last 600m of the race are all on a gradual downhill leading to the finish. I did, however, glance down at my watch when I thought I had about .1 to go, and saw that I was around low 34:00.  I realized that I had a pretty realistic shot of breaking 35:00 if I really busted my butt in the final 400m.  I'm really glad I checked my watch time because otherwise I probably would have not tried as hard since I knew there was no one close to me whatsoever.

As soon as I crossed the line, I met John, who was also happy with his race, given where his fitness lies right now.  I was pretty happy too, but it took me until half way through our cool down to realize that I ran within 4 seconds of my college track 10k PR.  I also cut off ~50 seconds from my road PR from back in 2011 at the Ukrop's 10k.  For a race where I came in with no expectations and no time goal, I am very pleased that I ran so tough on a hilly course.  I continue to be amazed at how well this year has been going.  For the first time ever, I feel strong in both the short and the long distances.  Now, I just want to prove that strength is real at CIM!


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