I raced the Veteran's Day 10K today, finishing in a time of 40:13.
I have a preferred racing style - I usually go out fairly slowly and cautiously, and then drop the pace gradually, with a strong second half. I'm pretty good at pacing, if I do say so myself.
But every once in a while, I screw it up. Ooops.
The Veteran's Day 10K is held every year on a very fast course (Hains Point) in DC. It's flat except for one tiny hump, and there are no sharp turns. It's essentially an asphalt track, and can be very fast if there's no wind.
There was no wind today, and temps were perfect. This race brings out a lot of fast people, and so everything was in place for a fast day.
I warmed up by jogging for about 3 miles. My legs felt a bit marathon heavy still, so I inserted a quarter mile pick-up to get everything moving. Then some drills and strides, and lined up.
And we were off. Fast. I backed off a little, to a pace that felt controlled but still fast. It felt uncomfortable, but frankly anything faster than 6:50 feels uncomfortable right now. so I went with it.
As it turns out, someone was calling out splits at the first mile, and I heard a "6:20" as I went by (and I started a few seconds after the gun). That was a bit faster than I was anticipating. Huh. Arguably not good, but maybe I was just having a good day. Nevertheless I was feeling a bit uncomfortable, so I decided to back it off a bit so that I could come home strongly.
As it turned out, I couldn't quite repair the damage, by mile 4 my legs were pretty much done and I was just hanging on from that point. I nursed myself through the last 2 miles, reminding myself that I might feel like this during my marathon, and so this was good practice coaxing everything out of my legs. And I'm pleasantly surprised at just how well I was able to hang on, given how spent I felt. Usually when I blow up, I REALLY blow up. This time I just fizzled. Marathon strong legs FTW. I can be dead, but the legs will still do their thing.
6:05 (mile measured .95 ~6:26 pace)
6:47 (mile measured 1.05 ~6:26 pace))
last .21 in 1:23 (also ~6:26 pace - this was all I had for a "kick")
40:13 - which was good enough for a top 10 female finish and second in my age group.
I am a bit wistful, because I think I could had run faster had I run a better paced race. On the other hand, this race was primarily a final tune-up for my marathon in two weeks. I'm pleasantly surprised that I had this much speed in my legs, given the focus of my training the past few weeks and months. And after hanging on so well the last two miles, I feel ready for what the marathon may throw at me.
Next race report in two weeks :)
* Weather was absolutely perfect. About 50 degrees, calm winds.
* Wore my my marathon shoes (Boston Boost) rather than my normal shoe for this distance (Hitogami). I prefer to run my last tune-up race in my marathon shoes, rather than my flats - it gives me an extra bit of confidence to know that I can run significantly faster than MP in my marathon shoes.
* Parked on Rock Creek Parkway just on the far side of the Lincoln Memorial from the start - worked perfectly (one does need to get there before 7 to snag a spot, though).