Saturday, April 1, 2017

Race report: Monument Avenue 10K, April 1, 2017

I ran the Monument Avenue 10K this morning, finishing in a time of 41:23.


For those of you carefully tracking my exact paces (which is only me), you'll note that I just ran a 10K race SLOWER than I raced a half-marathon two weeks previously.  And on the 10K course that was the site of my current PR.

Like I said, ouch.  :)

The splits tell part of the story, but not the whole story.  They were: 6:20, 6:23, 6:45, 6:48, 6:56, 6:57, and then 1.18 for the last bit (downhill to the finish).

A graph does provide a nice visual of the morning:

This graphic does exaggerate the elevation changes.
But the walk breaks?  They're real.  And they're SPECTACULAR.  

Essentially, I had a bad breathing day, and there were a whole lotta walking breaks, starting after mile 2.

I'm disappointed, but not completely surprised.  My breathing hasn't been good all week, which I attribute to the pollen.  I was hopeful that with enough rest and hydration I might be able to pull off a solid 10K.  Monument Avenue is a great race and a fast course, and the forecast was for rain through Friday evening.  My hope was that the rain and dampness would linger and tamp down the pollen nicely.

As it turned out, the rain didn't linger, and Saturday morning was dry.  The pollen was noticeable and my breathing wasn't 100%, but I didn't feel ridiculously tight during my warm-up jog, and my legs felt pretty perky.  And past experience has shown that I can feel sub-par during warm-up and still have a good race.   For those reasons and since Monument Avenue is a fast course, I was confident as I lined up (near the back of my corral, to ensure a careful start).  To be proactive, I took two puffs of my inhaler to ensure no issues during the race.

The gun went off, and per my plan, I stayed very conservative until we hit the first of two early turns on course.

(The course has two turns in the first mile - one 90 degrees to the left, and a second 90 degrees to the right a few blocks later.  From there, you just run straight out three miles, and then run another 3 miles back home).

After that turn, I started building.  By the end of the first mile, I felt like I was working hard, but not excessively so.  But over the next half mile, the fatigue started to build and my chest tightened.  Just after mile 2, I reluctantly stepped off course to use my inhaler.  My hope was that I could quickly get stuff back on track.  However, the inhaler only helped a little.  And things quickly tightened up.

When I'm having a bad race, I've learned that I can either stew on the fact that I'm having a shitty race, or I can try to find something positive from it.  Here, I decided to focus on just staying as relaxed and even as possible - something that always helps my races.

Even doing that, I still found myself taking walk breaks - my breathing kept getting completely out of control, and I just couldn't relax my way through it.  Just a shitty shitty day.  So bad as to be comical.

Some days you're the windshield.  Today I was the bug.

Oh well.  I'm a bit bummed, since I drove down to Richmond specifically to set a 10K PR - something that I think is well within my reach.  And I'm not sure when I'll have another chance to run a 10K PR before late fall.  On the other hand, the bad races are what make the good ones so wonderful.  If in some way this race was the karmic payoff for Shamrock, then I'll happily take that trade.

But hopefully, next race the karmic/pollenic balance will swing back the other way.

Other notes:

  • Left home at 5:10 am and arrived in Richmond at 7 am.  Once there, I used the local Golds Gym as my personal staging area - storing my bag and car keys in a locker there, and using their gym for stretching.  I prepaid (using Parkmobile) for a spot in a city garage, but there was no need - there were plenty of spots right outside the gym. Next time, I'll plan on street parking.
  • Wore my Takumi Sens (racing flats)  However, I wasn't too happy with how they felt during the race. I think the Adios just feel a bit faster for anything longer than 5K.
  • Ended up second master - the top masters woman ran 41 minutes...Ugh.  Of course, perhaps she had an awful day too.
  • It was a slightly warm day - 55 degrees at the start, and 60 when I finished.  Not horrible, just a little warmer than most of my training.  I don't think that was much of a factor in my race, though.
  • In my rush to get out the door this morning, I forgot to hide the toilet paper on the top shelf.  Oops...


  1. You're so fast and strong lately, I think you just need to find another 10k and a PR is yours!

  2. Yikes, that does not sound fun! And definitely sounds scary too. It's still an amazingly fast time given you had to take walk breaks. You clearly have reach a new level of fitness as evidenced by your recent half marathon, so I'm excited to see you brush this one off and kill it on some spring 5Ks.