Hello! It’s my birthday, wahoo!!!!!
I’ve been reflecting on my 10k this past weekend and wanted to share some thoughts with you all. I’m not even sure you knew I was running a 10k this weekend, and I certainly didn’t plan on having anything to “reflect” on. I was so shocked with my performance though, I thought I should write about it.
The race was the ATC Singleton 10k (there was also a 5k offered), which is one of the free races offered to Atlanta Track Club members. It was up in Norcross which was a bit of a hike from where I live, but there was race morning bib pickup, and it was a free race, so that made up for it!
Weather: the weather was perfect. It was in the low 50s at the start, cloudy, with a slight breeze. I knew if I was going to PR, the weather was in my favor!
Course: the 10k course was two loops of the 5k course. I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about it, but it was nice to know what to expect the second half of the race when it got a little tough. There was one mile that was a net downhill (you can see it in my splits) and one that had a pretty substantial long incline. Most of the course was an out and back style so you got to see all the other runners as you ran which I love!
Strategy going into the race: I had NO IDEA what was going to happen. I knew I wanted to “race” it, but besides that, I had no strategy. I also had no idea what to expect as far as my paces. I don’t even know how you’re supposed to pace a 10k….I should probably figure that out. I thought there was a 50/50 chance I could PR and get sub-60, but just didn’t know where my paces were going to fall that morning. I seeded myself in the 9:30 and slower corral with Carrie and Kristen.
Fueling: I was out of eggs that morning, but since it was just a 10k I didn’t fuel up that much. I had a Clif bar and a V8 juice, and then right before the start I had a HUMA gel with water while I was warming up.
Mile 1: 9:20. This felt fast…too fast. I wanted to look at my watch but I don’t do during races anymore, I just look at each mile split. I almost slowed down, but then thought about how the first mile ALWAYS feels a little hard to me (and the second mile, too). I decided to try to keep the pace and see where I came in at as far as timing and make a decision at the end of mile 1.
Mile 2: 8:58. When I saw my first lap time, I was a little surprised. I kept asking myself if I thought I could hold the pace and I didn’t know the answer. I made a decision to just run past the fear and see what happened – it was a free race that wasn’t a goal race, so it was a good day to experiment. If I crashed and burned, it would be no big deal, instead, just a lesson for me on 10ks. There were a lot of downhills this mile so I took advantage of them. I felt like I got into a pretty good rhythm towards the end of this mile. When I saw my split I literally said out loud “holy shit!” because I have never run a sub-9 minute mile in a race before (and really haven’t run that many in training, either).
Mile 3: 9:22. Shortly into this mile we hit a pretty long incline and I started feeling my heart rate as really high. I dialed it back a little because I wasn’t even halfway through the race yet and wanted to have a shot at finishing strong. Once I got over the incline I felt like I got my heart rate back down a bit and then picked it back up. I crossed the 5k/finish line and got ready for the second loop.
Mile 4: 9:21. I don’t remember much about this mile except that I felt like I was working really hard. I just focused on getting to landmarks and getting through the mile, because I knew the next one would be a lot of downhill. I took water at the beginning of the mile.
Mile 5: 8:59. Downhill mile! About halfway through this mile, when I realized I only had 1.5 miles to go, I knew I was definitely going to hit under an hour. I couldn’t even think about doing math in my head to figure out where I was going to land, but I knew I was going to sub 60, and that gave me what I needed to keep pushing.
Mile 6: 9:03. This mile was REALLY hard but I was trying to give it everything I had. There was that long incline again, and I just focused on form and breathing to distract myself. Of course, the perfect song came on my iPod during this mile which really helped! I was just so excited with how fast I was running and how strong I felt.
Last .02: 8:23 pace. This last bit was a steep downhill (it reminded me of the Richmond finish!). I got a side cramp up in my ribcage right as I was entering this last part of the race, and honestly was having some trouble taking deep breaths. I knew how close I was to the finish though, so I pushed through. I was STUNNED to see a 57 minute time when I stopped my Garmin! (Final official time was 57:02, a PR of over 4 minutes!)
Overall thoughts: I don’t know that I have ever run a race that working that hard before, ever. I have no idea where that came from, but starting at a quicker pace allowed me to really get there. That’s something I’ve noticed about myself – the faster I start, the easier the more manageable it seems to be to hold challenging paces. I think trying to run through that fear of crashing and burning played a huge part. I originally wrote here that I was “running fearless” but that’s not true – I was scared out of my mind pretty much the entire race…the pace felt SO FAST and hard, I can’t believe I was able to maintain it.
A few weeks ago, when I had to drop out of that 10k because of my illness/injury, I mentioned that I was bummed that I had to sit it out. Having “my day” just 6 weeks later felt great, and I felt like I got revenge on the race that could have been. This 10k wasn’t even a goal race, but DAMN it felt good to do what I knew I could do all along. Being patient is not my strongest virtue, but it was a good reminder that I’m doing the right things for my running right now and it’s going to pay off. I’m on track to have a strong fall if I can keep myself healthy!Race Recap of the @atltrackclub Singleton 10k - an unexpected PR! Click To Tweet
This was a nice, FREE race where I PR’d unexpectedly….so of course I’d totally do this race again! Also, Carrie and Kristen got PRs….so it was a good day all around!
Have you ever had a very unexpected PR? Do you have a strategy for racing 10ks?