10K Division Win: Meaningful Progress

Background: Last year, I ran this race as the 5th race of the 30@30 campaign. It was my first 10K in over a decade and my goal was to run a hard race, negative-split the second half, and use it as a fitness test. I was pleased with my result, averaging 7:45/mile pace for a finishing time of 48:16. 

This time, I would also be using the race as a fitness test of sorts. My goal was to negative-split each third of the race and run hard. Despite coming off an annoying cold/cough and gearing my training toward shorter distances, I figured that if I ran smart and hard, I could finally break the 40min barrier. 

My primary goal, however, was mental training. I wanted to use this opportunity to continue to build out my pre-race routine and then focus on executing a mental race plan. 

The end result? 40:01.

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Seriously. One second. All I could do was laugh.

Still, it was good for a 10K PR and scored 1st in my age group and 9th overall (out of 364). I do think that I could have redlined for a little longer and pushed a little harder.

The race generally went according to plan… I started off smooth and controlled on the hilly first two miles, averaging 6:45/mile as planned. The next two miles were faster as they were a net downhill and I was feeling okay, despite some foot pain. 

(Aside: Ran in my new Pegasus Turbos, which were great!). 

The fifth mile was mostly uphill and I kept an even effort, but my pace crawled to 6:45 once again. The final mile started off with a big uphill climb and then was mostly downhill. Chasing down a few runners I had been eyeing throughout the race, I ran a quick 6:10 sixth mile.

The final 300m to the finish were on the track, and I ran a quick 48 seconds (4:39/mile pace) through the line, but apparently I was a tad too late in my kick to break 40. Sigh.

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Stepping back, the biggest takeaway has to be my improvement from one year ago. Last year I finished the race equally exhausted in a lumbering 48:16. A year later and I’ve knocked 8:15 off my 10K time. 

I look and feel like a runner once again:

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Sadly, its a virtual genetic impossibility that I’ll ever knock another 8min off my 10K PR… but I certainly plan to get faster if I can stay healthy and focused.

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