Toeing the Line

I don’t race many 10k races….or at least I haven’t done so in the past 5 years. I ran many of them in the late 90’s. Yet, as I have now been sticking to longer distances, the 10k race has kinda fallen away from my radar. Since the beginning of the year, or at least since February, I’ve made more of an effort to work on speed. I’ve done some work here, but honestly nothing too intense or rigorous. Running the longer distances has a way of making me feel really slooooow. Granted, some of this is probably because I don’t vary the training enough. Anyways…i’ve tried to make an effort to increase speed to a level that is satisfactory. So far this year, I ran a 5 miler and a 15k, both with finishes I was pleased with. The 15k was run at 9:13 pace and the 5 miler at 8:46 pace.  I wanted to get in another short race so I signed up for a local 10k in Marin County.

I ran the course last weekend so that I would be familiar come race day. I had been in the general area before, but not too much. Running the course gave me the opportunity to see the gorgeous surroundings….basically the first 3-4 miles are all through Kentfield and Ross, which are 2 of the most beautiful (and expensive areas) in the Bay Area. Quiet, lovely streets with huge trees all around. (The trees would provide much needed shade on a warm race day morning.)

 

IMG_0927After this area, the course popped onto the College of Marin Campus and onto a paved path that travels the outskirts of the campus for a mile and then basically loops back through Larkspur and ends with a 3/4 lap around the college track. Very Cool Finish!

So, race morning came and I figured the crowd would be full of some very fast runners. Man, was I correct! This was actually a Championship Race for Pacific-Association USA Track and Field and there were some nice monetary awards for the best club teams as well as top individuals. So, it was no surprise when I showed up in the parking area and was feeling a bit intimidated by the array of people in their Club Tanks…Tamalpa Runners, West Marin Track Club, etc… This was NOT your typical local 10k. Everyone looked super fit. Anyhow…soon we were off and I was just trying to stay focused on my personal goal which was to finish between 56-57 minutes. My running in the last month (since the 5 mile race) has not been a lot. I did a lot of short runs and only ran 6 miles once, which was last weekend. I was running 3-5 mile stints at about 8:45-9:15 pace but i wasn’t sure what I could do on race day.

Off we went and the first 2 miles felt fast. I ran 1st at 8:40 and 2nd at 8:48 and HR felt pretty high. I knew I couldn’t sustain this pace and kept telling myself to slow down. But, I didn’t. Mile 3 was 8:48 also. Again, I told myself to slow down or else I might not have enough come mile 5 etc… So, I did. I also carried my own water, which was needed as there were only 2 water stops and honestly, I have NO idea how people ran this race at those fast paces with not much water. It was pretty warm.  I actually stopped for about 20 seconds after mile 3 just to get my HR down a bit. Keeping on, I was in a nice groove and around 4 other runners and we were all running together. A slight shift ahead for one of us and then the other. It was fun to be in this mini race within a race. The jockeying and surveying….3 women and 2 men. The 2nd half of the race, I slowed down. My pace was 9:25 but the 5 of us kept hanging together. Until the last 3/4 miles…I pulled ahead and thought i was in the clear to the finish. At about 1/4 mile to go, one of the other women passed me and I could not catch her. She ran well. I did rev it up for the last bit, I was just not able to stay with her. As I crossed the finish line and put my hands on my knees, hunched over, I thought: ” i could not have pushed any harder.” And that was my truth at that moment. As I write this now, hours later, recovered and all, I can’t help but wonder: “could I have? Could I have pushed harder and at what point could I have done so?”

I think that’s what we do…that’s what runners do…we wonder and we question. We beg to know what we are capable of on any given day. Or at least, I am!

But, for today, Yes…I am satisfied with my effort & the result. I pushed my body hard and enjoyed the challenge, both externally and internally.

Watch Finish Time: 6.3 miles/56:47/8:59 pace

Official Chip Time: 6.2 miles/56:45/9:08 pace

I prefer the watch finish time, but oh well!

 

IMG_0972

 

So, what’s next???

 

 

 

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