This past weekend I ran the Police Appreciation 10k in St Pete. I had set goals for myself for different race lengths and of course the 10k was one of them. At some point I this year I would like to run a sub-60 10k. Based on how the pace of my training runs have been I was pretty sure that wasn't going to happen, but figure if I didn't try it was definitely not going to happen - so I set my goal time for a 59:59.
Realistically I figured my time would be more like a 1:10, but I have a goal, and I'm never going to meet that if I don't try. So try I would. I thought I'd be able to keep the pace I needed for the first 3 miles, but after that I wasn't too sure. Plus I still have a problem with going out too fast and keeping a steady pace. I enlisted the help of a pacer. Not going out too strong, and keeping s steady pace may actually help me get closer to my goal time - I would soon find out.
I woke up
bright dark and early Sunday morning. The alarm went off at 4:30am. I had to get up, get ready, and make sure I ate something before venturing off. The morning started off to an interesting start. I was supposed to pick up Aaron at 5:45 am and I had previously checked how long it would take to get there - 20 minutes. Either I had entered the address wrong, or something just wasn't right, because when I entered it again it told me a different direction and was now 30 minutes. We were just going to have enough time to get to St. Pete, so now I felt rushed. I ran out of the house, forgetting to eat.
Luckily for me, Aaron was nice enough to bring some bread and bananas. Crisis averted. On to St Pete! I was a little anxious already, knowing there was a possibility of being late, knowing I had forgotten to eat, and driving down to a place I'm not familiar with. I also knew I had set a time goal for myself I was quite sure I'd meet. I had pre-race nerves - something I don't usually get. I tried to remain calm.
|Before the race|
We got to the race in time and went to get our bibs. They were out of pins, so I asked a woman for her bottom two but she only gave me one. I got creative and just used the one. Who needs a bib pinned on all fancy anyway? Then we needed the timing chip, which I almost forgot, and when I leaned down to place it on my shoe I realized I had lost my car key. I started to panic about that, and seeing how it was about time to start the race I figured there was nothing to do at that point. Miraculously Aaron found my key. Second crises averted.
And then the race started and we were off. I was still nervous. I felt good for the first mile. I tried not looking at my watch and just keeping Aaron's pace. The first mile was a 9:35, perhaps a little too fast. Mile 2 got a little harder to keep that pace. I had to keep telling myself to remember to breathe. I felt my heart rate getting too fast and I had to walk a bit. Aaron counted to 10 and it was back to running. Mile 2 was a 10:03 pace.
During the 3rd mile my leg started to hurt. I also lost my headband. I had to walk it out for a bit and my pace slowed. I knew I wasn't going to meet my time goal and I was a bit disappointed, but that was OK. Third mile: 10:50. I also was upset with myself that I didn't run the first half of the 10k in less than 30 minutes, but I knew that it was only a 5k I would have pushed myself to go below 30, and that made me happy. It made me realize I probably could in fact meet my time goal for a 5k, so I kept on moving, and kept on getting encouragement from Aaron.
I was significantly slower in miles 4, 5, and 6...all over an 11 min pace...but I would have been slower had it not been for Aaron helping to motivate me. Having the right balance of being able to rest when you need to, but having the motivation to speed up when you need a push made my run that race faster and push myself harder than I would have if I ran it alone. Plus I was entertained the whole time, which kept it fun.
|I look confused, and I'm not really sure what I'm doing with my hand|
During the last .2 miles of the race I apparently decided I needed it to be over and sped it up a little bit. That was run at a 8:32 pace. We crossed the finish at 1:05:59 while getting cheered on by friends - always an awesome way to finish. Not quite a sub 60, but better than I thought I'd do, and under an 11 min/mile for the length of the race. I can't complain - I had fun and that's all that matters.
After crossing the finish, we met up with our strider buddies congratulated everyone on their race, took some pictures, and waited to become cheerleaders for the 5k that was about to start.
Being there to scream and shout for my fellow running buddies was also a great experience. I've never really been on the side of the race, so it was tons of fun to watch everyone putting their all into the race, and watching everyone go by.
|Mike running the 5k after his 10k PR!|
After watching the 5k from the sidelines we went over the the finish. After everyone gathered together we took some more pictures, talked about the race, and had some snacks.
|After both races|
|Another group shot|
After a while of hanging out at the race a few of us went over to Starbucks for some coffee and more running talk. I had a great time, and then headed home to rest up my legs that pushed themselves a little harder than normal.
This race made me realize if I really push myself to do things even when I don't think I can, I will still make huge improvements over what I actually think I am capable of doing. So, off I go this weekend to still cause that sub 30 5k....