It was so nice to have pretty much zero pressure going into this race! I had actually forgotten that I'd registered for it until about a week ago, and my only *real* goal was to PR--my PR was 55:05 from April 2011. That's an 8:50 pace, so I figured a PR today was pretty much in the bag, based on my training paces.
I honestly didn't really care what my time was, as long as it was under 55:00, because I trained SO hard for that number in the fall of 2011, and I missed it by 11 seconds. Then I was marathon training all last year, and my pace got pretty slow again. After the Detroit Free Press Marathon, I started training hard to pick up speed again. And it's worked!
I slept pretty well last night, and got up at 5:15. For me, a 10K is one of those distances that is short enough to be over with quickly, but long enough to where you don't have to feel like you're dying the whole time--you have plenty of time to get into a good pace. The 10K distance has always been my favorite. Also, since this was so low-pressure, I didn't worry about eating the right fuel this morning, or getting there super early to get in line for the portapotties from all the water I would have drunk if I'd been running a half-marathon.
Anyway, my side cramp was gone, my headache was gone, and I felt pretty good this morning! I ate bran cereal for breakfast, had a cup of tea, and then headed out at 6:30. I stopped at McDonald's just before I got there to use the bathroom (better than a porta potty). Then I couldn't figure out where the parking was, so I called Ty. She was already there, and she hopped in the car with me to show me where to go--very helpful! She's also picked up my packet for me--saving me a lot of time. (The shirts were ugly, unfortunately)...
It.was.freezing. I am not kidding when I say it was miserably cold this morning! The temp was 25, which doesn't sound that cold, but the "feels like" temp was 18--even that seemed warmer than it felt! Ty and I went to meet up with some Twitter/blogger friends for a picture before the race.
|Left to right: @RunsforCookies, @protometal1, @ajbgillespie, @kmjones234,|
@ty_runs, @warrenri, @DetroitRunner1
The only one in that picture that I'd met in person before today was Ty. I just wish it wasn't so cold, so we could chat for a bit before the race, but after the pic, Ty and I hightailed it to the tent to keep warm.
The race started at 8:00. I was so surprised when I learned that this race had pacers! I've only seen pacers at marathons. Since I wasn't too worried about pace, I wasn't planning to run with a pacer. I got in line midway between the 52:00 pacer and the 55:00 pacer. I figured that would be a good spot to start.
|Lucky number 2559|
About a mile and half in, I started to feel a little uncomfortable--I thought I'd better back my pace down to about 8:30/mi, instead of the 8:20ish pace I thought we were doing. I looked at my Garmin, and saw that the pacer was actually running an 8:00/mi pace for that second mile! No wonder I felt like it was getting harder. Since I was running that pace already, and felt okay, I figured I'd try to keep my overall pace at about 8:15. I passed the 52:00 pacer, and planned to finish just ahead of him.
When I finished the second mile, my watch said 7:48--I got scared when I saw that, because I thought a sub-8 mile would surely make me exhausted before the end of the race. So I deliberately slowed down a little, and tried to stay a little slower than an 8:00 pace. After a while, my average pace read 8:04, and I thought, "Wow, I wonder what my finish time would be for that..." so I started doing the math in my head (that always helps pass the time!)
I figured an 8:00 pace would be a finish time of about 50:00, so I thought, "How cool would it be if my time was sub-51:00!!" So I pushed the pace a little to try and keep my average as close to an 8:00/mi pace as I could.
At around mile 4.5, everything changed. I went around a corner, and I thought I saw a pacer ahead of me. I knew the only pacers I saw at the starting line were 50:00 and 52:00... so I thought, "Holy shit, is that the 50:00 pacer?! DID I ACTUALLY CATCH UP TO THE 50:00 PACER?!" My mind was blown by that realization. He was still maybe a quarter mile ahead of me, so I hadn't caught up just yet, but I started to think that maybe it was possible...
That's when I started passing people. I made it a mission to try and catch up to the pacer. I knew I'd be super disappointed to finish just over 50 minutes--because it would be SO CLOSE to 49:xx. I would have been happy with a 52 or 53 minute finish, but it would be unbearably disheartening to watch the 50:00 pacer cross the finish line right in front of me ;)
He was HARD to catch. I had to run a sub-8:00 pace for the rest of the race, and I was gaining a could of inches here and there, but the pacer still seemed so far away. The whole sixth mile, I was focused on catching up.
At mile 6.1, I gave it what little energy I had left, and finally caught up to the pacer!! When we could see the finish line, he started encouraging everyone, "Go! Go! Finish strong!" I wanted to thank him as I ran PAST him (I was passing the 50:00 pacer!!), but I had zero energy on reserve at that point. My Garmin pace read 7:55/mi average, so I had a huge smile as I made the last steps to the finish line. I was SO stunned. It honestly never even occurred to me that I could ever run a sub-50 10K!
I checked out my Garmin, and saw that I'd done it:
The bibs actually have a QR code on them that you can scan with your phone to see your results. I wanted to get home as quickly as possible, because Jerry worked all night and needed to go to bed, so I didn't check my results until I got home.
Since I was in a rush to leave the race, I didn't get any pictures. When I got home, I had Noah take a couple of pictures of me. My face is so pale that I look like death in this picture!